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communication:internet [2021/12/17 22:42]
princess_fluffypants [Hardware]
communication:internet [2022/05/24 01:59] (current)
princess_fluffypants [Satellite Internet]
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 ===== Satellite Internet ===== ===== Satellite Internet =====
  
-This is the holy grail of long-term van life. Historically Satellite internet services have been plagued by //very// high prices for minuscule data usage, and unrealistically bulky equipment (think DirectTV dishes). However with the advent of Starlink this may be about to change: https://www.tuckstruck.net/truck-and-kit/geekery/starlink-for-overlanders/ 
  
-Starlink is the satellite internet service offered by Space-X. $100/mo (and a $500 receiver) gets you //blisteringly// fast unlimited internet+{{:communication:squishy.jpg?direct&200 |}}
  
-The catch to Starlink is that it //only// works in remote areas. If you have a cell phone signal, you're probably not far away enough from civilization to get Starlink.  The receiver((who's official name is "Dishy McFlatface")) is also fairly large (about the size of a pizza box) and takes a lot of power (~50w continuous draw).  It's a //portable// solution, but not a //mobile// solution. The current technology does not function while moving, and you have to manually update your location every time you move more than ~15 miles.+This is the holy grail of long-term van life, especially for those who prefer wilderness and remote areas. Historically Satellite internet services have been plagued by //very// high prices for minuscule data usage, and unrealistically bulky equipment (think DirectTV dishes). However with the advent of Starlink this is changing: https://www.starlink.com/rv 
 + 
 +Starlink is the satellite internet service offered by Space-X, and offers a tier of service specifically for RVs. $135/mo (and a $600 receiver) gets you extremely fast unlimited internet in most places in the country. 
 + 
 +The catch is that Starlink //only// works in remote areas. If you have a cell phone signal, you're probably not far away enough from civilization to get Starlink. Out west this is usually not a problem, but east of the Mississippi river there is usually too much population density for the service to be usable. See the coverage map here: https://www.starlink.com/map 
 + 
 +The receiver((who's official name is "Dishy McFlatface")) is also fairly large (about the size of a pizza box) and takes a lot of power (50-100w continuous draw).  It's a //portable// solution, but not a //mobile// solution.  The receiver isn't designed for the sort of vibration and forces imparted when drivingso the majority of Starlink users keep the dish inside the van with them and only deploy it when they're stopped somewhere for an extended period of time.  See one user's experience here:  https://www.tuckstruck.net/truck-and-kit/geekery/starlink-for-overlanders/ 
 + 
 +When using Starlink on the RV plan, your traffic is de-prioritized over users who have a fixed address in the area and you may experience slower speeds. 
 + 
 +The Starlink dish is powered from the included router, or a PoE injector which runs off of AC wall power.  Experiments with powering the injector directly off of 12v DC using a Buck/Boost converter have yielded [[https://www.tuckstruck.net/truck-and-kit/geekery/modifying-the-starlink-power-supply-to-run-on-ac-and-dc/|net power savings of ~30%]].
  
 ---- ----
  
 +===== Cellular data =====
  
 +Mobile (or "cell" data) is the internet access provided by mobile telecomm/cellular networks. This is always going to be a monthly fee.
  
