Why-Fi Wi-Fi?

In most RV parks, the Wi-Fi service is barely usable. Even when you pay a lot of money to stay at a high-end RV resort, the Wi-Fi service can often be pretty poor.

A frequent question I get from my fellow RVers: what can I do to get better Wi-Fi?

One answer is to get an external antenna and connect it to a router. That requires a lengthy and technical post, one that I might do in the future, but the single best way to improve the Wi-Fi signal coming into your coach is to use an external antenna. Even if you are lucky enough to pull in a strong Wi-Fi signal with a good quality antenna, you may still be disappointed in the park’s Internet service.

I’m a heavy Internet user. I have 30 devices in my coach that connect to the Internet: computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, Apple TVs, Sonos speakers, Playstations, Network-attached Storage, GPS, etc.

I can easily use 200 GB to 300 GB of data a month.

I do not rely on the Wi-Fi service at most RV parks. And here is why. I have only been to a few RV resorts where the Wi-Fi service is robust. At Hearthside Grove we enjoyed 60 Mbps unlimited and uncensored high-speed Internet over Wi-Fi. At Desert Shores, we enjoyed 20 Mbps unlimited and uncensored high-speed Internet over Wi-Fi. At Swan Bay Resort, we enjoyed 10 Mbps unlimited and uncensored high-speed Internet over Wi-Fi. Even at our summer site near Toronto, Ontario, we enjoy unlimited and uncensored Internet over Wi-Fi although that park manages the bandwidth and limits it to 7 Mbps per connected device.

Many high-end RV resorts, despite charging a premium rate, have yet to improve their Wi-Fi service. They issue statements that should really be titled this way: we provide a Wi-Fi service but it ain’t great.

Here is part of the statement from Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort:

Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort (HHIMR) Wireless Wi-Fi Service Expectations

Wi-Fi service is intended to provide casual use wireless networking for all owners, staff and guests to HHIMR. There are many challenges to delivering this service over a large forested area to individuals in steel enclosed motorhomes.

HHIMR wireless clients can expect a good experience for low to medium bandwidth applications in areas with low to medium user populations. These activities include web browsing, checking email, chat, printing, etc.

High bandwidth applications like streaming video or large network downloads will also decrease the speed and responsiveness of the network for all users in an area. For this reason, HHIMR will monitor and may restrict usage.

And here is part of the statement from where we are staying right now at Myakka River Motorcoach Resort:

Myakka River Motorcoach Resort (MRMR) Wireless Wi-Fi Service Expectations

Wi-Fi service is intended to provide casual use wireless networking for all owners, staff and guests to MRMR. There are many challenges to delivering this service over a large area to individuals in steel enclosed motor coaches.

MRMR wireless clients can expect a good experience for low to medium bandwidth applications in areas with low to medium user populations. These activities include web browsing, checking email, chat, printing, etc.

High bandwidth applications like streaming video or large network downloads will also decrease the speed and responsiveness of the network for all users in an area. For this reason, MRMR will monitor and may restrict usage.

Hmmm. Looks like someone did a cut and paste as the full statements from the two resorts are basically identical. I’ve seen very similar copy from other RV parks as well.

Myakka censors Internet usage and blocks several popular sites like YouTube, Apple, and Netflix.

Some of the RV resorts are improving their Internet service. For example, RiverBend just updated their Internet service by putting a fibre fed wireless network to each site. I met with Golden Palms Motorcoach Resort at the RV SuperShow and they were implementing a similar system: high-speed fibre to each pedestal and, from the pedestal, wireless to the coach. Unlimited high-speed Internet.

We have an International, unlimited, no throttling cellular data plan. Performance can vary depending on the tower and the congestion but we usually see 25 to 50 Mbps in most areas where we travel. And I don’t have to worry about security issues, blocked websites, monitoring of my Internet usage, dead access points or other “best effort” Wi-Fi service limitations.

Cellular data is really the better option for heavy Internet users that are mobile. Assuming, of course, that you can find a truly unlimited and no throttling data plan and that you have decent cellular coverage. Our data plan is expensive whereas park Wi-Fi is generally offered as a “free” service. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for.

Soon we will have low earth orbit satellite services from companies like OneWeb and Starlink that will hopefully provide a far more robust high-speed Internet than park Wi-Fi and cellular. Perfect for the mobile user.

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