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Old 09-26-2022, 10:02 PM   #1
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Internet connectivity

I have seen a variety of confusing information regarding internet connectivity.
Cell data and satellite
My understanding- donít depend on campground WiFi.
At home we use internet connection for Apple TV, YouTubeTV and streaming.
What are the current options at this time?
We are looking at a27í GT.
I get the impression Airstream Connected with AT&T is no longer available.
Muskís StarLink is not ready for prime time.
I donít where to start.
I presume we will be remote- ie Yellowstone, but also around civilization.
Cell boosting?
Many suggestions look very complex.
Thanks for suggestions.
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Old 09-27-2022, 12:25 AM   #2
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I use two different systems. For basic cellular connectivity, I use a weBoost system with a roof mounted external antenna. Additionally, I installed a WiFi Ranger system with a Category 12 cellular modem (AT&T). This will take campground WiFi and create a private network for my devices, or it will use cellular when there’s no WiFi. It works very well for me, including some relatively remote mountain areas. That said, if there is no signal at all, then it won’t work.
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Old 09-27-2022, 02:07 AM   #3
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Airstream Connect is still available. It comes stock with the Classics and the Pottery Barn. We added it to our unit and my wife uses it for her work. In the evening we use it to stream Netflix, YouTube, and such on our television. We are very satisfied. You can use any or all of the available cell providers.
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Old 09-27-2022, 11:23 AM   #4
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Starlink is the best solution I've found. It is limited to areas that have a clear view of the sky, but there are plenty that have a telescoping mast to get more reach (I just purchased one but have not gotten it yet). However it gets reception where cell cannot reach. I've also found it generally has higher speeds anywhere that's not in a large metropolitan area compared to cell. A robust solution will use both.
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by jfreeham View Post
Airstream Connect is still available. It comes stock with the Classics and the Pottery Barn. We added it to our unit and my wife uses it for her work. In the evening we use it to stream Netflix, YouTube, and such on our television. We are very satisfied. You can use any or all of the available cell providers.
Do I understand correctly- the Airstream Connect works as a cell data booster like the WeBoost? I think one difference is that it can accept 2 SIMS cards, thus 2 carriers. Suggestions for carriers? I currently use AT&T.
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Old 09-28-2022, 02:20 PM   #6
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Starlink is the best solution I've found. It is limited to areas that have a clear view of the sky, but there are plenty that have a telescoping mast to get more reach (I just purchased one but have not gotten it yet). However it gets reception where cell cannot reach. I've also found it generally has higher speeds anywhere that's not in a large metropolitan area compared to cell. A robust solution will use both.
I am confused- I read that Starlink is working for your defined locations. Someone (a very dangerous generic person) said that it is not ready for nationwide roaming. I see people tailgating with satellite TV- any options there?
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Old 09-28-2022, 05:06 PM   #7
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They have an RV service that is mobile (which I have). It has been better than cell and og satellite for me. I actually use it for my home Internet as well as we don't have "real" high speed internet where I am.
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Old 09-28-2022, 05:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis C View Post
I use two different systems. For basic cellular connectivity, I use a weBoost system with a roof mounted external antenna. Additionally, I installed a WiFi Ranger system with a Category 12 cellular modem (AT&T). This will take campground WiFi and create a private network for my devices, or it will use cellular when thereís no WiFi. It works very well for me, including some relatively remote mountain areas. That said, if there is no signal at all, then it wonít work.
Hopefully this question will be of interest to the OP as well. We find that using our iPhones as mobile hot spots is a great solution for streaming all of our normal at-home services when camping, including YouTubeTV; it typically works much better than the usual campground WiFi. We have an unlimited data plan, so the hot spot data allowance is pretty generous. The issue is reliable cell signal strength and I've considered a booster but have been a little apprehensive about installing one. Could you provide more information about your weBoost installation, including how/where you mounted the external antenna and gained entry to the trailer with the connecting cable? Thanks.
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Old 09-28-2022, 09:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mikeinca View Post
Hopefully this question will be of interest to the OP as well. We find that using our iPhones as mobile hot spots is a great solution for streaming all of our normal at-home services when camping, including YouTubeTV; it typically works much better than the usual campground WiFi. We have an unlimited data plan, so the hot spot data allowance is pretty generous. The issue is reliable cell signal strength and I've considered a booster but have been a little apprehensive about installing one. Could you provide more information about your weBoost installation, including how/where you mounted the external antenna and gained entry to the trailer with the connecting cable? Thanks.
I had my weBoost system installed by my Airstream dealer when I bought the trailer new back in 2020. The antenna mount is screwed directly into the roof, and the cable runs externally along the roof until it is directly above the wiring compartment for the stereo system, DVD player, etc. A hole was drilled to allow the wire to run directly into the wiring compartment. In my 23FB, this compartment is in the overhead locker above the dinette. Everything is sealed up well and Iíve had no leaks.
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Old 09-28-2022, 09:13 PM   #10
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Thanks, Dennis.
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Old 09-29-2022, 06:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by wrgrimes View Post
Do I understand correctly- the Airstream Connect works as a cell data booster like the WeBoost? I think one difference is that it can accept 2 SIMS cards, thus 2 carriers. Suggestions for carriers? I currently use AT&T.
Beginning with 2021, all Airstreams are prewired for Airstream Connect, so no holes need to be drilled into the unit.

