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Old 08-08-2020, 08:31 AM   #1
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Cell phone/Internet

So we camp about once a month in our Motor home and almost always go to State Parks where our AT&T cell service is weak at best. We only have cell phones (no laptops, no streaming) and like to look at the news feed and some social media. My wife likes to look at the phone while we are traveling down the road and that eats up data pretty quick so having WiFi on the road would be a good thing. We have an 8 gig plan with roll over data and don't want to change providers. When we had our travel trailer the Chevy truck had WiFi and has kinda spoiled us when traveling.



All that background to get to this: What would work for us to improve our signal at the State Parks and keep us connected while traveling down the road? I know many have suggested the Mobile Internet Resource Center, but they seem focused more on full time people with computers and who wish to stream on their TV, that is not us.

Here are my thoughts based on looking around the net.


1. Get a Harmon Spark for the ODBII port for rolling down the road WiFi, but this will not help at the State Park. Also I cannot find any information if this will work in the Ford F53 chassis. Has anyone tried this?



2. Get a Netgear Nighthawk with a MIMO antenna for WiFi. This will help at the State Park but will it work rolling down the road? Same question if a Pepwave or similar type setup is used.



3. Get a cell phone booster with a roof mounted antenna. This will improve coverage everywhere but provides no WiFi.


4. Get a Furrion or Winegard setup. This will work but it is the most expensive option and seems overkill for our needs.



5. Option I haven't figured out yet but maybe you the reader knows.


Thanks for any feedback and thoughts,
Tom
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:49 AM   #2
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Unless something has changed, that Chevy truck probably used AT&Ts system. Do you have more than one phone? It's possible it's the phone.
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Old 08-08-2020, 09:13 AM   #3
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I have been looking hard at the WeBoost cell phone booster, but have not real knowledge. I sometimes work while we are camping and I believe, ( I think) I only need a cell phone booster so that it works if I have weak signal. If I have a strong signal on my phone it would not be needed. I use my phone for a wifi hot spot, stream pandora, etc.
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Old 08-08-2020, 09:45 AM   #4
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We're the kind that stream so we have everything.

It looks like you've done some homework on this. Let me give you my opinion about each thing.

Quote:
Get a Harmon Spark for the ODBII port for rolling down the road WiFi, but this will not help at the State Park. Also I cannot find any information if this will work in the Ford F53 chassis. Has anyone tried this?
Yes, it should work in a Ford F53 if you have an OBD-II port. Almost all do if built in the past 10 or more years. It's inexpensive to buy, easy to fit, works well, and has a cheap data plan. However as you said - it will help you only on the road. It shuts down 30-mins after the vehicle stops moving.

Quote:
Get a Netgear Nighthawk with a MIMO antenna for WiFi. This will help at the State Park but will it work rolling down the road? Same question if a Pepwave or similar type setup is used.
These work great. I have one. However you will need to add an ATT SIM card to let it access the internet on the road. You can get a SIM added to your account for pretty little extra charge monthly but it also will not have a lot of gigs of data unless you spring for an expensive data plan. I don't know if your roll-over data can be utilized on a SIM added to your account. ATT would have to help you with this.

The nighthawk is also an effective mobile router so you could connect many devices to the router if you add tablets or laptops in the future. It can be used for streaming TV too, but you'll run out of affordable data in less than a day with almost all ATT SIM dataplans.

The Peplink devices are great - but really overkill for what you've said you need.

Quote:
Get a cell phone booster with a roof mounted antenna. This will improve coverage everywhere but provides no WiFi.
We have the WeBoost Drive 4g-X and roof mounted 4" stubby antenna. It works great when needed. It's not needed all that often. But there are times (about 5-10% of the time) when it makes the difference between being connected and not. We don't find it helpful for phone calls at all. And it doesn't boost our phone's cell reception. But we put our Nighthawk and Verizon Jetpack next to the booster's indoor antenna when we need a boost to get one of those to connect.
Quote:
Get a Furrion or Winegard setup. This will work but it is the most expensive option and seems overkill for our needs.
Neither of those will really apply to what you've said you want to do. They are NOT magical and are really not any better than other less expensive options. The ToGo was a good option WHEN they had the unlimited ATT plan. But that's totally gone now.

