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Transportation Wireless Networking Hardware

(Near) Constant Internet While RV'ing? 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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(Near) Constant Internet While RV'ing?

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  • Iridium? (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:04PM (#29444345) Homepage

    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.

  • Inmarsat (Score:4, Informative)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:05PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:06PM (#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.

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:12PM (#29444485) Journal

    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:Iridium? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ArcadeX ( 866171 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:17PM (#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.
  • Not many options (Score:3, Informative)

    by Stenchwarrior ( 1335051 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#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. (Score:3, Informative)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:19PM (#29444609) Journal

    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.

  • Re:Priorities (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:25PM (#29444713)

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

  • by Hijacked Public ( 999535 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:26PM (#29444725)

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

    I use a Thuraya [] 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.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:31PM (#29444793) Homepage Journal

    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:Iridium? (Score:5, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:31PM (#29444805) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:31PM (#29444809) Journal

    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:3G zoom (Score:3, Informative)

    by Nerdposeur ( 910128 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:33PM (#29444827) Journal
    Airlink Ravens [] 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.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:36PM (#29444873) Journal

    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:Iridium? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mytrip ( 940886 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:47PM (#29445045) Homepage Journal
    iridium is like $12/megabyte. Way too much.
  • by UttBuggly ( 871776 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:47PM (#29445059)

    My wife and I are considering an RV next spring and plan to take 1-4 week trips all over North America.

    I did some research and concluded that a combination of satellite, 3G, and a WiFi repeater would give us reasonable results. The difference is that we DON'T have a business to mind, don't need low-latency links for gaming, and don't plan on going to the middle of nowhere. I figured that even the TiVO would work while driving, with a $2500 mobile satellite antenna rig on the roof.

    You're asking for a "perfect" solution, which is your case, does not exist.

    The simple solution is the 7P rule; "Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance".

    Decide which is more important on any jaunt...going where no man has gone before OR grinding some quests in WoW.

    Put another way...and most technology adheres to THIS rule; the three variables are GOOD, FAST, and CHEAP - pick the two that are most important for YOU to have.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by ZERO1ZERO ( 948669 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:47PM (#29445061)
    Ha ha.

    In the UK a caravan is a caravan. If it sleeps 8 and has e.g. 2 axles and requires towing by a 4x4 or whatever, it's just a 'big caravan'. A smaller single axle one that sleeps maybe up to 4 is just called a 'caravan' or a 'small caravan'.

    The kind of thing that collapses into a small trailer is called a 'trailer tent', if it's the thing I'm thinking of. Also an alternative name for a 'camper van' is just 'camper' or 'caravanette' (less frequently used).

  • Re:Iridium? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @03:54PM (#29445163)

    Well if you would provide more information on what part of the US it might help.
    I can say from firsthand experience that if you're going to be traveling in Montana (where I live) you'll rarely find RV parks with internet access (they do exist in some places) and cell coverage is spotty in a great deal of the state. If you're traveling the interstate corridors you could probably get by with 3G coverage, but if you like to hit the back highways and campgrounds, especially once you get into the mountain regions you'll be outside coverage more often than you'll be in. Satellite is going to be your only option in many of those areas.

    I would say you'll probably want to rely mostly on the 3G cell coverage, with a satellite backup, and the rare times you're parked you can piggyback on whatever local wifi you can find. I would also check into someone like Irridium many of the satellite data providers have polar orbit parked comm sats. There's a good bit of Canada that simply has NO other option.
    In any event, the whole "clear view of the southern sky" is a marketing line from the dish TV companies because they don't have many sats and tend to orbit them over the southern US where the bulk of their customers are concentrated. Most satellite data services that are setup to handle more mobile access have sats that are more or less "directly" overhead.

    Good luck to you.

