Everything You Need To Know About Satellite Internet for RVs and Vans
Satellite internet for RVs and vans can make life on the road more plausible. Living in an RV can seem like a dream come true for many. You get the opportunity to travel to different places and experience nature’s beauty right out of your window with the flexibility to work from anywhere you want. “Rving” either full time or part-time is becoming increasingly popular. Studies show that more than a million Americans live full time in an RV and this number is likely to grow.
But once you decide to embrace this lifestyle and find your home away from the sticks and bricks, the first thing you’ll want to ensure is good internet access. Whether to work remotely, connect with your friends and family or simply watch your favorite Netflix shows, you’ll need to have reliable internet to stay connected. This need becomes even more pronounced if you find yourself in remote spots without mobile data connectivity or WiFi for RV.
If you’re living in a van or RV and struggle with consistent connectivity, you might want to switch to RV satellite internet.
Why get satellite internet for RVs?
While it’s possible to access the internet through free WiFi hotspots at RV parks, you may not get enough coverage or speed all the time. You may utilize an RV WiFi booster to improve signal strength, but with too many campers connected to the internet, chances are that you won’t get good speeds. Another option is to use your mobile data, but even if you get good signal strength, you may soon run out of data on the phone — or incur overage charges — if you’re planning to stay for longer.
If you’ve decided to spend most of your time in an RV, a satellite is the only option for continuous, reliable internet connection. One of the significant advantages of getting satellite internet for RVs is that you’ll have access to the internet anywhere across the country. It essentially travels with you wherever you want. All you have to do is point the satellite dish in the right direction to connect to the internet.
Top providers for satellite internet in RVs & vans
HughesNet and Viasat are two of the top satellite internet providers for RVs and vans. However, note that these providers do not offer direct support for self-install or portable use of their systems. You’ll have to purchase the equipment from resellers to be able to self-install and move it around.
Also, these connections won’t work while on the go, since you need to point the satellite dish in the right direction every time you change your location. You can only access HughesNet or Viasat internet when your vehicle is stationary in RV parks or campgrounds. For every new place you move to, you’ll need to obtain location coordinates for the dish to scan the sky accurately.
HughesNet is a popular choice when it comes to RV internet. The provider connects your device to the internet by sending and receiving data between your satellite dish on earth, and the satellite orbiting the earth in space. The signal then transmits through your modem and finally to the connected device.
HughesNet offers different internet plans with decent download speeds of up to 25 Mbps, which is ideal for internet surfing, chatting and HD video calling. Choose from four packages with data caps ranging between 10 GB and 50 GB. The prices for these plans vary between $59.99 and $149.99 per month. HughesNet doesn’t charge if you exceed the data cap, but the speeds will throttle down to 1-3 Mbps for that month. The provider also offers an additional 50 GB of data per month that you can use during off-peak hours (2 a.m. – 8 a.m.).
The only shortcoming is the low data cap and a single-speed option of 25 Mbps. However, if that is enough for your needs, HughesNet is a good option because it’s available across the country.
Viasat is another noteworthy satellite internet provider offering plans with download speeds ranging between 12 Mbps and 100 Mbps. While the speeds are impressive, all packages come with data caps that vary from 40 GB to 150 GB. Once you exceed this limit, Viasat will prioritize other customers during network congestion, and you may experience slower speeds.
The internet plans are also a bit expensive compared to HughesNet, ranging between $70 and $200 per month. However, all plans include a two-year price lock guarantee. Viasat also has extensive coverage and is available in the majority of states, so you’ll always stay connected even if you’ve parked your RV in the remotest location.
What to consider when getting satellite internet for RVs
Assess your realistic online needs. If you’re planning to work remotely or stream HD videos, you may want to select a plan that offers speeds above 25 Mbps to ensure glitch-free internet experience. However, if you only need the internet to check emails or connect with your friends and family on social media, a basic internet plan works well.
Make sure that your internet bills don’t put a hole in your pocket. Set a budget and make sure you don’t buy more connectivity than you really need.
How much internet do you plan to use? And how often? Ask yourself these two questions to figure out which data caps are most suitable for you and pick the plan accordingly.
Finally, to get RV internet, you’ll also have to invest separately in the equipment. The equipment provided by HughesNet and Viasat won’t work directly with your RV. You’ll need a satellite dish to connect with your modem that can either be roof-mounted or tripod-mounted.
A roof-mounted satellite is a robust solution to connect to the internet. These satellites attach to the RV roof and don’t require manual configuration. With a simple click of a button, the satellite dish will automatically rotate and align itself to receive the signal. However, these satellites are large and can cost more than $1,500.
A tripod-mounted satellite is more versatile and portable. You can easily mount the satellite dish on the three-legged stand that you can place anywhere around your RV with a clear sky view. The tripod-mounted satellite is also cost-effective, with prices typically under $200.
The bottom line
Living an RV life doesn’t mean you have to compromise on internet access. Whether you’re a remote worker or just love to travel, a satellite internet connection can keep you connected wherever you are.
Pros & cons of satellite internet for RVs and vans
- Faster internet speeds compared to dial-up
- Satellite internet doesn’t require a phone or cable line
- You can access the internet from anywhere in the country
- Easy to deploy and move around the equipment
- Bad weather can affect internet connectivity
- Minor obstructions such as buildings or branches can affect the signal
- Limited internet speeds
- Expensive plans compared to cable or DSL internet
- High equipment cost
In your area
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