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Internet for caravans: what you need to know

Caravans tend to be located in areas of beauty with limited infrastructure. That’s a major part of the joy right? However there’s still a need to stay connected and the best way to do that these days is through the internet. 

It’s true, the internet has taken hold of our lives. We can’t even read our favourite newspapers these days without a good internet connection. The good news is that Internet connection in off gird locations has become  increasingly common place. Whether you need static caravan internet, Touring caravan internet or Motorhome internet, there’s solutions for all.

Rural and caravan site WIFI is notorious for being unreliable and slow. Why is this? Well on Caravan sites you are sharing sometimes only 1 internet connection with many other users. In addition, Rural phone lines are sometimes yet to be modernized to fibre optic equivalents you would enjoy at home. As such they just can’t get to the speeds and reliability you are going to need to get things done. Want to stream TV, watch Netflix, SKy Glass or even webcam, work from home, or play games? You are going to need a much more reliable connection.

In this article we will discuss the various options available to caravan owners to improve their internet connections.

  • What are your caravan internet options?
  • The pros and Cons of each option
  • How to get started – instructions to set up your internet.

Caravan Internet and WIFI: what options are available? ​

There are a number of ways to get connected to the internet depending on your location.

  1. Caravan Park WIFI or Site WiFi
  2. Phone Hotspots
  3. MIFI Hotspot devices
  4. Caravan WIFI routers

Let’s find out a little more about each caravan internet option. . We will discuss  the good and bad points of each.

Caravan park WiFi / Site WiFi

Caravan parks offer varying levels of WiFi. One of our major customer segments are caravan owners with poor on site WiFi who need help.

Many caravan parks offer a yearly or monthly subscription to utilize their onsite WiFi. These prices can range from £30 a year to £30 a month. It is worth noting that you tend to get what you pay for. If it seems cheap then you can expect the user experience to be limited.

Caravan park WiFi Cons:

Can be cheap – ranging from £30 – £500 a year

Easy to connect WiFi devices to

No installation and setup is required to get started

Caravan park WiFi Cons:

Sharing a connection with multiple users: This leads to reduced bandwidth which affects your speed and reliability. The more caravans and devices connected, the slower the internet connection becomes.

Peak time usage restrictions: Some caravan parks will try to ensure everyone has at least some access at peak demand times. This sounds great but what it really means is everyones speeds and download allowance is limited at peak times. 

What does this mean to you? It means that the movie you were half way through streaming gets cut off. Or maybe your work webchat gets cut off with no warning. At these peak times you can be limited to web browsing only.

Poor WiFi reception: To transmit WiFi around a caravan park, devices called WiFi access points/repeaters are used. There are  two major issues with these.

The first issue is the caravan site trying to keep costs down by keeping the number of access points to a minimum. Access points are expensive devices and require a network connection and power. Providing this infrastructure only adds to the expense. Further to this, many site WiFi systems are not owned by the caravan park but instead a private service provider whose sole purpose is to make as much profit as possible. The more WiFi access points the less profit they make. 

Why is this important? WiFi access points are dotted around the park and are what you connect your device to to get connected to the internet. The further away the access point is to your caravan the less powerful the internet connection and less reliable it becomes.

Caravans block signal: The second issue with WIFi access points is more to do with your caravan’s construction. WiFi signal passes easily through open spaces but passing through caravans to your device is not so easy. Caravans are made from various materials including metal cladding and foil insulation. WiFi signals can struggle to make it though and as such leaves you with poor connection.

Mobile phone Hotspot internet connection

Sharing your smart phones data connection with other devices is a quick and easy way to get connected. Your phone becomes a WiFi hotspot, meaning to connect other devices you simply search for the phone’s WiFi name and enter the password. 

Mobile phone Hotspot internet connection pros

  • You are using your existing data package provided by you mobile phone service provider
  • No extra devices needed – If you already have a smartphone then this usually available feature
  • Great in strong phone signal areas with 4G or 5G connection

Mobile phone Hotspot internet connection cons

Cost: Most other sites may reference the expense but this is a thing of the past. Mobile phone service packages tend to include a lot of data at very little expense.

Speed: Many of our customers ask why they would purchase one of our kits why they can just use their mobile phone hotspot. Well one of the big reasons is speed. Your phone itself may have a really fast connection. But when it needs to share that connection things tend to slow. Although it’s a great feature to have, a mobile phone is not designed to do this over lengths of time. Your phone will quickly burn through its battery and become hot if you strain this too much. As it strains the speed will reduce. 

