One of the reasons we love traveling in RVs is to bring the comforts of home with us no matter where we go. Whether boondocking in a remote area or visiting a more built-up area, modern amenities make life easier. Today, an internet connection is necessary for everything from safety to entertainment. This blog post will explore the benefits of an RV satellite dish, the best satellite services for RV owners, and how to install an RV satellite dish.
RV Satellite Basics
What is an RV Satellite dish?
An RV satellite dish is a hardware that allows you to access internet service or TV channels by connecting with satellites in the sky. Because data is transferred by satellites in the sky, service is broader than cellular service that relies on towers on land.
Is an RV Satellite Dish Worth It?
The value of an RV satellite dish depends on where you camp, what you like to do while camping, and how frequently you use your RV. A satellite dish is sometimes the only way to access internet service, as cellular networks are still unavailable everywhere, particularly in rural areas popular with RV owners. Many campgrounds offer free WiFi for guests, but if you are boondocking, this is not an option.
Satellite internet prices vary depending on the speed and monthly data allowances. According to https://www.satelliteinternet.com, their top choices range from $50 to $500 monthly, depending on the speed and monthly data allowances.
RVers who want to stream TV and movies or work from their RV will need a more extensive package than users who simply want to check in with family and occasionally access the internet. Some providers offer a monthly option, so you can pay for the months you are traveling.
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In addition to the monthly service, you will need to purchase the actual hardware. This can include the actual satellite dish, plus any routers and extenders you may need or want, depending on your internet needs. Hardware ranges from a few hundred dollars to $2000 or more.
Best Satellite Services for RV Owners
Popular satellite services for RV owners include Dish Outdoors, Starlink for RVs, and Mobile Satellite Technologies. Because the technology is different for stationary homes versus RVs and other moving vehicles, you will need different equipment to access satellite services from your RV than you use at home.
Deciding which satellite service is best for an RV depends on why you need satellite services, how much you plan to use it, and how fast a signal you need. If you are just interested in satellite TV, Dish Outdoors and DirecTV are great options. Work from your RV or enjoy having regular internet access from remote locations. Starlink or Mobile Satellite Technologies may be your option.
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Because each provider uses proprietary hardware, the best satellite dish for an RV is often limited to the options for that provider. However, there are often options for each provider.
Choosing the best RV satellite system will depend on your needs and whether you prefer something to be permanently mounted to your RV or camper or something mobile that you can take with you whether you are camping in your RV, in a tent, or out on a boat.
If you are looking for an RV HD satellite dish, both DirecTV and Dish Outdoor offer solutions to have high-definition television.
Dish Outdoors is a great option for RVers looking for satellite TV and streaming without satellite internet. You will need a proprietary DISH Satellite Antenna. You can add the DISH Wally Wi-Fi USB Adapter to access apps like Netflix, The Weather Channel, and other entertainment options. You can pay for the months you need and disconnect without additional fees if you are not traveling for a while.
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DirecTV also has options for satellite TV for RV owners. Just like Dish Outdoors, you will need special hardware. DirecTV offers options for RVs, boats, and even airplanes.
Starlink for RVs
Part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX initiatives, Starlink is a great option for RV owners who spend a lot of time in their RVs and often travel to remote locations. You will need one of two Starlink satellites. The Flat High-Performance Starlink option, which is $2500, allows users to access high-speed internet while in motion.
It is designed to be permanently mounted on your RV. The Standard Starlink, which will cost $599, is portable and designed for use when not in motion. Users can subscribe in one-month increments.
Mobile Satellite Technologies
Mobile Satellite Technologies offers cellular internet, satellite internet, and a hybrid. You can purchase one of three different options for your satellite dish. Mobile Satellite Technologies also has various plans depending on your usage needs and works with HughesNet.
How to install a satellite dish on RV/After you purchase
Many newer RVs are sold with installed or pre-wired satellite dishes to make installation easy. If you have an older RV or would like to install a different type or make of satellite dish, and if you are handy at both installing hardware and setting up software, there are a variety of YouTube videos you can use as a guide. Otherwise, you can hire someone to do it for you if you are uncomfortable doing it yourself.
Looking for the best satellite internet for RV? Here's what you need to look for
- Coverage: Satellite internet coverage can vary significantly depending on your location. Ensure that the chosen provider has coverage in the areas you plan to travel to.
- Data Caps: Many satellite internet plans come with data caps, which means you'll have a limited amount of data to use each month. Be mindful of your data usage, especially if you plan to stream video or use data-intensive applications.
- Speeds: Satellite internet tends to have higher latency and slower speeds than traditional wired connections. While it might be sufficient for basic web browsing and email, there might be better online gaming or heavy streaming options.
- Mobile-Friendly: Confirm that the satellite internet system you choose is compatible with your RV setup. Some providers offer mobile-specific plans and equipment better suited for on-the-go usage.
- Customer Reviews: Look for reviews and feedback from other RV travelers who have used the service you're considering. Their experiences can provide valuable insights into real-world performance and reliability.
- Alternatives: It might be worth considering other options, such as cellular-based internet plans, depending on where you travel. Some RVers use mobile hotspot devices or data plans from major carriers, which can provide faster and more reliable connections in certain areas.
Always research thoroughly and read the terms and conditions of the service before signing up for any satellite internet plan. Keep in mind that advancements in technology and new providers may have emerged since my last update, so it's essential to stay current with the latest available options.