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(Near) Constant Internet While RV'ing?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the use-a-thumper dept.

Transportation 438

Neilio writes "What systems would Slashdotters recommend for staying connected while RV'ing across the US and Canada? While a 3G data plan seems obvious, the intrepid RV'er wants to get remote and into those parts of the coverage map that are usually gray (no coverage). But satellite can be expensive, includes high latency for VoIP and gaming, and requires a clear view of the southern sky. I've come across some intriguing products that use an amplified 2G/3G signal and bridge to WiFi, like WiFi In Motion, and CradlePoint's MBR1000 (I have no affiliation with either). Do folks have any experience with these, or can you recommend another approach (even homebrew)? While I am an electrical engineer by degree, you have to go back a few decades since I last expertly sported a soldering iron, so the less DIY the better. My wife and I now run a web-based business, so nearly daily connectivity is a must, no matter where we are."

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What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444321)

What exactly is RV'ing?

Re:What? (4, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444485)

RV = Recreational Vehicle. It's a small (or sometimes large) home on wheels.

I think the Brits call them "Caravans", in case you're from that side of the pond. ;)

Re:What? (5, Funny)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444659)

We'd probably call it a camper van. A large camper van.

A caravan is something old people tow behind their hysterically underpowered cars in order to clog up the smaller roads in rural Britain with maximum effectiveness for any public holiday weekend.

Re:What? (1)

catdriver (885089) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444867)

You mean like this? [youtube.com]

Re:What? (2, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444873)

Good point.

An RV would probably more accurately be called a "Camper Van". My mistake. Though I don't know if you have a separate term for one the size of a bus, errrr, lorry.

A "Caravan" would be (depending on size) probably called a "Pop-up" (very small one that collapses), "Camper" (about the size of an automobile, the ones that Top Gear are always destroying), or a "Fifth Wheel" (if it requires a very large truck and sleeps more than 4) in the US, if I have my English to USEnglish translator working correctly. Unless you have other terms for the pop-up type and/or the really big "sleeps eight" behemoths.

Sorry for the confusion.

Re:What? (1)

Eravau (12435) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444947)

Whereas we Americans would probably call your idea of a "caravan"... a camper [travelfurther.net] . A caravan is a line of camels, horses, buggies, cars, whatever traveling together in a line.

Re:What? (0, Troll)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444673)

RV = Recreational Vehicle.

That is odd I use my boat for recreation but it doesn't qualify as a RV. I use my off road rigs for recreation too. Someone care to explain?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444729)

It's a dumb question. So, no.

Re:What? (5, Funny)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444763)

That is odd I use my boat for recreation but it doesn't qualify as a RV. I use my off road rigs for recreation too. Someone care to explain?

Starfish aren't fish, either, and you park on driveways and drive on parkways. It's called language. Get used to it...

Re:What? (2, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444809)

It's just the term that's developed in the US for a large van or bus that has beds in it.

If you call it a "Recreational Vehicle", most "RV" drivers would look at you oddly anyway, so the acronym has largely lost its original roots.

Some call them "Campers", but that's usually a term reserved for the type you tow behind another vehicle. Somehow, the term "RV" came into usage for the ones that are built onto a chassis that has an engine and drivetrain.

Re:What? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444835)

That is odd I use my boat for recreation but it doesn't qualify as a RV. I use my off road rigs for recreation too. Someone care to explain?

Its disambiguation.

From the wikipedia "The earliest caravans were used for practical purposes rather than recreation, such as providing shelter and accommodation for people travelling in search of an audience for their art, or to offer their services to distant employers, or to reach a new place of abode." (Yes the misspelling is wikipedia's not mine)

So, if people originally used boats for purely commercial purposes, and recently started using a slightly different style boat for purely recreational purposes, its possible that recreational (non-commercial) boat would be called a recreational vehicle or RV, as opposed to the commercial boats we all have experienced.

RV = Campgrounds and Parking Lots (2, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444893)

The very size of a typical RV is going to limit the roughing it. You won't be driving it cross country, you'll likely be on Interstates and staying in campgrounds. Many campgrounds already offer WiFi, as do most bookstores and restaurants. Map out where you are going on the internet, and identify chain stores that offer WiFi. Stop in their parking lot, walk around and get something to eat and get access. Picking campgrounds that offer WiFi isn't difficult either.

