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Old 03-08-2017, 10:05 AM   #1
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"Cyberspace connecting on the road.

We are the new owners of an older 1999 country coach Magna. Does anyone have recommendations of how we can connect and stream on the road. Are there any cell phone networks that are better than others and can we use our cell phone as a hotspot? Should we get one of these routers that I read about that will bring the signal into the RV better but then you have to buy your own data plan with them... it's all very confusing. My husband also will be conducting some business while we're travel. So we need good connection speeds.
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Old 03-08-2017, 11:02 AM   #2
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We just completed 3 months on the road, and we used a Verizon Ellipse Jetpack. Gave excellent over-the-road reception and proved to be very valuable when parked with weak wifi. $100/mo for 10GB, and no contract. Easy to refill and small enough to fit in my pocket with ease, so we carried it with us while driving our toad as well. We happen to be US Cellular for our phones, so it works with any cell service. Safe travels.

Jeff Thurston
2003/4 Intrigue Ovation 42ft
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:48 AM   #3
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Smile holyrollers

Will check out the Verizen ellipse jetpack. Thanks. Also wondering if any cell phone service is better than others for around the country.?
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:39 AM   #4
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A map of US shows Verizon has more coverage. I use AT&T and sometimes I wish it could be better. Thinking about getting a cellar antenna (another post)
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:55 AM   #5
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We find US Cellular to be the best coverage in Central New Hampshire and north, and have had no issues with phonecalls throughout the Country. Their data when roaming is limited to 400MB, so our 10GB Jetpack is indispensable. Good luck.
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:28 AM   #6
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Out here in the west, no carrier has 100% coverage, especially when you get out in the deserts and mountains. So I have AT&T for my phone and Verizon for my iPad. Usually one or the other gets reception, though occasionally both have no signal. Both can be used as a hot spot. The Verizon service on the iPad is nice because you can change your data plan each month or add data if you run out.


But I think you'll find out that even with a 10-gig plan you're running through it very quickly if you're streaming a lot of video like regular TV watching on Netflix or Hulu. If you don't want to get a satellite dish you can record streamed programming at home using PlayOn, then put the MP4 files on a thumb drive to take on the road with you. I've been doing this myself because I don't use a satellite dish at home and don't want to subscribe just for the motorhome.
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Old 03-12-2017, 10:29 PM   #7
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holyroller - We have a Verizon plan for both my iPhone and my wife's iPhone. I use my phone as a hot spot to use the internet and watch TV. We also take DVD's with us. Sometimes I get the DVD's from Netflix and other times I buy them on ebay and then resell after watching.

We have had very good luck in most areas with Verizon. We do also have a Wilson sleek cell phone amplifier for when the signal is weak. But there are places where there is no cell service. And if you amplify zero it is still zero.

I have on my phone a left over unlimited Verizon data plan from years ago when they first started high speed data on line. If we did not have this we would watch a lot less streaming TV. You cannot buy a plan like we have any more. Sometimes when we are gone in the motorhome for a couple of months we will go through 50-60-70 gigs of data in a month. It costs me an arm and a leg to maintain this old plan as I have to buy my phone for cash and Verizon does everything they can to get you out of this old plan.
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:53 PM   #8
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned TMobile and binge on. We used that and it worked great across the country. Had no issues.
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Old 03-17-2017, 10:01 AM   #9
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Think, if you get locked into a unlimited plan it hard to change. Going to keep looking at options.
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Old 03-18-2017, 12:47 PM   #10
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holyrollers

What is binge on. Is this through T mobile?
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyrollers View Post
What is binge on. Is this through T mobile?
T mobile has no contract unlimited plans as well as others and binge on. Binge on allows you to stream video (Netflix, etc.) on your mobile device at 480p without using ANY of your data plan. I stream to my IPad and then air play it to the Apple TV. You can also pay for HD streaming on those plans.

I have cable now, but keep my hotspot on a 6Gig plan for 35$ for work travel. Never have to rely on slow airport or hotel internet.
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:51 AM   #12
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Smile holyrollers

Great info. I will check them out. Thanks.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:48 AM   #13
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I've had AT&T for years and have been full timing for 7 yrs now. It has worked well for me in many remote areas of the country. The average movie will use about 2gb of data. However AT&T will not allow you to have an unlimited data plan and the ability to use your phone as a hotspot. Its either one or the other. But currently I have a 15gb plan and that has been ok for my usage.
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:09 PM   #14
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Since you mentioned business, and if this is something where the business may not be able to wait for several days for times when you are in weak to zero coverage, then you really need to take sometime and come up with an arsenal of data/phone connection opportunities!

