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Smartphones are fantastic for staying in touch while on the go; however, frequent travellers, especially if they have a campervan, caravan, or motorhome, will often find that an effective travel router can save the day.
When you’re constantly dealing with a non-existent network service, questionable security, and exorbitant campsite and hotel WiFi prices, your own travel router set-up is a huge relief, and a significant saving.
The most effective travel routers help you avoid these issues by allowing you to create your own private WiFi hotspot wherever you decide to stay – whether it’s at a conference centre, hotel room, or a campsite on your travel route.
How to Get Wi-Fi in a Camper
The first question to answer is why you need internet in a camper? Everyone has a smartphone, but setting up a mobile hotspot with your phone is straightforward. There are occasions when a smartphone doesn’t get the job done. For example, staying in remote areas where the signal is weak or spotty, you might want to use your phone when the kids watch their favourite programme.
Another common drawback is data usage. Suppose your kids are happily watching their tablet or playing on their gaming consoles, and you’re streaming a movie. In which case, you’re using a considerable amount of data; and addition to needing a lot of data, you need fast download speeds.
A camper travel router, also known as a “MiFi booster” or a “mobile WiFi hotspot,” functions similarly to a home router.
However, instead of connecting to the web via fibre optic cable or telephone line, it uses an internal antenna to seek available 3G, 4G, or 5G wireless networks. When it locates a WiFi signal, it boosts it so that you can connect numerous other devices such as tablets, laptops and smartphones.
There are several WiFi routers available for campervans, motorhomes, etc., and we’ll review the best on the market later in the article. They all have a slot for a SIM card and either an internal battery or work from the campervan’s electrics.
Camper WiFi Antennas
Many travellers opt for an external antenna. Antennas help boost the signal even more, especially if you are in remote areas. Choosing an “unlocked” router is best, so you don’t tie yourself to any single network. If you take your campervan to Europe, buying a local SIM to stream your favourite shows is more cost-effective.
Campervan SIM deals
Once you’ve picked out the portable router, you’ll have to decide on the SIM deal. In our opinion, you’re much better going for data-only unlimited SIMs. You don’t need to pay extra minutes for calls or texts because your phone can handle those.
The contract duration is a matter for yourself, most networks of a monthly rolling contract or 12 to 24 months. Suppose you only take an annual holiday, the monthly contract should suffice. However, if you take two or three holidays a year or you’re a working nomad, a one-year or two-year contract will be cheaper.
Are Travel Routers a Good Investment for Campervans?
Travel routers are an excellent investment for people with campervans, motorhomes, caravans etc. If you travel only once a year but enjoy streaming movies and watching your favourite TV shows without buffering or, worse, no coverage, then travel routers are the answer.
Now that 4G covers the vast majority of the Uk and the speeds are approaching those from your home internet, there’s no need to go without a solid WiFi solution when on holiday: no more trying to watch your favourite programmes on the shared WiFi on a campsite.
Travel Router Cost
There is a massive range of travel routers to choose from, as you would expect.
There’s a pretty big difference with pricing as well. You can select the pocket-sized mini travel router not much larger than a credit card. Or the more sophisticated systems that incorporate external fixed antennas that will allow you to watch your favourite TV shows wherever you travel in the UK or Europe.
The prices range from £27.00 up to £1,025.00
Key Features of a Travel Router in a Campervan
Key features of a travel router are:
- Data plans: Data plans can be unlimited or tied to a specific about of data, for example, 50GB per month. You can also buy one-month up to 24-month plans.
- Locked Or Unlocked: You can select a “locked” or “unlocked” travel router. However, if you buy the locked version, check the data plan with the network supplier. Often you can get the device cheaply, but the data cost can be high, and you can be locked into a longer-term plan you might not need.
- External devices: How many additional devices can you connect to your travel router.
- Network coverage: Ensure you have network coverage for your travel region.
- 3G/4G/5G: Does the SIM card you purchase cater for all three?
- Download speeds: What is the maximum download speed you can expect from your travel router? If you have four or five family members all using large amounts of bandwidth, can your router cope?
Mobile App: We are all used to dealing with our smartphone apps for speed and convenience.
Best Travel Routers for Campers [TOP 4]
Maxview Roam X
- Plug & Play Solution
- 5G ready, omnidirectional antenna
- 2-way connection SIM card or existing WiFi network
The Maxview Roam X is the new updated version of the Maxview Roam from the Norfolk-based company. If you’re looking for a robust travel router for your campervan, caravan, motorhome etc., the Roam X has to be up there at the top of your list.
The Roam X is perfect for heavy internet consumers with ultrafast download speeds up to 300Mbps, and an external fixed omnidirectional antenna capable of picking up network signals that other travel routers or smartphones cannot.
The Roam X antenna is 5G ready and will connect via a data SIM card or an existing WiFi network. So save the data on your SIM if you’re on a campsite that provides superfast broadband and has sufficient speeds for all your internet use.
The Roam X uses a 3G/4G superfast router that creates a mobile hotspot inside your vehicle. The external antenna is permanently fitted to your vehicle’s roof and, because it’s omnidirectional, never requires any adjustments to pick up signals.
