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Post Info TOPIC: Internet and Cell Phones on the Road


RV-Dreams Family Member

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Internet and Cell Phones on the Road


As Canadians we have to totally change our internet and cell phone service for our US travels. 

What is the recommended set-up for full timers? We need email, Internet, streaming, VPN. I have an iPad, hubby has a Surface, and we both have iPhones.

I checked out Technomadia but they are complicated and far advanced from what we need!

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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We use a Verizon MiFi hot spot for data. Battery lasts all day, can connect many devices, password protected WiFi that is acceptably fast. For Cellular Phones, we have AT&T, but Consumer Cellular is a better deal and they use the AT&T network ... so comparable service coverage. You could use Verizon for Cellular, but if price matters, Consumer Cellular is the best deal. Verizon may have marginally better coverage, but that really depends on where you are. I will tell you that if you try to rely on most campgrounds "free WiFi" you will be disappointed. Spoty at best and not secure at worst. Can't bank or do investments, etc. on "free WiFi" due to lack of security.

This stuff is confusing to us as Americans ... I bet as Canadians it's even worse. The reason we're still with AT&T is CONTRACTS ... I hate 'em. Consumer Cellular doesn't have contracts and you can change your data plans up and down as you see the need. We will change when we can.

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Ron and Janice

 

2016 Ford F350, King Ranch, DRW, 3.73's, 4x4, CC, 6.7 Powerstroke, remote control air lift system

2017 Durango Gold 381REF (41 ft, 5 slides), MORryde IS, 8K Disc brakes, GY G114  LR H Tires, 27,320 lbs CGVW

Full Timers class of 2016



RV-Dreams Family Member

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We do pretty much the same as Ron and Janice, except that our phones are on the same Verizon plan as the MiFi. The internet speed is good with the latest 4G MiFi devices. My military service gets me a discount on the 22GB data plan. We can do everything we did in the stix 'n brix except stream movies.

Rob

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2012 F350 DRW Lariat 6.7

PullRite OE 18K, Demco Glide Ride pinbox

2016 Grand Design Reflection 337RLS

MOR/ryde IS, disc brakes, LR G tires

Full-time as of 8/2015

 

 



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Same as Second Chance.....Verizon for both.

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Thanks. It's all very confusing to me. We've had so many issues with Verizon customer service when we were Snowbirders. The coverage is excellent but they always make it difficult for us when setting it all up.

What about the 'booster antennas' they talk about?

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Verizon now gives you Canadian service if you have a large enough data plan, 16GB per month or larger. I wonder if some Canadian services now do the same for US service?


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Bill Joyce,
40' 2004 Dutch Star DP towing a 2012 AWD Chevy Equinox
Journal at http://www.sacnoth.com
Full-timing since July 2003



RV-Dreams Family Member

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We use campground wifi and have a Verizon MiFi with 30GB/month as backup…never had a problem getting connectivity. Campground wifi gets a bad rap from a lot of people but we use a WifiRanger which is essentially a powered antenna on the roof and can always pick up campground wifi if it exists. We've only had a half dozen or so parks that had wifi but no useful speed in the last 4+ years.

I would also check your current Canadian data plans and see if US coverage is included or can be added…

A Booster antenna is essentially a cradle you put your phone (or MiFi) on…it picks up the signal, amplifies it, and sends to the cellular network via an antenna attached to the booster. You can get ones with portable antennas you just stick outside or ones with a permanently attached antenna. The drawback is that it only works for the device placed on the cradle…which is fine if it's the Mifi or not so fine if it's your phone. There are more expensive models of booster that use an inside antenna, amplifier, and outside antenna. The phones/tablets/whatever transmit/receive to the inside antenna and the outside (amplified) antenna talks to the cellular network. You have to be careful about placement of the inside and outside antennas for those kind though…they need a certain amount of separation or you cause feedback which irritates the phone company and they show up at your door asking you to turn it off…ask me how I know that.

 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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We use Verizon for both data and cell service and have for the last 4 years with great luck.

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Dave & Diane 

2014 Tiffin Phaeton 42LH 

2012 Jeep Rubicon Unlimited (in storage)

2016 F150 Lariat, our current toad 

http://daveanddiane.wordpress.com/2012/07/

 



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Hazel wrote:

As Canadians we have to totally change our internet and cell phone service for our US travels. 

What is the recommended set-up for full timers? We need email, Internet, streaming, VPN. I have an iPad, hubby has a Surface, and we both have iPhones.

I checked out Technomadia but they are complicated and far advanced from what we need!

Thanks!

As a french-canadian snowbirding for the past 15 years, I've always used some Wall Mart american cellular phones, "Tracfone for now", very cheap to buy at ± $15., it is a LG product including a camera & flipflop type;  then you couple it to a 1000 minutes SIM card good for 1 year and you keep the same number for years as long as you renew before the end of that 1st buy; for Internet, I use all the available "wi-fi" from truckstops, rest area and Wall Mart or Lowes and also a MI-FI VIRGIN data as a backup.