 +There are two components of this equation; Who the carrier is, and what hardware you're using to connect.
 +
 +==== Carriers ====
 +
 +  * **Verizon** dominates the RV/vandweller market because it has the most coverage, including out-of-the-way places.  This makes it the most popular carrier among nomads and [[camping:dispersed|boondockers]].  Verizon is infamous for being expensive and for doing jerky things like limiting built-in features on their phones.  It can be a bit of a love-hate relationship ((it's just hate)).
 +  * **AT&T** and **T-Mobile** are about equal -- full coverage near cities and spottier coverage in the boonies. One advantage to these carriers is that their SIM cards can be put in any unlocked GSM phone.
 +  * **Sprint** is rarely used due to minimal coverage
 +  * **MVNOs**
 +    * Often **you can buy data at cheaper rates**.  Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) are resellers who [[https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/which-network-is-your-mvno-on|buy excess capacity from major networks]] and sell it to customers at reduced prices.  Examples:  Boost (Sprint network), [[https://www.usmobile.com/referrals?data=Y29kZT1VWktEWUxOJm5hbWU9dXNlcm5hbWU=|U.S. Mobile]] (Verizon network) and many others.
 +    * The tradeoff is that your data may be deprioritized when a particular tower gets congested. Coverage in rural areas can often be less reliable, as the economics of scale mean that there is less excess capacity for these MVNOs to buy. Your data will still work, it'll just be slower when all those folks paying full retail start streaming Netflix at 7pm or whatever.  Can't put up with that?  Pay full price and take your chances with congestion anyhow.
 +
 +
 +Perhaps counterintuitively, having a non-Verizon carrier can actually be desirable at RV [[camping:social|meetups]], since everyone else is likely to be hammering the Verizon towers. 
 +
 +==== Hardware ====
 +
 +=== Your Cell Phone ===
 +
 +At the simplest level, just use your cell phone. If you have a laptop, most phones offer a "hotspot" functionality where they will broadcast a (small) WiFi network that you can connect your laptop to.  This works well for intermittent usage, however many cellular carriers restrict how much data you can user for this per month (Usually 10-20gb/mo for a consumer plan).
 +
 +=== Dedicated Hotspot devices ===
 +
 +{{ :communication:vz.jpg?direct&200|}}
 +
 +Sometimes called "jetpacks", these small devices are about the size of a deck of cards and effectively function as cell phones doing a perpetual hotspot (like above) but without the phone.  They broadcast a small local WiFi network that you can connect your laptop, maybe phone, and a few other devices to (typically they don't support more than 5 WiFi devices connecting to them).
 +
 +You buy them typically through your cellular provider, and they are billed monthly just like any other cell phone line. Usually carriers have different types of plans available for these devices, and while larger packages are available in the 100gig+ range they get very expensive.
 +
 +=== Cellular Routers ===
 +
 +Bigger versions of "Hotspot" devices, they offer more speed and capabilities at a higher cost.  They typically have external antenna connection options, and sometimes the ability to bond multiple connection types together at once. Functionally they offer similarity to a consumer home Wi-Fi router, with the addition that you can stick a SIM card in them for internet instead of needing to plug them into your cable modem.
 +
 +[[https://www.peplink.com\Peplink]] is extremely popular in the world of overlanders and cruisers (boaters).  They offer good capabilities in terms of speed, features, and connectivity at a price that is more paletable to most people who are living in a van.  Their [[https://www.peplink.com/products/max-br1-series/|Max BR1]] line of cellular routers offer a reasonable blend of capacity and capabilities for the price.
 +
 +=== Professional equipment ===
 +
 +[[https://www.cradlepoint.com|Cradlepoint]] dominates the professional end of the market. Their equipment is extremely durable, very powerful, and comes with a completely baller cloud-management interface. They also have full enterprise-grade support, which is a shell-shock for people who've never experienced what //real// tech support is like.
 +
 +These are commonly used commercially to provide wifi or data in buses, trains, delivery vans, and are targeted to companies with hundreds of vehicles. Because of this they are a lot more expensive than consumers are accustomed to, and much more complicated to set up. They are intended to be deployed and managed by IT professionals, and to be used with [[https://panorama-antennas.com/site/High-Performance-4x4-MiMo-Antennas|roof-mounted antennas]] which can add complexity to a build.
 +
 +{{:communication:cp.jpg?direct&200 |}}
 +
 +If you have the budget and knowledge for it, the [[https://cradlepoint.com/product/endpoints/ibr1700/|Cradlepoint IBR1700]] is almost intentionally built for van life. It's ruggedized and designed to stand up to vehicle motion and vibration, and will run off of anything from 9-36v DC (it comes with a pigtail connector to wire into your battery system). It has a 4x4 MIMO cellular radio with the option to add a second, giving the ability to run two different SIM cards from two different providers and load-balance across them both at the same time. It also has three Wi-Fi radios (4x4 5GHz, 2x2 5GHz, and 2x2 2.4GHz), and supports a native "WiFi-as-WAN" functionality. 
 +
 +Unfortunately they are also very expensive, typically [[https://rcntechnologies.com/shop/cradlepoint-cor-ibr1700-netcloud-package-cat18-cat12-lte-router/|$1,500 for a single-radio setup]] and an additional $500 for the second radio. Their capabilities are unbeatable though.
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +
 +----
 ===== WiFi ===== ===== WiFi =====
  
