One of the best things about RVing is the freedom you get along with it. No one can interfere in your personal space. You can spend as many days or weeks as you want at a campground.
However, there will be times when this “freedom” could turn out to be your nemesis. You could be in a remote location (like camping) with no access to a stable internet connection. What do you do then?
That’s when satellite internet could become your lifeline. Before we understand how to get satellite internet on your RV and how exactly it works for RVs, let us first understand what satellite internet is for an RV.
What Is Satellite Internet for an RV?
A satellite internet in an RVis something that does not rely on cell towers or wires to offer service. You can access the internet from just about everywhere thanks to this cutting-edge system that relays signals through satellite.
No expensive underground cables or widespread cell towers are required. Although it is still in the early stages of development, it has a promising future.
How Does Satellite Internet for RVs Work?
While there are several ways to connect to the internet in your RV, satellite internet is growing in popularity with RVers.Satellite internet for RV offers the same speed and reliability as home internet while on the road. A satellite in space transmits a signal picked up by a reception dish.
The signal into your RV and is sent to a modem via the dish. The modem then sends out a wireless signal that can be picked up by devices as diverse as computers, mobile phones, laptops, televisions, and much more.
Because RVs are mobile, installing satellite internet in them differs from installing it in a fixed location like a home. You’ll have to do extra work to reconnect to the satellite whenever you set up camp. However, satellite internet technology is evolving rapidly, and connecting your RV is now much more straightforward.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Satellite Internet on Your RV
As we move forward, imagining RVers using satellite internet is fascinating. Unless you have access to cable, fiber, or phone lines, satellite internet in an RV may be your only option. And as it evolves, it might become the ideal option for RVers, especially those who like to go off the grid.
It eliminates the need for towers and hard lines by relaying signals via the area between them. This means you’re less likely to lose power or communication after a calamity. Your signal will return fast even if it drops.
An RV-mounted satellite internet dish’s primary advantage is its portability; it allows you to access the internet from any place as long as you can position your dish in the right direction.
As opposed to using a mobile hotspot, which can quickly eat up your data allowance, satellite internet doesn’t have that problem. This is perfect if you need internet access for your business purpose or if you enjoy watching videos online.
Many satellite internet packages start at less than $50 per month, making them more affordable than any other unlimited data plan for mobile phones. Although it may sound exaggerated, having access to satellite internet can help you save money on cellular data costs in remote locations. One of the major benefits of satellite internet for RV is how inexpensive it is.
Unfortunately, the biggest disadvantage is that satellite internet is currently unreliable for usage in recreational vehicles. The availability of high-quality internet is limited at the moment. You won’t be able to stream, upload, download, video call, or work online reliably unless your campsite is entirely free of obstructions.
Many campers seek remote locations in the woods to immerse themselves in the natural world. Because of this, using a satellite internet connection in a recreational vehicle becomes problematic.
There are other disadvantages as well, including lesser speeds, data caps, costly monthly payments, and latency difficulties. However, satellite internet for RV has significantly advanced since its inception 20 years ago and will continue to do so in the future.
What Are the Ways to Get Satellite Internet on Your RV?
While there are several options for staying online while on the road, RVers are increasingly leaning toward satellite internet connections. You will need to set up a receiver dish to receive the signal from a satellite in space. The signal is transmitted from the dish to a modem in your RV.
You can connect your laptop, cell phone, tablet, smart TV, and other devices to the internet via the modem’s wireless signal. Since RVs are constantly on the go, setting up satellite internet for them differs from setting up the internet for an immobile house or a residence. Therefore, you may have to put in a lot of energy every time you set up camp to establish a connection with the satellite.
There are three potential ways to get satellite internet in your RV. Let us look at each of them and examine their pros and cons.
A tripod can be placed outside of your RV at the campground. It can be bolted to a structure or other solid surface if it is immobile. The tripod supports and anchors the satellite dish to the ground. By raising the satellite off the ground, tripods prevent damage from dust, dirt, and water. This portable solution is useful while moving around and searching for a good signal.
Using a tripod can be problematic if you want to camp in an area with an uneven landscape. This makes the use of a tripod extremely difficult.
In addition, you need a clear view of the sky. Even though satellite dishes mounted on tripods are portable, they won’t be of much help if you’re surrounded by trees.
This method has the advantage of being less likely to fall over than a tripod. Moreover, it is already mounted and ready to use when you arrive at the campground, saving you time and energy.
But unfortunately, you cannot carry it everywhere with you. This means that you will be utterly helpless if your signal quality is poor.
Additionally, you’ll need a clear sky view, just like a tripod-mounted satellite. Considering how packed campsites typically are, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to relocate your RV to a site far from the trees.
Router-Inspired Receiver Box
It’s essential to consider your needs before purchasing satellite internet for your RV. An ethernet cable connects the modem and laptop directly. For the data from the satellite to be translated to your device, you would need a receiver box inside your RV.
An ethernet cable cannot be used when connecting to a tablet or mobile device instead of a laptop. Then, you need a router to link the modem to the rest of your devices. A router generates a wireless Internet connection.
A major drawback is the amount of room a router and modem setup require. Since your living areas are already somewhat cramped, finding a spot for more hardware can take time and effort. When there’s more gear, there are also more chances for anything to go wrong.
What Are the Best Satellite Internet Providers?
HughesNet, Viasat, and Starlink are some of the most popular satellite internet service providers for an RV.
HughesNet‘s base plan, with 25 Mbps download speeds, costs roughly $60 monthly. It is the ideal alternative for those living in remote locations that lack connection to other internet providers and are available everywhere.
When we talk about Viasat , their download speeds of up to 100 Mbps are available with Viasat’s Unlimited Platinum package, which costs around $200 per month and provides 300 GB of data transfer capacity. Again, it’s not the best option for areas like suburbs and cities that already have cable, fiber, and phone connections, but it serves rural areas rather well.
Now for those who want to consider Starlink as an option, unfortunately, at the moment, Starlink is restricted to specific locations. The initial cost of the equipment is roughly $500, but for about $100 a month, you can get limitless bandwidth.
No matter where you live or what you do, a lack of Internet access can negatively affect your quality of life and your ability to fulfill certain responsibilities.
And if you are traveling in an RV, you’re not just stuck in one place. You keep roaming from one place to the other. Many of those places, however, don’t always have easy access to the Internet. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It just means that you need to look at the right places.
Ultimately, satellite internet for RV could be a splendid choice for many people who live in an RV. It offers easy installation and virtually no maintenance, which is perfect for full-time RVers and other people who are often on the go. Plus, once you have it, you can access the internet virtually anywhere in the world (as long as you can see the sky).
Now that it’s easier to get satellite internet on your RV, there’s never been a better time to try it!