Re:What? (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444899)

RV = Recreational Vehicle.

It's a synonym for "girlfriend".
Since you're probably unfamiliar with this term, here's an explanation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girlfriend [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What? (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444935)

RV = Recreational Vehicle. It's a small (or sometimes large) home on wheels.

Large is an understatement. Some of the RVs I have seen on the road should easily be able to light up towers for hundreds of miles with roof mounted antennas. Depending upon exactly how ridiculously tall the posterâ(TM)s RV is, denial of service might be an issue to be considered.

Re:What? (5, Funny)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444699)

RV'ing is when you put on a one-piece jump suit, throw all your stuff in a big box on wheels and drive up any hill you can find at the slowest speed possible and still be considered moving. If you see a place where you can park your big box, you pull over and most likely others, also wearing one-piece jump suits, will pull over too. You all make drinks and talk about each others big box, your next big box, and the box that got away.

LoB

Re:What? (5, Funny)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444789)

So it's like a lan party, only with more driving?

Re:What? (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444847)

I advise forgetting the RV and traveling by hotel instead. I do a lot of traveling and all hotels have internet connectivity, even it's just a phone line. The better hotels let you connect direct to an ethernet line, like the one I stayed at in Oklahoma City which only cost ~$800 a month with free net access.

And the distance from the hotel to "nature" is typically only half-an-hour. You can go picnic, enjoy the outdoors, and then come back to the hotel for a hot shower and free cable TV.

Re:What? (0)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444777)

What exactly is RV'ing? Can I do it without leaving my mom's basement?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444779)

How is ignorance and the inability to use google "insightful"?

Re:What? (0)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444843)

haven't you see the family guy where quagmire sleeps with a woman in every state?

Iridium? (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444345)

Very slow and very expensive, but as they have lots of satellites in polar orbit, you just need a clear view of the sky. Maybe use it only where you can't get a cellphone connection.

Re:Iridium? (3, Informative)

ArcadeX (866171) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444577)

There's now something called Iridium Openport, which is a satalite ISDN that's always on, but you have satalite expense. Works well enough the TS Kennedy.

Re:Iridium? (4, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444805)

32kbps, 150MB for a thousand a month, per-minute thereafter. Basic hardware package seems to be around five grand. 3G+Hughesnet would be vastly faster and cheaper for what he wants to do.

Cat V (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444349)

Big spools of Cat V... it's cheap

Re:Cat V (3, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444525)

II cats is about the limit for an RV. V cats are too many tails underfoot.

Re:Cat V (4, Funny)

InsaneProcessor (869563) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444643)

and they tend to bother you mouse too.

Re:Cat V (1)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444709)

a moose once bit my sister

Inmarsat (4, Informative)

Virtucon (127420) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444357)

Inmarsat BGAN performs well however it is pricey for the setup and monthly fee. The advantage is that you can get coverage basically everywhere. There's also setups that allow tie-in for a phone, fax etc.

Sprint Mobile Broadband (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444375)

I have been using them for almost a year and the speed is OK (~1 M), the latency a bit high (~100ms). It is a 3G wireless card, plugs into a PCMCIA slot. I created a home router, but you can buy one that fits the card. If they ever get their act together, they might bump it up to 4G. All you need is one of their cell towers. And they have a map.

how about (2, Insightful)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444393)

netstumbler?

Re:how about (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444837)

What does wardriving do if you need to connect without stopping at every open AP you find?

Priorities (5, Insightful)

loteck (533317) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444399)

If you want constant internet access, you must not go where there is no signal.

If you want to go enjoy remote places with no signal, you cannot have constant internet coverage.

Pick one.

Re:Priorities (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444455)

What kind of blasphemy is this, advocating common sense on Slashdot!?

Re:Priorities (4, Funny)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444479)

But ... isn't RVing about getting away from it all (while still taking it all with you?)

Re:Priorities (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444713)

RV'ing is about comfortably getting away to places without low overhangs and with the occasional sewage dump site.