One option you haven't mentioned is the Visible service sold by Verizon. You buy a cheap phone from them and pay $40 (or less) per month for truly unlimited internet. On the road and in the campground. You can connect it via USB to a qualified router - such as the Nighthawk - and share the internet with all devices. And recently, they've been letting slide the folks that use the Visible SIM card in a few Verizon Jetpack devices.
Quote:
Option I haven't figured out yet but maybe you the reader knows.
The Visible service is kind of overkill for what you want, but at it's cheap price that doesn't really matter. With it you could stream TV, add tablets and laptops and use the internet to your hearts content.

The only thing you haven't mentioned is the products from WiFi Ranger which we also have but I don't see you really needing any thing they offer based on what you've said.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-08-2020, 12:07 PM   #5
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Thanks for the information. This is a real help to try and find the right solution for us!
Tom
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Old 08-09-2020, 05:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
One option you haven't mentioned is the Visible service sold by Verizon. You buy a cheap phone from them and pay $40 (or less) per month for truly unlimited internet. On the road and in the campground. You can connect it via USB to a qualified router - such as the Nighthawk - and share the internet with all devices. And recently, they've been letting slide the folks that use the Visible SIM card in a few Verizon Jetpack devices.

Option I haven't figured out yet but maybe you the reader knows.
The Visible service is kind of overkill for what you want, but at it's cheap price that doesn't really matter. With it you could stream TV, add tablets and laptops and use the internet to your hearts content.
Creativepart, would you expound on this a little more. It doesn't sound as though Verizon throttles this after reaching a plan limit. Also, why isn't this offered with their jet pack? We have an older jet pack and liked it but didn't use it much at the time so we cancelled that service.

What could be any limitations with using this? Distance etc... Thanks in advance. We are going to lose our high speed wifi soon when we leave our homestead (selling our house). I need a crash course in this and it's such a big topic. I just pointers since I don't have time to study this subject. I can at a later date, but need a simple solution now. We stream tv and seem to be news junkies, plus I'm all over YouTube when I have to make repairs!
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:02 PM   #7
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Sent an email to Harman about the Spark and they replied it will not work in the 2020 Winnebago Intent so that option is now out. If anyone was thinking of using this be aware the company making the Spark says it is a no go.
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Old 08-11-2020, 01:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topsail View Post
Creativepart, would you expound on this a little more. It doesn't sound as though Verizon throttles this after reaching a plan limit. Also, why isn't this offered with their jet pack? We have an older jet pack and liked it but didn't use it much at the time so we cancelled that service.
Visible is a separate company from Verizon - but owned by Verizon. It was set up to compete with Cricket (ATT) and Straight Talk and other Mobile Virtual Network Operators. A MVNO is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers.

Just like Cricket is owned by ATT and uses ATT services it operates separately and differently. Under different phone plans and rules.

Visible is owned by Verizon. It uses only Verizon's LTE network and can't use 3G Verizon towers. It's also free to piggy back on other carriers local towers in different places around the country.

When it was started it was setup as a phone ONLY service. No Jetpacks etc. A lot of the MVNOs work only on phones. But Visible was unique in that they promised consistent speeds of 5 mbps and no speed or data throttling and no data limits.

Recently, they've relaxed some of their rules. They now provide faster data speeds than 5 mbps and have made that speed more or less a minimum speed. Since 5 mbps is fast enough for streaming TV it's quickly become a popular choice.

It costs $40 a month, but they have discounts that can reduce that even further. I see folks talk about paying $25 a month but I haven't checked out why they pay less.

The other "only a phone" requirement was something of a hassle but folks in RVs just bought cheap phones or used an old Verizon phone and put the Visible SIM on that device.