Signal strength: Many of our customers experience poor phone reception when in their caravan or even at their caravan parks. Mobile phones have very small antennas with minimal gain. If you have poor phone reception, phone tethering is not an option for you.

MIFI Hotspots

Mifi hotspots are small devices that can fit in your pocket. You insert a sim card just like a mobile phone. These devices are designed to provide an internet connection for up to 16 devices.they range inequality hence speed and reliability but can provide a good internet connection in strong signal areas. 

MiFi hotspot caravan Internet connection pros

All the benefits of Mobile phone hotspot but the device doesn’t have to leave the room when you do. This means devices can stay connected even when you leave. 

Cheap to run: You can pick these up pretty cheap. Ranging from £60 – £500

MiFi hotspot caravan Internet connection pros

Reception strength: MIFI hotspots share similar cons as with a mobile phone hotspot. The main drawback begin small antenna size. This means that if an area has weak mobile phone reception, it’s likely these devices will not be suitable. 

Cannot be run continuously: It is not recommended that these devices are run continuously. Some users try to use these devices plugged into the mains power permanently. However they are not designed for this and can get too hot and stop working as a result.

Caravan WiFi internet routers

Caravan WIFi routers look and work much like the normal internet routers you have at home. However there is one major difference. The Internet routers at home require a phone land line to operate. Caravan Wifi routers use a cellular connection much like a mobile phone. 

The way a caravan Wifi router differs from a mobile phone is that it was designed solely to provide internet connection to other wifi devices and in some cases over Lan/cable connection.

Caravan Wifi routers can use both 4G and 5G connections, although 4G is more prevalent at the moment.

Caravan Wifi router kits have much larger antennas than a mobile phone, meaning they can gain stable internet connection in areas that a mobile phone couldn’t (i.e.poor signal areas). Further to this some caravan internet routers have the ability to install external antenna’s if the signal need boosting further. you can find more information on improving your signal here

Caravan WiFi router pros:

Larger antenna: and ability to have external antennas increases the likelihood of a strong internet connection

Can connect up to 32 WiFi devices

No need to share bandwidth: No need to share your bandwidth with other caravans in your park. Meaning faster, more reliable connection. 

Minimum setup required: caravan things realize that not everyone is a tech guru. Our kits come ready to go, setup on a network with credit. Just plug it in and turn it on.

Caravan WiFi router cons:

Still require mobile signal: Although much more capable than mobile phones at receiving a signal in poor signal areas, caravan WIFI routers do still need one. If you think you may struggle we can run signal checks for you to ensure compatibility. Just contact us using our contact form here.

More information on Caravan WiFi routers

Caravan things provides plug and play internet solutions for Static caravans, touring caravans, motorhomes and Campers. in addition our kits are suitable for boats, trucks, cars and more. Check out some of our products below or visit our home page for more information

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How to Improve your Caravans WIFI

we have literally hundreds of caravan owners reach out to us asking for help with their poor caravan WIFI. 

As we all know WIFI and internet connectivity is an absolute must in this world we now live in.  As such if you have slow or unreliable caravan WIFI it has become a major issue. 

If you have read our other posts and information you will know that we currently push 4G broadband as being the best possible solution on the market for those of us not blessed with a BT landline. If you would like to read more about this I have left links at the end of this post.

4G caravan broadband utilizes 4G cellular data transmission. This is the very same technology as used by your mobile phone.

This begs the really big question, and one we always seem to be asked. that is…

I have poor Phone signal in my caravan, will this work for me?

So the quick answer is…

In nearly all cases YES! but there’s only one way to find out for sure.

The best way to ensure that 4G Caravan WIFI will work for you is to run signal checks. 

How do you run signal checks? 

It’s easy – reach out to us via our contact form and we will do it for you.

How does caravan 4G WIFI work?

Our caravan WIFI routers work like a hybrid between a mobile phone and your standard home router.

As far as everything connecting to your caravan WIFI is concerned, it’s just the same as at home, however instead of a landline plugging  into the router, you insert a sim just like your mobile phone.

OK it’s a little more complicated than this… But here at Caravan Things we do the more difficult technical bit for you. You just plug in and you are ready to go.

So why do our Caravan WIFI solutions work if your mobile phone doesn’t?

Our routers have far more sensitive antennas than that of your mobile phone. For starters the internal antennas alone are probably 100x’s the size of your mobile phones.

This makes a hell of a difference to signal strength and is a major player as to why our routers out perform your smart phones.

