Internet Recommendations For Vanlife

Hi. I now have solar in my van and can plug in my laptop. Besides cell phone hot spots with the absurdly limited data that always runs out, do you have a recommendation for wifi? So far my travels have been in CA, NV, AZ, ID, MT, UT. I typically stay in suburb areas.

I’ve heard of:

  • Nomadinternet

  • Calyx Institute (seems to cost less than Nomadinternet)

  • Starlink (I can’t make sense of the webpage)

Is there something else or is one of these 3 the best? Will it be fast enough to upload long vidoes on YouTube?

Thanks you.

I have a friend who has Starlink and it works well for him - pretty high upload and download speeds and getting better all the time as more satellites are added. It’s run by SpaceX - same people that are ferrying astronauts and cargo back and forth to the space station. Same parent company that makes Tesla EV cars. Ever heard of Elon Musk?

Uses about 8 amps or so, so you’ll have to have enough solar/battery capacity to run it - extra 150 watts of solar and another 100 amps of battery would probably do it. Works everywhere because it’s satellite-based.


99% of the time I just park near a fast food joint, coffee house, or library for fast, free, & unlimited internet. Some parks have it too.

When boondocking I can piggyback off somebody else, or do without.


"Those who believe money can't buy hapiness, don't have either."
~ An Anonymous Vandweller

Did you read through the FAQs? It’s satellite internet service; you need a clear view of the sky for it to work. The rest is simply connecting it together, powering it, and connecting with your devices, right?


So is Starlink available for mobile applications now? Last I heard it wasn’t.


"Those who believe money can't buy hapiness, don't have either."
~ An Anonymous Vandweller

Looks like it will be soon. Part of the reason it exists is to provide internet anywhere - even the current system was shown to work in a portable environment.

I find it odd they don’t have an upfront disclosure of prices like a typical internet provider website. It also prompts the customer to add an address.

Just asked my friend who has Starlink. He said the equipment cost is $500 plus $99/month for the service. They plan to have a mobile/portable system out late this year or early next year. Don’t know the cost on that.

As I stated, I asked a buddy.

A simple call or email to them would result in the same. Not complicated.

You have to add your address to see if it’s available in your area, which it may not be yet. We still have been pretty solid and happy with tmobile. Unlimited tethering that is only data capped by the FCC. Still cheaper than the $100 starlink pricing. @roadsideresident - if you’re in a suburban area and not pushing insane amounts of data, I don’t see why mobile hotspots would not work for you. Coupled with a solid booster it works really well for us and we are typically in that same list of states if you add OR, and currently WA.

I am really hopeful for starlink, but you can certainly get by without it. I’m interested to see how well it works compared to our satellite radio and if it will be just as choppy due to storms, trees, etc, etc.

Visible, it’s Verizon towers…

They offer unlimited data but the phone hot spot will only support one device (it can be a router). I’ve read of people who took the activated sim out of the phone and put it into a Verizon hot spot and had it work.

This is just to point you in that direction, you really need to do the home work.
Good luck,

Hey thanks for sharing, very helpful!
Which kind of Signal booster you have?
I’m looking for similar set up: hotspot+signa booster with local SIM.
I need very reliable internet since I work online with videocall at least 4hrs a day.
(But I travel in Europe, so Verizon and similar stuff doesn’t work for me :frowning: )

We have the weboost reach drive rv. I don’t know how that would work for you in Europe. That one here in the US is the max dB rating allowed by the FCC here for multiple bands. It covers all providers here and is super simple to setup and use. We’re happy with it. You can get ones that are even stronger, but only target a single carrier (again FCC regulations). You might want to look into that as well as it might not be allowed in certain countries if you’re traveling from place to place.

As far as getting a cheaper one, I think that feasible. It is really just an amplifier and an antenna with a power source. The only downside for the weboost one is you need to buy a separate adapter for DC.

Mhm i’m a bit confused… Isn’t the weboost reach drive rv a simple antenna?
If so, why does it need to cover different providers? I would say this is a duty of the SIM card you are gonna use. i.e. I have german sim card = I can surf in Germany.
Then, If i want, i can use hotspot to use this data on multiple devices and I can use the antenna to retrieve more signal when is weak. But the thing that actually allow me to surf from a tower or another, is the SIM card. Isn’t it?

Also, why an antenna need a DC wall power supply? doesn’t just work as a receptor, so I attach it to my roof (or wherever) and then it will just repeat signal? Why does it need power?

last question: I see there is a so called Reach device in the weboost box, to repeat the signal in the RV/Car/…inside. Can this be a replecment of an hotspot device? Does it act as a Wifi router?

I do not know how it works in Germany, but the weboost reach boost all signals from all providers, I think at like ~70db (not positive on that number). For a sinlge provider it is allowed to be higher like ~110db (again not positive on that number).

You do not hook your devices to it. There is a large antenna outside hooked to an amplifier. The amplifier is what requires power. Then that is run to a small antenna inside the vehicle that your devices will connect too. You will need some type of hotspot or whatever you use now. There is not bluetooth, wifi or anything to connect to, to make it work. All it does it boost signal and that requires power. It also will not create signal where there is none.

1 Like

ok thank you. that’s helpful already :slight_smile:

Does anyone know of a service that works in Baja?

Verizon is pretty good for basic use but my friend also use starlkink and tried if it’s better than me and did not found any big difference.

@tonyknapp - Baja, at least in the more populated areas has decent service. T-mobile worked there for us but the data cap in Mexico was too small to be worth anything. There is another company down there called telcel and I used one of their hotspots for a month. It worked pretty well honestly. There are always periods though when things seems to just go down for a bit.