  • Re:RFC 1149 (Score:3, Informative)

    by shakezula ( 842399 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:03PM (#29445301)
    Very well said...too bad the folks who mod'd this informative didn't read what RFC 1149 actually is.
  • by Cato ( 8296 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:12PM (#29445393)

    WiFi in Motion does include a 3 watt amplifier and a high gain antenna, so it should get 3G signal at longer ranges than a normal mobile phone. However, it's not a panacea - satellite is the only way to get really complete coverage everywhere.

  • by drbuzz0 ( 1638167 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:15PM (#29445457)
    The simplest and easiest way to get service on the road is with a 3G setup. The major phone carriers in the US all offer pretty descent data service. Verizon probably has the single largest, although Cingular is getting close. T-mobile is almost non-existent. Check their coverage maps and compare it to where you want to go. Also, note that you don't need to be in the 3G/high speed area to access the internet. The equipment will work anywhere you can get a cell phone signal. If you are out of the 3G area, it falls back on the standard 2G/Voice system. Expect the speed of this service to be slightly better than an analog phone modem. In other words, if you want to email and surf pages that are mostly text, it's perfectly fine. If you want to do a lot of video, then the 2G service will be very frustrating and take a long long long time to upload or download the content.

    The best thing you can do for coverage, if you're planning on going on the fringe is use an external amplifier/booster and put a reasonably high gain antenna mounted high on the RV. With this, you'll pull in a good solid signal where the standard issue equipment won't get anything. You can find them any number of places online. Make sure it works with the high speed/3G service - usually on the 1.9 ghz band. You can get even better distance if you put the antenna on some kind of expendable telescopic pole. An antenna mounted high with a descent amplifier will get you many miles of added coverage.

    If you are really really out in the boonies, like in the badlands of Death Valley or the isolated ravines of the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, then there is no service that you will be able to rely on other than satellite. There are two basic kinds of satellite internet: Mobile satellite services and DBS type satellite systems. The mobile satellite services include Inmarsat, Irridium and Globalstar. These systems are explicitly designed to operate in motion and to be used in extremely remote locations. Irridium, for example, works on all points on the earth, even Antartica. The equipment is small and portable. There are a couple disadvantages: they are generally slow, and in the case of globalstar and iridium, they are absolutely snails pace - think 2400 baud under good conditions. Inmarsat has a service called BGAN, which is about 128kbps per channel. It is also astronomically expensive.. just stunningly expensive. Think 5-7 dollars a megabyte expensive. It's so expensive that if you can rack up over a thousand dollars in traffic just by casual internet surfing for a couple of weeks.

    Then there is the other kind of satellite internet: the DBS/VSAT type. This type is really designed primarily for residential and small buisiness use. It is offered in areas that are lacking DSL, FIOS or Cable. You wouldn't ever want to install this in an area that did, because its generally inferior to those kinds of connections due to latency. The latency is not so bad that you can't surf the web - usually it's acceptable but don't expect to do online gaming with it, because it has ping times of 400+ ms. The equipment for this is small dish and a residential modem/gateway. It's on par with DirecTV or Dish Network in terms of the size of the dish. It costs anywhere from 50-150 dollars a month for the service. Although the dishes are generally intended to be fixed mounted, you can attach them to a tripod or something for portability. If you want to use it while you're in motion, then you can do that too, but expect to pay more than $1500 for an in-motion tracking system.

    If you go with satellite, I'd recommended Wildblue, but you can also look at HughesNet and Starband. Expect to pay a few hundred for equipment and maybe 75-100 a month for the service. It will work anywhere in North America that has a clear view of the South.

    Wifi? You have got to be kidding me. If you mean to use it within the RV to allow you to move freely with your laptop, then that's one thing, but to a
  • RV park owner (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:27PM (#29445667)

    As someone who owns an RV park in Iowa. I think you are mistaken. First and foremost I don't think we're talking about a guy who wants to take a week long vacation. It sounds like we're talking about a guy who is selling his house, and is going to be traveling via RV for the next 10 years. We have $500,000 RV's towing $80,000 cars behind them stop in. One of our biggest attractions in having free wifi over the entire park.

