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Internet in the home is a foregone conclusion, but what about the internet if you live permanently in a van? There might be several reasons people choose to live full time in a campervan; however, I’m betting they still want the internet, even if it’s only to contact family and friends.
These days people stream so much home entertainment, be it movies, favourite TV shows, music, well, you know exactly what I mean. This article will discuss your campervan wifi kit: everything you need for internet on the road.
How Can I Get Internet if I Live in a Van?
As it turns out, there are many ways to connect your van to the internet. We’ll go over the various methods you can connect to the internet and add WiFi to your campervan.
A WiFi booster will improve an already existing WiFi connection, likely to be the one at your location. Antenna-equipped USBs, wireless bundles, and other configurations are options for those looking to boost their WiFi signal. WiFi booster kits typically include a router, and you can use them with any wireless or wired device.
The campsite owner generally locates the router in the campsite’s central area; if you’re close enough and have high-speed broadband, you might be okay with a booster. If a WiFi booster sounds like it will work for you, you need to consider what type of antenna you’ll require. There are two types directional and omnidirectional.
Use A 4G/5G Mobile Broadband Network
If WiFi isn’t an option where you happen to be staying, a 4G mobile network is the best option. 4G is the most widely available and fastest internet connection. You’ll be able to stream movies, download, and play video games on several devices at once with a strong 4G connection.
EE, O2, Vodafone, and Three are known as the ‘Big Four’ in the UK. There are other service providers; however, they piggyback on the big four.
To use a 4G router, you’ll need a SIM card; they typically are data-only, and the networks offer them on a long term contract, rolling monthly or pay-per-use basis to plan your spending accordingly.
Using a 4G router will be the preferable alternative for static van owners because you will know which mobile service provider offers the most reliable and cost-effective data plans where you stay.
All Apple and Android smartphones can turn on a mobile hotspot in their settings menu, and it’s straightforward to set up. Keep in mind that you will use the data that comes with your mobile phone plan, and you can use that up pretty quickly when streaming movies etc. In addition, it’s not as cost-effective as a dedicated data-only plan.
MiFi Internet Device
A MiFi internet device is similar to a wireless router in a home – it gives internet access and typically supports at least ten connections.
You will need to buy a SIM card for your MiFi device, and shopping around will give the best options for data allowances. You’ll get a better deal buying a “locked” SIM, and if you live permanently in a van, that’s your best way forward. MiFi devices are a better option than utilising your phone as a hotspot because if the van is your home, you’ll undoubtedly need to access numerous devices.
Caravan & Motorhome WiFi System
If you live in a van, want fast, reliable internet, and have no possibility of a wired WiFi connection, the best way is to combine a 4G/5G broadband network and a mobile router. This combination will provide consistent, high-speed WiFi and the most cost-effective.
Why is this better than a mobile hotspot or MiFi device? A mobile router, such as the Maxview Roam, uses 3G or 4G (5G ready) to create a consistent and reliable WiFi hotspot. The device utilises a discreet omnidirectional antenna that sits on the roof of your van. The Roam will pick up signals that smartphone or MiFi devices cannot by using the powerful antenna. In addition, if a direct WiFi source is available, you can use the Roam to connect to an existing WiFi hotspot, therefore limiting the amount of time your data plan is accessed.
Campervan Wifi Kit: What You Need
Here’s a breakdown of what you need for your campervan Wifi kit:
- Omnidirectional antenna (choosing omnidirectional makes life easier because there are no manual adjustments required once it’s fitted)
- 12v 4G/5G mobile router
- 0.8m cables with SMA connectors (coaxial cable)
- Roof Clamp
- 12v Cigarette power supply
- 230V Mains Power Supply
- Ethernet cable
- Mounting brackets
- Fixing Template
- Extension leads (if required)
- SIM card and data plan
Setting Up Your Campervan WiFi Kit
- Source a suitable location for the router inside your van
- Ensure space is available on the roof for the antenna, close to the router (ensuring there is a minimum of 30cm space around the antenna (must be vertical for best performance)
- The antenna’s 3M seal provides permanent fixing in a horizontal position
- Cut out the template and use the 25mm centre hole
- Pass the cables through the hole and remove the 3M seal. Fix to your van’s roof
- Use the clamp on the inside of the van to further compress the seal
- Use the router fixing brackets to secure the router underneath the antenna (vertically or horizontally is fine)
A mobile WiFi router is just like your home internet router, but instead of being connected to a phone line or fibre optic cable, they contain a 3G/4G broadband SIM card inside.
You use a mobile WiFi router to set up a private internet connection on numerous devices, including phones, laptops, tablets, tablets, games consoles, and cameras.
Once you have set up the mobile router inside your van, it’s just putting in the SIM and switching on the router, and you’re good.
Unlimited Data Plan
Currently, in the UK, sixteen networks are offering unlimited data plans. They range in price from £16.00 to £35.00 per month with contract lengths from one month to twenty-four months. Most plans will also include 5G coverage, and at present, that has more than three hundred towns and cities in the UK; you will also get 90% population coverage with 4G.
It’s essential to consider the coverage you’ll get and any fair usage limits or restrictions when selecting an unlimited data SIM card. Most of the time, the networks specify that unlimited data is only for personal use. The amount of data the networks allow while travelling to another European country is usually restricted, especially after Brexit.