Staying Connected On The Road

A Frequently asked question on RV forums: What’s the best way to get online from my RV?

I’ve asked the same question for many years. I had a computer consulting company and needed to be available 24/7, even though (thankfully) i was rarely needed.  At the Kerrville Music Festival back in the last century, I’d stay in a hotel so i could communicate and work during the day while I baked bread in the room.  When the RV park opened at the festival site in 2000(?), I ran 2 telephone lines to my RV spot, one for talking and 1 for the modem (!!).. Different times indeed..

When we got electricity down in the lower meadow (around 2012+/-), wireless hotspots had reached the point where they were usable for me. 

I still need (want?) to have as much internet access as possible.. And I need more than most RV’ers due to work and my internet addiction in general.

Here’s my hotspot and device line-up.
1. Sprint Hotspot

  • $50 a month.
  • No contract.
  • Unlimited data.
  • No charge for the hotspot, but you have to return it when you stop using it or pay $200.


  • No MIMO antenna.
  • Coverage map is weaker than verizon or at&t.
  • Requires membership in FMCA ( which is not a bad thing )

2. Verizon Hotspot

  • $20 a month added to my existing verizon bill.
  • MIMO antenna connection.
  • Stronger coverage map than Sprint


  • 2 year contract
  • 15GB monthly data limit
  • $199 up front cost of hotspot

3. In addition to these, I also have an AT&T tablet which gives me unlimited data when watching Directv, and a limited amount of data (5GB) for everything else. (I need to upgrade that).  I’ve had occasion where the AT&T signal was weak, and/or I was exceeding my AT&T data limit and I switched it to the Sprint or Verizon hotspot WIFI for some streaming.

4. Various computers which can connect to the hotspots, a router inside the RV which provides me with small network connectivity including the ability to print to a HP Officejet 250 portable printer.

At the campground at Cooperstown, Sprint was unable to connect. Verizon connected, but it was slow until i connected  the MIMO antenna. With the antenna, I got up to 3 bars and increased throughput.

I’ve found the overall throughput of both hotspots to be similar in performance.  I prefer to use the Sprint, since it does not have a data limit. I switch to the verizon whenever the Sprint signal is weak.  If I’ve got a lot of data left on the Verizon towards the end of the monthly billing period, I’ll use that one as a primary for a bit.

If you are looking for a single hotspot, I’d encourage you to look for one with a MIMO connection. Of the “big three” (AT&T Verizon and Sprint), I’ve only found verizon hotspots with MIMO capability. The ability to add that external antenna will get you a signal when otherwise, you’d be out of luck.  AT&T does not offer hotspots with decent amounts of data (as of this writing). If you also get a Directv subscription, streaming Directv does not count against your data cap.

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