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High-speed Internet for motorhome travel

So you want to hit the road but can’t imagine being without your DSL or cable for high-speed Internet access. If only you could have all your Internet-based computer resources with you, you could go anywhere and stay away indefinitely, right?

You can take it with you!

With a high-speed Internet connection, you can travel wherever you want and still be in communication via e-mail, photos, and even videos. Your travels can be shared with all your family and friends by using online photo albums and travel journals. You can do your banking online and manage your mail-forwarding addresses using Web-based services.

Many of us now do our jobs while on the road, thanks to the Internet. My husband and I have been computer support professionals since the early 1980s. In 2003 we sold our home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and took to the road. We knew we needed an Internet connection, so we equipped our motorhome with a two-way Internet satellite dish. My clients hardly even knew I was gone! We love our satellite dish, but it’s not the only way to connect while traveling.

Three types of Internet connections on the road

You can’t take your DSL or cable connection with you — they require a wire. And wires won’t stretch to the end of your driveway, let alone to the next state or the other side of the country. So, the connection has to be wireless. There are three different wireless technologies to which you can connect:

1. Satellite: Connect to a satellite 22,300 miles away.
2. Cellular: Connect to cellular providers’ towers up to 30 miles away.
3. Wi-Fi: Connect to a wireless network, also known as a “hot spot,” up to 300 feet away.


We chose the satellite option, because we wanted to be able to camp in wilderness parks and still be able to conduct our business on the Internet. As long as we have a clear view of the southern sky, we can connect. We spent nearly $6,000 to purchase and install the equipment — an automatic, roof-mounted satellite dish called the Datastorm. We justified it by saying, “With it, we have a business; without it, we don’t.” When we thought of it as a business investment, $6,000 didn’t seem like much at all. The monthly service fee is $80.

A less expensive satellite option is a manually pointed, tripod-mounted dish. The equipment ranges from $700 to $1,500, with monthly service running about $60. It takes around a half hour to set up each time you park, as opposed to pushing a button for the automatic type. Plus, you need space to store the dish and tripod when you travel.

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