Re:Priorities (5, Funny)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444723)

Yeah but unfortunately, no matter where you go, there you are.

Re:Priorities (2, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444799)

OP doesn't say whether they need constant internet access even while mobile, or if they have the option of releasing a tethered repeater balloon which soars to a height of 10km whenever they've stopped - even a remote place.

Let me get this straight (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444403)

You say "the intrepid RV'er wants to get remote", but you want to remain in constant internet contact. You claim it's about your business, but you worry about latency's effect on gaming.

Why exactly are you heading out anywhere? Cuz it sounds to me you're not gonna to see anything that's not reflected in your computer screen...

Re:Let me get this straight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444489)

Modded +1: Obvious point that really needs to be asked.

Re:Let me get this straight (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444511)

Well, he lives in his Mom's RV's Basement and she likes to travel.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444817)

classic

Re:Let me get this straight (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444589)

I agree - why would you be gaming while on a RV trip? This almost like asking how to picnic while snorkeling.

Re:Let me get this straight (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444631)

Just make sure you like fish, preferably sushi.

Re:Let me get this straight (5, Funny)

BirdDoggy (886894) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444701)

His web business is WoW gold farming.

Re:Let me get this straight (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444745)

So, you don't think people should want to live somewhere nice just because sometimes they use a computer or watch TV? I can completely see the appeal of being able to go to a beautiful National Park, do some work in the morning, and have the rest of the day to enjoy my surroundings. You don't have to be doing outward bound every time you're in a remote area. I'd like to take off for a few months myself, and I'd be interested in internet access in remote areas too.

high latency == bad performance of SSH (2, Interesting)

ndege (12658) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444955)

I admin a number of servers and work from home most days. My wife and I would love to live further out in the countryside without all the noise and light pollution. Most people that I mention this too have an instant solution: satellite. The problem that most people don't understand, and the problem I find myself explaining, is the concept of high latency. As I use SSH for my livelihood, low latency is extremely important.

Most people don't understand the negative effect of latency on interactive real-time communication until I use the example of gaming. That's when people "get it"...even though I haven't playing anything online in a couple of years.

The most important service to my life right now, and the way I earn my livelihood, is via SSH.

Could it be that because he runs some webservers, he _might_ need SSH...that, and he might have kids and/or a spouse that likes to game?

Seems reasonable to me.

Just FYI, I do agree with a post from another thread that explains it this way:

1. user wishes to be out in the sticks
2. user wants connectivity
3. connectivity isn't always available in the sticks.
4. therefore user isn't always able to get connectivity when in the sticks.
5. profit?

freak (2, Insightful)

joejor (578266) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444407)

most people (ie, non-slashdotters) take the RV to get away from the constant barrage of tech and telecom, to see sights not (web)sites, to look out the window and not at Windows.

Re:freak (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444477)

Right. I happen to like to vacation to the Terminal. @Author: So you want to vacation away with the world and simultaneously be in instant contact with it? Tough to do.

Re:freak (2, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444627)

People use a piece of technology to get away from all the technology and then wonder why it isn't working...

Re:freak (4, Insightful)

Torontoman (829262) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444661)

This is a bit harsh. Often RV'ers are gone for long periods of time. I know someone who spends his winters RVing in Mexico. he runs a business and needs to also be in touch with people regularly.

Re:freak (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444887)

You are being an asshole. A lot of people are losing their houses (or leaving them voluntarily ahead of someone making the decision for them, which is an unusually mature choice these days) and moving into an RV right now. Beats moving back in with your diaper-wearing parents. If you don't have any kids and are willing to get rid of all that crap you never take out of boxes anyway, it could even be fun.

I'm planning on getting a truck camper to go with my 1992 F250 4x4 Super Cab Diesel with 4" lift (but first I have to stop it from exhibiting the wobble of death) along with a nice titan guard winch bumper. RV into the boonies for sure... I don't feel the need to have internet every step of the way, though.

(And to those who say that anywhere you can reach by vehicle isn't remote enough, I have a mountain bike, and a big hiking backpack. But I see the vehicle as part of the expeditionary package.)

