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Old 06-18-2020, 09:06 PM   #1
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Internet on the Road

Need you alls experience and expertise. We have unlimited talk,text and data and have the Hotspot activated on our iPhones though Verizon. We don’t want to use Campground WiFi and would prefer to have our own secure internet. Although the phones work ok they’re not great for anything as far as streaming to watch on tv. They put us on a throttled down speed I believe?

I’ve been told that Verizon has their jet-pack which provides more speed etc? Rather than listening to their sales pitch I wanted real world experiences from those who have “been there done that”. Our Family is all along the east coast but we will be traveling though out the country. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. We’re not married to Verizon it is our obvious first choice just because we currently use them and they appear to have the best network.
Having said that if there is another system or product that works better I’d like to hear about it. We usually travel about 3-5 months a year. But in about 2-3 years we will go full time and give up the sticks and bricks.
Thanks in advance, stay safe and don’t forget your 3 W’s.
Roy C
Northeastern North Carolina
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:20 PM   #2
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FYI - There’s a technology forum here on IRV2 where this is discussed in detail. Lots of great info and experts https://www.irv2.com/forums/f53/
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Old 06-18-2020, 09:25 PM   #3
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I have T-Mobile with a Veteran account for $80 that gives us 80 GB at full speed and a potential speed decrease when I've used over 80 GB. I have rarely had any decrease in download speed and have been cross-country twice.

My DW has an ATT account for $40 with very modest data (7 GB?) at high speed as a backup in case we're someplace and can't get T-Mobile.

And yes, we've been in some locations where we both have had dead spots - love those places and love to travel. We also have lag, at times when we have more than three devices on my hotspot - so we simple revert to downloading and let it do it's magic all night long and watch the show/youtube the next day with no trouble or lag.

We're perfectly happy using our iPhone hotspots and can stream, download and do Internet browsing better than any campground.

$120 is our monthly communication expense - no cable, no satellite, no Netflix/Hulu/HBO, no nothing, and we watch a new movie every night as well as two or three TV series.

Did I mention we don't have commercials?
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Old 06-19-2020, 11:01 AM   #4
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Take a look at the quarterly update video by the mobile internet resource center that came out 3 or 4 days ago
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Old 06-19-2020, 12:00 PM   #5
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Take a look at the quarterly update video by the mobile internet resource center that came out 3 or 4 days ago
Like nailing jello to the wall.
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Old 06-19-2020, 02:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonandRoy View Post
Need you alls experience and expertise. We have unlimited talk,text and data and have the Hotspot activated on our iPhones though Verizon. We don’t want to use Campground WiFi and would prefer to have our own secure internet. Although the phones work ok they’re not great for anything as far as streaming to watch on tv. They put us on a throttled down speed I believe?

I’ve been told that Verizon has their jet-pack which provides more speed etc? Rather than listening to their sales pitch I wanted real world experiences from those who have “been there done that”. Our Family is all along the east coast but we will be traveling though out the country. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. We’re not married to Verizon it is our obvious first choice just because we currently use them and they appear to have the best network.
Having said that if there is another system or product that works better I’d like to hear about it. We usually travel about 3-5 months a year. But in about 2-3 years we will go full time and give up the sticks and bricks.
Thanks in advance, stay safe and don’t forget your 3 W’s.
Roy C
Northeastern North Carolina


I have Verizon unlimited plan, DW has AT&T unlimited plan. Can’t just have 1 plan if you travel. It is expensive but we have private internet about 90% of the places we go. Always somewhere without service.
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:47 PM   #7
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We have done well hotspotting off our ATT phone.
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Old 06-19-2020, 04:55 PM   #8
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While I'm sure there are exceptions, most Verizon phone plans with an added Jetpack have a 15GB per month limit on the Jetpack before they slow you down to a crawl.
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:26 PM   #9
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Hi all:

Eric from Nomadic Fanatic (youtuber) boasts about a service called "Nomad Internet", might want to look into that...…

I am NOT affiliated with either one, just passing information along.....
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Old 06-19-2020, 07:50 PM   #10
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I used to own a wireless Internet service. I sold the company in 2013 so might not be up on the latest equipment that's available, but the basic technology hasn't changed much.

Ours was a fixed wireless service to homes in rural communities, mostly those who could not get DSL or cable Internet. We also provided service to a few RV parks and maintained their local wi-fi systems. Getting wireless signals inside RVs is sometimes a challenge, especially those with aluminum skins, but that's another story.