Our caravan WIFI solutions are compatible with all devices

A lot of our visitors reach out to us and ask us if our Caravan WIFI kits are compatible with their wireless devices.

The answer we give is simple. YES. Our caravan WIFI kits work just like a standard home WIFI system. Smart  tv’s, WEB chat, Tablet’s, PC’s, laptops, Netflix, Amazon prime, smart speakers, games consoles…. All of these and more will all work with our Caravan WIFI kits.

Caravan wifi compatibility

Why is your caravan WIFI signal poor?

There are many issues that can affect your caravan WIFI signal strength. 

From our experience the main four reasons your Caravan WIFI signal is poor are…

1: You are in a rural area which has poor Cell tower coverage (increasingly rare)

2: Caravans tend to be positioned in close proximity to one another. This removes line of site to the nearest cellular mast, hence reduced signal strength. (very common)

3: Caravan construction and design. Caravans can contain a lot of metal in their design. this makes it’s difficult for signal to enter your caravan  (strong outdoors, poor indoors)

4: Local interference: This can be caused by other caravans WIFI devices, your own electrical devices and site WIFI systems

Poor Signal caravan WIFI

How can you improve your caravan WIFI signal

If we run signal checks and it turns out your have poor signal what can you do about it. 

DONT GIVE UP! The solution is usually quite simple.

Our external antenna kits can almost always resolve your poor caravan signal woes

External antenna kits allow you to capture signal that would usually bypass or bounce right off your caravan. they are a little bit more expensive but in reality are one of the best investments you could ever make. They increase the speed and reliability of your signal significantly, In fact they are so affective that many of our customers choose our external antenna solutions even if their caravan has strong signal.
 

 

antenna boosting caravan signal strength

How does our caravan WIFI external antenna kit work

Our external antenna’s are affective in 3 ways.

External mounting: The antenna is mounted externally. This means it picks up signal that would usually bounce right of your caravan. Instead it captures this signal and transmits it through cable directly into the back of your caravan router.

Mounting the router externally also means you can mount it on a mast. This allows you to mount it high, just like your tv antenna. this gives better line of sight to the mast, hence better signal.

Antenna size: External antennas are much bigger and hence more sensitive,. This means they can boost signal more efficiently (Known as gain)

Antenna direction: External antennas  can be pointed towards the nearest mast. this makes them more efficient, and reduces the impact of interference from local sources. caravan things provides information on where to point the antenna with all our external antenna kits.

How caravan extenal 4g antennas work

Interested in purchasing one of our caravan WIFI kits?

If you like what your hear and want to know more. checkout our kits in our online store. You can find more information and guidance.

Always reach out if you need more guidance. we are happy to help. use our contact form or live chat.

 

 

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Unlimited Internet for Caravans

Unlimited internet for caravans

How to get unlimited Internet for caravans

The world is modernizing at a crazy rate and your need for Internet is ever growing, as such your data usage has got to the point where you need Unlimited internet for your caravan.

You are probably here for one one two reasons. If you’re based on a park/site you may have onsite WIFI that just doesn’t cut the mustard in terms of speed, cost, reliability and download allowance – More on this later.

The second reason is you are even less fortunate and have no available onsite WIFI or are constantly on the move in your Tourer/Motorhome.

The Good news for you is that we come across this is lot and have the perfect solutions to help.

CARAVAN THINGS PLUG AND PLAY KITS: You can skip the research and steps below and let Caravan-Things take care of the hard parts for you with one of our plug and play kits.. Find out more here

4G WIFI Router for caravans

Caravan WIFI 4G Router
Caravan WIFI 4G Router

4G technology has taken off in a big way in the UK. This is the same technology as used by your mobile phone.

To take advantage of 4G Internet for caravans we can utilize what is a know as a 4G caravan router. A 4G router is very similar to a router you would have at a normal home, however it does not require a landline to operate. Instead a 4G router utilizes connection to the cellular network.

4G caravan routers are capable of High speed Broadband internet, and more than capable of streaming TV, Online Gaming, Working from home, web chats, Internet Browsing and other normal tasks that require Broadband internet.

A good quality 4G caravan router will vastly out perform your phone it terms of signal strength, hence speed as it is designed only for this purpose and has larger antennas which are able to boost signal significantly.

Static Caravan 4G Antenna
Static Caravan 4G Antenna

If you your live in a a poor signal area the signal strength can be increased via the addition of an external antenna. these plug into your router much like the antenna to your tv. Even if you live in a strong signal area, an external antenna will still offer a performance advantage in speed and reliability. Making them a sound investments for any caravan owner wanting the best quality internet available.

