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Internet


I am trying to come up with a realistic budget for FT living.  After looking at the numbers, I now see I have to find some ways to trim it!  My question is this, couldn't I just use my tablet with a data plan for my internet and forego all the rest of the equipment/expense?  I could use Wi-Fi when available in campgrounds but otherwise "make do"?   We don't plan to work on the road so internet service is not imperative, but it certainly would be a convenience.  I am far from being technically savy but it seems I could save some money that way.  Am I trying to cut the budget in the wrong place?  Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts!

 

 



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Wifi at most parks is poor at best. Early morning hours better until everyone else wakes up.

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Milinicom at the moment is your best deal @ 90 bucks for 20 g

if your budget calls for less and you dont want a contract walmart has a hotspot that the gigs do not expire monthly so if your going to use wifi on the fly and need a backup source this might be cost effective for low usage.

its going to depend on where your traveling and usage to get what works for you


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If your tablet is your only computer and you have one that has cellular data capability then I would see how that works for you before committing to something else. Millenicom has decent price for their 20GB/month plan but it's essentially a cellular capability. We have found that park wifi is adequate in more parks than not…but then we don't stream video and have a WifiRanger with the amplified antenna option for the roof so we can usually pull in the camp wifi (as well as see everybody else's wifi in the park albeit we can't log in if they are encrypted) from just about anywhere in the park.

Depending on what you do with your Internet then the 20GB plan from Millenicom may be enough. We have found that with the limited amount of video, downloading of podcasts and iPhone app updates, and your typical email/web surfing that 20GB is not enough if we are using it for the whole month. If it's only 3 weeks out of the 4 then we are usually in the 15-18 GB usage range.

If your phone has a hotspot capability then your tablet can connect to that but your monthly bandwidth limits might impede things. With our 2 iPhones, 3 iPads, 2 MacBooks, and a Mac Mini server then we have enough between our 20 GB Millenicom, campground wifi, and some judicious usage of local libraries for downloading large stuff like OS updates or large application updates.

Streaming video is pretty much a non starter unless you have a truly unlimited plan…you'll burn through an entire month's allotment in a few hours of Hulu watching.

We ended up with the normal phone/data plans for our two iPhones and everything else connect through our WifiRanger using either CG wifi or Millenicom as the input to it.

Our experience is that we knew that wifi in parks would be less bandwidth than we had in the S&B before going full time…but then we knew that and it's just one of the limitations and just accepted it as one of the drawbacks of the lifestyle. We haven't found campground wifi to be as limiting as Glenn has though.

 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Internet service isn't imperitive?

DO YOU LIVE IN A CAVE?

How would you communicate?
How would you buy anything?
How would you check your bank balances?
How would you answer emails?
How would you read RV-Dreams?
How would you learn to make fire without YouTube?

No more imperitive than... Oh... Air!

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How many possible pipelines you want to have on board to get online really comes down to your personal needs and what you're willing to compromise.

For us, it's absolutely imperative... so we're willing to spend what it costs to keep us online. We have 3 different cellular networks, cellular booster, WiFi repeating equipment and an extendible flagpole to get that stuff up as high as possible. If we can manage it, we want internet in the RV.. but when needed, we make a trip to a local library or WiFi hotspot.

For others, as you stated.. it's a convenience. Try going without internet for a while, and see what it feels like. Is that manageable for you? Only you can answer that question.

What will you do if you have no way to get online (campground WiFi is sucking, your tablet isn't getting signal)... and you need to get bills paid? Plan your next stop? Get in touch with a family member who's ill? Research how to <insert typical RVing task>?


Situations like yours are actually some of the toughest to find the right balance for. It's costly to configure a mobile internet setup that will get you connected in such a variety of locations and situations... but if you don't find internet imperative to your livelihood on the road, it's probably not worth that cost.

If you go the route you're considering, highly recommend sticking with one of the top two cellular carriers. Verizon is still leading, but AT&T is on their coat tails in terms of coverage and reliability.

- Cherie



-- Edited by Technomadia on Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 03:56:51 PM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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I'm using the millinicom with a wilson booster kit and a Trucker antenna about 4 ft off my roof..

Working ok so far.. I also have 2 smart phones on Verizon..w. 3 gb of data , as back up.. Have not hit parks yet.. But we also have a wifi ranger router and a SKY , that I will engage when I get to a park in a month or 2.

We don't use it for work yet.. but we may. We just must be 'connected" at all times..

Cost to start it all up? maybe $1000.. I think our monthly data.voice/data bill may be about $220ish.. if I don't need more data..Thats Verizon and millenicom.

To me , this is a bare min.. Get the booster too.. made a HUGE difference.. 3g 2 bars to 4g 4 bars.... Worth the money..

Good luck.