    He isn't looking for a quick e-mail fix, or checking guild chat. He most likely wants to run his entire business from the road for the next decade.

    My recommendation would be using something like an iNetVu RV satellite package, and a 3G wireless card with an amplified external antenna. If there isn't 3G coverage the satellite will still get them connected. I would even go so far as to say get two wireless cards from two different carriers. He also mentioned Canada so you're definitely going to want to get a Canadian cellular card/satellite solution for while you're there otherwise roaming costs would be absolutely outrages.

    There is no single solution that will guarantee coverage everywhere. Plan your routes to include stopping regularly at camp grounds or rest stops that have solid wifi so you can use them as emergency backups.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:36PM (#29445827)

    Yes; but ham radio cannot be used for business or commercial purposes.

    Furthermore, if he's more than 100 miles from his house, chances are all he could get would be 1200 baud to his home, if even that. {Yes 1200 baud; not even 14.4k modem levels.}

  • Re:What? (Score:5, Informative)

    by c6gunner ( 950153 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:46PM (#29445975)

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

    Well, no ... starfish may not be fish, but RV's certainly are recreational vehicles. That's a pretty horrible analogy.

    Also driveways and parkways are both properly named, it's just your base assumption which is wrong. A driveway is a private path on which you drive in order to reach the house, and a parkway is a road which passes through a "landscaped thoroughfare" or a park. Both words make perfect sense if you understand their origin.

  • by dhickman ( 958529 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:54PM (#29446099)
    There will be several modes that you will have use. As with anything else a fulltimer faces, no single solution will work all of the time.

    Stick with 12volt hardware. This should be obvious. You will not need to run your genny to have internet access.

    Pending where you are going to be this is what I have found to be the most flexible.

    Buy a cradlepoint or something similar that can take multiple brands of 3g cards/dongles, with a secondary ethernet wan port. Make sure the 3g cards/dongles have external antenna connectors.

    Buy an outdoor directional wifi CPE that has power over ethernet. Try to make sure it is 12v.

    Buy a wilson outdoor antenna, extension cable ( if needed) and connector dongle for each 3g card. I prefer makeing a custom mount that attached to the ladder, than penetrating the roof, but that is your choice.

    Buy a wilson amplifier, this is critical.

    Buy a motorola cable modem, and a at&t wired dsl modem.

    Locate a spot in the cabin that can wall mount the router, amp, and router the cables. I installed a separate lighted power switch for each of the 12v supplies, to make sure that the system had power and that I could cut it off and make it wife proof.

    Install the wifi CPE on a pole and make a mount that will mount to the ladder or other strong point. I would not bother will any fancy ethernet jacks on the outside, just have the cable go through the basement into the cabin.

    The problem with 3g is their 5gig limit. I would have a sprint and AT&T card. This should give you 3g over most of the US.

    The reason for the WIFI, is that almost all decent parks have some form of either pay wifi or free wifi. Turn it on, turn off the 3g and you win.

    All major truck stops have wifi, traditionally I always spent the night at flying J. I think their yearly price is not that bad.

    If you plan on spending more the two weeks at a single spot. Look for parks that advertise cable television. So far all but one of them, I found that I could get my cable modem working. None of the parks will be aware of this. All you do is plug the modem up and if it gets sync, try to surf. Usually there will be a redirect to the cable companies customer disservice line. If not call the customer service line. Usually you give them the mac and you will be online in minutes. Make sure that there is no contract since they are not supplying a modem. Cancel service when you leave.

    You can do this also with DSL on site supplied phone lines, but it takes days to weeks for the line to get turned up. I usually use dsl as a last hope.

    While on the road use 3g, for the parks, plan ahead and call the parks office. They usually will know if they have wifi and sometimes will know if their cable supports cable modems. Always have 2-3 parks ready, and pay the daily rate until you have verified which park is the best for a fulltimer.