Both (1)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444413)

Get a 3G and a satellite. When you're within range of a cell tower (which is almost everywhere, these days) you get the high speeds you want. Outside, you still have basic Internet connectivity via the satellite.

Or give it 20 years and I can almost guarantee you that you'll be able to pick up a high-speed, low-latency connection from anywhere on the continent.

3G zoom (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444429)

My parents used a 3G card while driving around the country, but it had a built-in antenna. I'd look for a 3G device with an antenna jack and connect it to a directional antenna on the roof. There are rotating TV antenna devices for RVs which could be altered to hold a suitable directional antenna. Or might an RV satellite dish mount be adaptable to focus on a 3G antenna?

Re:3G zoom (2, Informative)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444827)

Airlink Ravens [sierrawireless.com] are cellular modems with Ethernet jacks. You can attach any kind of antenna you want to it - mount it on the roof if you like. Run the signal you get through a cellular amplifier and that's about as good as you can ask for in the cellular world.

By myself (1)

charlyb13 (1638795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444441)

Have you heard about 4G - this is very interesting thing.

Re:By myself (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444885)

Psft... I have been using 5G for years now.

You ask the impossible (5, Insightful)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444443)

You don't want to use satellite and you say cellular coverage isn't good enough. What exactly are you expecting? If there's no connectivity, there's no connectivity. No amount of homebrew can fix that.

You also seem confused by WiFi In Motion and Cradlepoint products. They don't amplify anything, they're just access points that you can plug your phone in to get wifi coverage. A laptop and a router can do the same thing.

You have two choices:

1) Pony up the dough for satellite coverage
2) Get a cellular data plan and live with no connectivity in dead zones

I don't believe there are any other alternatives.

Re:You ask the impossible (5, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444793)

He could become a ham radio operator and use his home base as an internet proxy server. I don't know what the latency would be, but I would guess it would be better than satellite.

Re:You ask the impossible (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444963)

You also seem confused by WiFi In Motion and Cradlepoint products.

I believe you are confused about WiFi In Motion's product. From thier FAQ:

What is WiFi In Motion? WiFi In Motion is a packaged wireless Internet access solution that includes a high-gain antenna, a 3-watt amplifier, a 3G mobile router, and all the accessories you need to create your own hot spot.

http://www.wifiinmotion.com/frequently-asked-questions

I however don't know if cradlepoint's device amplifies or not as they have no FAQ I can easily find on their website.

Well... (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444449)

You might want to get a Starbucks gold card [starbucks.com] as a fall back plan. It costs $25/year. You can get 2 hours of wifi at any starbucks with it per day. (I don't work for Starbucks and I don't own any of their stock).

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444917)

Screw Starbucks, any public library and many other establishments have FRE wifi. Hell, the bar I go to has wifi, and almost all its patrons are construction workers who don't even have computers, let alone laptops. I've never seen anybody in there use the wifi. McDonald's (at least the one on 6th street) has free wifi.

Do you pay for your air?

INMARSAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444467)

Not the cheapest or the fastest, but proven technology.

The easiest solution (5, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444471)

Product requirements;

- Decent latency
- Decent bandwidth
- Available everywhere
- Reliable

Solution; none. There is no product out there that will meet all four requirements.

It now falls to you to decide what your priority is. Given that you need to stay in contact because of business concerns, I'd guess you'd make the following priorities

1) Reliable
2) Low latency for voip purposes
3) Enough bandwidth for voip/email/image uploads
4) Available everywhere.

If that's the case, then the obvious answer is to simply NOT travel anywhere without 3g coverage. No other solution you are going to find will match your requirements otherwise.

Re:The easiest solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444623)

Or satellite phone + internet... somes offer both.
You'll get your Phone + Internet "everywhere"... but latency will be there

Re:The easiest solution (3, Informative)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444725)

You forgot inexpensive, as the submitter dismisses satellite for that reason.

