Internet Woes

It was all so simple in our former sticks-and-bricks house. We had a lovely DSL line running into our home, feeding a constant, consistent broadband data pipeline. We could game. We could stream. It was heavenly, and we took it so for granted.

Then we went on the road full-time. We have a decent set up for data and several options. Our primary internet data connection is through an AT&T hotspot with an unlimited data plan. Since we live inside a metal box (think Faraday cage), we installed a WeBoost  4G-X cell signal enhancer antenna system which boosts our cell signal and re-broadcasts it inside our motorhome. Most campgrounds also offer wifi. It sounds good, right?

In reality, our connectivity is highly variable. It all depends on the cell signal strength where we are sitting, and the number of folks trying to connect. In a major city, our signal is usually fairly robust. But, we typically don’t camp inside a major city – we are at a campground somewhere on the fringe of civilization. As a result, our cell signal is not so robust. Even with a strong signal, 4G data speed is limited. Slow uploads. Laggy web pages. Don’t even THINK about streaming. One must exercise a great deal of patience.

But wait, there’s the campground wifi! That works, right?

In reality, not so much. In all of our travels, I’ve encountered very few campground wifi systems that are any better than our mobile hotspot. I have run across one or two that had a very good signal, even streaming-worthy. But that is the rare exception. Most of the time, it is fair useless.

We make do. Some areas are better than others. Now that the COVID restrictions are easing, we can once again haunt Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and take advantage of their wifi for uploading/downloading larger files. It works.

But, the problem is, I’m spoiled right now. At our Tucson winter home, we subscribed to broadband internet and experienced the glory of 40 Mbs download speed and 5 Mbs upload speed. Video streaming!! Both of us at once!! Fast file uploads! Crystal-clear Zoom calls! It was heaven.

Now we’re back on the road, and back to low-speed and unreliable data streams. <Heavy sigh>

I guess we’ll just have to enjoy the great outdoors!

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