Does Rural Internet Still Suck?

Does Rural Internet Still Suck?

As an RVer, One of the most common questions I get about van life is, how do I get an Internet connection when I’m on the road and is it expensive? 

I spend most of the year working out of my van and traveling to rural places. Therefore, staying connected is a necessity. It is essential not just to run my business and make money but also to find parking, places to camp, water, dump stations, laundromats, and directions. 

So you see, even if you are taking a short road trip or summer vacation with your family, you still need the internet. Knowing how to get online when you need to is a necessity.

How to stay connected while on the road

For digital nomads and RVers, getting reliable Internet on the road from virtually any corner of the world is a superpower. 

There are plenty of ways to go online. Whether you are a full-time or part-time RVer or just taking a few weeks off to a remote area, these tips for getting internet while traveling would come in handy. 

Mobile Hotspot: The best Internet for RVers and travelers is the one you can take with you. This explains why you might be a mobile hotspot. While a mobile hotspot is fast, it drains your phone’s battery quickly and can be expensive.

To reduce your mobile data usage, use these tips:

  • Turn off background app refresh: If your background app refresh is turned ON, it is updating itself even when you are not actively using an app. This constant pulling of information quickly eats through your data.
  • Turn on the “Use Less Data” setting on Instagram. Instagram preloads all videos and photos on your feed—including the ones you might not be interested in. To prevent this, go to your Instagram settings and turn on the “Use Less Data” option.
  • Download music and movies only when connected to WiFi: Use public Wi-Fi to download movies, videos, or large files. Also, streaming videos on YouTube or Netflix should be done with WiFi. This would help your mobile data last longer.
  • Turn cellular data off on all apps you don’t use very often: You can always turn cellular data on for each app as you use them.

Couple using mobile hotspot

Portable WiFi Device for Travel: Travel routers are necessary for digital nomads and frequent travelers. It offers the convenience of a mobile hotspot without its drawbacks. Travel routers are easy to transport and come in all shapes and sizes. They are the closest thing to a home network experience.

The only difference is that they are much more portable. For added signal strength on your travel routers, cell signal boosters are available for RVs, vans, and cars that boost an existing 1x, 3G, or LTE cell signal. These signal boosters, however, do not create a signal from anything. So, it won't do anything for you if you’re in an area with No Signal.

Closeup wifi router man using smartphone

    Satellite Internet: Mobile Internet solutions are great, but they all have one obvious drawback. They only work where there’s cellular coverage. This is where satellite Internet comes in. Satellite internet covers the entire globe. All you need is a satellite modem and a clear sky. Setting up satellite internet, however, isn’t as easy as you think. The equipment is bulky, and the antenna requires a precise configuration, and not every RV is suitable for transporting it.

    Also, speaking of the “clear sky,” The signal strength of satellite internet is affected by weather conditions. Expect little to zero signal in poor weather conditions.

    A satellite connection can be used as an RV Internet solution; however, it is slower and more expensive than mobile internet.

    Satellite Internet

    RV WiFi: RV WiFi can mean two things. We already discussed a travel router and a hotspot on the RV camp’s premises. The latter struggles to deliver consistent speeds. Also, the walls of your RV can make reception worse.

    Travel lifestyle online digital nomad work place inside modern camper van

    Public WiFi options: Public WiFi is another option for staying connected on the road. Public spaces such as libraries, coffee shops, malls, and grocery stores usually have free WiFi for customers.

    Coffee shops and malls are great Wi-Fi options, but the cost of beverages and snacks soon adds substantially. You may as well get yourself a router. Based on speed, cost, and convenience, Libraries are by far the better option. 

    Wifi wireless internet access

    As an RVer, I have explored all the options for internet connection for travelers. Using a travel router is the most convenient and reliable method for staying online while on the road. It is convenient, safe, and reliable as a trusted home network. And with the right provider, you’d have strong signals even in remote places.

    Nomad Air Modem white

    • IL

      A good article, but it’s still not clear to me whether the author answered the question posed in the title – does the rural Internet still suck?
      Yes, options are listed for how to stay connected in rural areas – from cellular communications and modems to satellite Internet. By the way, the article does not mention Skylink, the equipment for which is much more compact and easier to install than classic equipment for other satellite Internet. Although equipment for mobile Internet today still remains the best choice.

    • MI

      Satellite Internet is not only difficult to install and configure, but also not everyone can afford it. I am fond of repairing and re-equipping vans and was much interested in the topic of satellite Internet. As a result, I decided that the tourist router is able to adequately cope with giving me Internet on the road. I found out that Nomad Internet has a great Nomad Air modem and I was completely satisfied with it!

    • SA
      Sarah J

      I still have to use a mobile access point and I’m already very tired of it. Even considering that I am not a traveler, but an ordinary student who travels from one state to another for study. But I strongly plan to end this and purchase a Nomad Air modem in order to be able to take part-time jobs on the Internet from anywhere.

    • RO

      I found this article to be overly negative and not particularly helpful. While the author did acknowledge that rural internet has improved in recent years, they spent most of the article complaining about the current state of rural internet and pointing out its shortcomings. I was hoping to read about more solutions or workarounds for improving rural internet, but the article didn’t offer much in the way of practical advice. Additionally, the author’s writing style was somewhat aggressive and confrontational, which made the article less enjoyable to read. Overall, I wouldn’t recommend this article to anyone looking for constructive solutions to the challenges of rural internet access.

    • AN
      Ana Rys

      The article touches upon a paramount topic for anyone who spends a lot of time on the road, digital nomads and RVers even more so. In the short introduction the author highlights the fact that they have a lot of experience on the subject, so these pieces of advice are trustworthy. The author gives examples on the best way of getting the internet, which include hotspot, wi-fi router and satellite internet. Each of them is thoroughly described, (special thanks for giving advice on how to improve the signal), both pros and cons are mentioned. Overall, the article is very informative and I’ll recommend it to anyone who is looking for ways of getting the internet while they are on the road.

    • RO

      The issue of internet access in rural areas has been a persistent problem for decades now. While some regions have seen improvements in terms of broadband access, others continue to struggle with slow and unreliable internet. This can be a major hindrance for people living in these areas, especially in today’s world where a reliable internet connection is a necessity for almost everything, from remote work and education to accessing healthcare services and entertainment. The government and private companies must work together to address this issue and provide equal access to fast and affordable internet for all citizens, regardless of where they live.

    • ZL
      Zlatika Cherar

      Yes, a travel router is a very necessary thing! It is better not to save money on this, because we are not paying for a thing, but for our freedom of movement. I have a lot of experience of dependence on free Wi-Fi in public places that I’m pretty tired of it. Therefore, I am just in search of a suitable option for myself to get out of this dependent situation. Thank you for the tips on how you can improve your internet until you have bought a router yet.

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published