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 > Go inside wherever you can find wifi service. make sure you at least buy a drink or something so they know you are a customer. Be quiet, respectful, stay out of the way, leave if all the tables are full and there isn't room for other paying customers, etc. You can often stay for quite a long time - just be considerate of others and you'll likely never be asked to leave. -- DollBabyLG((https://www.reddit.com/r/urbancarliving/comments/oswdqf/18f_and_might_be_homeless_soon_advice/h6shcpb/)) > Go inside wherever you can find wifi service. make sure you at least buy a drink or something so they know you are a customer. Be quiet, respectful, stay out of the way, leave if all the tables are full and there isn't room for other paying customers, etc. You can often stay for quite a long time - just be considerate of others and you'll likely never be asked to leave. -- DollBabyLG((https://www.reddit.com/r/urbancarliving/comments/oswdqf/18f_and_might_be_homeless_soon_advice/h6shcpb/))
  
-==== Connecting to Shore WiFi ====+==== Connecting to WiFi ==== 
 + 
 +Wifi is often available in cities, but the Access Points may be too far to hit with individual devices. Solutions often include better antennas, better placement of existing antennas, or the installation of repeaters/routers. 
  
 In order from simplest/cheapest to most complex/$$$ In order from simplest/cheapest to most complex/$$$
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 === Commercial options === === Commercial options ===
  
-If the hack-it-together route doesn't appeal to you, there are pre-built solutions explicitly for these situations. [[https://www.cradlepoint.com|Cradlepoint]] dominates in the professional mobile internet market, and for good reason. Not only can they function as excellent WiFi relays, but they are also cellular hotspot routers as well. See the Cradlepoint section below for more.+If the hack-it-together route doesn't appeal to you, there are pre-built solutions explicitly for these situations. [[https://www.cradlepoint.com|Cradlepoint]] dominates in the professional mobile internet market, and for good reason. Not only can they function as excellent WiFi relays, but they are also cellular hotspot routers as well. See the Cradlepoint cellular router section below for more.
  
