Do you want to work full-time from the comfortable confines of your RV? If so, here’s the good news: running a mobile business has never been easier thanks to widespread wireless broadband Internet access.
But a word of caution: when you do start working from your RV, you’ll constantly be thinking about your mobile Internet connection. That’s because the more you roam, the more you’ll experience inconsistent connectivity speeds.
This is not how you work from your RV:
How to Keep Your RV Business Online
To ensure your business will run without a problem, you’re going to need at least two ways to connect to the Internet. You won’t want to have one pathway fail while you’re left without a backup.
Having a backup way to get Internet in your RV is called “redundancy,” and without it you should probably forget trying to operate a business from the road.
The majority of full-timers who work from their RVs pay for two types of mobile broadband hotspots, and usually from two separate providers.
- Verizon and
Full-time RV’ers like my husband and I purchase plans that enable us to get online with our providers’ dedicated cellular modems.
Dedicated Cellular Modems, aka Mobile Broadband Hotspots provide many benefits.
- They’re fast. Connections are slower than cable or DSL but faster than satellite Internet — usually.
- They need a local cell tower. If you like camping in urban areas this isn’t an issue. But if you love to get away from civilization you’re going to get frustrated. A lot.
- They’re only as good as the network. Your hotspot device may work just fine, but your connection to the Internet is only as good as the network your provider is utilizing to carry the signal.
- You’ll have a limited data allowance – usually. Most plans cap your daily or monthly data allowances. Unlimited data plans are hard to find these days.
The most popular way to get online: the mobile broadband hotspot.
For some full-timers like me who want to camp off-the-beaten-path, redundancy means using a mobile RV satellite Internet system as a primary connection, with a mobile broadband hotspot as a backup.
Here’s what you can expect with a roof-mounted satellite Internet system:
- Gets you online, anywhere. You can enjoy Internet access from the farthest reaches of North America, Canada and Mexico.
- Is expensive. It costs a few thousand dollars just to buy and set up the necessary roof-mounted equipment.
- Is for geeks. Unless you are comfortable with the intricacies of network management, don’t go near it.
Are you geeky enough for mobile satellite Internet?
You might be asking “What about free WiFi at RV parks and campgrounds?” After seven years on the road, my answer to that is: “Don’t bet on it.”
It’s icing on the cake if an RV park delivers the free WiFi that it promises, but if you’re trying to run your business on the road, you will quickly go broke if you think you can run it from free Internet connections at RV parks.
Most do not deliver Internet connectivity that comes close to what they say they have.
What Does Internet on the Road Cost?
Whatever type of business you operate, if you need to get online you’re going to pay more than you ever have for Internet service. Plan on at least $175 a month for basic cellular broadband coverage with a backup method, and you can almost double it if you’re investing in satellite Internet.
And remember that you’re going to need lots of patience for when can’t get online, even with redundancy.
As you can see, getting online from the road is tougher than when you lived in a stick house, and it’s more expensive too. But in the end, the office views you get to enjoy are priceless.