 

 

 

 


 



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Normand

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada

2010 Gulfstream class A, model 8367

2009 Smart Cabriolet



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Xrossing the border in november, we just park or whatever, our canadian cellulars for 6 months and then energize the US cellular for 6 months.

I forgot to mention that the Tracfone cell card for 1000 minutes is only $100. US and you have to buy the Tracfone cellular and its card in the States.



-- Edited by legrandnormand on Monday 29th of August 2016 08:50:04 PM

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Normand

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada

2010 Gulfstream class A, model 8367

2009 Smart Cabriolet



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I have no statistics, but my guess is most full-timers have Verizon phone/data service.  Verizon still has the best geographical coverage, but if you plan to "snowbird" or stay in a particular area, one of the other providers may be better in that area.

You can use your iPhones as hotspots to connect your iPpad and Surface.  However, most full-timers will have a dedicated data device - Verizon JetPack (aka MiFi). Because it's dedicated to data only, it has a better antenna for data and no phone functions to interfere.  And you can connect all your devices to that one signal.  Of course, there is an extra cost - Verizon has a "line charge" for each device.

As long as you travel in Verizon 4G coverage areas you should be fine.  It only gets complicated when you get out into the more remote areas and the signals are weak. Then, if you really need your internet and some decent speed, you will want to get an external antenna and booster combination (a cradle booster is entry level, and then there are more powerful, more expensive boosters).

Your other issue will be streaming.  If you stream on your cellular service, you will eat through data very quickly when you are in a 4G coverage area, and it will be painfully slow (buffering) if you are in a 3G area.  You'll have to decide whether or not it's worth the high cost of a large data package.  For some, paying for the extra data to stream is offset by not having satellite TV.

Many folks use the Wi-Fi at RV parks, and you can enhance the signal with boosting equipment (different than cellular boosting equipment).  But if you like public campgrounds over private RV parks, you won't find Wi-Fi at your site very often.  And you will get very inconsistent service from RV park to RV park.  There are also security issues if the park Wi-Fi is "open" or has weak security.  Some RV parks discourage or even prohibit streaming on their Wi-Fi, and those that don't may have very slow speeds when everybody is streaming.

Everyone wants the least complicated, fastest, cheapest solution with the most coverage and best security.  Unfortunately, when you start delving into the needs of each person, it quickly can get more complicated and more expensive.  :) 

If you are used to really high-speed, inexpensive, consistent internet, start by lowering your expectations for out on the road.

The good news is you can ease into it.  If what you have isn't doing the trick, then you can upgrade until you find that perfect balance between voice/data service and what you are willing to spend.  



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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If you looked at our personal setup (www.technomadia.com/internet) - yes, ours is a very robust setup, as we work full time remotely from the road.

However, we have a pretty basic overview of mobile internet options, including a video at:
www.rvmobileinternet.com/overview


The challenge for Canadian citizens is of course finding plans suitable for your needs that you can obtain. We have a few tips for that in our Canadian Internet overview guide (most of it focused on US based RVers traveling Canada, but there is a section for our Canadian friends): www.rvmobileinternet.com/canada


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Cherie (and Chris) / Our blog: Technomadia.com

Full time since 2006 as Gen-X 'technomads' (technology enabled nomads)

RV Mobile Internet Resource Center (unbiased information by RVers for RVers)

zephyr_pixel.jpgRV: 1961 GM 4106 Bus

Toad: 2009 MINI Cooper



RV-Dreams Family Member

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Thank you so much, Cherie! We're just getting settled in our first RV park......still in Canada until November......but we'll read your overview for Canadians in detail. It will no doubt be very helpful.


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RV-Dreams Community Member

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RonC wrote:

We use a Verizon MiFi hot spot for data. Battery lasts all day, can connect many devices, password protected WiFi that is acceptably fast. For Cellular Phones, we have AT&T, but Consumer Cellular is a better deal and they use the AT&T network ... so comparable service coverage. You could use Verizon for Cellular, but if price matters, Consumer Cellular is the best deal. Verizon may have marginally better coverage, but that really depends on where you are. I will tell you that if you try to rely on most campgrounds "free WiFi" you will be disappointed. Spoty at best and not secure at worst. Can't bank or do investments, etc. on "free WiFi" due to lack of security.

This stuff is confusing to us as Americans ... I bet as Canadians it's even worse. The reason we're still with AT&T is CONTRACTS ... I hate 'em. Consumer Cellular doesn't have contracts and you can change your data plans up and down as you see the need. We will change when we can.


 For cell phones, I use Straight Talk (no contract) from WalMart, They work off of Verizon's towers at $47. per mo. unlimited. Straight Talk has also developed their own Hot Spot but they are limited and not intended for streaming. Still waiting to see some positive reviews on any devices / tech. systems designed for travelers that are affordable. 



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