Motorhome Wifi – How does it work?

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For us, having motorhome wifi whilst we travel full time is essential. We are digital nomads and we work whilst we’re on the road, so without a stable and reliable wifi connection wherever we go, we wouldn’t be able to do this.

It’s important to stay connected. Whether you’re sending emails, speaking to family and friends back home, streaming your favourite films or tv shows, or just keeping up with your social media feeds, having a reliable internet connection is essential.

There are several different motorhome wifi options available, and we’ve tried, tested and carried out our own research to be able to advise you on these and what we think the best wifi set up is.

In this post, we’re going to discuss the options below:

-Wifi routers and boosters

-Public wifi network

-Mobile hotspot

BEST BUY
HUAWEI E5577 White 4G Low-cost Travel Wi-Fi, Super-Fast Portable Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot – Long-lasting Battery
MUST HAVE
Maxview MXL050 Roam Mobile 3G/4G Wi-Fi System for On The Go Internet in Caravans, Motorhomes etc ideal for Smart TVs
ZTE MF920, CAT4/4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi, Unlocked Low Cost Portable Hotspot, Connect up to 32 Devices, 2000mAh Battery, with FREE SMARTY SIM Card- White
HUAWEI E5577 White 4G Low-cost Travel Wi-Fi, Super-Fast Portable Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot – Long-lasting Battery
Maxview MXL050 Roam Mobile 3G/4G Wi-Fi System for On The Go Internet in Caravans, Motorhomes etc ideal for Smart TVs
ZTE MF920, CAT4/4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi, Unlocked Low Cost Portable Hotspot, Connect up to 32 Devices, 2000mAh Battery, with FREE SMARTY SIM Card- White
£69.95
£324.99
£35.99
BEST BUY
HUAWEI E5577 White 4G Low-cost Travel Wi-Fi, Super-Fast Portable Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot – Long-lasting Battery
HUAWEI E5577 White 4G Low-cost Travel Wi-Fi, Super-Fast Portable Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot – Long-lasting Battery
£69.95
MUST HAVE
Maxview MXL050 Roam Mobile 3G/4G Wi-Fi System for On The Go Internet in Caravans, Motorhomes etc ideal for Smart TVs
Maxview MXL050 Roam Mobile 3G/4G Wi-Fi System for On The Go Internet in Caravans, Motorhomes etc ideal for Smart TVs
£324.99
ZTE MF920, CAT4/4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi, Unlocked Low Cost Portable Hotspot, Connect up to 32 Devices, 2000mAh Battery, with FREE SMARTY SIM Card- White
ZTE MF920, CAT4/4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi, Unlocked Low Cost Portable Hotspot, Connect up to 32 Devices, 2000mAh Battery, with FREE SMARTY SIM Card- White
£35.99

Before we start, I know all the different terms that I’m using in this post can be a little confusing on top of trying to figure out which is the best option for you, so let me clarify –

Internet – The internet enables users to access and exchange information through various services, including websites, email, social media, and file-sharing platforms. So for example our Three As A Bird website that you’re on right now, is on the internet.

WiFi – wifi is a technology that allows electronic devices to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Using radio waves, wifi provides a convenient, cable-free method for accessing the internet on laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other compatible devices.

4G – (or 3G/5G)

WiFi router – A wifi router is a networking device that connects multiple devices to the Internet via a wired or wireless connection.

WiFi dongle – A wifi dongle, also known as a USB wifi adapter, is a small device that plugs into a computer’s USB port and enables it to connect to a wireless network. This is particularly useful for older computers or devices that don’t have built-in wifi capabilities.

WiFi booster – A wifi booster, also known as a wifi extender or repeater, is a device that enhances the range and signal strength of an existing wifi network. It works by receiving the wifi signal from the router and then amplifying and retransmitting it to areas with weak or no coverage.

Mobile hotspot – A mobile hotspot is a portable device or feature on a smartphone that allows users to share their mobile phone data connection with other devices. By creating a wifi network, a mobile hotspot enables other devices, such as laptops and tablets, to connect to the Internet using the shared mobile data connection.

I hope this helps to make these terms a little more understandable. So now, let’s get into it!

What are the best options for getting Motorhome Wifi

When it comes to staying connected whilst on the road, there are a few different options to choose from.

The right option for you will depend on a few different factors, such as how much internet you use, what device you want to use it on and where you are in the world.

