How Can I Get Wi-Fi In My RV?

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For many campers and RVers, wifi has become more of a necessity than a nice to have. If you use your van to seek a few days off-grid or even decide to live long-term in your van, internet access is something you will probably need.

You might need to work online, stream music, or even stream Netflix. And all of these require a strong internet connection.

How Can I Get Wi-Fi In My RV?

Sometimes, your RV might not come pre-installed with wi-fi and you are wondering how to get wifi in your RV. There are multiple ways or options to get wifi into your RV.

Method 1: Using your phone as a hotspot

For a trip of a week or less, if your van doesn’t have a wifi connection but you’d like to stream a Netflix movie or episode, using your phone’s hotspots to get wifi into your van is a great option. In essence, you are converting your phone into a wireless access point, allowing internet access from a wifi-enabled device on another device.

Although each carrier offers an unlimited plan, it’s important to use the one that best fits your needs. In order to avoid wasting money on a service that you don’t use, it’s also important to search for carriers that offer pay-as-you-go plans since you won’t be using your mobile hotspot constantly.

Here are a few recommendations for mobile hotspots that you can get on Amazon.

Method 2: Public Wi-Fi

For basic internet needs, you can use the park’s public wifi. Although it is not always dependable or predictable, you can occasionally find a strong enough connection to use streaming services.

Install a wifi extender in your RV for faster internet access if you want to use the wifi at campgrounds. Installation takes a few hours and might cost a few hundred dollars.

However, it’s crucial to be aware that public wifi is not very secure and that you could easily be hacked. If you want to use public wifi, avoid signing in to online banking or filling out sensitive details so you won’t be hacked.

Here are a few recommendations for a wifi extender that you can get on Amazon.

Method 3: Portable Wi-Fi

Portable Wifi is essentially a device that recognizes and retrieves cell phone signals without engaging in all the texting and scrolling that your phone does. It acts like a mobile modem, bringing wifi into your RV without the cords and cables of a home office.

In essence, using Portable WiFi as a standalone modem is similar to using a cell phone plan. Although it doesn’t support incoming and outgoing phone calls, the device receives the same signal as a cell phone.

They are very small and can fit into your pocket, so you don’t have to worry about moving them around.

If you’d like to get one, here are some recommendations.

Method 4: Satellite 

Another way to get wifi and internet connections in your RV is by using a satellite internet provider. 

Installing RV satellite internet is a great way to guarantee you have access to the internet pretty much anywhere if you’re looking for a more long-term fix. That being said, it can be among the most expensive forms of connection for RVers. RV satellite internet can cost thousands of dollars to install and maintain.

Elon Musk recently launched his own version of satellite internet called “StarLink”. Even though it is still in its beta test, it has shown that you can have high-speed internet anywhere in the world using a satellite internet provider.

Even though StarLink is not available yet, there are other satellite providers you can choose from.

  • Viasat
  • HughesNet
  • StarLink 

How Can I Install Wi-Fi In My RV?

For each WiFi equipment, you choose to purchase, a professional installation is an option (and occasionally encouraged). Make sure you read the manufacturer’s installation guide. and have all the necessary equipment and accessories before you start attempting installation on your own.

To maximize your signal, you should mount your router and antennas (which, depending on what you choose, may be housed in one unit) to the roof of your rig. A cable will also need to be run inside, and there will be a few screws. That requires drilling into your roof, so make sure to seal the holes with a sealant that has been approved by the manufacturer.

Manufacturers of various WiFi products could advise placing devices in various places on the roof. Ensure that it has a clean line of sight because anything that could block a signal will hinder your WiFi.

The power switch is the next item. The power switch installation instructions that come with your device can also be completed by a professional. Also, keep in mind that adding a router or antenna to your RV’s roof will make it taller.

Basic Terms You Should Know For RV Wi-Fi

Here is a definition of some commonly used internet words and a list of available equipment to assist you in comprehending the terminology used in RV WiFi.

i. Speed Test 

Whatever the source, what you can accomplish with your internet ultimately depends on how fast it operates. It’s useful to know how to assess internet speed because it’s not always correlated with the number of bars in your cell phone signal or the strength of your WiFi connection.

There is a speed test feature on Google. On the results page, click the blue “Run Speed Test” button after typing “Speed Test” into the Google search bar to utilize it. For basic internet requirements like reading your email, you’ll need 1 Mbps down, but streaming will require between 4 and 5 Mbps down.

ii. Hotspot

This is the gadget that uses cellular data to establish an internet connection. You can connect to a password-protected WiFi network just like you would at home. Additionally, your smartphone can function as a hotspot. Tethering is a common term for this. 

A dedicated hotspot device is usually faster for internet use than tethering your phone for WiFi. It can be useful in an emergency, but tethering isn’t a long-term option if you’re intending on boondocking or streaming frequently; you’ll most certainly need a hotspot device.

iii. Wifi Extender

The WiFi signal within your RV is repeated and extended by a WiFi extender, which rebroadcasts the signal. This fixes a typical connectivity issue when your RV and the campground’s WiFi router are too far apart or there is too much interference between them.

When using camp WiFi, a repeater device can dramatically increase your internet speed.

iv. Unlimited Data

You are limited in how much internet you can use if you don’t have an unlimited data package. The majority of RVers will discover that having unlimited data is more cost-effective than having limited data, where you must pay for usage in addition to other fees, such as a protection fee to keep you from exceeding your data limit.


Conclusion

Having an internet connection while camping is a great way to relax and, at the same time, connect with the world. 

Following this guide, you should be able to use WiFi in your van even though your RV did not come with it.

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