Reliable Fast Internet Connections

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Harry_, Feb 18, 2007.

  1. Harry_

    Harry_ New Member


    I am planning to get a motor home and travel the US for a while. I work from home, which will be my coach then, and there is one thing I really need: reliable Internet connection(s)!

    My plan would be to get a Sprint Mobile card (EVDO) which they claim is the largest broadband mobile network in the US, plus I would keep my T-Mobile data access (EDGE - not as fast but fast enough as a backup). I would install a router which would use both networks simultaneously or only one in case I have no reception from the other one.

    So for me it would be important to get some advice from real-world experience from you, if you are using the one or other network/mobile broad band technology for Internet access, and/or if you would recommend a different provider or solution. How about Internet at RV parks? Do they offer (wireless) Internet there, how fast/reliable is it typically, costs, ...?

    I also would need some TV channels, mainly CNBC. This is not as important as Internet but I still would be glad to get it. How does this work with the satellite dishes, what do I have to subscribe for, and do they offer Internet access (via the same provider) as well? Is it tricky to adjust the satellite dish, and are there even solutions to get a signal while traveling?

    Thanks a lot for any practical advice on that,
  2. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Reliable Fast Internet Connections

    I have done work over the Verizon network, using my cell phone. It has been adequate everyplace I've been so far, except Lewisville, TX for some reason even though the phone claimed it was a high speed area (just would not stay connected). Depending on location, the speed ranges from about 150K to 450K (3x dialup to near DSL).

    If both cards plug into your computer, I would be surprised if they will both work at the same time. Probably will have to select the one you want to use, and manually switch to the other if the first one does not work.

    A moderate number of RV parks offer WIFI, and some even provide it. You generally won't know if it works untill you try it. And how long it will keep working. A lot of RV owners do not know how to install and maintain a wireless network. Some places offer cable internet for the ultimate in speed and reliability, but it generally costs extra and is pretty rare.

    For TV, you can get cable at many parks. Or you can have a dish/reciever in your RV. The only choices are Dish and DirectTV. The cost for the 'basic' channels will probably be in the $20-$30 a month range.

    You can do internet over a satellite, but it requires a bigger dish than TV only, and neither TV company provides it. There are 2 companies which do provide internet, and neither provides TV.

    There are 3 types of dishes - in motion, automatic and manual. In motion is the most expensive, but will work even on the move (assuming the signal is not blocked by trees, buildings, bridges, etc. The automatic one will find the signal (if not blocked) with the push of a button. The cheapest method is a dish on a stand which you aim manually. This can be tricky, but there are gadgets (aiming scopes and signal detectors) which can ease the task.
  3. JamieB

    JamieB New Member

    RE: Reliable Fast Internet Connections

    There are many things to consider when trying to choose an appropriate service for internet. How critical is it that you have access at all times? Where are you going to be traveling? What kind of speeds do you want/need? How often are you going to be online? What is your budget? Will you be working with a VPN?

    The fact is that if your budget is large enough, you can get just about anything. For most people, this is not an option.

    I am located in Arkansas, and I am a dealer for mobile and fixed site satellite internet. Even among satellite internet, there is a broad range of options and price points. I would like to point out a couple of things. In your subject line, you stated "reliable fast internet connections". Let's talk about one of those. Reliable. As you might notice from some of the threads out there, WiFi is hit or miss. Even locations that claim to have it, might not have it set up correctly. Various phone companies offer high speed over the cell. In certain areas, where there is no coverage, you get no service. Satellite has the advantage here. Regardless of where you go, if you can see the southern sky, you can get high speed.

    As far as speed goes, you can get great speed from many of the options listed above, but you will likely suffer during peak usage times. Even satellite does slow down during peak usage times. To minimize this problem, you can purchase a higher cost service that will offer greater bandwidth protection if your budget allows. Granted, satellite is going to be more expensive than some other options you have. But, if you absolutely must have a high-speed connection, regardless of where you are, satellite is your best option in my opinion.