I use a Thuraya [thuraya.com] handset when I am in the bush and it has worked the few times I've needed it, as long as it wasn't under a heavy jungle canopy.

amplified yagi antenna + WLAN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444493)

I'd say your best bet (short of sattellites with their insane latency) is to get yourself a mobile broadband card or router, and get yourself a really nice antenna on the top of your RV. A good directional yagi can provide a massive signal boost, and if you point it towards the nearest town or highway, i'd be willing to bet you close in your grey areas by quite a bit. And its a fairly cheap solution, at least compared to irridium and company.

The downside, of course, is that you need to be stationary and actually point the antenna at each location... but an intrepid RVer such as yourself wont have any qualms climbing up to your roof and aiming an antenna, right?

RFC 1149 (4, Funny)

milgr (726027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444535)

Implementable anywhere an RV can go. Latency leaves something to be desired.

Re:RFC 1149 (1)

toppings (1298207) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444761)

Course, you may suffer high packet loss near overpasses.

Intrepid? RV'er? It Hurts. (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444565)

intrepid RV'er

I may have a different definition of "intrepid" than you but to me there's nothing intrepid about any location you reach by road unless you're talking about hostile countries or might-wake-up-without-your-kidney parts of Mexico. Especially if you're on your laptop having a conference call while your TV dinners cook inside the RV.

Do yourself a favor and get out of the position where your business can't function without you. If you have you have to be a single point of failure I'm sorry you picked that profession in life and it's great that you make twice what I make but I would not trade places. If you want something moderately challenging then leave at home all your electronics and canoe/portage 50 miles into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area [wikipedia.org] for an intrepid vacation. Trust me, to see land so pristine was a near religious experience and I definitely went back.

Go white water rafting or mountain hiking or get dive certified. I'm sorry if your health doesn't permit this but I personally don't find anything intrepid about a recreational vehicle.

Parent is more Offtopic than Insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444803)

Stay on topic. Everyone here has to toss their two cents in every chance they get, which detracts from the topic at hand.

Re:Intrepid? RV'er? It Hurts. (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444905)

With a motor vehicle, sure, your point about roads and trepidity is fair. Under your own power, however, I'd say biking a few good mountain chains, even on a road, is decently intrepid.

Re:Intrepid? RV'er? It Hurts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444937)

I have to agree with the BWCA suggestion. Used to go there with my father when I was in high school (mid-90's). The first day was the roughest, but after that you adjust quickly to the physical aspect of it, and the lack of technology. Its very refreshing to cleanse the system of overexposure to EM and computers.

Internet and Camping mutually exclusive (1)

Y Ddraig Goch (596795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444599)

As one who has just returned from camping, Mammoth Caves NP and Blue Ridge, I can say that cell service is most definitely ubiquitous, neither are Star Bucks. We did find one coffee shop with free WiFi. Of course we weren't looking very hard. About the only thing I needed my laptop for was storage for my camera cards. Leave the internet at home, it WILL be there when you get back. BTW, ditch the RV too much more of an adventure in a tent.

Not many options (2, Informative)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444605)

I will have to continue the trend of most posters and say none. If you are wanting just basic connection to load a page or two in a browser, you can do satellite in the places where 3G is no an option, but if you need things like VoIP and gaming, then forget it. Even over 3G the latency is too high for gaming unless you are playing some turn-based RPG. VoIP might be ok as long as you turn up the compression on the codec, but over all I think your best option is to either stay put, or stop frequently to plug in your laptop to a wired network.

3G with Repeater. (2, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444609)

It won't give you 100% completely continuous coverage, but in areas where there is even weak 3G coverage outdoors but just not inside the RV, you could use a repeater. That allows you to put a really big antenna outside (it can even be directional) and the unit acts as a small local cell tower giving you full bars inside the RV.

Of course, if you go outside of 3G coverage, your phone will fall back to an older technology which is slower, and if you get out of data areas altogether you're screwed. However, you can supplement this in a lot of areas - many parks now offer WiFi.

I use a repeater at my house because, while I have half-decent signal outside, I have an aluminum-sided house and inside there's no signal whatsoever. I just use the included el cheapo antenna, but you can add some really powerful receiving antennas for some extra dough. My repeater cost about $300, and is a ZyXel unit, but Wilson and several other companies make various iterations of them with various antenna designs.

