There are loads of options for getting the Internet while in your RV, from having your own satellite dish to “borrowing” an open WiFi connection. Some are free and some are quite expensive. Similarly, some are easy and reliable, while other methods rely on luck and hope. Here I’m going to look at two options well suited to a fulltimer’s passion for never being tied down, while also providing the maximum amount of connectivity for those of us who need the Internet to do the jobs that keep gas in the tank: satellite and wireless service from a cell phone company. In particular, I’ll be looking at Dish Network’s satellite Internet service and comparing it with AT&T’s 3G Wireless Internet package.
|Service||Dish Network Satellite Internet||AT&T LaptopConnect|
|Monthly Charge||$69.95||$59.99 / computer|
|Able to Create a Home Network||Yes||No|
|Coverage||Anywhere in the US with a clear view of the southern sky.||AT&T’s 3G & EDGE networks + 17,000+ hot spots nationwide. Hot spot locator. Map of AT&T’s data coverage.|
|Speeds||Downloads: 1Mbps / Uploads: 200kbps||3G Downloads: 600 Kbps–1.4 Mbps / Uploads: 500–800 Kbps. Edge: 70-135Kbps|
What does this all mean? Unfortunately, both systems have serious drawbacks. The convenience of using an air card is a huge benefit, however not being able to set up a network is such a drawback as to almost eliminate AT&T as an option.