"OMG I Can't Get a Signal!!!!" If you have a teen, it's very likely you've heard this complaint before, and you probably will when you're camping. Not everyone who goes camping is looking to rough it. Glampers, full-time RVers, and those who use their RV for a vacation home still like to stay connected. Many RV parks and campgrounds offer free Wi-Fi, but it's not always as good or as accessible as you'd like it to be. Here are some RV park Wi-Fi tips to help you get a better signal the next time you go RV camping.
How the Campsite Wi-Fi Works
The Wi-Fi from the campsite is typically coming from the office of the campground. Due to FCC regulations, the range of this signal is limited. Coupled with the fact that campsites are often full of trees and other things that can block the signal, it's likely not to be a very good one when it reaches you. That is, if it reaches you at all! Since that just simply won't do, let's look at ways you can improve your RV Wi-Fi.
Try to assess the campground before you choose your spot. Look for a spot that is close to the office and has the least amount of trees in between you and it. This will help eliminate interference. If you're unsure where the Wi-Fi is coming from, ask someone who works at the park. Once you find out, it wouldn't hurt to take a laptop or another device and walk around from site to site to see where the best access is. If none of this is possible, or the signal is still weak, there are some things you can do to your RV to increase the signal you can get.
Exterior Additions to an RV
While maybe not the best looking, an external point-to-point Wi-Fi antenna works really well for hard-to-reach signals. This is an antenna that will mount on top of the RV and will need to be adjusted to point toward the Wi-Fi signal when you get there. These antennas are relatively affordable, but must be used in conjunction with a Wi-Fi adapter to get the signal to the device you're using. The next step down from a point-to-point antenna is an 8dBi outdoor Omni Directional Antenna. This one works like the point-to-point but doesn't need to be pointed directly at the signal. This one is a little more discrete, but it isn't going to pick up the signal quite as well as the point-to-point antenna.
A Super USB Wi-Fi antenna is the next closest to the outdoor antennas that you can keep inside. These units attach to the window, and then plug directly into your computer's USB port. This does not require the use of a Wi-Fi adapter but can be plugged into a repeater system to create a wireless option inside your rig. A Wi-Fi range extender, or sometimes called a Wi-Fi repeater or booster, will pick up the signal, boost it, and then re-transmit it. These can come in all shapes and sizes and you want to ensure you research reviews when choosing one. The Netgear AC750 is a unit that plugs into the outlet in your RV and boosts the signal from there.
Get Your Own Wi-Fi
If you find that your need for a reliable Internet connection requires more than what these boosters and antennas have to offer, you may want to consider paying for a service of your own. One option is to get a satellite service. This will require mounting a dish on your rig and running the wires into a modem. A cellular company can create a sharing point from your phone where you can tether to your 4G as Wi-Fi. Make sure to discuss this option with your provider as it may have costs if you don't have the right package. No matter your reason for needing reliable Internet, you should be able to find a solution to your problem. So whether you need it because you work full time from your RV, want to look up campfire recipes, or just to cure your teen's tech withdrawal, follow these tips for a much better signal the next time you're living the RV lifestyle.