Options for fast internet on the road.

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mudshark73

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Dec 6, 2022
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2
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Los Angeles
I am driving a Roadtrek Simplicity cross country and will need fast and reliable internet most days. Most of the info I’ve seen focuses on reliability and not so much on speed. I don’t plan on being in any remote places on this trip, so I’m not as concerned about access/signal. I have a hot spot on my phone, but the speed gets throttled once I hit a certain amount of data. I need to be able to share my screen (streaming video) for work for up to 10 hours a day. Shared work spaces (WeWork, etc) are an option, but I’m curious if there are any options for working from the RV.

Thanks in advance,
Keith
 

mudshark73

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Dec 6, 2022
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Los Angeles
Everything I've heard about Starlink is that it is great for access when you are in a remote location. But speeds have decreased. As of this month, they are throttling after a certain amount of data. I will not be remote on this trip. I am more concerned with speed than access/signal.
 

docj

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Oct 16, 2010
Posts
1,828
Everything I've heard about Starlink is that it is great for access when you are in a remote location. But speeds have decreased. As of this month, they are throttling after a certain amount of data. I will not be remote on this trip. I am more concerned with speed than access/signal.
Your answer has conflated a number of things and it's not clear that you fully understand the different Starlink "data plans."

The throttling you refer to only applies to residential Starlink plans which provide "high priority" data. Starting early next year, these plans will get 1 TB of priority data per month. Beyond that they aren't "throttled", they simply revert back to "regular" data which is what the RV plan has all the time.

As for speeds having decreased, there has been a lot of hue and cry about how it is less likely that your speeds will be >100Mbps, but I've hardly seen anyone complain that the speed isn't sufficient to support multiple HDTV streams.

Some of the people complaining about slow speeds have RV accounts, not residential ones. RV account always have deprioritized data so there's no basis for claims about speed. If you have a deprioritized account you were never given a speed "target."
 

stripit

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Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Posts
75
Location
Prescott, Az
Drive through rv parks and look for the Starlink dish that folks are using and stop and actually talk to the users. So far every park we have been in has had as many 12 Starlink systems up and running. We are extremly pleased with ours.
 

UTTransplant

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Jul 20, 2014
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3,608
Location
Cedar Falls, IA
“High speed” has a different definition for everyone. I am happy enough to do a Zoom meeting or a video without buffering. Some gamer families want more speed than I can ever imagine so three kids and both parents can play simultaneously. The ones I hear complaining most about Starlink are the latter. And even if you hit the 1 TB limit, you can buy more data fairly reasonably. At least it is a lot more reasonable than the $5/0.5GB a I paid Verizon in Canada!
 

Kevin Means

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Aug 3, 2010
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Location
Hereford, Arizona
Another happy Starlink user here. I don't know what kind of speeds you'll require, but (so far) we have never had any trouble watching 4K videos on TV while simultaneously surfing the web. In fact, that's what we're doing right now, and the service has been very reliable.

There is a 1TB data limit before Starlink "deprioritizes" residential users, and that's on a month-to-month basis. De-prioritization will result in slower speeds, but Starlink does not say exactly what those speeds will be. According to Starlink, the 1TB limit will affect less than 10% of users.

We also have an RV Startlink system, and it always runs in de-prioritized mode. Even so, we've still never had any speed problems. FWIW

Kev
 

Mark_K5LXP

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Nov 17, 2018
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3,314
Location
Albuquerque, NM
Since satellites can't be concentrated over population centers it would seem the more users there are around you the more challenged for bandwidth the system would become. But you'd also be closer to other infrastructure so maybe between the two you're "covered". Wonder what will happen in places like Quartzsite where there may be a high concentration of Starlink users at one time.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
 

Skookum

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Dec 19, 2018
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1,746
We are using Starlink on the road right now and there are two of us who work full time and do video conferencing on and off all day, plus using citrix apps over VPN. We can burn 60-100 GB per month, just working.

The reason we have Starlink is because of the general speed and lack of a data cap like you'd run into with a data plan from a cell carrier. The throttled speeds on a data plan from a cell carrier are unusable for work. Starlink now has a dish that is designed to mount to your RV roof for permanent install. We bring our home dish with us for now and signed up for their portability program.

We also carry two cellular data plans as backup. If Starlink is down, or there are too many obstructions, we run all the data through a Cradlepoint which is programmed to fail over to cellular if Starlink drops.

For full-time work, I'd recommend against using your phone as a hot-spot. Phones just don't get good reception in general (the antenna is too small because of the form factor of the device) At minimum, purchase a dedicated hotspot device (with external antenna/connection, if possible).

If you stick with Cellular, check into different data plans and consider a device that can hold two different sims so you have a backup if cell service is poor in your area. Remote isn't the only thing that can affect service. In suburban and urban areas, nearby towers with great reception can sometimes be overloaded and supply extremely slow (unusable) data speeds at peak usage times. Sometimes another carrier has better success.
 

Skookum

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Dec 19, 2018
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The other thing is....if you're using MS Teams all day like we are forced to (I personally hate MS Teams, it sucks), we throttle our work connections through the router. Teams doesn't allow for changing its bandwidth usage. It will use all available speed/bandwidth depending on the connection speed and there's no way to scale it back. So we limit (QoS) our work devices to a 10Mbit speed cap. Teams automatically adjusts its bandwidth hoarding, and the quality is still good. We don't need it sending/receiving HD video when 480p or 720p is just fine. You can cut your data usage by 2/3 or more by doing this if you have Teams. Zoom allows you to specify video quality and bandwidth usage.