Let me explain our motorhome wifi set up for you to give you an idea of how we work remotely on the road.

Our internet usage is huge, we have two laptops that we work from, two smart phones that we’re constantly using social media and the internet for work, and then also an iPad and several other devices that require an internet connection to work.

We have a Huawei portable wifi router in our motorhome which has an EE sim card in it (we’ll discuss this set up in more detail a little later in this post) and the data usage plan that we have gives us unlimited data roaming across the UK and Europe (The plan that we have is no longer available to new customers due to Brexit unfortunately!)

And we pay for this contract on a monthly basis so this is how we manage to work whilst on the road.

Our wifi router and our phones have sim cards in, which means we can use them on 4G/5G wherever we have a good enough internet signal.

However our laptops and our ipad don’t have a sim card, which means we need to connect to wifi for these to work, or use a mobile hotspot.

Let me explain the options in more detail below.

Install a wifi router

A motorhome or campervan wifi router is a device designed specifically for providing internet access in a motorhome or campervan. These routers often come with features such as external antennas for a more reliable signal reception and support for multiple SIM cards. Some advantages of using a motorhome or campervan wifi router include:

  • Improved signal strength
  • More stable connection
  • Ability to connect multiple devices

Keep in mind that these routers may be more expensive than other options and still rely on cellular coverage.

Connecting to a public wifi network

One option is to connect to a public wifi network. Many camp sites and motorhome parks offer free wifi and access for their guests, and there are also a number of public wifi networks located in coffee shops, libraries, and other businesses.

Connecting to these networks can be a cost-effective way to access the internet while on the road. However, public wifi networks may not always be secure and can be slow or unreliable.

If you are going to be working on sensitive or confidential information whilst connected to a public wifi network, you really need to be considering whether this is the best option for you.

Mobile Hotspot

A mobile hotspot is a simple and effective way to get motorhome wifi. By using your smartphone or a dedicated mobile hotspot device, you can share your mobile phone data connection with other devices, such as laptops or tablets. Some advantages of using a mobile wifi hotspot include:

  • Easy setup
  • Portability
  • Can be used in multiple vehicles

However, mobile hotspots rely on cellular coverage and phone signal, which may be limited in remote areas.

Portable Routers

If like us you work on the road and you may need to deal with sensitive work or banking information, you might be in the market for a wifi router for your motorhome or campervan.

Luckily, there are plenty of affordable options that can easily fit any motorhomes of any size and accommodate travellers of any budget.

Huawei E5576

As we said earlier that we would explain our own wifi set up in more detail, here is the wifi router that we use.

We have used this router for the past few years of living full time van life and we have travelled all over the UK and Europe, and have managed to work from every location that we have been to.

This portable wifi router can provide reliable 4G internet on all international providers.

It is rechargeable and advertises 6-8 hours of battery life, making it a viable option for a full day of remote work or a night of entertainment in your motorhome.

We have our wifi router plugged into the mains power permanently, running off 12v as we don’t use it outside of the van.

The Huawei E5577 offers a two-year warranty and full technical support from Huawei.

It can support up to 16 devices at once so covers as many devices as you could possibly need for the whole family.

It also reaches up to 150Mbps download speed and 50Mbps upload speeds so you can enjoy HD movies without interruption, download files in seconds, and hold a video chat without dropouts.

The fastest internet speeds we have ever recorded was 79.2Mbps which was in Germany!

It is also unlocked to ALL networks so simply pop in any SIM card of your choice! It works in UK, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Maxview Roam

Along with our Huawei portable router, we then have a Maxview Roam fitted on the roof of our motorhome, and this is an external antenna that amplifies the wifi signal that you get from the portable router.

The main reason for having both of these is faster internet connectivity. For us, working full time on the road, this was essential.

This was not just important to us for working but also for streaming videos, our favourite TV shows and films from back home and connecting with family and friends from wherever we are in the world.

We’ve been to more than 20 countries in our motorhome so far, from busy cities to remote locations in the mountains and beaches, we’ve managed to have motorhome wifi with decent signal almost wherever we’ve been, so this set up has been amazing for us.

This expensive but powerful external antenna can serve as a 3G or 4G wifi hotspot for travellers on the go. It costs around 300 pounds, but the Roam can support up to 50 devices at one time.

The device can be mounted on the roof of a motorhome and is advertised as being “an omni directional antenna”. This means that there is no need to adjust the signal receptors in any way.