One of the limits of using a phone on Visible for data was that only one person could connect to the internet at a time. But folks quickly (instantly) figured out you could connect the phone via a USB cable to certain routers and connect as many devices as you want. So, that limitation went away.

And since January this year people have been putting the Visible SIM card in the Verizon 7730 Jectpack and the 8800L Jetpack (those two only) and then changing the APN setting on the Jetpack to say VISIBLEINTERNET instead of JETPACK and the service still works fine.

Will this very good option continue? Will Verizon/Visible change their policies? Will it's success lead to the whole thing being shut down the way it did for the ATT Mobley unlimited deal of 2017?

Who knows.

There is a HUGE thread on this at irv2.com. And in Post #10 of that thread they give all the details. Here's a link to post #10:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f53/40-m...ml#post4758860

Here's a video from October of last year... so it's not completely up to date.

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Old 08-11-2020, 03:18 PM   #9
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Thank you for the update. I'll check the link in a bit and I'm going to dig up the jetpack to see which one we have.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:56 PM   #10
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Visible internet

Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post

The Visible service is kind of overkill for what you want, but at it's cheap price that doesn't really matter. With it you could stream TV, add tablets and laptops and use the internet to your hearts content.

Hope this helps.
Not so sure about the Visible solution. The devil appears to be in the details. This is a screen shot from their web page disclaimer...
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Old 08-12-2020, 05:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Visible is a separate company from Verizon - but owned by Verizon. It was set up to compete with Cricket (ATT) and Straight Talk and other Mobile Virtual Network Operators. A MVNO is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers.

Just like Cricket is owned by ATT and uses ATT services it operates separately and differently. Under different phone plans and rules.

Visible is owned by Verizon. It uses only Verizon's LTE network and can't use 3G Verizon towers. It's also free to piggy back on other carriers local towers in different places around the country.

When it was started it was setup as a phone ONLY service. No Jetpacks etc. A lot of the MVNOs work only on phones. But Visible was unique in that they promised consistent speeds of 5 mbps and no speed or data throttling and no data limits.

Recently, they've relaxed some of their rules. They now provide faster data speeds than 5 mbps and have made that speed more or less a minimum speed. Since 5 mbps is fast enough for streaming TV it's quickly become a popular choice.

It costs $40 a month, but they have discounts that can reduce that even further. I see folks talk about paying $25 a month but I haven't checked out why they pay less.

The other "only a phone" requirement was something of a hassle but folks in RVs just bought cheap phones or used an old Verizon phone and put the Visible SIM on that device.

One of the limits of using a phone on Visible for data was that only one person could connect to the internet at a time. But folks quickly (instantly) figured out you could connect the phone via a USB cable to certain routers and connect as many devices as you want. So, that limitation went away.

And since January this year people have been putting the Visible SIM card in the Verizon 7730 Jectpack and the 8800L Jetpack (those two only) and then changing the APN setting on the Jetpack to say VISIBLEINTERNET instead of JETPACK and the service still works fine.

Will this very good option continue? Will Verizon/Visible change their policies? Will it's success lead to the whole thing being shut down the way it did for the ATT Mobley unlimited deal of 2017?

Who knows.

There is a HUGE thread on this at irv2.com. And in Post #10 of that thread they give all the details. Here's a link to post #10:

https://www.irv2.com/forums/f53/40-m...ml#post4758860

Here's a video from October of last year... so it's not completely up to date.

We have a visibl phone with plan and I have been very happy with the service! The thing with paying less is they have a program that allows friends to sign up for the service attached to their plan. The billing is completely separate so there is no bill sharing. I believe the bill/payment goes down by $5 per sign up and allows up to 4 [max] different people in any group plan which then would be $25 per person if you had 4 in the group.
tanda62 im game if you considered getting a Visible plan, you could join us and each of our bills would be $35 instead of $40. no worries if not
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:19 PM   #12
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ATT Wireless Internet. Using a modem provides wifi and phone service and works on road. 100 GB/mo costing me $80
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:49 PM   #13
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Just installed WeBoost today

I just put in the WeBoost today, and I'm quite happy with the initial tests. Cell data speed almost doubled, and signal strength went up about 30%. We camp this weekend and I can give it a rougher test.


