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Open Roads Forum  >  Technology Corner

 > Best/easiest internet setup for working remote/full time

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way2roll

Wilmington NC

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Posted: 01/06/20 11:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

TechWriter wrote:

way2roll wrote:

Over the next year we are looking to go full time . . .

(1) My internet demands aren't unusual so "normal" internet will suffice.
(2) We also plan on continuing to use our streaming devices for TV etc.
(3) My work provides a corporate account via ATT and I have truly unlimited internet - provided it's via an ATT supported device.
(4) But I think I need something a little more bullet proof than just a hot spot.
(5) We are touring the US, but logistics to maintain connectivity are a condition of planning.
(6) But what I do need is to ensure I have a pretty easy setup, to provide reliable internet.


Your "normal" Internet needs became much greater with (2) - streaming. To me, that means a reliable 5 Mbps connection. This can be an issue.

First, I've been a full timer for several years. Here is my Internet setup -- AT&T Mobley (unlimited), Verizon data plan (40 GB/mon), HughesNet Gen 5 satellite Internet. With these I was never without Internet last year. See my Campground Internet Report 2 (43 campgrounds).

With AT&T and Verizon coverage (+ campground WiFi), you should have "usable" Internet most of the time.

Though I've tried several, I typically don't rely on WiFi "boosters" because if you don't have a signal, then no amount of boosting will help. My HughesNet Gen 5 setup gets me out of those no signal situations because if you travel a lot, you'll find areas with very weak or no cell coverage.

I suggest you check out the Mobile Internet Resource Center.


Good info. Questions - your ATT Mobley - is that a plan or a device? Would this be the same as an ATT hostpot on my existing unlimited plan?

The hughesnet - I am assuming this requires some sort of a dome or dish, the former being self orienting and the latter being a manually positioned dish? Either seems like a costly investment. We only plan on full timing or 6 mos to a year, so I'd rather keep costs down. If I were to sell the house and FT forever, I can see where the cost is justified. I had Hughesnet years ago for Sat internet when we lived in a remote area. Latency was horrible. I ended up with a VZ hotspot and although signal was weak, it was bounds better than the HN. This was years ago and I am told things are much better now. A friend of mine is an engineer at HN, tells me things are night and day different than my old setup. I think the biggest issue with SAT is cost. But it also provides coverage where nothing else works. Would it be smarter to forego a hotspot altogether and just rely on SAT 100% or is there a line of sight issue that can make it unusable? Looks like their packages are pricey.

Are you advising against a booster altogether? I do know that no signal can't be boosted, but a weak signal that's boosted can mean the difference in being able to work or not. With my former jetpack, I know even tiny antenna sometimes made a big difference.

on Edit: I reviewed your internet report - as an analyst I geeked out on it - good info and very helpful. Seems like already having the ATT is a good bet, especially given where we plan on travelling. It also seems like having a VZ hotspot as a backup is smart, maybe on a limited plan. It does not seem like the hughesnet is a worthy investment given the length of time we plan on FT and the amount of coverage the 2 cellular plans offer. I did not see in your tests if you used a booster, wonder how that would have impacted the results.

Of course this all leads to more questions, like would I even need a router or repeater given that hotspots are in and of themselves routers? I want to keep my install clean and easy, but I also want to maximize my connection(s).

* This post was edited 01/06/20 11:47am by way2roll *


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way2roll

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Posted: 01/06/20 01:11pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

theoldwizard1 wrote:

Winegard/AT&T TOGO (aka ConnecT). Easy to install and configure. Can be used either as a "hot spot" (convert cell phone signal to local WiFi) OR a WiFi extender/repeater if you camping location has adequate bandwidth to the rest of the internet (personally I would not bother especially if work is paying for the data).
Connects (wirelessly) to multiple device in the coach. If your phone supports it, you can make calls through it also.

EDIT : This is also supported on Verizon, but you have to change the SIM card. Not real easy if mounted on the roof.


Was looking hard at the TOGO. Since I already have ATT this makes sense, however I think redundancy is important and so I was thinking of VZ as well. Sounds like to use the TOGO for multiple carriers I'd have to swap SIM's which is not ideal. If I had ATT and VZ hotspots, would a weboost be fairly equivalent to a TOGO with added advantage of toggling between carriers? What's the benefit of TOGO over hotspots with a booster?

wanderingaimlessly

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Posted: 01/06/20 02:03pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

way2roll wrote:

To clarify, my work does not pay for my internet, but we have a contract for a drastically reduced price. It's like $15/mo for truly unlimited data per device. So at 3 phones and a hotspot I would be looking at less than $100 - not bad.

I looked at ATT TOGO and read some mixed reviews. I am not afraid of bolting something to the roof but if there is already some foretasted obsolesce, I'd rather go another route.

Am I overthinking this? Is it truly as simple as a hotspot and possibly a booster like we-boost? We don't plan on going off the beaten path too much aside from some national parks. If we find there are places we want to go without good reception I plan on using up vacation time - I have a good bit of that.


