We are still very pleased with the PepWave Surf on the Go router and the Millenicom service. During 2013 we spent 105 nights in the Airstream including a 2 month trip from NC to Colorado and New Mexico. We stayed primarily in state parks. We also spent considerable time in Florida in January and February.
My wife uses the Pepwave with an iPad while we are in the truck traveling from place to place. The Pepwave moves to the trailer for overnights where it serves as a router and hotspot for two Macbook laptops, the iPad, and a wireless Epson X410 compact all-in-one printer. The system works superbly.
Here are some specific observations:
1) So far I've seen no need to buy an outside antenna. When in camp we stick the Pepwave on the glass in one rounded corner of the panoramic window at the rear of our 27FB Safari with its suction cups. If there is Verizon service in the area (Millenicom is on the Verizon network) we pick it up. Our cellular phones are on a separate Verizon plan. If we have Verizon phone service in a location we have data service through Millenicom. If the phones can't pick up a signal outside the trailer, we won't have data service via the Pepwave and Millenicom.
2) Overall Millenicom service coverage on the Verizon network has been good. There were a few isolated locations in the west, both on highways and in very rural mountainous areas of Colorado where Verizon did not have service. We expected to experience some out of service areas and weren't particularly inconvenienced. Most places we stayed overnight we had service. The one major exception was in the panhandle of Oklahoma at Black Mesa State Park where there was no cell phone service for miles.
3) The Pepwave router has worked flawlessly as a hotspot and seems to have a broadcast range around the trailer of at least 50 feet. It has good up to date password security and encryption so we've never had an issue of another camper using our wifi.
4) The most data usage we've experienced is 12 GB in one month. That particular month we had some very heavy downloading of large data files and software updates due to the after replacing a crashed hard drive on the road. We leave the router and internet service on 24/7 while traveling.
5) Upload and download speed on the 4G Verizon network feels as fast as on our cable modem at home. When were are in 3G only service areas downloading is definitely slower. We do very little video downloading, except the occasional short YouTube video. Streaming is often choppy on 3G but adequate on 4G.
6) Now that we are comfortable with not exceeding the data limits, we almost never try to access campground wifi. The Pepwave Millenicom setup is invariably faster and more reliable than campground service.
7) We we aren't traveling with the Airstream, we often carry the iPad and Pepwave around with us in a tote bag. On car trips DW can access the internet on the iPad while I drive. We have a 110v adapter, as well as the 12v
, so if we are in a public location without wifi, and have access to an electrical outlet, we can use a laptop or our iPad.
8) It is possible to set up a separate guest network on the Pepwave if you want to give a camping neighbor wifi access.
9) I have performed one firmware update on the Pepwave since I purchased it. I noticed no change in performance after the update. The update was simple.
10) Our uses are primarily internet surfing and email. We do sent photos via email and I have both uploaded to and downloaded from YouTube. We have never tried to stream a TV show or movie. My consulting clients will occasionally send a large document file and I've never had a problem sending or receiving these files.
11) Only once have I experienced what I suspected was Verizon limiting the download speed. I was in a remote 3G service area in rural Colorado and had a large (1.2GB) software update to download. It took nearly 12 hours (overnight) to download and in monitoring the download it was obvious the download speed after about 20 minutes of downloading had slowed significantly. As this was a unique exception to the excellent service we've experienced I wasn't too annoyed.
12) If your cable or DSL service goes down at home, this is a nice backup to have available.
13) To date we have not tried to suspend service with Millenicom and then resume. This is a nice feature to have if you aren't going to be camping for a few months, but so far we seem to be using the service almost every month.
14) There is no contract with Millenicom (you buy your USB modem) so if for some reason the service no longer works for us we can cancel at any time without penalty.
We are extremely satisfied with this approach to providing a reliable wireless hotspot with internet service for our Airstream. It is simple and easy to set up as well as operate. Simple and trouble free is nice to have on the road!