Customers just need to make sure that the external antenna is securely mounted to their motorhomes and the device will take care of the rest.

The Roam will require a SIM card to operate which will be the SIM card in your router. You cannot use the Roam without the portable router, but you can use the router without the Roam.

For us, with the amount of internet that we use, the wifi router and the Maxview Roam external wifi antenna, is the perfect motorhome wifi set up.

Mobile Hotspot

Rather than relying on a wifi router, some people may be better suited by investing in a mobile hotspot and a sufficient mobile phone data plan. Most modern smartphones can be used as mobile internet hotspots, providing internet access as long as you have cellular reception.

This solution can be costly, as using the mobile hotspot feature on your smartphone will quickly drain both your mobile data plan (unless it’s unlimited) and battery power.

If you’re travelling and wanting to use this option abroad, this may also not be the best option for European roaming.

If you are going to be using a lot of internet abroad, most mobile phone providers will not provide unlimited roaming data and have a data cap, especially since the UK leaving the EU and roaming charges can be SUPER expensive.

Mobile hotspots (also called mobile tethering) are best for travellers who are staying in their home country and who don’t require a great deal of internet data.

Whilst a convenient option for many, mobile tethering is best suited for van lifers who need internet access for basic research and online chores.

For people who plan on working online, streaming media, playing video games or just generally using a large amount of internet, they should look into more powerful mobile internet access options, such as the motorhome wifi set up that we have.

Wi-Fi

ZTE MF920U

This mobile hotspot device produces a wifi hotspot, connecting up to 10 devices including your phone, laptop, tablet, gaming consoles and more!

It will also allow you to use other SIM cards and accommodate access to any network of your choice.

The MF920U offers 4G wifi that can fit in your pocket, making it perfect for travellers on the go.

It also has a powerful, rechargeable 2000mAh battery with 8 hours working time so you can stay connected for longer.

Public Wi-Fi

Fortunately, free internet access is available in all but the most remote corners of the modern world.

Travellers can often stop in at local coffee shops, cafes or restaurants to use their public wifi. These small businesses will appreciate your support while you sip a coffee or grab a meal and browse the internet.

The great advantage to these options is their ease of access and free nature, but this is not without its drawbacks.

Travellers who are dealing with sensitive information or need a stable wifi connection, might find that relying purely on the customer wifi provided by small businesses might not be an ideal choice for their own internet connectivity needs.

wifi

Frequently asked questions:

  1. Is it possible to get unlimited data for motorhome wifi?

Yes, some mobile network providers offer unlimited data plans that can be used with mobile hotspots or motorhome wifi routers. Be sure to check the terms and conditions, as some plans may have restrictions on usage or speed.

  1. Can I use satellite internet for my motorhome wifi?

Satellite internet is an option for motorhome wifi, especially in remote areas with limited cellular coverage. However, satellite internet can be expensive and may have slower speeds compared to cellular-based solutions.

  1. How secure is motorhome wifi?

The security of your motorhome wifi depends on the solution you choose and the steps you take to protect your connection. When using public wifi networks, consider using a VPN to encrypt your data and protect your privacy.

  1. Can I use a motorhome wifi booster with a mobile hotspot?

Yes, some motorhome wifi boosters are compatible with mobile hotspots, helping to enhance the signal strength and improve your connection.

  1. How much does a motorhome wifi system cost?

The cost of a motorhome wifi system varies depending on the solution you choose. Mobile hotspots and public wifi networks can be relatively inexpensive, while motorhome wifi routers and boosters may have a higher upfront cost. Additionally, consider ongoing costs such as data plans and subscriptions.

People also ask:

What other options can I use to access the internet from my motorhome?

Satellite internet is one of the best options for travellers who require high internet usage.

It is especially reliable, even when camping in very remote areas.

All that’s required is that users have a clear view of the southern sky, anywhere in the world. Many satellite service providers even offer telephone and television capabilities.

The greatest downside to satellite internet is its restrictive price point. Customers will easily be spending at least 1000 pounds on equipment, and installation can be more complicated than some of the other options on this list.

Subscription plans for satellite service can cost at least 50 pounds per month. Inclement weather that interferes with your dish’s reception from the satellite can also pose a problem.

Relying on satellite internet can be a viable option for those with very specific needs or who will be traveling to very remote locations, but it comes at a literal price.