You'll still have to stick to at least fringe areas where signal is actually available, but it would significantly increase your range at least. Short of satellite, which you've already said you don't want, that's about it at the moment.

random comments (2, Interesting)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444641)

2-way sat modems are very tricky to set up the dish. You can't just point them with a compass and azimuth guess like you do with DBS...you have to get feedback about how well the satellite is receiving your uplink. And if you do get it pointed correctly, every time you walk around the RV you'll move the dish a little bit and lose the uplink. Also, the "flat" dishes you see on top of escalades that work in motion are receive only. You cannot use a 2-way sat modem while in motion, period.

I think 3G is your best bet. I'd go with a cradlepoint and have a tetherable 3G phone (on a different network) as a backup. ( Possibly, you can plug two different providers' USB modems into the same cradlepoint and make handoffs seamless; you'd have to ask them to be sure.)

If you can park near someplace near civilization you'll probably spot an open wifi in about 30 seconds.

Final thing is if you're running a web-based business and can afford an RV and 3G phones and stuff, perhaps you can afford some employees to run the business for you while you go on an actual vacation.

Cat6 (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444669)

You just need really long cord, and plenty of repeaters.

Amp your signal (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444677)

It won't help if there's NO signal, but in weak signal areas, signal boosting equipment can give you better cellular reception.

I work in the cellular industry, and Wilson Electronics' stuff is well-respected.

Disclosure: my company is a dealer. We have been told by carrier engineers that the carrier itself recommends and uses this equipment, though. And notice that I'm not giving you a link to our site.

This kind of equipment is expensive - somewhere around the $600 range - but you can get one setup that will work simultaneously for AT&T, Verizon and Sprint (and probably others), because it depends on frequency, not encoding. And of course it's a one-time purchase, not an extra monthly fee.

Re:Amp your signal (1)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444743)

Also - yes, Cradlepoint makes good routers. Some of them can load-balance between two cellular data cards and effectively give you twice the bandwidth. Extra bonus if you're in 4G coverage and 4G-capable cards (which in your case is extremely unlikely, as 4G isn't even in most major cities yet). But again, you have to have signal.

Canada & 3G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444687)

If your travelling in Canada & using 3g, factor another $4.87 for vaseline becuase your going to be raped by the cell companies. We are known as the most expensive & overcharged for cell & data plans. $25/month gets you about 500mb or $80 for 5gb and .03 per mb after that. Oh yah that doesn't include the $6.95 (were going to charge you cause you'll take it) access fee. Im sure your web business is going to go through alot more than 5gb/month without considering voip usage.

GSM/CDMA Amplifier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444697)

Depending on where you go, you can get some extra single inside those areas using a booster/amplifier. Search for SmoothTalker, they sell 3 watt boosters and amplifiers, you can also do a search and find Wilson products, but those are not *true* 3 watt transmit.

Wifi (2, Interesting)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444707)

Nationwide wireless internet sucks.

Stay at campgrounds that offer Wifi, problem solved.

KOA has tons.

http://koa.com/ [koa.com]

On the Go internet (1)

juniorkindergarten (662101) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444711)

I have set up an internet connection using the cradlepoint mbr1000. A very cool little device.
I set this up for an OHL team we that we drive around into a 56 person coach along with a 3000W inverter. This allows up to 18 people (18 outlets) to plug in their laptops and get high speed internet access.

The setup was a snap, I just grabbed a rocket stick, plugged it into the router, gave it juice and followed the setup instructions. Setting up the security, and (yes) parental controls was a snap. So long as there is a cell tower they have access to the internet, and most importantly has yet to drop the connection at highway speeds. I'll keep an eye on this thread and answer any questions.

Packet radio (2, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444727)

If speed and latency aren't priorities and you can deal with unencrypted transmission, I'd recommend getting an amateur radio license and operating a packet radio [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Packet radio (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444787)

Replying to myself here. I forgot to add that the FCC also forbids the use of amateur radio for commercial purposes. Stick with the existing infrastructure for your web business. If you need daily connectivity, forget remote areas. Satellite internet is the only thing I can think of.