    Good luck.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:55PM (#29446125)

    I ran into the same problem.

    I tried the satelite (xplorenet) for a year. It works but you need too be stopped and fuss with a tripod and aiming the dish. The quality of service is marginal and it gets worse with time unless you complain loudly. But it does work anywhere and anytime. And if the internet access has any economic value to you, the price is really not that bad.

    However if you want free, I would seriously consider a simple wifi setup with a 24db dish. I have tried this and it is amazing how often an unsecured wifi signal is available, even in what appears to be the middle of nowhere. The dish will allow you to connect to routers that are miles away, as long as you have line of sight. And you can get a dish and router online for about $200. You still need a tripod but the aiming is not as critical. The tech part is no more difficult than hooking up a wireless home computer.

  • Not for business use (Score:4, Informative)

    by dereference ( 875531 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @04:58PM (#29446163)
    That's an excellent idea for general "stay in touch" communications, and even blogging about their travels, but he also mentioned a business, and commercial use of ham radio is prohibited.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @05:27PM (#29446585)

    Actually, the whole "clear view of the southern sky" is because those direct broadcast satellite systems use *geostationary* satellites. In case you hadn't heard of those, they are satellites in a very particular orbit, by virtue of which they are at rest relative to the surface of the earth.

    The thing about it is that there is only one geosynchronous orbit, and it is approximately 36,000 km (22,000 mi) above the equator. It is physically impossible to have a geostationary orbit over any point other than the equator.

    If the satellites are not in geostationary orbit, you cannot use a high-gain directional antenna unless you have active tracking (which is certainly beyond the scope of consumer products). Instead of using high-gain antennas with individual satellites, systems like GPS (except the WAAS satellites), Iridium, and such use multiple satellites ("constellations") for their coverage. This has significant impact on operational efficiencies for bidirectional communications.

    (As an aside, considering the high latitudes involved in Russian satellite communications, they have implemented a very cool pseudo-geostationary satellite system. By placing three satellites 120 degrees apart in the same high-inclination orbit, they can have at least one satellite always within a small cone of the sky. It is not quite as precise (and therefore not capable of quite as high gain) as true geostationary orbit, but it allows for non-tracking relatively high gain satellite systems.)

  • Re:Inmarsat (Score:3, Informative)

    by DarthBart ( 640519 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @05:32PM (#29446653)

    I agree. BGAN gets you 400Kbps of "best effort" service at $6/mb. Or dedicated "streaming" connections that will go up to 256K @ $22/min.

    Thrane & Thrane make a mobile unit that tracks the satellite as you move.

  • Re:Iridium? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @05:36PM (#29446709)

    Ok, since you (and a couple other posters) have no clue of how comsats work, here it is:

    TV sats, Inmarsat, Terrestar, etc.: one or a few birds in equatorial GEO (although polar/inclined GEO is theoretically possible, it makes no sense for comms). These can have a high-gain antenna with a tailored beam pattern to cover only the desired portions of earth';s surface (e.g. TV broadcasts may be aimed only at North America, with no power wasted on South America and the oceans), and you can point a high-gain antenna (almost always a dish) from any spot in that coverage area directly at the satellite, which makes wonderful sense for fixed installations. In mobile operation, however, the greater distance to GEO, compounded with the difficulty of keeping a high-gain antenna pointed at the satellite, makes them less desirable, especially for uplinks.

    GPS, Iridium, Globalstar, etc: multiple (~50) birds in polar and/or inclined LEO orbits. A polar orbit does _not_ leave the bird "parked" over the pole -- it orbits over the whole world, including the poles (where it's practically useless). Putting your entire constellation in polar orbit seems pretty pointless, since the polar region winds up getting covered by every single satellite, but more satellites are required to provide adequate coverage over the rest of the world; however, Iridium adopted this (all orbits are 86deg inclination), probably to ease inter-satellite communications. IIRC most satellites wind up being around 50deg inclination for best coverage. You don't need to know where any particular birds are, but there's always at least one overhead (for all covered areas).

