One of our concerns when travelling in the van was connecting to the internet. We can connect in two ways when travelling. One is by cell phone data. The other is by using WiFi networks to get internet signal. We decided to install some hardware that would increase the signal strength of both these methods.
Cell Phone Booster
When we installed the solar panels we decided to remove the old TV antenna from the roof. This gave us the space for the panels, but also left a hole drilled through the roof. We used that to install a Wilson 4G Cell Phone Booster and an antenna.
The phone sits in the cradle, and a small antenna is on the roof. The antenna itself has to sit on a metallic surface to work. Our roof is fiberglass so we had to stick on a piece of galvanized steel.
We also decided to upgrade the antenna that came with the original booster. It has made a pretty big difference to the signal strength of the unit, increasing signal by one or two bars.
This booster was really useful when we were travelling in the USA, as we were constantly camping in very remote areas. We had an unlimited internet plan with T-mobile, so would could listen to as much Spotify and Youtube as we wanted!
Altogether, this upgrade costs between 150 and 200 US dollars.
This one upgrade has made a huge difference when we’re at RV parks, campgrounds, and parking lots where we can find Wifi. It means instead of sitting outside searching for an internet signal, you can be sitting warm in the van with full bars.
We found a company in Florida called Altelix that made WiFi equipment for sail boats. The antenna looked sturdy and wasn’t expensive. We bought the following four things:
We attached the antenna with the bracket to the back of the van where an old CB antenna was previously. That meant there was already a hole for the cable to go through.
Then we connected the cable to the antenna, and ran it so that it came out under our table. Then we attached the USB adapter to the end of that cable.
Now when we want to use to the WiFi antenna, we get out the longer USB extension cable, and use it to connect the adapter to Melissa’s laptop.
Altogether, this upgrade costs around 100 dollars.
So now you know how we stay connected on the road! We don’t really have too many excuses anymore not to talk to our parents!