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Dad Advice: Network Connection on the Road

Internet connection is a top-level concern for our family.

My husband and I are 100% your typical modern millennials and proud of the fact. (Our generation is pretty great, and we know it. Full stop.)

We rely HEAVILY on consistent and high-speed internet connection and unrestricted use. (I don't even want to hear about anything that includes the phrase *limited data*)

My husband works full-time in a remote sales job. My son is involved in several virtual groups and activities as part of his homeschool program. I manage our son's complex medical care through a dozen or so online portals and health systems. Plus, my own work is entirely Zoom-based and social media dependent.

Everything about school and work in our family depends on the miracle that is the internet.

And that remains true when we travel.

One of the benefits of traveling RV-style is that we can set up our homebase as a mobile office. We can decide how to manage our mobile connection needs. We're not relying on the equipment and networks managed by a hotel or campsite. There is no "running out to Starbucks" to grab wifi for a quick work meeting. (Coffee, yes, absolutely, always.... But, not because we don't have internet at home.)

Thankfully, my husband is pretty savvy with tech and can weigh the pros and cons of different network options.

He recently shared a post on Facebook laying out the knowledge he gained from our experience trialing a few different mobile options.*

Here is his advice.

For all of my remote work friends, I thought I'd share my advice on mobile internet. Here's what I've tried.

Travel Data: Unlimited 4G LTE Data, runs off of the T-Mobile network on [the same network] bands that cell phones use. $85/month for HD streaming capabilities. Cancel anytime.

VERDICT: Modem was $300 and only operates off the same bands as cell phones, so network can be congested. Not good for video conferencing unless you are in a major city with 5G. Customer service was great.

Verizon Orbic 5G Hotspot: Up to 150GB premium data. 2-year contract. $70/month for top-tier data camp. Runs similar to travel data speeds and is a hit or miss for video conferencing.

VERDICT: If you need a VPN, forget about it as it will often disconnect. The Orbic device cost $200 and can only be used on the Verizon network. Runs off the same cellular bands as phones, so congestion and buffering is tremendous.

Nomad Internet: Unlimited data with several modem options. Travel modem [option] can be used while on the move. Internal antennas far surpass those of a cell phone and external antennas are available. Operates off of different cellular bands that cell phones can't access. Speeds up to 100 mbps. $109/month and can be paused anytime. $299 modem cost.

VERDICT: Winner! Finally, consistent speeds of 25 mbps, and where cell phones get little service, this modem had two bars. Most campground wifi is for browsing only. This modem and service provided enough speed for two people video conferencing at the same time. Streaming movies is easy too.

I'd say overall if you're in a rural area or remote worker traveling, this is a must-have!!

*This information was posted on April 12th, 2023. Obviously, contract terms and the pros and cons of various network systems can change over time.

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