-- Edited by The Junkman on Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 05:27:11 PM



-- Edited by The Junkman on Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 06:12:23 PM

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A mobile hotspot plan is $50 plus tax for 5GB per month from AT&T and I think Verizon will also do this if all you have with them is a mobile hotspot/MiFi/Jetpack. This is with a 2 year commitment. We have both the Millenicom and an AT&T Unite mobile hotspot. For one device, especially a tablet, 5GB is probably overkill, but Millenicom is around $38 more money. If your tablet is Android you can go to Settings and then Data Usage to see what you are using now.

RVers are huge pushers of Verizon, but AT&T is very close in coverage.

I also want to say that where we camp we are not finding Wifi that usable often enough to care.  We have boosting equipment for WiFi, but in many places the wifi is weak and sometimes they charge for it.  Where we are right now you can pay Tengo for wifi to your RV, or go to the office area to use the free wifi.  


Edit: I was remiss and did not recommend The Mobile Internet Handbook, http://www.rvmobileinternet.com/book.  It will educate you about the options.  
-- Edited by bjoyce on Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 06:05:10 PM



-- Edited by bjoyce on Wednesday 24th of September 2014 07:52:01 AM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Thanks Everyone!  Back to the research and the budget!



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We have found that our data plan on Verizon phones (hot spot) is all we need. We get 10g of data with phone service for $160 per month for 2 phones. Since we're not working and don't stream videos this is more than enough for us. The only reason we keep 2 phones now is because sometimes the signal on the droid 2 (@ 3g) is better than the signal on our Samsung S4 (@ 4g).....not sure why this is, but that's the way it is. I don't think $160 is cheap but it's the best I've found for us.

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It's been over a year since the last post on this thread and technology changes fast.

Hubby & I about a year away from FT. We will both be working and good internet access is vital to our businesses. What's the current status and suggestions on this?

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jcordar2 wrote:

I am trying to come up with a realistic budget for FT living.  After looking at the numbers, I now see I have to find some ways to trim it!  My question is this, couldn't I just use my tablet with a data plan for my internet and forego all the rest of the equipment/expense?  I could use Wi-Fi when available in campgrounds but otherwise "make do"?   We don't plan to work on the road so internet service is not imperative, but it certainly would be a convenience.  I am far from being technically savy but it seems I could save some money that way.  Am I trying to cut the budget in the wrong place?  Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts!


 I just finished traveling across Canada from Toronto to British Columbia. (2,600 miles)

It took me 21 days, because I don't like driving far in one day.

I took refuge at different RV parks for about 17 days out of the 21 days.

Every RV park had free WiFi.

If you're on the road, and have need of the internet, just go park close to a Tim Hortons or such like places, and you can draw off their internet without even getting out of your motorhome.

And, to think I was considering getting mobile internet for $108.00 per month!

I wouldn't even consider 'buying' internet now.

'Using WiFi' I'm saving $50.00 a month since I cancelled my home internet service.

 

 



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I have a Cricket prepaid account. I pay $60.00 for 10 gb now.They have a Samsung phone with a hotspot for $99.00 until the 7th of January. I hear they are suppose to offer a 20 gb plan in the near future!

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For those of you using (or planning to use) free WiFi at parks and businesses, just remember - these ARE NOT secure networks. I would never consider doing any of my banking or other personal business (even such things as ordering from Amazon) using these open, unsecured networks. 

Rob



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Thanks Rob & Pieere. We have no problem paying for the service. We need secure, fast, dependable. I have Verizon phone & hubby has AT&T. I'll also look at Cricket. We're going to the Tampa supershow in three weeks. Internet is on our "research" list.

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With internet, even information that is a year old is already out of date. In six months things will change again. The new thing people are using is the Karma Go, https://yourkarma.com/, $50/month for unlimited data on the Sprint network.  Here is RVMobileInternet.com's article on it - http://www.rvmobileinternet.com/karma-launches-unlimited-hotspot-plan-on-sprints-network/.  



-- Edited by bjoyce on Monday 28th of December 2015 11:08:16 PM

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Wonderful! Thanks Bill. I've bookmarked that page.

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Greetings... indeed, this is a subject that is constantly changing!

For those that are relying on mobile internet, we generally recommend a combination of solutions for redundancy. But to recommend which ones make the most sense, you really have to look at your intended travel style and internet needs.

We have a free overview article that goes over the options and our general suggestions at:
www.rvmobileinternet.com/overview

The guide is kept constantly updated, as is our entire resource center... we track this stuff daily :)

Our personal setup right now is a Verizon unlimited data plan (took over a grandfathered in one), a large data plan on AT&T and a T-Mobile tablet plan for unlimited video streaming (new feature they just implemented). While we do carry a Sprint plan too (which is what the Karma plan above is on), we honestly don't find enough places where it works well enough to rely on - so we just use it for testing gear with. To maximize our signal, we have a cellular booster setup from weBoost (we just recently reviewed all the current models head-to-head).