    As far as the options on satellites, if you are going to be moving around the country on a regular basis, the automatic point satellites would suit you well. If you are going to be stationary for weeks at a time, a fixed dish which you would manually repoint each time would suit your needs. Considering service, there are different companies that have different specialties. One company is great for the "residential" user, and another for the "SOHO, or commercial user". What you have to determine is whether you want to use the internet primarily for data transfer, or if you might want to use it in a VPN, or VOiP application.

    If you would like to talk further about this, or if you have any questions, please drop me an e-mail at

    I would be happy to visit with you about your specific needs, and try to offer solutions.

    I hope this helps.

    Jamie Billingsley
  4. Harry_

    Harry_ New Member

    RE: Reliable Fast Internet Connections

    Thanks a lot to all of you for your detailed information, very helpful!

    I think I have to dig deeper, and I assume I will need some kind of satellite service in addition to my one (or two) mobile/aircards as I really would love to go wherever my RV will take me, but I need to have Internet connection.

    As I am new to all this RVing, I wonder if those “automatic” dishes really work while traveling. I assume I would have parked my coach while working most of the time (and not having my wife driving it while working), but maybe I would also like to have CNBC running while on the road – is this possible? And of course I would have to get FOX as I need to watch NASCAR, but then of course I would park my coach and have a nice beer with it ;-)


    There is an (affordable) Netgear router which can work with two Internet connections (does automatic load balancing). So I could for example get a Nextel EVDO card including their/a WLAN router which comes with a PCMCIA slot and use this as Internet connection one, and another mobile operator - or better a satellite provider as I learned from you and JamieB - as Internet connection two. I guess this would be an acceptable solution.

    Btw, I need it for stock trading. So I am getting real-time data streams which is not as time critical in terms of latency as online gaming pro’s need it to be, but it has to be quite steady and the amount of continuous data can sum up as well.
  5. hertig

    hertig Senior Member

    Re: Reliable Fast Internet Connections

    Sure, you could network an air card and a satellite internet connection. Or even 2 air cards, one in each of 2 computers. I'm just not sure that 2 air cards in the same computer would not interfere with each other.

    The 'automatic' dishes will NOT work while moving. When parked, they automatically seek the satellite. To access the satellite while 'in motion' you need an in motion dish. They have these for TV; no idea how well they work, but I'm sure they can lose synch if anything passes between the dish and the satellite, and perhaps if you make sudden changes in direction. I don't know if there even is an in motion internet satellite dish.

    If you need stock quotes while in motion, how about a service which broadcasts them to a pager?
  6. JamieB

    JamieB New Member

    RE: Reliable Fast Internet Connections

    As in most things in life, there are just too many options when it comes to mobile internet. I won't claim to be an expert in every option, but I will try to help as much as possible on the satellite internet side of things. They do make "in-motion" satellite for internet, but they can be "VERY" pricey. They are typically used by government, law enforcement, etc. I don't think you would need that application. They also make an "in motion" reciever for tv. These are usually a dome shaped device that you see on many RV's. I'm not sure what your budget will allow, but if it's not too tight, you might consider this.

    1. An automatic satellite dish for internet. I would recommend a .98 meter dish. You can get different watt buc's and different modems to accomodate your needs for speed and bandwidth. You could go with a .74 meter dish, but it limits you ability to upgrade to a higher speed service in the future. Also, different service providers (Hughes, iDirect, UnaSat) require different modems, and ODU equipment. It would be good for you to know what service you need in order to determine what equipment you need. (Again, too many options.)

    2. Instead of doing a "bird on a wire" and having your television dependant on your dish deployment, I would recommend a seperate tv dish. If you think you will want to watch tv while driving, you should get the automatic "in-motion" dome.

    Whatever you choose, I would recommend two things.

    1. Allow yourself room to grow. For example. In order to save $1,500, some will buy a dish that has limits on it's capacity. In a few months they decide they want more bandwidth, and they can't do it because their equipment is not sufficient. I don't think you should "over purchase" by any means, but if you think you might want higher speeds and more bandwidth in the future, make plans for it now.

    2. Proper installation is critical. You can purchase the best system on the market, and if your installer does a poor job, your performance will suffer. I can't stress this point enough.

    Jamie Billingsley

Share This Page