Two RVs (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444733)

The first RV stops at the edge of 3G connectivity. The 2nd goes on into the bush and uses WiFi and cantennas on masts to achieve connectivity to the 1st RV and thus the 3G network.

Troll from the RV (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444771)

First post!

There is no silver bullet (1)

hande1 (1619561) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444783)

This is a problem I have been faced with in several projects in and the message is...there is no silver bullet. You cannot magically construct backhaul where there is zero infrastructure. It's just not possible. The only thing you can feasibly do is work within the confines of available technologies, and maximise the usability of these. For example, I am using a home-made gateway in my most recent project, using Squid + Cellular dongle (HSPA/EDGE/GPRS). However, in this case the difference is that several users are using the network, thus a caching proxy makes perfect sense because my users are using separate terminals to access the same data. As someone else has mentioned, you can also pick devices that give you the best chance of getting a signal. in my experience, cable loss on most devices is such that unless you plan on taking directional equipment with you and spending a few mins aiming it, this is pointless. Make sure your adapter supports receive diversity as many of the cheap Huawei models vendors like to give out just don't. Going back to SW approaches... you can maximise speed by utilising server side compression at your ISP end (mostly enforced on you though to be honest). This way you're pulling down as little as possible - and really that is the key. Alternatively I floated a concept I disgustingly labelled 'cloud caching'. Basically the premise of using a VPS or dedicated server to do this content compression using FOSS, and then using the VPS as a gateway - http://up-stream.co.uk/2009/05/rabbit-web-proxy/ [up-stream.co.uk] Before I cut away from that point, if you don't fancy rolling your own, and you don't know if your operator has any data compression you can hook onto Opera Turbo, which does the same thing but you're at the mercy of their servers - http://up-stream.co.uk/2009/05/opera-turbo-testing/ [up-stream.co.uk] I can only speak for cellular, and not for satellite. Other /.'ers will be able to help there, but what little experience I do have leads me to believe your connection will be a bigger running cost than the petrol you put in your RV... easily. Also, sorry for using links to my own work. By all mean look for other resources RE the stuff I have pointed out. Google is our friend.

Re:There is no silver bullet (1)

hande1 (1619561) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444875)

Sorry... formatting FAIL.

This is a problem I have been faced with in several projects in and the message is...there is no silver bullet.

You cannot magically construct backhaul where there is zero infrastructure. It's just not possible.

The only thing you can feasibly do is work within the confines of available technologies, and maximise the usability of these. For example, I am using a home-made gateway in my most recent project, using Squid + Cellular dongle (HSPA/EDGE/GPRS). However, in this case the difference is that several users are using the network, thus a caching proxy makes perfect sense because my users are using separate terminals to access the same data.

As someone else has mentioned, you can also pick devices that give you the best chance of getting a signal. in my experience, cable loss on most devices is such that unless you plan on taking directional equipment with you and spending a few mins aiming it, this is pointless. Make sure your adapter supports receive diversity as many of the cheap Huawei models vendors like to give out just don't.

Going back to SW approaches... you can maximise speed by utilising server side compression at your ISP end (mostly enforced on you though to be honest). This way you're pulling down as little as possible - and really that is the key. Alternatively I floated a concept I disgustingly labelled 'cloud caching'. Basically the premise of using a VPS or dedicated server to do this content compression using FOSS, and then using the VPS as a gateway - http://up-stream.co.uk/2009/05/rabbit-web-proxy/ [up-stream.co.uk]

Before I cut away from that point, if you don't fancy rolling your own, and you don't know if your operator has any data compression you can hook onto Opera Turbo, which does the same thing but you're at the mercy of their servers - http://up-stream.co.uk/2009/05/opera-turbo-testing/ [up-stream.co.uk]

I can only speak for cellular, and not for satellite. Other /.'ers will be able to help there, but what little experience I do have leads me to believe your connection will be a bigger running cost than the petrol you put in your RV... easily.

Also, sorry for using links to my own work. By all mean look for other resources RE the stuff I have pointed out. Google is our friend.

Copy the offshore sailing world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444785)

Not sure on what your budget is but in offshore sailing (and other offshore activity I'm sure), we use products from immarsat (http://www.inmarsat.com/), essentially using sat phones to get access. Again, not sure if it fits your budget, but perhaps combining this with a 3G data plan will keep you online while you RV across NA.