These fellow RV'er's have done a good job of putting lots of info together on their site:

https://www.rvmobileinternet.com

Don't worry when you first go to their site, as it has from just high level introduction to all the things you need to know - all the way up to Geek Squad Overloading information too! (They have a pretty good handbook, of basic info, that is well worth the funds to obtain.)

And by the way, great input from the CC members - a well rounded group of travelers, so not surprised!

OK - So here is my input, in no particular order:

> Where you will travel, can greatly effect what is the best service/plan to have.

> My wife and I travel mostly Western side of the country, and we have both Verizon and ATT. We have found that the two of them combined, provides us with the greatest opportunity to have data coverage. Where as 10+ years ago, it was about 75% of the time Verizon would have coverage where ATT did not. This has dropped over the last few years down to a SWAG of about 90-95% of of the time they both have coverage. But, that 5-10% of the time to us, it's worth still having two separate carriers.

> On Verizon I use a Samsung S6 in Hotspot mode. On ATT my wife has the iPhone 7, and we also have a dedicated Hotspot the Unite Explore.

> As we travel areas frequently where we're on the fringe of coverage, we do have a roof top antenna, and cellular amp. (Maximum Signal is what we currently have. And we also have a WeBoost Sleek from before we obtained the Maximum Signal. The Sleek is less expensive, and does not do as good of job of amplification/pulling in a signal - but it is for sure better then nothing. (We used various Sleeks over the years, until we decided to go with the higher power Amp's. So they're a good value per cost, but will not maximize your chances of getting a useable signal.))

- I mentioned the ATT Unite Explore Hotspot. This is a data only device. Verizon also has them, the AC791L is their current Jetpack/Hotspot top device. These are important to consider, as they have MIMO antennas. (Two separate antennas to handle communication to the cellular towers for up/down loads of data. In the right areas, say from '2 bars up thru 5 bars' - these MIMO capable devices can dramatically increase your data speeds. (If you want to stream, say Netflix or Amazon. Or say you get a Dish or DirecTV but then want to do On Demand broadcasts - the higher data speeds are important to support this.)

These MIMO devices, both of them, can be helped by either the above mentioned Cellular Amps with rooftop antennas. And they also both have 'Dual Antenna Ports' - where you can also get stand alone roof top (Or for less signal gain, internal to the RV too.) antennas. (Mobile Marks, Panorama are two such units that can also go onto a roof top, and provide 'MIMO' enhanced communication to the cell towers.) (Probably going to much into this. But the key, is the MIMO Hotspot devices, in many areas where we travel, can really be of great help in providing download speeds. For example, where we are now, my wife's iPhone 7 set up as a Hotspot, can get between 9-12 Mbps download speeds. The Unite Explore MIMO Hotspot, is able to pull down 18-24 Mbps - a sizable difference.)

> Park WiFI can sometimes be very good, and sometimes not so good. I see a general trend that I feel will continue, of them improving more and more in the years ahead. Maximizing your ability to also use park WiFi, you could look into a combo WiFi and Router. Pepwave, Cradle Point, WiFiRanger are some popular ones. (RVMOBILEINTERNET does a good job of explaining these, and how to use them.) But one key advantage to a good quality WiFi Router combo, is you can then set up all of your internal Data needing devices to log onto this WiFi router. Then as you determine what the best source for the actual connection to the internet is for a certain area (Park Wifi, ATT iPhone, ATT Unite Explore, Verizon Samsung S6 in our case.) you then connect your combo WiFi Router to whichever device - and all of the inside things are good to go. (Inside things? Laptops, tablets, smart tv's, Pandora/Spotify playing HiFi, etc.)

====

I'm going to stop here. This is like any other new thing you come along, some of the buzzwords are confusing and often used interchangeably just to keep us all confused - but it really is something that can be understood... Just take your time, do what you've been doing asking questions. And come up with what you feel is the best steps for you. Do things in phases (Wifi vs Cellular Data). When having a tech help you, or when doing things yourselves, think 'future proofing'. (For example: If setting up an Communication Control Cabinet. Set it up with 12V and 120V power feeds. Set up with a conduit, or two, for cable feedings into it from say the roof top. If adding a rooftop penetration to feed cables down into the coach, add more then you need an do it once. (We added two four gang access boxes with 1 1/4" access ports to our rear cabinet space. We're using one for primarily solar cable feeds, and the other has been our cables to our Communication Control Cabinet. Technology changes, and having the ability to more easily access and pull cables in the future, is such away of 'Future Proofing'.)

As you two get out and going on the road. Many new opportunities for learning, and adjusting to this lifestyle will come up. Communication connectivity is just one of many areas.

Do go have some fun, and again take your time and ease into things along the way!! Drive safe, have fun,
Smitty
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