I'm not sure if Airstream Connect is like WeBoost. Actually, I'm not very conversant in these matters. What I do know is that we have been connected to the internet in places where all of the reviews said something like this, "There is no cell reception from any of the carriers." One example is Padre Island National Seashore. We had Internet for the entire two weeks we were there. Apparently no one else did. They would stand on the dunes, contorting their bodies in an attempt to find a signal so as to talk on their phone. They were like a big row of ducks standing on the dune When my wife was sitting outside and zooming a meeting, people were so surprised that she was doing so they would say to her, while she was in the meeting, "How can you do that? I can't even get a signal." She would say, "It's an Airstream thing "

We use an Atlantic Telephone and Telegraph sim card. We are ready and willing to insert a Verizon sim card, but so far, everywhere we've traveled to in our two years of full-time travel, we've always received an AT&T signal. Chalk it up to luck, or give credit where credit is due: Airstream.
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Old 09-30-2022, 12:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfreeham View Post
Beginning with 2021, all Airstreams are prewired for Airstream Connect, so no holes need to be drilled into the unit.

I'm not sure if Airstream Connect is like WeBoost. Actually, I'm not very conversant in these matters. What I do know is that we have been connected to the internet in places where all of the reviews said something like this, "There is no cell reception from any of the carriers." One example is Padre Island National Seashore. We had Internet for the entire two weeks we were there. Apparently no one else did. They would stand on the dunes, contorting their bodies in an attempt to find a signal so as to talk on their phone. They were like a big row of ducks standing on the dune When my wife was sitting outside and zooming a meeting, people were so surprised that she was doing so they would say to her, while she was in the meeting, "How can you do that? I can't even get a signal." She would say, "It's an Airstream thing "

We use an Atlantic Telephone and Telegraph sim card. We are ready and willing to insert a Verizon sim card, but so far, everywhere we've traveled to in our two years of full-time travel, we've always received an AT&T signal. Chalk it up to luck, or give credit where credit is due: Airstream.
Thanks
I am still sorting out Connect verse boosters.
Looking at Mobile Internet Resource Center for education.
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:34 AM   #13
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Hi

Back to basics:

WeBoost is an amplifier system that adds a bit of range to your cell phone or hotspot. It may take a one bar / no data signal to one that actually works. The phone or hotspot needs to be close to the "inside" antenna for it to work well.

The "Airstream Connect" is a gizmo from Pepwave that is a fancy cellular hotspot. The "pre wire" gives you an outdoor antenna. This helps a bit with range compared to a device inside the trailer. The Pepwave also can act as a WiFi repeater if you get a campground WiFi that is useful ( don't hold your breath ....). Unlike a lot of hotspots, the Pepwave lets you use two SIM cards and operate off of two carriers.

Starlink (in its current configuration) pulls a lot of power compared to any of the stuff above. That may or may not be a big deal depending on your use case.

Which one is better / faster / easier? This is a "that depends" sort of thing. We have seen Starlink deliver 3 to 10 Mb/s sort of rates with some fairly significant dropouts. In urban areas our hotspots can deliver 50 Mb/s. That's highly unlikely in a rural setting ...

The big question becomes: What happens if you don't have connection to the internet? If your job depends on daily video interaction and you want to be anywhere / everywhere .... that's a problem. If you mover around a lot and being without email for a couple days is ok, then a lot of things work.

The other side of this coin: How much do you want to spend / how much space to you want to take up / how much do you want to play with setting this stuff up every day when you pull over? Nobody can really answer that part but you. There's a finite amount of room in any budget and in any RV ....

Bob
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Old 09-30-2022, 08:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrgrimes View Post
I have seen a variety of confusing information regarding internet connectivity.
Cell data and satellite
My understanding- donít depend on campground WiFi.
At home we use internet connection for Apple TV, YouTubeTV and streaming.
What are the current options at this time?
We are looking at a27í GT.
I get the impression Airstream Connected with AT&T is no longer available.
Muskís StarLink is not ready for prime time.
I donít where to start.
I presume we will be remote- ie Yellowstone, but also around civilization.
Cell boosting?
Many suggestions look very complex.
Thanks for suggestions.
I think you've hit the nail on the head.
Many of us don't want to spend thousands to send an e-mail.
But we don't want to be out of touch either.
There's no perfect answer yet, IMO.
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Old 09-30-2022, 11:28 AM   #15
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The gold standard for quality information about mobile connectivity options is the Mobile Internet Resource Center https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/. They constantly review plans and technologies. Some content is free but just become a member for the full suite.