    AFAIK, Iridium, Globalstar, and Orbcomm are the _only_ data/voice networks of this type, not "many" as you suggest. It turns out that, under current launch costs, orbiting one big satellite to GEO to cover most of a hemisphere with really solid bandwidth is much more commercially viable than launching 50 smaller LEO birds, with less bandwidth and loads of relatively wasted coverage. All three companies that have tried it wound up filing for bankruptcy after launch, when they couldn't find enough subscribers at high enough prices to cover the costs incurred.

  • by tunapez ( 1161697 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @05:41PM (#29446767)

    An Alltel USB Receiver w/ unlimited Broadband plan(hint:now running on the Verizon network). I traveled all of the Southwest and most of the Northwest Spring of 2008 for work w/ my VZW phone and VZW unlimited Broadband with more connectivity than I had hoped'd be surprised how often a usable signal can be found in the middle of nowhere in eastern Oregon or BFE, New Mexico. IE: I rarely/barely went more than an hour or so without signal on my travels, longest had to be from Ontario, ID to Bend, OR. Talk about desolate beauty.

    Today I now use the Alltel service at home outside Phoenix metro b/c Qwest DSL here blows, no other hard-line option available and VZW implemented the 5GB cap shortly after I canceled to test drive Sprint's(VZW broadband blew Sprint away in my travels, despite what I had heard to the contrary). I was on a borrowed VZW USB when I moved in to my rural dome home and have found since that Alltel's broadband(still no cap on new plans, yay!) is actually more reliable and faster than VZW...and it's VZW's network, go figure.

    One more plug for VZW's network(I love/hate them, btw): I spent 3 weeks in July 2008 camping in Chevelon Canyon, AZ(up around the north crossing), and found a signal on a rise in the forest road 30 rough miles from the nearest civilization. I walked 1.6 miles from base camp every other evening to check messages and make calls. Mom didn't have to worry and work required me to VNC twice by driving to the site and using my laptop, a cheap 400w inverter and my truck's battery. Talk about getting away.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer ( 772575 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @05:47PM (#29446843)

    He could become a ham radio operator and use his home base as an internet proxy server.

    Too bad he wanted this for work, because it is against FCC regulation to use the amateur band for commercial uses. Besides, the latency would most likely be worse than satellite and the downlink speeds would be much slower.

    Not to mention, being out in the middle of nowhere usually means being out of UHF+ range of the nearest packet station.

  • My recommendation (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @06:01PM (#29447029)

    I would highly recommend getting the Cradlepoint router and attaching a Mobile Broadband card from Verizon. Here are my reasons:

    1 - Verizon currently has the best coverage. Even if you do not always get "broadband" speeds, you should almost always get a connection.
    2 - The idea would be to be prepared for Verizon's new LTE network, which should be available everywhere over the next 18 months - Coverage with this will be even greater, with great penetration since it runs on the 800MHz band.
    3 - Satellite is expensive for a 2-way setup and very difficult to use reliably while mobile.

    Hope this helps!

  • by cruff ( 171569 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @06:27PM (#29447403) Homepage

    Anything related to the RVer's business is explicitly prohibited by the FCC on the amateur bands.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 16, 2009 @06:58PM (#29447793)

    Ham radio is not the answer for this. The higher the frequency the more that line of sight comes into play. So, unless you are using a satellite or a really high hill, the higher the frequency, the shorter distance that the signal can travel. The lower the frequency the slower the connection. When you get 50 miles out, it's really not usable for anything more than email (again, unless your home is on a tall hill). I wouldn't send a large email at those speeds either. Then... there's the kicker. The FCC doesn't allow you to encrypt ham communications. Forget a web page with SSL (at least legally). Latency is the least of your problems.

I've got a bad feeling about this.