I have read that redundancy with another carrier like VZ is a good idea. We had VZ before and I was impressed with the coverage. But my company has no contract with them so this is a cost consideration. Maybe a pay-as you go deal. I assume boosters like weboost can toggle between carriers.

I am sure I'll get more familiar with setting things up, using directional finders etc to maximize connections, but I'd rather figure out most of this now, so 1- I am not caught without a connection more than I can manage, and 2 so I am not wasting cash and re-engineering a setup several months in.

Short answer I think is YES
At $65 to $80 get a cheap android for a month or two.
GO Travel, Knowing that IF you run into a problem you can activate the Verizon phone as a temporary patch.
You may like and want to keep, or you may not, and discard. Either way, with no contract plans , YOU choose as you see fit.

Bill.Satellite

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Posted: 01/06/20 04:56pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

way2roll wrote:


Am I overthinking this? Is it truly as simple as a hotspot and possibly a booster like we-boost?

Yes, you are overthinking this! A hotspot is a name for a device that provides you with an internet connection. At home you would have a router that does the exact same thing. It's just a different name. Use your hotspot with a good external antenna and you will have as good a service as the location allows.
As an aside, the TOGO could be that external antenna you need in likely one of the most simple setups available. For whatever reason Winegard won't send me one to review so I can only tell you have I have been using a hotspot for many years as my ONLY internet connection and I move around the Country from Coast to Coast without issue.


What I post is my 2 cents and nothing more. Please don't read anything into my post that's not there. If you disagree, that's OK.
Can't we all just get along?

philh

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Posted: 01/06/20 05:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm going with OTR Mobile
site

Here's one review
here

TechWriter

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Posted: 01/06/20 11:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

way2roll wrote:


Questions - your ATT Mobley - is that a plan or a device? Would this be the same as an ATT hostpot on my existing unlimited plan?

The AT&T Mobley was a mobile auto hotspot that is no longer offered. It sounds like your hotspot is similar.

way2roll wrote:


The hughesnet - I am assuming this requires some sort of a dome or dish, the former being self orienting and the latter being a manually positioned dish? Either seems like a costly investment. We only plan on full timing or 6 mos to a year, so I'd rather keep costs down. If I were to sell the house and FT forever, I can see where the cost is justified. I had Hughesnet years ago for Sat internet when we lived in a remote area. Latency was horrible. I ended up with a VZ hotspot and although signal was weak, it was bounds better than the HN. This was years ago and I am told things are much better now. A friend of mine is an engineer at HN, tells me things are night and day different than my old setup. I think the biggest issue with SAT is cost. But it also provides coverage where nothing else works. Would it be smarter to forego a hotspot altogether and just rely on SAT 100% or is there a line of sight issue that can make it unusable? Looks like their packages are pricey.

HughesNet Gen 5 is really a full timer (12 months a year) option. A portable HughesNet Gen 5 system will set you back about $1500 and a HughesNet Gen 5 automatic rooftop system can cost over $6000. However, in your case I recommend just picking up a Verizon hotspot like Visible.

The current HughesNet Gen 5 is much better than the HughesNet of years ago. While I've seldom seen the 25 Mbps download speeds advertised by HughesNet, I did find consistently good speeds. Here's my latest HughesNet Gen 5 evaluation.

way2roll wrote:


Are you advising against a booster altogether?

I've found them pretty worthless, but YMMV.


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Gulfcoast

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Posted: 01/07/20 05:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm real happy with my Visible service. I only use it for data and it works well for me.

I can't beat $25 a month (total bill) for all the Verizon data I need.

I do have true unlimited AT&T data at $20 a month, but that's another story.

* This post was edited 01/07/20 05:33am by Gulfcoast *

way2roll

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Posted: 01/07/20 05:34am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks all for the replies. very, very helpful. I tend to over think things and sounds like that's the case here. My plan is 2 hotspots one ATT and one VZ, and sit on a booster or external antenna and make that decision later whether I think it's worth the investment. I almost forgot that alternative work sites like Starbucks could serve in a pinch if we land somewhere and my setup doesn't provide a signal. And I totally disregarded CG wifi - sounds like I should make it a habit to test that as well.

I do recall when we toured the East Coast of the US years ago armed only with a VZ jetpack, I can't remember anywhere we didn't have a signal. Those were vacations so I wasn't working during those trips, and we didn't stream TV at the time, but my wife was on the laptop daily and never had any issues.

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Posted: 10/27/21 07:01am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's a moot point how well a WiFi Repeater works if the campground's available internet bandwidth is poor to start, which is a common complaint. Better to find your own mobile data that works for you.

Verizon Visible unlimited 4G/5G data is an inexpensive option at $25. month. Just join any Party Pay group, easy to find.

way2roll

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Posted: 10/27/21 07:42am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This thread is almost 2 years old but I guess it still has merit. We never did our full time/part time switch. Covid threw a major kink in the whole works. So we put the plan on hold. We have the truck and FW now and I have our new ATT hot spot with unlimited data and so far it's worked perfectly.

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