Less expensive and more user-friendly options will be more fitting for all but very particular sub-sections of travellers.

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The “Big Four” mobile networks in the UK are considered EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three.

These networks will provide service to your mobile wifi motorhome’s router via the SIM card that many of the platforms in this article will require to get you online.

Virgin Mobile also offers extensive coverage throughout the UK and can be considered another addition to the traditional Big Four.

These networks require a monthly payment plan much like a cellular phone plan, so travellers can easily set a budget to follow as they drive.

The speed and data allowance for any given SIM card plan will vary greatly based on each customer’s total data requirement and frequency of use.

This is an especially important consideration for travellers who plan on utilising multiple wifi-dependent devices while travelling.

How much do SIM card Wi-Fi plans cost in the UK?

Pre-paid SIM cards are available at airports and other travel hubs, but these are typically only used by tourists.

Travellers who plan on spending a considerable amount of time in their motorhomes would be better served by purchasing a month-to-month data plan from one of the UK’s major WIFI providers.

These can cost anywhere between 20 to 50 pounds per month depending on how much data you plan on using in your motorhome. Various SIM card plans also range in network access, but most will be well served by purchasing the 4G capable plans over the slightly more expensive 5G programs.

We use a portable wifi router with an EE sim card with a booster antenna on top of the van, fixed to the roof. We went for this option because we need unlimited internet connection in Europe due to the fact we work on the road, so no other option would have been viable for us.

It costs us £41 per month, which includes a Netflix and BT Sport subscription (there are other options to choose from) and we have had coverage in all of the places we have been to in Europe.

You can choose to either have the router automatically connect to its closest provider, but we choose to manually choose the best 4G provider by choosing a big known brand like Vodafone for example.

Tips for staying connected whilst travelling

Staying connected whilst traveling can be important for both work and personal reasons.

Although it can be challenging to stay connected whilst on the road, there are a few things that you can do to make it easier.

First, make sure to find out in advance whether your destination will have wifi available. If not, you may need to plan to use your data plan more heavily or look into alternate options such as a motorhome with its own internet connection.

Once you arrive at your destination, take advantage of any wifi hotspots that are available, and be sure to disconnect from any devices that you don’t need in order to conserve battery life.

Staying connected whilst travelling doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you plan ahead and are mindful of your data usage.

The benefits of having Wi-Fi whilst on holiday

Having wifi whilst on holiday can be hugely beneficial, particularly if you’re travelling in a motorhome.

With wifi, you can stay connected to the internet, which means you can keep up with your work emails, check directions and traffic updates, and stay in touch with friends and family.

You can also download movies and TV shows to watch offline, so you don’t have to worry about being stuck without entertainment.

And if you need to book any last-minute reservations or activities, wifi makes it easy to do so.

In short, wifi can help make your holiday much smoother and more enjoyable – definitely a worth while investment!

There are many ways that you can get wifi in your motorhome, but the best option for you will depend on how you plan to use it.

If you want to be able to stream movies and stay connected whilst you’re on the road, then a wifi router is probably the way to go.

However, if you just need to check your email and stay in touch with family and friends, then getting a data plan from your phone company and using your mobile hotspot might be the better option.

Whichever route you choose, there are some easy tips that will help you stay connected while you’re travelling.

And finally, don’t forget that having wifi whilst on holiday has its benefits too!

New Roaming Rules for Internet Roaming in Europe Post-Brexit

Since the UK left the EU, there have been changes to the rules for internet roaming while travelling in Europe.

It’s essential to be aware of these new regulations to avoid any surprises or extra charges during your motorhome adventures across the continent.

What Changed After Brexit?

Prior to Brexit, UK mobile users enjoyed free roaming within the EU under the “Roam Like at Home” initiative.

This meant that they could use their mobile data allowance without incurring additional charges when travelling in EU countries.

However, after the UK’s departure from the EU, the free roaming arrangement ended on January 1, 2021.

Since then, UK mobile network providers are no longer obligated to offer free roaming in Europe, which means that additional charges may apply when using your mobile data abroad.

How Do the New Roaming Rules Affect UK Mobile Users in Europe?

The impact of these new rules on UK mobile users travelling in Europe varies depending on the mobile network provider.

Some providers have chosen to continue offering free roaming in Europe, while others have reintroduced roaming charges or implemented fair usage policies that limit the amount of data you can use without incurring extra fees.

