Do you love the thought of getting away in your motorhome on the open roads with no internet to disturb you? Well no, not many of us do now. Some of us can’t even contemplate the thought of going away without being sure we have a good internet connection, either for work, social media, FaceTiming family back home or just to make sure the kids are entertained and not whinging.
There’s a whole host of innovative ideas, technical options and products available on the market; we’ve explored just a few below.
You may be able to connect to free WiFi in town centres or cafes, but this limits where you can use it and may not always have a good coverage. If at home you use BT WiFi they have a large selection of open zones which you can sign into for free, however again these are usually only found in public places or towns and cities.
If you’re travelling or just holidaying and know where you will be stopping it is possible to pick out parks that offer WiFi. However, the quality, cost and availability of the connection can vary on parks, with many struggling to offer good connection across the whole park due to vegetation and sheer ground space.
To help reduce this problem there are a host of WiFi booster devices available. WiFi boosters help to increase the connectivity you have to free WiFi signals. The device is attached to the outside of your motorhome and they are usually available as omni-directional or directional.
A popular WiFi booster on the market is the iBoost Pro D8 Directional System by Motorhome WiFi. https://www.motorhomewifi.com/catalog/iboost-wifi-system/.
Another option is to install WiFi into your motorhome with the use of a MiFi. MiFi’s are small, compact and portable devices that provide internet signal on the move; they are similar to home WiFi broadband, just for out and about. These systems work on 3G and 4G mobile broadband and are perfect for those wanting internet signal when out in their motorhomes, both on the road and in in completely secluded spots away from campsites.
These work in the same way home broadband does, by acting as a hotspot for many devices. These can be turned on and off and simply need a sim card inserting for activation. These sim cards will need to either be on a monthly contract or pay as you go plan with a provider.
Before deciding on a MiFi device it is worth checking which mobile network has the best coverage for the area or areas that you decide to visit. You can check coverage here: https://www.opensignal.com.
A popular MiFi device on the market is the 4G Pack 2 by Motorhome WiFi. This device is fitted as standard to some Swift models. https://www.motorhomewifi.com/product/4g-roof-antenna-e5577-mifi-save-25/.
Finally, satellite internet is the most effective way of ensuring you always have a good, reliable connection. However, a fully automatic system is priced at around £3,400 and also has ongoing charges between £15 and £60 per month. This is a costly option and probably only worth while if you are living in your motorhome all year round or a constant internet connection is absolutely vital.
Are you worried about ending up with a hefty internet bill from FaceTime, iMessages and social media, but still want to keep family and friends back home up to date with what you’re doing? There’s no need to worry anymore. From the 15th June 2017 a new regulation called ‘roam like at home’ came into place in 28 European countries. This means you can now use the internet, make phone calls and send text messages within these countries at the same prices as in the UK or included in your plan as standard.
This means many SIM cards purchased for MiFi will still work at the same price, or you can purchase a local one as MiFi devices generally come unlocked to any network.
There are a couple of ‘fair-use’ fall downs to be aware of. If you use your contracted plan outside of your home country more than you do inside, the mobile operator can implement roaming charges. Secondly, if you use data above ‘a reasonably high volume’ when abroad on domestic rates, you may have to pay a data roaming surcharge of about £8.30 per gigabyte.
Travelling outside of Europe can equate in additional charges and it is best to check with your provider on costings and best packages available.