Staying connected while on the road is essential to me and most others. When we had a home, it was simple. We had blazing fast internet through a local cable company. We could also get our TV channels through them if we preferred. But what do you do when you live in a motor home and travel around?

Before we began full-time RV, I did a lot of research on connectivity. I learned a lot. Some RVers have become experts on the subject.  One of the most knowledgeable is Technodadia. Chris and Cherie are an excellent source for everything related to RV connectivity. There are many options to look at, but we decided that we could manage everything with our cell service.

T-Mobile is our cell service. Their Magenta 55 plan gives us unlimited phone and Data service. We have been with them our entire time on the road. I have a cell booster to make the most of the cell signal. There are several companies selling boosters. I decided on the Hi-Boost system. It will boost all levels of cell signals, including 5G. We have an external antenna that captures the signal. The signal is amplified and transmitted inside the motorhome through an internal antenna.

Initially, we used a tablet for a hotspot. T-Mobile did not offer an affordable hotspot at that time. We had success with this arrangement. During our first winter on the road in South Alabama, I began experiencing some issues with slow feeds. I learned that I had been throttled because I had exceeded a limit on my unlimited service.  There isn’t any such thing as an “unlimited” service. With T-Mobile, if you exceed 50 gigabytes, you “might” be throttled. After talking with the T-Mobile agent for a while, he removed the throttle, and we didn’t have the problem again. We have camped in some pretty remote areas and have rarely had any connectivity issues until recently.

Here in Iron Mountain, Michigan, we only get TV signals from two stations, adding up to eight channels. PBS is one station, and the other is CW. The signal is feeble, and the ability to watch is a crap shoot. But we get decent cell service and can stream live TV. We use YouTube TV to get live channels. It has not been perfect. We were getting some buffering, but we could get by. But a few days ago, everything changed. I called to talk with T-Mobile and learned that I had exceeded the “unlimited” data limit and that my signal had been throttled. So I made a plea to get the throttle lifted but was told that they no longer could do that. I was given the option of purchasing more data. After some discussion, I agreed to buy an additional 100 GBs of data with the assurance I could use my tablet as a hotspot.

The next day everything seemed fine. And then it wasn’t. After about an hour, I could no longer stream. This time while talking with a T-Mobile agent, I was told I had reached the limit of my hotspot data. I can’t say how it is with other companies, but with T-Mobile, you have data, and then there’s hotspot data. I still find this confusing. You can stream all of your data on your cellular device. But when you use that device as a hotspot, your “unlimited” data is limited. I explained that I purchased 100GBs of additional data just yesterday. He explained that it wasn’t hotspot data. “But the other agent said I could use it with my tablet as a hotspot.” You can, but you have reached your hotspot limit.” After a bit of discussion, I finally asked, “Then what can I do?” He offered to sell me a real hotspot with 100 GBs of data. I wound up getting the hotspot for free and the 100GBs of hotspot data for an additional $50 a month.

After the 5G hotspot arrived and I got it hooked up, I could have kicked myself. Using the tablet as a hotspot, we could only have one device at a time connected to it. As I said previously, there was some buffering and, at times, slow to connect. This hotspot is like having home internet. We can also connect multiple devices. I took a pause writing this to check my wifi speed through the hotspot; it was 84mbs!

I have been with T-Mobile for five years and have been very happy with them. Yes, there have been some problems, but they have always worked hard to resolve them. We have two lines with 5G phones plus the line for the 5G hotspot, and we pay $140 a month. That’s not bad.

One thought on “Connectivity

  1. Thanks for the info! I’m working on similar issues currently and will use it to lessen my learning curve. Happy Trails


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