You will need a data-only SIM card to establish the network connection for those remote locations or where you have no available local WiFi source.
You can buy data-only SIM cards from any of the UK networks. However, the best choice comes down to contract length, unlimited data and if you require a single SIM or a multi-network SIM.
Maxview Roam X Pros + Cons
|2-way connection SIM & Local WiFi
|Plug & Play
|Download speeds to 300MBPS
|iOS & Android App
|Connects up to 100 external devices
|Connects to popular streaming services such as Netflix
GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Mini Travel Router
- Very small but mighty, with plenty of functions.
- A micro USB connector powers this router. It can also be powered by a portable battery, making it portable even on the go.
- USB port for mobile tethering WiFi (better than a smartphone’s hot spot).
- Enhanced protection and privacy while connecting to WiFi
- Enable VPN client.
The GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2(Mango) is a wireless mobile mini travel router that converts public networks (wired or wireless) to a private Wi-Fi network for secure surfing. It incorporates mobile tethering and is powered by any USB laptop, power bank, or 5V DC adapter.
This router is not much bigger than a credit card. Still, it has plenty of functions, and the price is incredibly reasonable.
Its superior security protocols and data encryption technology provide an additional layer of safety wherever you go.
It is the ideal piece of kit for connecting to the internet while on the go. Whether you’re popping into your local coffee shop, waiting for your flight in an airline lounge or a working nomad and want to preserve their privacy while accessing the internet.
GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Mini Travel Router Pros + Cons
|Underpowered in both CPU and memory
|Notable speed issues
|Port forwarding issues
|Faster OpenVPN encryption
|20 to 30 Mbps downloads speeds
|4 GPIOs for more DIY fun
|Small, light, easy to use
- 8 Hours of 4G sharing
- Share WiFi with up to 10 devices
- 4G download speeds up to 150 Mbps
TP-LINK has released the M7350, a MiFi modem that supports LTE. It’s convenient for frequent travellers who need to share their 4G wirelessly or those who just need to take their 4G Internet with them when they go on the road.
The device comes in a plain, small white box with a few extras to make up the package. It has a Nano SIM and a Micro SIM adaptor, a wall charger, and a Micro USB connection. TP-LINK also provides a 2-year warranty.
In terms of aesthetics, the TP-LINK M7350 is a rectangle with rounded corners. The device’s matte finish makes it feel premium and prevents fingerprints. Two buttons proved helpful for the basic setup. The gadget isn’t exactly pocket-sized, but it’s not heavy, and you can easily carry it in a pocket.
The TP-LINK M7350 features a compact LCD for instantaneous access to the device’s settings and status. You’ll find the current transfer rate and the amount of data used. Additionally, the screen allows for instantaneous configuration. It’s a useful function I haven’t seen on any other MiFi I have tested.
The TP-LINK provides a wide range of customisation options. Some MiFi devices don’t even let you modify the factory-installed DNS server; the signal strength indicator is all that’s available. Unfortunately, TP-LINK does not provide an app for this device; however, the mobile web interface does the job.
With the MicroSD card slot, you can transfer files wirelessly or over the included USB cord. The MicroSD card has a maximum capacity of 32GB.
TP-Link M7350 Pros + Cons
|WiFi crashes when hot
|Long Lasting Battery
|Not compatible with some anti-virus software
|Share Wi-Fi up to 10 devices
|WiFi range could be better
|Problems working abroad
|150 Mbps download speed
|32GB Micro SD slot
|4G FDD/TDD-LTE networks
|8 hours of 4G sharing
- LTE and a dual band WLAN module
- Integrated 2.4 and 5 GHz WLAN antennas
- Private wired LAN network.
Due to the direct HF-technical connection between the transmitter and receiver modules, the Oyster® Connect’s unique antenna system provides the highest possible broadcasting and receiving power. The system’s design enables the outside unit that contains the powerful antenna to be fitted onto the vehicle’s roof.
Since the lessening of the signal by the car body (thermal insulation glazing / Metal body) and the length of the antenna wire are irrelevant, the Oyster® Connect offers vastly improved reception to traditional smartphone tethering and existing MiFi products on the market.
The LTE and dual-band WLAN modules are the stand-out feature of the roof device.
Each of these modules has a built-in antenna system that is tuned specifically for this use case, providing improved range and the ability to communicate with subsequent radio masts if the LTE network becomes congested.
The second part of the Oyster® Connect system is the indoor unit. You install the unit inside the vehicle, acting as a wireless local area network (WLAN) access point, similar to the router in your house.
An entire, secure access point with built-in WLAN antennas at both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands is placed inside the indoor unit (2×2 MIMO technology).
Since the two bands are running in tandem, you can link multiple mobile devices that use separate bands simultaneously, achieving the maximum potential data transfer.
Oyster Connect Pros + Cons
|LTE and a dual-band WLAN
|Data SIM fits in the outside roof unit – Inconvenient to change SIM cards
|Higher price than most Price
|12 / 24V DC (voltage range 9-32V DC
|Not 5G ready
|Cannot switch to local WiFi Source
|Separate antennas for LTE and WLAN
|Operates in 2.4 and 5 GHz bands
|Uses data, not coax cable