Everything You Need to Know About Motorhome WiFi

June 17, 2022 in Tips for Owners and Maintenance & appliances

Choosing the best WiFi for your campervan can be a challenge. You can’t always predict how far off the beaten track your adventures will take you, and you won’t always be able to access the WiFi at your accommodation. When you’re planning your trip your internet connectivity isn’t likely to be at the top of your list. But getting away from it all doesn’t always mean cutting yourself off from civilisation altogether. You might need to check the weather, your upcoming route or where you are going to stay next. Or you might simply want to send some emails or WhatsApps to your friends and family, telling them how much you are enjoying the open road! 

If you’re looking to find out what the best mobile WiFi is, you’re in the right place. We’ve put together a high-level guide on everything you need about WiFi in motorhomes. We’ll explore some important things to consider before making your choice. Then we’ll look at your best options for WiFi in a motorhome including some product recommendations. Let’s get started! 

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Things to consider before choosing your motorhome WiFi 

Here are some questions to answer before you begin your research. Getting a clear idea of what your requirements are, and any limitations you might have will help you make the right investment. 

  1. How remote are the areas you usually travel to? Will you be able to piggyback on broadband connections at your campsite or at the local pub or will you need to sort your own connection? 
  2. How much data will you need? For example, some mobile phone providers limit the amount of data that customers can use when using a hotspot or tethering device. 
  3. How much do you want to spend? Make sure you take into account the set-up and initial investment plus any subscriptions or ongoing charges.  
  4. Will you be travelling outside the UK? If so, check what types of internet connectivity products are available in the countries you’re going to. 
  5. Are there any limitations on increasing the height of your motorhome? For example, will you need to factor in the height of WiFi antenna to ensure you can still get under bridges or stay under the maximum height for toll roads in Europe? 
  6. Does your motorhome have a TV satellite dish? You may be able to access the internet through this with a subscription (though the costs are considerable - more on this later). 

What are the best options for motorhome wi-fi? 

Currently, there are four ways to access the internet in your motorhome. 

  1. Use a motorhome WiFi booster to tap into the broadband connection at your campsite or at a local pub or cafe. 
  2. Access 3G, 4G or 5G networks through your smartphone or tablet, dongle or travel router. 
  3. Use a motorhome Mifi booster. What is a Mifi? - we hear you ask. Good question. A Mifi is a wireless portable device that can tap into mobile phone networks to create a personal internet connection - more on this later.  
  4. Satellite internet through a TV satellite dish. 

Let’s look at these options for campervan WiFi in more detail.

Motorhome Wifi booster

WiFi boosters fix on the roof of your vehicle. As the name suggests, they boost any available WiFi signal but cannot create an internet connection where there isn’t one. WiFi boosters are ideal if you are going to be travelling to places that are likely to have a weak 3G, 4G or 5G internet signal. You can choose from permanently fitted boosters or ones simply placed somewhere secure on the vehicle. 

A great motorhome WiFi booster to consider is the KUMA My-WiFi Hotspot Booster Kit. Retailing at a pretty reasonable £189, this Wi-Fi booster is easy to set up and can be used with an impressive 32 devices at one time. 

The KUMA My-WiFi Hotspot Booster system is powered by a 12v cigarette lighter converter by default, but it can also be powered by a 240v mains adaptor. The booster connects to both 2.4GHz + 5GHz networks at ultra-high speed up to 600Mbps and also works as a wireless access point (AP), repeater or router. It has a plugin WiFi extender that connects to Smart TVs. 

Want to keep up with the latest sporting fixtures or relax with a film? Check out our complete guide to choosing a campervan TV.  

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Using your smartphone

Most of us have one of these handy contraptions already, so that makes using your smartphone for motorhome WIFi a convenient and accessible option. However, if your connection is weak or you are travelling in an area that your mobile phone provider doesn’t cover then your connection won’t be great. Particularly if you are inside your motorhome. 

Campervanners can choose to share the incoming signal with other devices by using a personal hotspot (if it’s an Apple OS) or by tethering (if it’s Android). You may be able to find tools that boost the effectiveness and reliability of your WiFi connection. But perhaps the best thing to do is to buy a SIM for the phone provider that has the best coverage in the area you are travelling to. If you are holidaying in the UK you should only have to choose one provider. EE, for example, claims to cover 99% of the UK with 2G and 4G and 98% with 3G. Need to know more? Check out this blog from Maxview to find out how to choose a data SIM plan for your campervan

Top tip - make sure you check with your mobile phone provider to see if they have restrictions on tethering or hotspot data usage. You don’t want to make promises to your friends that you can’t keep! 

Using your smartphone to tether or hotspot

Satellite internet through a tv satellite dish with a subscription plan. It’s worth checking the cost of this as an extra if you’re buying a new motorhome or van conversion. If you own a used motorhome check, you may find you have this already installed. Find more information about motorhome internet satellite systems here.

Motorhome MiFi

Motorhome MiFi’s work pretty much the same way as your smartphone, connecting you to the nearest 3G or 4G network through a SIM. The key difference between the two methods is that by connecting your MiFi with an external antenna you can boost its performance by up to five times. If the existing internet signal is weak, or if the provider says there is no coverage at all, using an antenna could mean the difference between buffering for hours trying to check the latest weather updates and getting access to the internet in an instant.

If you like the sound of using a MiFi for your campervan holidays, the Three Huawei 4G Plus MiFi is a good option. It has a 10m signal range which we think is ample as long as you have your devices close to hand. The speeds are consistent and reliable, you can connect 10 devices at once and there is a good range of price plans to choose from.

Satellite broadband

Satellite broadband is very expensive and only really makes sense if you are journeying somewhere incredibly remote. In addition to the prohibitive setup costs, the price of your monthly subscription could seriously eat into your holiday funds. Satellite broadband isn’t even that reliable. Inclement weather including cloud and rain can block the signal and the speeds are slower than other motorhome WiFi options. 

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We hope this guide to everything you need to know about Motorhome WiFi has helped you on your journey to finding the ideal solution for you and your fellow travellers. It’s important to make your campervan as comfortable and homely as possible and being able to access the internet and communicate with your loved ones is a big part of that. Costs can stack up, however, so if you are looking for a way to make some income from your campervan when you aren’t using it, why not hire out your motorhome to Goboony’s trusted customers? Find out more today!