We don't very often utilize free public WiFi, it's just usually not reliable enough for our needs, we tend to stay places that don't have WiFi and we prefer bringing our own connection. But, we do have WiFi extending gear on our roof for that option.

You can see our personal setup illustrated at: www.technomadia.com/internet

- Cherie

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

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Fantastic! Thank you so much Cherie! I've bookmarked your setup. I was also thinking that some duplications might be called for because cell companies are better or worse in different areas. My husband is a sports writer/photographer. He has to have reliable access so he can get scores/stats and submit his articles/pix. I'm an accountant. Funny thing is that employees expect to get their direct deposit payroll ever Friday. Who would have thought?

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The Karma unlimited plan has been changed, or at least is being changed as we speak. They found out that when they told people it was unlimited that people would actually use it. Shocking huh. Last week they knocked the Karma unlimited hotspots down to 1.5 mbps, then back up to 2.5 mbps and their advertising has changed to 2-3 mbps instead of 5 mbps.

We don't full time or snowbird yet but I have been preparing for it by making it so we can cut the cords here at the house. Most of the summer we are up around 10,000 ft in the Rockies and usually about 20 miles from the nearest town. Up there our Criket phones get decent call and text but only limited internet in the morning. I am hoping a Wilson sleek will help that. Between the two phones we get 20 gigs a month and throttled after that.

The second part of the plan is having multiple networks for travel but that gets expensive. Using the Sprint network I found two companies that have TnT plus data for free monthly after you buy the device. I have a Hopspot with a free gig of data a month with FreedomPop and a phone with 1400 min talk, 1400 text and a gig of data with hotspot with RingPlus. They cost me nothing month to month to toss in a drawer in case we need to connect to the Sprint network or need a bit of extra data from time to time. A extra gig of data on Ringplus is less expensive than on Cricket. $8 vs $10.

The Freedompop and RingPlus plans change constantly. I believe currently they are up to unlimited T&T and 1.5 gig of data for FreedomPop on a phone. 1800,1800,1800 on RingPlus plus $5 a month to use the hotspot.

Looking at the coverage maps, sprint isn't as impressive as AT&T or Verizon but their 3G coverage covers places like the Q. Most metros are flooded with Sprint coverage like here in Denver, I was even able to use them out in the sticks of mid Michigan.

I won't get a Verizon solution until we are ready to travel seeing that it would require a active plan that would cost money on a monthly basis.

Luckily we don't use a lot of data and have a portable satellite so there is no need of streaming. We only use it up in the mountains as we get over 70 OTA channels at home and not one up there.





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AT&T has offered an unlimited data plan for DirecTV subscribers (ATT subsidiary) 22GB high speed and throttled above that per month. For the internet moguls out there, any thoughts?



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BiggarView wrote:

AT&T has offered an unlimited data plan for DirecTV subscribers (ATT subsidiary) 22GB high speed and throttled above that per month. For the internet moguls out there, any thoughts?


or just get satellite internet seems pretty cheap these days  



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ticat900 wrote:
BiggarView wrote:

AT&T has offered an unlimited data plan for DirecTV subscribers (ATT subsidiary) 22GB high speed and throttled above that per month. For the internet moguls out there, any thoughts?


or just get satellite internet seems pretty cheap these days  


 If you are referring to HughsNet et al, they generally won't let you take it with you from place to place from what I understand to get that decent rate you are referring to. The mobile satellite internet providers are very expensive, again from what I have read.



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Currently operating a 2003 StixenBrix with 2 toads.
no Mor/ryde IS, no disk brakes, no solar
2017 RAM 3500 Laramie 4x4 CCLB, CTD, Aisin, dually ...RV, still shopping... 
But we do have a very nice veggie garden. 



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Lots of information here, much appreciated. I do need to evaluate options as I plan to keep my online job part time while we are in the RV. I will need to have reliable access to the internet, email, etc. regularly.

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4GAS has a promo right now for 5 gigs of 4G and then 2G unlimited for $17 on T-mobiles network and includes the Binge on service. At that cost I can afford to keep it as a alternative network and have the coverage here at home to put the gigs to use.

4gantennashop.com/

You do have to have a business to get this but I understand they are pretty lax about it.

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Rented a Verizon MiFi from the local library for $7.00 for 7 days unlimited gigs. The downfall is you have to be on a waiting list and sign up when returned. Sure is nice for those rainy days though!!!

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I did pick up the 4GAS hotspot on TMO. Set up was a quick call and a week to get the hotspot. LTE is weak here but the 4G is fine. I understand that if you call them you can get a 60g x 5 plan for $109 a month. For me that would effectively be unlimited.



-- Edited by jimindenver on Saturday 23rd of January 2016 10:35:34 AM

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