There is no such thing as a truck with wifi. It was Cellular data if it was installed in a truck - some sort of hotspot thing.


I'm very happy with the T-Mobile Magenta plan. You wouldn't have to "switch." Just get a cheap phone with a single line on T-Mobile and use it as a hotspot. You'll have wifi wherever you go (almost, anyway.) It works fine on the road or stopped at a camp site (as long as you're in mobile range, of course.)



Quote:
Originally Posted by 09busaman View Post
I have been looking hard at the WeBoost cell phone booster, but have not real knowledge. I sometimes work while we are camping and I believe, ( I think) I only need a cell phone booster so that it works if I have weak signal. If I have a strong signal on my phone it would not be needed. I use my phone for a wifi hot spot, stream pandora, etc.
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:09 PM   #14
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Visible limits hotspot data a LOT

I just checked with them, and their hotspot data is limited to 5 mbps, and only allows ONE device to tether. Only good if you want to surf on your cellphone or tablet.



Quote:
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Not so sure about the Visible solution. The devil appears to be in the details. This is a screen shot from their web page disclaimer...
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Old 08-13-2020, 07:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 09busaman View Post
I have been looking hard at the WeBoost cell phone booster, but have not real knowledge. I sometimes work while we are camping and I believe, ( I think) I only need a cell phone booster so that it works if I have weak signal. If I have a strong signal on my phone it would not be needed. I use my phone for a wifi hot spot, stream pandora, etc.
I have Weboost and get about 2 bar increase - that said if you have no signal you get no increase.
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Old 08-13-2020, 07:06 AM   #16
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I was lucky for a period of time and had ATT and Verizon both as I RV'd. What I found was that one would work well in some places and the other in other places. Really hard to figure out where. In the mountains in California Verizon ruled - ATT was almost non existent. In St Augustine Florida it is opposite ATT works best and Verizon hardly at all. Maybe if I could afford all 3 main carriers I would have service everywhere?
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Old 08-13-2020, 09:15 AM   #17
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Worth mentioning that T-Mobile has quite a map of service area availability too. You can drill down pretty darn small, to see where you can connect where you want to go. And they've really been expanding their service area. A couple years ago, they'd doubled their coverage area, and they're still expanding. And of course now, there's the 5G bandwidth boost, with the right equipment. https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/4g-lte-5g-networks
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Old 08-13-2020, 09:29 AM   #18
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I just checked with them, and their hotspot data is limited to 5 mbps, and only allows ONE device to tether. Only good if you want to surf on your cellphone or tablet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyatt View Post
Not so sure about the Visible solution. The devil appears to be in the details. This is a screen shot from their web page disclaimer...

This is all address in previous posts -

1. 5mbps is fast enough for streaming TV
2. Connected to a router you can have as many other devices as you wish connected
3. Their TOS provide a lot of restrictions that they do not exercise - but obviously can in the future if they wish

I know some of these threads/posts are long, but they do include all of these details.
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Old 08-13-2020, 09:37 AM   #19
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ATT Wireless Internet. Using a modem provides wifi and phone service and works on road. 100 GB/mo costing me $80
Pretty sure this "Rural Internet" package is not available in this form now. It was grandfathered for folks that already have it, but no new sales at this price. A similar plan for $100/mo is available to Rural Zip Codes in selected areas only. If you don't live in one of these zip codes you can't order the service.
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:14 AM   #20
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There is no such thing as a truck with wifi. It was Cellular data if it was installed in a truck - some sort of hotspot thing.
Correct. My truck offers AT&T service with a wireless hotspot function. But it's: (1) Expensive as hell; and (2) Only works if you have the truck turned on (not engine running). Makes it pretty worthless.
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