To avoid any unexpected charges, it’s crucial to check your mobile network provider’s roaming policy before travelling.

You can typically find this information on their website or by contacting their customer support team.

Tips for Managing Internet Roaming Costs in Europe

To help you stay connected without breaking the bank, here are some tips for managing internet roaming costs while travelling in Europe with your motorhome:

  1. Check your provider’s roaming policy – As mentioned above, familiarise yourself with your mobile network provider’s roaming policy to understand any potential charges or data limitations while in Europe.
  2. Consider a local SIM card – Purchasing a local SIM card in the country you’re visiting can be a cost-effective way to access mobile data. Just make sure your phone is unlocked and compatible with the local network.
  3. Use WiFi hotspots – Take advantage of free WiFi hotspots at cafes, restaurants, and campgrounds to save on mobile data usage. Remember to use a VPN to protect your privacy on public networks.
  4. Monitor your data usage – Keep an eye on your mobile data usage while abroad to avoid exceeding any limits imposed by your provider. Many smartphones have built-in features that allow you to track and manage your data consumption.

By being aware of the new roaming rules and taking steps to manage your internet usage, you can continue to enjoy a connected motorhome experience as you explore Europe.

The Benefits of Using a VPN When Travelling Abroad

As a motorhome enthusiast, you’re no stranger to the joys of exploring new destinations.

However, staying connected on the road often involves using public wifi networks or foreign mobile networks, which can pose security risks.

This is where a Virtual Private Network (VPN) comes in handy.

In this section, we’ll discuss the benefits of using a VPN when travelling abroad and why it’s a must-have tool for your digital security.

What is a VPN?

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a service that encrypts your internet connection and routes it through a remote server, masking your online activities and protecting your data from prying eyes.

By creating a secure, private tunnel between your device and the VPN server, a VPN ensures that your internet traffic remains private and secure, even when using public wifi networks or foreign mobile networks.

Benefits of Using a VPN

There are several advantages to using a VPN while travelling in your motorhome or exploring new countries:

  1. Enhanced online security – Public wifi networks, like those found at cafes, restaurants, and campsites, can be insecure and prone to cyberattacks. By encrypting your data and routing it through a secure server, a VPN helps protect your sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, from potential hackers.
  2. Privacy protection – A VPN masks your IP address, making it difficult for websites and online services to track your location and browsing habits. This is particularly beneficial if you value your privacy and want to prevent advertisers or other third parties from profiling you based on your online activities.
  3. Access geo-restricted content – When travelling abroad, you may encounter geo-restricted content, such as streaming services, websites, or apps that are only available in specific countries. By connecting to a VPN server in your home country or the desired location, you can bypass these restrictions and access your favourite content, regardless of your physical location.
  4. Bypass internet censorship – Some countries enforce strict internet censorship, restricting access to certain websites and online services. A VPN can help you bypass these restrictions by routing your internet traffic through a server in a different country, allowing you to surf the web freely and without limitations.
  5. Avoid data throttling – Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may sometimes throttle, or slow down, your internet connection based on your data usage or the type of content you’re accessing. By using a VPN, your internet traffic becomes encrypted and harder for ISPs to identify, helping you avoid potential data throttling and maintain a faster, more stable connection.

Choosing the Right VPN for Your Travels

When selecting a VPN for your motorhome adventures, consider factors such as server locations, connection speed, security features, and compatibility with your devices.

Look for a VPN service that offers a user-friendly interface, reliable customer support, and a transparent privacy policy.

Remember, investing in a reputable VPN service can enhance your online security and overall internet experience while travelling abroad.

Summary

Motorhome wifi is a way to keep in touch with loved ones, and still stay connected whilst on the road.

It can be complicated to set up, so first thing is first: determine if you have service on the route where your motorhome will be travelling. Be sure that you have proper coverage before starting the setup process.

In order for your motorhome wifi to work properly, it needs a wifi antenna and internet connection from a phone company or broadband provider that operates in the area where you are travelling.

If there’s no service available in the area, then unfortunately there won’t be any wifi for your motorhome or campervan, either!

You can also purchase an externally mounted antenna so that it picks up signals better than an internal antenna could do; however, this option can vary greatly depending on what network towers or cell tower are in range of your motorhome’s location at any given time.

However, you plan on travelling in your motorhome, rest assured that there is an internet option for you.

From wifi routers to mobile hotspot, campers have a multitude of options to get online whilst on the go.

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