Technical advise sought for remote work connections

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New member
Feb 19, 2013
I am considering a short-term foray into fulltime RVing -- strating with 45-60 day summer excurions first, then perhaps transitioning to longer stints as kids age out of school.

I am fortunate to have a professional position that already supports fulltime remote work.  My questions are related to the various technological solutions avialable to maintain high-quality internet connection in far flung regions.  I realize wi-fi and wireless service obviously vary widely by region and by individual I want to know if others have done this, and how do you plan your iteneraries, camping locations, etc.

I know this is a very broad-based if it is already handled in other posts or "stickies" please feel free to just re-route me instead of re-creating the wheel.

Thanks in advance!
Here's one article from our forum library that reviews the internet access options for RVers.  A search of the library on internet access will show other articles with related information.

I worked from our RV full time for over 12 years using satellite as my internet connection as it was (and still is) the only way to get online from anywhere.  However, it does have its limitations.
I have worked and lived full time in our motorhome(s) since August of 2010. My work as third level support for a large data warehouse requires me to have constant and consistent voice and data access, pretty much 24X7.

My voice solution is AT&T and I have only encountered one or two dead spots in sixteen states, all but two west of the Mississippi.

For data the first year, I relied on local campground wifi, which is always a crap shoot, and an AT&T USB style MiFi. I found several places in New Mexico where they did not yet have a lot of coverage and added a Verizon Hotspot. I have since converted both to 4G MiFi hotspots, both on a 5GB plan. I use campground wifi if it's strong enough to balance the load.

There are places (like Yellowstone, for instance) where there are no signals, but I have never been parked anywhere I did not have one or the other for a signal. We cannot park, obviously, where there is no signal, and we will miss out on a number of major state and national parks for that reason. Our solution is to park somewhere near, and we can still enjoy whatever that local color is.

I have pulled in to a McDonalds on the road in the rig when I had to have a good connection for a short period and public libraries are another source in a pinch.

Many here successfully use wifi and cell signal boosters and they can also increase your ability to work with what otherwise would be a weak signal. I don't have either installed but that's just because I have not had an overwhelming need. Wouldn't hesitate, though, if I did.

The voice and data bill at month's end is a small price to pay for the freedom to wake up with snow capped mountains in your windshield and deer in your yard while you work.  8)
Well, there are a couple of suggestions:

1: Multiple USB sticks (If it's a USB device it's not Mi-Fi, Mi-Fi or My-Fi, is a combination cellular modem and router in one, A usb stick is a Modem and usb adapter in one, no router)

Keep your AT&T but get a Virgin Mobile and a Verizon stick as well, both on the "pay when you need 'em plans"

The other option is 2-way Satellite Internet, however this requires you be parked, can't let the wife drive while you work..  It also tends to be .. aggravating on a couple of levels. 

Best option is multiple providers, the more the merrier  No single company has 100% coverage, though with Hughesnet (2-way sat) the dead spots tend to be very very small (As in change site not RV parks).
  My business is building and installing a SW package for RV parks - and I am a solo full time RVer. Originally I figured I would travel most anywhere to install and/or maintain the SW, but that idea fell by the wayside years ago. One reason has been the cost of gas, and the other was that I found trying to visit as many clients as possible took me away from the time needed to further develop the SW.

Back in the 90's it was tough at times. Would find myself parked somewhere - then having to drive my Jeep somewhere else to make a phone call - let alone get on line. I went to internet satellite next and that solved many problems. However, with internet service by Verizon and other carriers available most anywhere, I got rid of the satelite and now use Verizon (and VoIP is needed)for all my voice and data needs. Also, with the availability of much easier to use remote desktop software I can install and help desk my clients in Mexico, the US, and Canada  from most everywhere I travel just as though I was visiting and sitting beside them in their office.

Over the past few years I have found that so many restaurants and malls have free Wi-Fi, that also helps keep my costs down and allows me to use my air conditioner far less in hot locations and the furnace in cold locations. I have developed a lot of code behind McChicken Mini Meals, Denny's 2-4-6 breakfasts, and my other meals or snacks at my favorite outlet malls with food courts.

