Hey Everyone! Excited to virtually meet you

I’m looking at buying a van and joining this lifestyle, but want to learn more from the community first. I currently live in Minnesota with my dog Roman (standard poodle). Goal of living out of a van would be to see more of the US, be closer with nature, and connect with what really matters in life.

Currently, I work as a business analyst in corporate America. I’m hoping to rotate roles and become fully remote so I can work out of a van while I travel. Any insights people have into getting stable internet from a van or tips around being a working professional while living the dream would be apprecaited.

Thanks!
Zophia

1 Like

Greetings & Welcome!

Most people either have a dedicated hot spot or use their cellphones as a hot spot. In towns, there is tons of free wifi available too.

There are more complicated options, but they’re not needed by most people.

Cheers!


“Everything should be made as simple as possible." ~ Einstein


1 Like

Van_Dweller,

Thank you for the insight. I would need reliable stable high-speed internet 5 days a week so I would probably have to look at the more complicated options. My phone’s hot spot isn’t strong enough and I’m unsure about dedicated hot spots. Have you heard if the people relying on those options are using it consistently for work or just for the random movie/email check here and there? Internet is one of my bigger concerns with this lifestyle.

Cheers,
Zophia

For wireless broadband with heavy usage and doing streaming video like youtube, zoom calls, etc (figure streaming video usage at anywhere between 1 to 3 gb per hour) you are likely looking at a mobile Verizon, ATT, or TMobile (or multiple carrier) set up through BIX wireless or some other network. Be prepared for the costs of buying a router, external antenna, etc. (my guess would be $500 - $1000) and then the various data plans at $150 - $300/mo. You still have to have a good 5G or 4G cell signal though to get broadband speeds, which isn’t always available in many of the places we most like to visit in our RVs. Will your employer help with costs associated with working remotely?

See

1 Like

Greetings!

It seems pretty much like a mixed bag. While one person says they use their phone for a hotspot for Zoom calls 8 hours a day, another might have a ton of expensive equipment, and even then have trouble sometimes.

I don’t have such needs, but from what I can gather, you at least need a signal before anything can help. If there is a signal, but it’s too weak, a booster can help.

Most of it seems to be location dependent, but there can be other factors at play also. In and around Quartzsite in the winter, even though there is a good signal, connectivity can be terrible because too many people are trying to use it at the same time.

Hopefully what @4eyedbuzzard posted above can help.

Cheers!


“Everything should be made as simple as possible." ~ Einstein


Thank you Van_Dweller and 4eyedbuzzard!

This information is very helpful! The company will not help pay for internet, but the cost of it is still cheaper than what I would be paying in rent and the mental strain of not doing what I want. I appreciate the guidance and I will read though that link you shared.

Best wishes and Happy New Year!
Zophia

1 Like

You really need to nail down what your usage in GB per month is before figuring out what plan(s) or type of plan to go with. Some people will get both a VZ and ATT account, or VZ and Tmobile or similar combination. My biggest concern with trying to work remotely with even moderate internet usage would be the places I like to go - most of them tend to be in mountainous areas where cell service is often spotty at its best. I’m often happy if I can get text and voice, never mind data. Your work may require that you stick near geographical areas that have good broadband cell service, at least until Starlink becomes more readily available. Starlink internet coverage, cost, speeds and the latest news — what you need to know | Tom's Guide

Is Starlink available for mobile use yet? I did watch a few videos about it when it originally came available and (probably due the low satellite count) it was only for fixed locations.

A dedicated good 4G/LTE modem with external antennas could be a solution. I have had good experience of Teltonikas for our customers. Example: https://www.amazon.com/Teltonika-RUT950-Availability-Router-Version/dp/B078XP9PXP/
It will hook up directly to your 12V system, install two external antennas for the mobile connection and you can have both wired and wireless internet inside the van.

Another way is to install a signal booster for your phone, however those I have no experience myself since they are apparently illegal over here :slight_smile: Different country, different rules.

You should be fine just using your mobile hotspot and a cell booster. I used that setup for the last 2.5 years as a developer and haven’t had any issues. I only had the booster for the last half year, but it really does make a world of difference. I just use tmobile and pay the extra for unlimited data. At&t also has a pretty decent plan for mobile hotspot.

You also have the option of going to cafe’s and that type of thing. Which is a good break from being in the same 100 square feet all the time. Just because you’re nomadic, it doesn’t mean you have to work from your van all the time. Public libraries are also a decent choice as they typically have somewhere to plugin as well.

I don’t know how well starlink will work, even if it is mobile at some point, but that is probably still a few years away unless you live above the mason dixon right now. Its slated for late 2022 early 2023 in the south last time I looked.

1 Like

Bretly,
That is super good to know! I also do quite a bit of SQL dev and it was one of my concerns with trying to run queries to our HDFS repo while on a teams call.

Thank you for the insight!