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schoonmakerjon

Evaluating Internet Options

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All,   I'm evaluating Internet connection options to support basic internet browsing, email and TV/audio streaming services.   I've noticed there appears to be 2 primary options to make the Internet connection and acquire quality services.   I'm interested in folks taking either of these approaches and their experience installing, setting up and getting quality services.   The 2 approaches I've investigated are:

1.  Use a major mobile phone service provider, e.g. AT&T, Verizon and install their hotspot device.   The Verizon options are the Jetpack MiFI 8800L or MiFi M2100 5G UW.   Both are installed inside the RV and provide inside WiFI services for TVs, tablets, smartphones, etc.

2.  Use a major rooftop antenna supplier with connection to the respective mobile data/phone service providers, e.g. AT&T, Verizon.   The Winegard 360+ or Connection 2.0 are the examples here.  These involve installing a rooftop antenna, similar to satellite TV, and then wiring into the RV.   I believe either Winegard product requires a respective mobile service SIM card to make the connection into their network.

Option #1 appears simpler/easier, the question is quality of connection/service.   Please advise anyone current installation approaches and setup/operational experiences.   Thank you.

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We use the Sprint/Tmobile hotspot from FMCA. It is an INSEEGO unit and works great.$50 a month no throttling. I have it tethered to a Pepwave Surf SOHO router and can use cellular modem or even have it set-up to connect to the campgrounds wifi if it is good. Also there is NO contract required.

I just connect my equipment to the Surf SOHO's wifi.

Edited by sstgermain

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sstgermain,

Hello and thank you for your reply.   I expect this is Sprint/TMobile's equivalent to Verizon's Jetpack MiFI 8800L or MiFi M2100 5G UW, as both are hotspot products.

Does your setup work as effectively while traveling down the road, as well as stationary at a campsite?   I'm interested in both capabilities, connection while traveling and quality/performance connection while at a campsite.    Thank you.

            ---  Jon

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Verizon or T-mobile/Sprint MIFIs operate and look to be identical. I had both. For me I found better coverage with Verizon, but one location the Verizon was about half the speed of T-Mobile/Sprint. It just depends on where you use them. In our Arizona resort on Verizon MIFI we are using 2 iPhones, an iPad, 2 laptops and ROKU for tv streaming without any problems. 

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IMHO you can't make generalizations and comparisons between two different hotspot devices on different plans and in arbitrary locations.  Cellular service is highly location and plan-dependent.   

That having been said, the new state-of-the-art T-Mobile hotspot is the 5G  Inseego M2000 which T-Mobile is providing at 50% off MSRP.  I have two of them and two 100GB/$50 T-Mobile plans.  I've never been a fan of T-Mobile but these are working well.

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I think is more about the plan offered.  T-Mobile now has 100 GB plan that would only last me about 6 days with normal TV watching and internet services.  Verizon might have better coverage but you probably end up with plan that won't support you activity so having the fastest network that you run data on isn't worth having. 

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11 hours ago, cwswine said:

T-Mobile now has 100 GB plan that would only last me about 6 days with normal TV watching and internet services. 

We stream all our video and spend a lot of time on our laptops.  I estimate our usage is in the 200-300 GB/mo range.  I now have two of the 100 GB T-Mobile plans along with a grandfathered prepaid unlimited Verizon SIM.  I'm currently looking to replace my now-dead AT&T unlimited SIM.

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All,

Very helpful information.   I'm currently a Verizon mobile customer so I'll evaluate the possibility of adding their device to our current plan, with expanded data.  Also, I'll have a look at the T-mobile/Spirit options as these appear to be lower-cost and more flexible.   Thank you.   --  Jon

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On 1/13/2021 at 8:25 PM, docj said:

We stream all our video and spend a lot of time on our laptops.  I estimate our usage is in the 200-300 GB/mo range.  I now have two of the 100 GB T-Mobile plans along with a grandfathered prepaid unlimited Verizon SIM.  I'm currently looking to replace my now-dead AT&T unlimited SIM.

In our sticks and  bricks  we used  600  to 800GB per month and  that is not a estimate but from  usage  chart provided by COX.  In Dec I download some movies  for trip down south and we got overare warning at 1.2TB

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We have a IPad with a Verizon air card unlimited plan. The iPad hotspot is the only internet Source we have At home and in the Motorhome. It appears the iPad has a stronger card than the phones, we were north of Yellowstone last year and both of our Verizon phones had no service but were able to use Prime and Hulu on tvs connected to the iPad. 

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 The IPad probably has a better antenna system than the phones, due to much more limited space within the phones.

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On 1/11/2021 at 1:14 PM, schoonmakerjon said:

All,   I'm evaluating Internet connection options to support basic internet browsing, email and TV/audio streaming services.   I've noticed there appears to be 2 primary options to make the Internet connection and acquire quality services.   I'm interested in folks taking either of these approaches and their experience installing, setting up and getting quality services.   The 2 approaches I've investigated are:

1.  Use a major mobile phone service provider, e.g. AT&T, Verizon and install their hotspot device.   The Verizon options are the Jetpack MiFI 8800L or MiFi M2100 5G UW.   Both are installed inside the RV and provide inside WiFI services for TVs, tablets, smartphones, etc.

2.  Use a major rooftop antenna supplier with connection to the respective mobile data/phone service providers, e.g. AT&T, Verizon.   The Winegard 360+ or Connection 2.0 are the examples here.  These involve installing a rooftop antenna, similar to satellite TV, and then wiring into the RV.   I believe either Winegard product requires a respective mobile service SIM card to make the connection into their network.

Option #1 appears simpler/easier, the question is quality of connection/service.   Please advise anyone current installation approaches and setup/operational experiences.   Thank you.

There's also a third option, which we've gone with. I installed a roof-top antenna that is connected to a module inside the coach which helps to relay the cell signal from a more distant or weak tower. It does help our reception inside the coach since the antenna is much higher than our devices inside the coach and allows us to keep a good signal when we wouldn't be able to otherwise. This type of system doesn't require an additional sim card or data plan - it just allows the one we have to work better. When we are in a campground, I am able to raise the antenna even higher which helps even more.

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All, helpful information and I'll evaluate adding a rooftop antenna, as there was previously one installed for a satellite TV connection.

Also, for folks adding a router to your hotspot, what can you all share about the router's added-value to the setup?   

I'm understanding that most hotspot devices allow a dozen+ device connections at one-time, so my initial understanding is that a router would not be needed.   Please let me know anyone's perspective/understanding about the router's added value.    Thank you.

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