I have a low profile desktop with a second for backup in my RV office - and a laptop that mirrors my main working desktop. I like the desktop because I can do my own repairs or addons myself at less cost than a laptop. That allows me to do remote desktop both in the office or wherever else I may be at the time. I did a 15" screen laptop so take it with me most anywhere. I can then do whatever on line stuff I need to do either by tethering my smartphone, using my air card, or using the free Wi-Fi I can easily find now while out and about. I rarely use or count on park Wi-Fi - nor have found the need for booster - though I have one if needed.

Whenever I "am" out and about, I will most always leave my main desktop running even if boondocking, which I do a lot. I turn off everything else including the monitor - and let my solar panels and inverter supply the power. That allows me to do remote desktop with the main computer as needed from the laptop I have with me for whatever I may need in terms of data or whatever. Dropbox allows me to quickly pick up on whatever I was doing in the office or out and about when I move to any other computer in my network -- or smartphone. That's vs. having to use a flash card to move my work from one machine to another.

Can't imagine getting up in the AM and going to work somewhere else in an office. Someone asked me once how long my commute to work was -- and after some thought and mentally figuring the distance from my RV bedroom to my RV office, responded, "just under 15 feet".  :)
I have been full time for almost 2 years now and my work requires consistent internet service. I try and use the campground WiFi as much as possible and have moved from one campground to another for better service....shame on the campground for not providing decent WiFi since it is readily available almost anywhere.

For on the road I use a Verizon Hot Spot and have found it to be very reliable. I am sitting right now 33 miles outside of Denali National Park and I can get my hot spot to work with at least 3G, not 4G but it is enough for slow web access but decent email access. I am on our camp WiFi now, but if it goes down, I switch to the Verizon.

I had an ATT SmartPhone and was displeased with the coverage, drop calls, lack of 4G etc. So I eliminated that option. I could or have been able to make a call and connect my hotspot from Verizon almost everywhere. However in the exact same location I could not even make a phone call with ATT. It got so bad I forwarded my "office" phone (ATT) to my personal Verizon cheapie Samsung not smart phone to get my calls.

So my suggestion would be a Verizon Hot Spot - use campground when you can and the trusty Mc Donalds when you have to. While driving to Alaska through remote Canada I used McDonalds and was never disappointed.

Good Luck,

I started full-timing in October 2011, and am a software developer for a large company.  I feel fortunate that I can have this wonderful lifestyle and still do the kind of work I enjoy.  It is of course critical that I have good voice and data wherever I am.  I don't count on park wi-fi, because it is so unpredictable.  I will use it occasionally if I here it is particularly good at some park, and I am close to using up my data limit.

I use a 4G USB Verizon card, that is plugged into a Cradlepoint router.  It is similar to a home router except it allows the USB cards to be plugged into it, so some of my devices are hard wired to the router, and all the rest are wireless like our printer, iPad, laptops, entertainment devices, etc. So far it has worked wherever we have been.  We stay out of National and State parks because typically there cell coverage tends to be poor, but we find a place that is close enough to the park that it is not a hardship to drive the car to the park.

We plan on being somewhere later in the year, where the RV park owners told me that they have poor Verizon service but good AT&T service, so I will probably get  a short term hookup with them during that period.
We've been full-time for 2 years now and have relied primarily on a Verizon 3G hotspot card for Internet access. We recently upgrade to their 4G Mifi Jet Pack thinking we'd get faster service. Didn't help, the Jet Pack would only receive about 3 bars of 3G where we're parked about 30 mi inland from Myrtle Beach. After a friend introduced me to his Wilson Sleek 4G-V cradle I ordered mine online for $129.00. A good investment as now I enjoy 3-4 bars of 4G service setting in the same spot.???
I too work from home and full time. I have a Verizon Mifi and a Cradle Point router that can use wifi as WAN. I also have an external antenna for the Mifi which helps a lot. It all works very well and let's me run 2 iPads, 2 laptops an Apple TV and a printer all on the same network. If we are at a place with a good wifi signal, the router can use that, if its slow (which it usually is) the router can use the Mifi.
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