Internet on the road
I’ve been asked several times how we were able to have internet access while on the road. To be honest it wasn’t as bad as I thought. Many places had internet at the park (albeit slow), so we could still check email most of the time. For other times, I had quite the serious setup. The end result was we would connect to a single access-point name (WentLiving) inside the RV and the setup would automatically figure out the best way to get to the internet.
Our primary connection (when we couldn’t just hop onto park wifi) was a 15dbi Hawking high gain outdoor antenna with a Ubiquiti Bullet-M2 . I chose this omnidirectional antenna over a regular one because I figured if I couldn’t get signal within 2 miles then we just didn’t need wifi that badly. We only had to use it twice, and only once did we not have internet during the entire trip. There are directional antennas that can go 15+ miles, but I figured it was much easier to just park and put up the antenna rather than having to aim it each time. The Bullet M2 had the benefit of being able to select a specific access point to connect to and “lock” to that one, so in case a facility has many wireless AP’s you can choose one farther away that has better connectivity (we used this feature once).
Our backup connections were our cell phones. I had Sprint and Marina had Verizon, so with their 2 different coverage maps we were set the rest of the time. We chose unlimited data plans with tethering before we began, no cell phone rooting required. I noticed that Verizon worked in more places, but Sprint was faster. There was only 1 time when Verizon didn’t work and Sprint did, whereas there were several times where Sprint did not work but Verizon did.
Tying it all together
To make this all work, I used Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X to load balance between the different connections. I used TP-Link N300 wireless routers that could function as bridges between the different wireless connections and one to broadcast our SSID inside the camper.
Because I originally thought we might be off the grid for a little bit, I wanted to make sure this could all run on battery or while driving. I got 24V PoE injector for the Bullet M2, 12V->5V usb for the TP-Link routers, but kept the original adapters in case we could just use A/C power (which we mostly did).
That was it
With a bit of configuration and adapters and wiring, I threw it all together into a plastic bin and we used it like that. I was going to make a nice pretty elaborate setup, but then didn’t have time before we left. It worked fine in the box. The photo above is from a battery test.
- hawking omnidirectional 2mi antenna
- internet around usa
- internet while rving
- load balancing router