Most will tell you Starlink is great when it works but between obscured sky views and outages in congested areas it’s not a singular solution. Having it and cell service, with a cell booster, would be the deluxe solution.

Airstream Connect isn’t a booster, as was mentioned, is a high end hotspot with an outside antenna. You have to buy a separate data plan for it. Because of its outside antenna you may not need a booster in many cases.

What we do currently is have a high end WeBoost booster with the antenna at one end of the trailer on the roof and the inside antenna over the dinette at the other end (to minimize feedback.) Most of our devices, tablets and cell phones, are on a family plan through AT&T that includes free streaming and 100GB per device. That seems to be enough for us but everyone is different. If we need to use a computer, we just tether a cell phone to it or set up a hotspot from the phone. Importantly, we stream content from a phone (connected to the TV) to take advantage of their free streaming. Don’t hotspot to a smart TV, for example, as it could well chew through your data plan.
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Old 09-30-2022, 01:22 PM   #16
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The gold standard for quality information about mobile connectivity options is the Mobile Internet Resource Center https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/. They constantly review plans and technologies.
I agree that they are the best at keeping up with the latest and greatest technology. Which is exactly why I can't use their advice. I want simple. I want something I'll use for a couple years at least, and I'm not willing to pay a monthly fee over $50.
I was sold on a jetpack with a MIMO antenna that suctioned cupped to the window. Before I bought it 5G became more popular and the jetpacks no longer have antenna ports. I find the Airstream degrades cell signals, so now I'm supposed to sit outside? Hang the jetpack in the window?
Buy the 4G jetpack?
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Old 10-01-2022, 01:02 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I agree that they are the best at keeping up with the latest and greatest technology. Which is exactly why I can't use their advice. I want simple. I want something I'll use for a couple years at least, and I'm not willing to pay a monthly fee over $50.
I was sold on a jetpack with a MIMO antenna that suctioned cupped to the window. Before I bought it 5G became more popular and the jetpacks no longer have antenna ports. I find the Airstream degrades cell signals, so now I'm supposed to sit outside? Hang the jetpack in the window?
Buy the 4G jetpack?
Of course they have advice at all different price points, as simple as which cell plan to choose.

For RVing away from cities, I never get 5G. That may change, but 4G will alway have more range. Buying a 4G Jetpack, or using your cell with a booster, is a fine choice. We chose the later because it tends to be cheaper and much better for streaming.
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Old 10-01-2022, 02:48 AM   #18
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RV Connectivity Solutions

These folks are an excellent resource for exploring RV connectivity options. They also routinely review connection plans. Check them out:

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Old 10-01-2022, 07:48 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mollysdad View Post
I agree that they are the best at keeping up with the latest and greatest technology. Which is exactly why I can't use their advice. I want simple. I want something I'll use for a couple years at least, and I'm not willing to pay a monthly fee over $50.
I was sold on a jetpack with a MIMO antenna that suctioned cupped to the window. Before I bought it 5G became more popular and the jetpacks no longer have antenna ports. I find the Airstream degrades cell signals, so now I'm supposed to sit outside? Hang the jetpack in the window?
Buy the 4G jetpack?
Hi

All of this is *very* specific to an individual need. What seems to be great to this or that person, may well be useless to somebody else. A plan that does a Wonderfull job in this area may be utter junk in another area ( or a year later when the details change ....). A lot of plans with odd carriers have a short useful life. How do you feel about changing plans every few months?

Is YouTube a fun place? Sure it is. Is there some good info there? Yes. There's also a *lot* of very suspect stuff. Sorting that all out .... yikes. Working out if it applies to you or not ... double yikes.

An Airstream is a tin can. Radio stuff does not go well through tin cans. Tower over there, radio here .... not so much. Move tower over that way and sit over in this spot, works a lot better. Which way will you set up today?

Camp in urban areas and you have great signals. Camp out in the boonies .... not so much. Its not just about the number of bars on that signal level indicator. The equipment matters. How well it's maintained matters. How overloaded it is matters. How awful the feed into it is matters. Who owns it ( Uncle Bob Cellular or AT&T ) likely matters.

You might say, get multiple gizmos on multiple carriers. Sounds like a great idea. Here we are in this location. Odd that we have exactly the same signal level on T Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T. Let's take a look at the details. They all seem to be in roaming mode. They also all seem to be hooked to a carrier even less famous than Uncle Bob Cellular. Strange than none of them work very well at all ....

So no, there are no perfect solutions. All of this involves compromise.

Bob
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Old 10-01-2022, 12:18 PM   #20
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Suggest looking at mobilemusthave.com.

They sell equipment but also have a ton of very helpful educational videos.

I have just begun an install of their full timer bundle after studying options for quite a while. I started looking at boosters but ended with their system - router plus outside mimo antenna.
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