This may be an even more useful tidbit if your upload speeds are the limiting factor. If you only have 2Mbit upload because of congested networks, Teams will max that out and cause slowness for all other apps and devices.

Just for reference... Streaming 4k video on a service like Youtube only requires 15-20Mbit/sec download speeds. Or can have 2-3 devices streaming 1080p for the same speed. Teams and other video conferencing programs only require 1-2Mbit/sec upload for decent quality video and audio.
 
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Domo

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Nov 8, 2018
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740
Location
Fort Myers, FL
I believe you stated that your plan has good speed but throttles over a certain limit.

So, that sounds like you should change your plan to remove the throttle.
 

JudyJB

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Jul 6, 2010
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2,445
Location
In various places in Arizona for the next month or
I spent 9 years teaching college classes online from my RV as I traveled the country. I taught halftime and needed to be online every day for 4-8 hours. I ended up getting two Verizon mobile hotspots so that when one was throttled, I could switch to the other. I did have to be careful where I stayed, but had few problems in most national, state, and county campgrounds. (College policy, by the way, required a secure signal for instructors, so using public internet was not possible for the most part.)

Reliability of equipment is also important. One thing is that I learned to have duplicates of everything in case one broke. (Employers or customers don't want to hear about your equipment problems, so duplicates are important. My students, however, did enjoy a delay in having to turn in their next project!)

I learned this lesson when I was on Okracoke Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina when my hard drive died on my laptop. It was a 1.5 hour ferry ride and several hour drive to "civilization," but I had a warranty with Dell and they first sent me a replacement boot drive via FedEx and tried to walk me through fixing it over the phone. They eventually had to FedEx me a new hard drive and a repairman met me at a location off the island to install it. As soon as it was fixed, I drove to Virginia Beach to a Best Buy and bought a cheap backup laptop!! After that, I kept a backup laptop, backup mouse, and the two hotspots, plus the data link on my phone.

One last tip: I found in places where the cell signal was weak, doing my work after midnight sometimes helped get a better signal.

10 hours per day of streaming video is going to be expensive and possibly hard to get, so be prepared for this to be an entirely different experience than having cable service at a permanent home. Also know that sometimes campground owners lie about their internet or at least are unaware of its limitations. For example, I was promised a good signal at one place, only to arrive and find out that the good speed was only available in the laundry room, which was NOT a good place to have student conferences or watch student presentations!
 

docj

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Oct 16, 2010
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1,828
The ones I hear complaining most about Starlink are the latter. And even if you hit the 1 TB limit, you can buy more data fairly reasonably.

Customers using Starlink RV data plans or who are using the Portability feature of their residential plans do NOT have a high speed data allowance. Therefore, they don't have a 1 TB limit to be concerned about.

Only people on residential plans will have that limit and, if they reach it, they can purchase more high speed data or they can simply be like all the others who don't have priority data. There's no reason to purchase additional high speed data unless you can't live with the deprioritized data you get after reaching the limit.
 

Laura & Charles

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Jun 10, 2016
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1,020
Location
Could be anywhere. Originally from Ohio. Go Bucks!
T Mobile Home Internet 5G...

No contract and $50 per month unlimited data. Purchase an adapter to plug into 12v socket that you can plug gateway into while on the road. Works great!
We’ve had this for a couple of months and have had no problems. There’s various deals available to bring the cost down, but $50 seems reasonable for unlimited, unthrottled, and connect as many devices as you want.
 

LarsMac

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Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
2,246
Location
Yuma, CO
We have been really happy with Starlink.
I often am playing games with the grandkids while Margo is watching movies and Television, and we have only rarely experienced a momentary outage -usually when the dish follows a satellite into a blind spot caused by a tree near the house. It quickly adjusts, and recovers within a second or so.
In all our movie watching and gaming we have not yet hit that dreaded data cap everyone is worried about.

Also, in the recent blizzard, Starlink never dropped service, in spite of the massive amount of snow and ice we had. The dish heating element kept up with it.
 

TheBar

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Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Posts
1,423
Location
MS
T Mobile Home Internet 5G...

No contract and $50 per month unlimited data. Purchase an adapter to plug into 12v socket that you can plug gateway into while on the road. Works great!
Back in March my wife and I switched to T-Mobile. The Magenta 55+ senior plan has unlimited data with no throttling and counting free Netflix was $37/month with zero taxes or fees. It also includes a 40gb hot spot on each phone and the latest gen iPhones were both free.
 

BoulderBill

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Jan 2, 2023
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1
Location
Arizona
Since satellites can't be concentrated over population centers it would seem the more users there are around you the more challenged for bandwidth the system would become. But you'd also be closer to other infrastructure so maybe between the two you're "covered". Wonder what will happen in places like Quartzsite where there may be a high concentration of Starlink users at one time.

Mark B.
Albuquerque, NM
I was in Qz all December and had great access. I’m on Residential w/portability on. There were a half dozen other SL in our park and many more in the area.
 

8Muddypaws

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Joined
Jul 18, 2014
Posts
3,730
Location
California
We recently switched from Verizon to T-Mobile and got a 6 person family plan with 4 new phones for $33 a month. Only the hotspots are limited to 40GB a month. I'll have to ask my son, the plan administrator, if Netflix is included.

I am concerned about coverage because when he had TM before it wouldn't work in quite a few places we went. That was years ago though.
 
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