Internet RV'ing could revolutionize the pursuit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444791)

Could you imagine a future where RV-based internet combined with flash, google street view, a rack of graphics processors connected to a grid of LCDs could provide an incredible view of the road with resolutions as high as VGA with refresh rates possibly higher than 2 or even 3 times a second!!! Super-low latencies of 30,000 milliseconds should be able to guarantee a revolution in RV'ing turning a pedestrian pursuit into a heart-stopping thrill-ride!

Internet Porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444821)

Was I the only one who read the description and thought to myself "Good internet connection, in an RV, web based business... sounds like a recipe for a porn site" Run live shows each night for your subscribers, but do things in remote locations.

I live out in the woods myself, way off track for ANY ISP to want to touch me. I grudingigly opt for 3G because it seems like the best I can get, and Verizon's service is sometimes slower than dial-up, sometimes not.

What you're asking for sounds like a technological holy grail. Good internet access anywhere in the world that can be used by anyone who can RTFM.

Tether iPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444823)

get a linksys wireless router upgrade to dd-wrt set it up as a repeater/bridged and use the iPhone third party tethering to broadcast the signal to the router... it works!

the people questioning why (4, Insightful)

maharb (1534501) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444851)

Half the comments have some portion dedicated to criticizing the idea of RVing and "being connected'. Why is it so hard to understand that liking the outdoors/road and having internet are not opposites. Everyone that is asking why he even needs internet should ask themselves why they want phone service when not at home. The internet is just as much a tool as a frying pan or a tent these days, and having access to it at all times is very useful. Not to mention that one could spend all day hiking around and doing activities outside only to retreat back to camp and want an hour or two of connectivity. Not totally insane if you ask me. As for how to do it? Well I am not an expert in that area so I will let someone else help out.

sprint mifi! (1)

mytrip (940886) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444891)

I have a Sprint MiFi and like it but you should know Sprint and Verizon do not have data everywhere they have voice. AT&T does but I dont think they have a MiFi right now. The mifi is from novatel and gives you a wireless hotspot that provides data for up to 5 devices. Way cool and no software to install. I just love mine.

3G to WiFi bridge and balloon (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444915)

Loft your 3G bridge with a tethered balloon or kite.

Verizon + Cradlepoint + Wilson antenna (1)

machinegunben (672267) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444919)

I drive to some pretty remote places storm chasing, and use a Cradlepoint CTR350 with a Verizon USB727 aircard hooked up to an external wilson mag mount dual band antenna. This is about the best you will do without using expensive satellite.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444921)

This fits all the criteria except for price... Do a search on BGAN DSL. I wish this technology would come down in price, as I"m sure it will eventually. This seems to be the BEST solution out there if you can afford it.

Satellite is the only way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29444933)

I did some research on this a while back and it costs about $5K to get a satellite dish installed that will allow you to travel and rotate the dish for you each time you reach your destination. In addition the satellite internet providers charge around $100+ per month to support this solution. The site http://www.rv-satellite-internet.com/ shows how you can manually set it up and align the dish yourself. The pros are that it only costs $45 per month and you don't have to pay an outrageous price for the install. The downside is that you have to align the dish yourself each time and there is no tech support. I've heard you can expect around 400Kbps - 900Kbps on the down and 100Kbps on the up. Latency will be around 100ms as it is for most wireless-based solutions.

I just did this trip: don't bother trying for wifi (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#29444941)

I just spent a week driving through rural Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, with two friends. When we weren't on the Interstate, we had, during the entire week, a grand total of less than an hour when any one of the cellphones could pick up enough signal to talk. When we *were* on the Interstates, we had cellphone coverage less than half the time. In any of the towns of under 2000 people, I never saw any wireless access using kismet and the standard laptop pcmcia card antenna. In larger towns, like Bozeman or Billings, there was great cellphone coverage and even some open access points, especially near big hotels. But once we were out of sight of towns that size (and there are only about 12 of them in the whole area) there was absolutely nothing.
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