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Going on a caravan or campervan trip was the perfect excuse to get away from it all and relax in peace in the good old days. It used to be that the only way to keep in touch with the outside world was via a landline phone.
That was how people enjoyed their holidays back then; no one wanted the office or “work” getting in touch; if they didn’t know where you were, they couldn’t contact you.
Today, being without our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs doesn’t bear thinking about. In addition, if you have young children or, worse still, teenagers, even mentioning going off-grid is enough to bring on fits of doom and sulky behaviour.
How to Get High-Speed Internet in a Caravan
Fortunately, there are several options for connecting your motorhome to the internet. You can access WiFi and internet in your caravan etc., in various ways, which we will cover in this article.
WiFi boosters work by improving an already existing broadband connection, most likely the one at your campsite. WiFi boosters are straightforward and available in various formats, including wireless packages, outdoor USBs with antennas, etc. You can buy WiFi booster kits that include a router to connect several devices simultaneously.
For a booster to be helpful, you need to be relatively close with a clear line of sight to the broadband source; if not, you probably won’t see much difference in the signal strength. However, WiFi boosters can still be helpful if it’s raining.
4G Mobile Broadband Network
If there’s no available WiFi source you can connect to in your caravan, a 4G mobile network using a travel router can be a good alternative. 4G is the most widely available and most robust internet connection. However, the networks are slowly rolling out 5G in various parts of the country, mostly in towns and cities.
You’ll be able to stream, download, and play video games if you have a 4G connection.
EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three are the four network providers in the United Kingdom. Other providers offer services; however, they also use one of the four main networks.
For your 4G travel router, you’ll need an additional SIM card that works on a data-only, pay-as-you-go basis to set a budget accordingly.
The high coverage rate of 4G around the UK means you probably don’t need to worry about changing locations and not being able to connect to a decent signal. But you could buy an unlocked router and check with Ofcom’s mobile internet coverage before setting out on your trip, to be on the safe side.
Mobile tethering connects your campervan to the internet in the same way a 4G router does by connecting to one of the leading mobile networks in the UK.
All Apple and Android devices can turn on a mobile hotspot in their settings menu. When you’re on the go, it’s a quick and easy way to get online.
Mobile tethering differs from using a 4G router in that it relies only on your mobile phone device. When you use a mobile hotspot, the internet you access is billed as part of your monthly SIM plan but is restricted by the amount of data allowance.
You’ll need sufficient data on your mobile phone plan to utilise a mobile hotspot for WiFi in your caravan. Most networks provide unrestricted data usage, but a few have limits and fair usage policies. Before using mobile tethering, make sure your mobile phone plan has enough data allocation.
Caravanners and campers who don’t consume a lot of data can benefit the most from mobile tethering. Mobile tethering is a good option if you want to use your mobile device to access the internet or social media while you’re on the road. However, if you’re going to use a lot of data or you want to connect several devices to the account, it’s not a great option. There are better ways to use mobile data, which we cover in the next section.
If the choices mentioned above don’t work for you, you may want to consider a travel router internet device.
Travel routers typically support at least ten connections to separate devices such as phones, tablets, laptops etc. A travel router functions in the same way as your router at home.
A separate SIM card is required to receive data from your travel router, and it’s worth the effort to shop around to find the best data-only plans. In addition, you might want to consider what type of contract would be ideal for you and your family. For example, suppose you only use your caravan or campervan once or twice a year. In that case, a monthly rolling contract or a pay-per-use SIM contract might be your best option.
You might find some travel routers are locked to a specific network, which might work for you if you’re travelling to one area only. However, if you intend to move around on holiday, you should consider buying an unlocked travel router; you can purchase SIM cards for each leg of your itinerary.
A travel router is an excellent investment for camping and caravan holiday families who need reliable internet connectivity for multiple devices while they are away from home.
Best Caravan Wifi Devices
- Maxview Roam [READ REVIEW]
- TP-Link M7350 Portable Router [READ REVIEW]
- GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Mini Travel Router [READ REVIEW]
1. Maxview Roam
The Maxview Roam provides a secure and robust internet hotspot using a 3G/4G (5G ready) travel router perfect for campervans and caravans; you can fit the Roam on any decent-sized vehicles, including canal boats.