  
 ----- -----
  
-===== Cellular data ===== +===== further reading =====
- +
-Mobile (or "cell" data) is the internet access provided by mobile telecomm/cellular networks. This is always going to be a monthly fee. +
- +
-There are two components of this equation; Who the carrier is, and what hardware you're using to connect. +
- +
-==== Carriers ==== +
- +
-  * **Verizon** dominates the RV/vandweller market because it has the most coverage, including out-of-the-way places.  This makes it the most popular carrier among nomads and [[camping:dispersed|boondockers]].  Verizon is infamous for being expensive and for doing jerky things like limiting built-in features on their phones.  It can be a bit of a love-hate relationship ((it's just hate)). +
-  * **AT&T** and **T-Mobile** are about equal -- full coverage near cities and spottier coverage in the boonies. One advantage to these carriers is that their SIM cards can be put in any unlocked GSM phone. +
-  * **Sprint** is rarely used due to minimal coverage +
-  * **MVNOs** +
-    * Often **you can buy data at cheaper rates**.  Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) are resellers who [[https://www.whistleout.com/CellPhones/Guides/which-network-is-your-mvno-on|buy excess capacity from major networks]] and sell it to customers at reduced prices.  Examples:  Boost (Sprint network), [[https://www.usmobile.com/referrals?data=Y29kZT1VWktEWUxOJm5hbWU9dXNlcm5hbWU=|U.S. Mobile]] (Verizon network) and many others. +
-    * The tradeoff is that your data may be deprioritized when a particular tower gets congested. Coverage in rural areas can often be less reliable, as the economics of scale mean that there is less excess capacity for these MVNOs to buy. Your data will still work, it'll just be slower when all those folks paying full retail start streaming Netflix at 7pm or whatever.  Can't put up with that?  Pay full price and take your chances with congestion anyhow. +
- +
- +
-Perhaps counterintuitively, having a non-Verizon carrier can actually be desirable at RV [[camping:social|meetups]], since everyone else is likely to be hammering the Verizon towers.  +
- +
-==== Hardware ==== +
- +
-=== Your Cell Phone === +
- +
-At the simplest level, just use your cell phone. If you have a laptop, most phones offer a "hotspot" functionality where they will broadcast a (small) WiFi network that you can connect your laptop to.  This works well for intermittent usage, however many cellular carriers restrict how much data you can user for this per month (Usually 10-20gb/mo for a consumer plan). +
- +
-=== Dedicated Hotspot devices === +
- +
-{{ :communication:vz.jpg?direct&200|}} +
- +
-Sometimes called "jetpacks", these small devices are about the size of a deck of cards and effectively function as cell phones doing a perpetual hotspot (like above) but without the phone.  They broadcast a small local WiFi network that you can connect your laptop, maybe phone, and a few other devices to (typically they don't support more than 5 WiFi devices connecting to them). +
- +
-You buy them typically through your cellular provider, and they are billed monthly just like any other cell phone line. Usually carriers have different types of plans available for these devices, and while larger packages are available in the 100gig+ range they get very expensive. +
- +
-=== Cellular Routers === +
- +
-Bigger versions of "Hotspot" devices, they offer more speed and capabilities at a higher cost.  They typically have external antenna connection options, and sometimes the ability to bond multiple connection types together at once. Functionally they offer similiarty to a consumer home Wi-Fi router, with the addition that you can stick a SIM card in them for internet instead of needing to plug them into your cable modem. +
- +
-[[https://www.peplink.com\Peplink]] is extremely popular in the world of overlanders and cruisers (boaters).  They offer good capabilities in terms of speed, features, and connectivity at a price that is more paletable to most people who are living in a van.  Their [[https://www.peplink.com/products/max-br1-series/|Max BR1]] line of cellular routers offer a reasonable blend of capacity and capabilities for the price. +
- +
-=== Cradlepoint === +
- +
-[[https://www.cradlepoint.com|Cradlepoint]] dominates the professional end of the market. Their equipment is extremely durable, very powerful, and comes with a completely baller cloud-management interface. They also have full enterprise-grade support, which is a shell-shock for people who've never experienced what //real// tech support is like. +
- +
-These are commonly used to provide wifi or data in buses, trains, delivery vans, and are targeted to fleets with hundreds of vehicles. However they are a lot more expensive than consumer are accustomed to, and much more complicated to set up. They are intended to be deployed and managed by IT professionals, and to be used with [[https://panorama-antennas.com/site/High-Performance-4x4-MiMo-Antennas|roof-mounted antennas]] which can add complexity to a build. +
- +
-If you have the budget and knowledge for it, the [[https://cradlepoint.com/product/endpoints/ibr1700/|Cradlepoint IBR1700]] is almost intentionally built for van life. It's ruggedized and designed to stand up to vehicle motion and vibration, and will run off of anything from 9-36v DC (it comes with a pigtail connector to wire into your battery system). It has a 4x4 MIMO cellular radio with the option to add a second, giving the ability to run two different SIM cards from two different providers and load-balance across them both at the same time. It also has three Wi-Fi radios (4x4 5GHz, 2x2 5GHz, and 2x2 2.4GHz), and supports a native "WiFi-as-WAN" functionality.  +
- +
-Unfortunately they are also very expensive, typically [[https://rcntechnologies.com/shop/cradlepoint-cor-ibr1700-netcloud-package-cat18-cat12-lte-router/|$1,500 for a single-radio setup]] and an additional $500 for the second radio. Their capabilities are unbeatable though.+
  
 +  * [[https://www.technomadia.com/|TechNomadia]] are experts in mobile connectivity, and have [[https://www.rvmobileinternet.com|a dedicated website]] for sharing that information.  
communication/internet.1639798920.txt.gz · Last modified: 2021/12/17 22:42 by princess_fluffypants