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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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