The only thing that will work everywhere is a satellite-based service, but even then you have to have a view of the southern sky and you're stuck with horrible latency due to the time it takes the signal to travel from earth to the satellite and back. It's on the order of 500 ms, which doesn't sound like much, but when you add up all the "handshakes" that take place on the typical web page, the perception is that pages load very slowly even though the actual data transfer rate might be quite good. For that reason, current satellite offerings are a last resort option in my book. That said, it's way better than nothing.

Cellphone 3G and 4G have gotten much better through the years, but coverage and network quality are still spotty.

Elon Musk's Space-X company is in the process of deploying thousands of satellites for internet access to remote areas. Their network is called "Starlink". These are LEO (low earth orbiting) satellites, so latency will be better. I don't know what their plans are for providing service on a temporary basis to RVers, but the technology looks very promising. Apparently, they will begin offering service in North America later this year, so we should start hearing details soon.

https://techcrunch.com/2020/04/23/el...c-beta-in-six/
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Old 06-19-2020, 08:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SharonandRoy View Post

I’ve been told that Verizon has their jet-pack which provides more speed etc? Rather than listening to their sales pitch I wanted real world experiences from those who have “been there done that”. Our Family is all along the east coast but we will be traveling though out the country. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated. We’re not married to Verizon it is our obvious first choice just because we currently use them and they appear to have the best network.

There's nothing inherently "better" about using a Jetpack (or any other dedicated hotspot) compared to using a phone as a hotspot. If you have a reasonably high end phone, you're not going to get a faster connection using a hotspot compared to using a hotspot.

As someone else has already noted, your so-called unlimited Verizon plans probably have only 15-20GB/mo of unlimited hotspot data regardless of whether it is used by a phone's hotspot or a Jetpack. Beyond that data level your speed will be limited to <600kbps which is too slow for streaming.

As for which cell carrier is the best bet; I think most RVers will agree that Verizon has the best coverage although AT&T is a close second. Many of us maintain accounts with both so we can assure ourselves of coverage in most places.

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Old 06-19-2020, 09:38 PM   #12
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Further to my earlier post, I just read that Elon Musk is claiming 20 ms latency for Starlink V1 and that V2 could be as low as 8 ms. That would be remarkable if true, though as they say, the devil's in the details.

More info:

- What kind of antenna does it use?
It will use a flat phased array antenna about the size of a medium pizza box according to Elon (0.48 m or 19 inches in diameter according to SpaceX's filing). Described by Elon as the most advanced phased array antenna in the world, including military. It will need wide open view of the sky, mounted on your roof or somewhere outside away from nearby obstacles. The antenna handles both upload and downloads and is capable of gigabit speeds.

- What the heck is a phased array antenna?
Think of it like a bunch of small antennas working together so they can point the signal in a specific direction. This would allow the signal to track the satellite as it passes overhead and then switch to the next one when the first is out of range.

Elon: "Looks like a thin, flat, round UFO on a stick. Starlink Terminal has motors to self-adjust optimal angle to view sky. Instructions are simply:

Plug in socket
Point at sky
These instructions work in either order. No training required."

According to SpaceX's filing, operation at elevation angles below 40 degrees is achieved by tilting the antenna.

- Can I mount one on my car for internet access on the road?
Yes, you should be able to mount the antenna on a car, RV, boat, plane, train, or any other vehicle as long as it is pointed to the open sky. It would not work in your garage, a covered parking lot or in a tunnel.


I can see the "wide open view of the sky" being a potential problem for RVers. This is not like Dish TV where the satellite is stationary over a single point. They are always moving (or perhaps it is more correct to say that the earth is rotating under them), so as one satellite goes out of view, the receiver will switch to the next one. That tells me that the antenna will need to see the whole sky, or a lot of it anyway. It really depends how directional the antenna is. Current satellite dishes are very directional indeed, but being a phased array it might not be that way. Still, if there's a tree branch between you and the satellite, likely no bueno.

Having been an Internet provider, it's remarkable to me that people expect to stream video over a cell-phone connection. That people can often actually do it now is quite an accomplishment. Streaming video is one of the reasons I decided to sell my company when I did. There was only a limited amount of spectrum available to wireless ISPs and streaming video uses up a lot of it. Our choices were to limit speeds or reduce the number of customers, and I could see that it was only going to get worse.
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