Read more on 4G Caravan Router’s here

You can choose to pair your 4G caravan router with any 4G Network supplier. These include Vodafone, EE, THREE, O2 and many more. To receive unlimited internet for caravans without the need for a contract we would highly recommend the GiffGaff Network and a product they supply known as “Golden Goody bags”

Unlimited caravan internet without a phone line

There are many 4G suppliers who offer unlimited data only sims. At his point the major decision is to choose either a contract a or Pay as You Go deal. If you are like many of our other customers and readers you may only spend a portion of the year using your caravan. As such, to be tied down to a 12-24 month contract and only use it for 50% of that time is a huge expense you could do without.

For more information on network selection and caravan internet providers Click here

GIFFGAFF unlimited caravan internet

Get a free giffgaff Sim

Our solution is to take advantage of the GIFF GAFF network Goody bags deals. GiffGaff is a pay as you go network that offers what are know as Goody bags.

These deals a allow you to purchase chunks of data that last 1 month. There is no contract and no obligation to purchase another month of data if you don’t wish to. However GiffGaff also offer what is know as a Golden Goody Bag. These differ in that you set them up to auto renew, meaning when the 1 month expires you will automatically purchase the next months. These are not contracted so you can cancel them at any time just by clicking a button/slider on your account. Golden Goody bags offer more data for less money. If you can remember to cancel the renewal this is a great to save money.

Unlimited caravan internet GiffGaff Golden Goody Bag

In return for choosing a Golden Goody bag which will auto renew each month unless you choose not to, GiffGaff gives you more bang for your buck. In our case this means we can receive unlimited internet for what would usually be contract prices. This means we can save hundreds of pounds per year by not being stuck to a contract we don’t need all year round.

What Will Unlimited Internet for Caravans Cost

The unlimited Data pack from GiffGaff will cost £35 a month. Again you can cancel this at any time. This is completely unthrottled meaning you will receive full internet broadband speeds no matter how much you download, stream or make use of your connection. If you you only wish to use the internet for browsing but still want unlimited internet for your caravan, there is also a £25 package but this will be throttled after 100GB of data usage.

GiffGaff Simcard are completely free. Better still if you use the link provided HERE. You will receive £5 Free credit

Thank you for taking the time time to read our post. Enjoy your caravan internet!

Not Yet got a 4G router?

if you are yet to purchase a 4G router there a quite a few thing to take into consideration. These include the router specification, is the router open to all network providers, and your local areas signal strength.

There’s plenty more information on our website describing these complexities, but for now lets keep it quite simple. Below are simple steps to follow when purchasing the right 4G router kit.

Step1. Caravan internet Signal checks

as explained earlier 4G routers utilize the 4G cellular network, much like you smart phone. As with your phone, not all areas have strong signal. 4G routers have larger antennas than a mobile phone, so can make up for some level of weak signal, but this is not full proof.

The best way to ensure a 4g router kit would be suitable for you caravan, would be to run signal checks. Caravan-things can do this for you. Just use out contact form and provide the nearest postcode to your caravans address. When we run signal checks we will also provide you with information on our most suitable kit for your resultant signal strength.

What if you have poor signal?

If you have poor indoors signal normal 4G router kits would not be suitable. However, it may be possible to boost your signal to an adaequate level with an external antenna kit. these are more expensive that an standard router kit but are a great investment if you need get online. You can find Caravan-Things external antenna kit by clicking here

Step 2. Is your router open to all networks

Much like mobile phones, May service providers will lock their 4G routers to their own network. This means you cannot swap the sim in the router, its literally useless unless you stay with the same network. This isn’t always an issue. But lets say you can get a better data deal on another network. to change network you would also have to purchase anew router. This isn’t great. (Caravan-Things routers are open to all networks, you can change the sim card/network whenever you like).

Step 3. Router specification

There are different grades of 4G routers. They can be summarized by what category they sit within. these are number which range from 2-24. Cat 4 routers are the minimum standard we would recommend. These are sutiable for surfing the internet and working from home. If you are looking to stream TV, web chats, and stream music, we would recommend at least a CAT6 router. Anything beyond a Cat 12 router is pointless at this moment in time but may come into their own in the distant future.

All a little bit too complicated?

If all this is a bit much information and too much to understand, or even would take you too much time that you would rather spend elsewhere, then we can help. We can do all the hard work for you. We provide plug and play caravan internet kits, for statics, tourers, motorhomes and Campers. Find out more by clicking here

Please feel free to ask questions below.