Using mobile data, the Roam creates a reliable hotspot. Because of its unique omnidirectional antenna, it will pick up weaker signals that other routers or smartphones cannot. In addition, if you find yourself at a site where the broadband source is adequate for your needs, the Roam connects directly to the WiFi source so you can save the data on your SIM card.
Once you fit the low definition antenna to the vehicle’s roof, only one wired connection is necessary to fit the router, which you can place in a small cupboard beneath the antenna.
The Roam’s powerful roof-mounted antenna maximises 3G/4G/5G signal strength and, along with the router, creates a secure and reliable WiFi hotspot.
You can use the Maxview Roam with any data service provider with pay-as-you-go or monthly contracts (Sold separately). So, you can choose the network that works best for you.
Maxview Roam Pros + Cons
|Fitting must be performed correctly
|Reliable & secure WiFi hotspot
|5G has limited availability at present
|Connects up to 50 devices
|A powerful antenna picks up weaker signals
|Direct connection to a local WiFi source
|Small, lightweight router
|Unlocked for any SIMs
|Perfect for travelling in Europe
|Roam app available for iOS and Android
Maxview Roam Review Summary
The Maxview Roam elevates mobile internet access to a whole new level. Thanks to the powerful omnidirectional antenna installed on the vehicle’s roof and the Roam’s ability to switch between mobile data and a local WiFi source, you will always have the internet at your fingertips.
The TP-Link mobile WiFi M7350 supports the latest generation 4G LTE network. It will allow download speeds up to 150 Mbps, perfect for movie streaming and those family Zoom calls while you’re away.
The M7350 is straightforward to use; simply insert your 4G Sim, and it’s plug and play from there. The unit will allow connection to up to 10 devices such as your laptop, tablets, smartphones, etc.
The unit’s built-in battery will operate for up to eight hours from a full charge; alternatively, you could opt to recharge the M7350 via a micro USB cable connected to your laptop or use the unit’s adapter. There’s also a micro SD storage slot that provides storage for 32GB, in case you enjoy bringing your favourite movies on holiday with you.
The M7350 has a useful screen display that enables you to stay within your data budget to prevent excess data charges. The screen provides at-a-glance information such as signal strength, WiFi status, connected users, etc.
TP-Link M7350 Pros + Cons
|Small & lightweight
|No access to 5G
|4G download speeds up to 150GB
|Struggles to access mobile signals in remote areas
|Connects up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices
|No access to a local WiFi source (mobile data only)
|Micro SD card not included
|Eight-hour battery life
TP-Link M7350 Review Summary
The TP-Link M7350 is a handy small, lightweight personal MiFi device that connects to the latest 4G FDD/TDD-LTE networks. The unit incorporates a long lasting battery for on the go access to a WiFi hotspot with connections available for up to ten WiFi-enabled devices.
The GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 (Mango) is a wireless Mini portable VPN travel router. The Mango is small, lightweight, and a straightforward to use high-speed mini travel router. Small enough to put into a bag or laptop carrying case, the Mango is capable of download speeds up to 300 Mbps.
Built-in outstanding security protocols and data encryption technology means you can safely use the router even on public WiFi in malls, coffee shops etc. In addition to the security and encryption, the device supports 30-plus popular OpenVPN service providers. Connecting to a VPN has the added security of hiding your IP address from curious onlookers.
You need to provide the device with an internet source, via a USB dongle (mobile SIM card), smartphone tethering or by connecting to broadband via a telephone line and ethernet cable. The Mango has a micro USB port, and you power the device with a laptop, power bank or a standard 5V/1A DC adapter.
|Compact & lightweight
|No built-in internet source
|Straightforward to use
|No built-in SIM card capability
|Security and encryption
|The device does not have a built-in battery
|Support 30+ OpenVPN service providers
|Up to 300Mbps download speeds
GL.iNET Mini Travel Router Review
The GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 is a portable and flexible travel-sized wireless mini mobile travel router. The device provides download speeds up to 300 Mbps with serious security protocols and data encryption. In addition, the device supports 30-plus VPN service providers for additional security.