Another option for "high speed" internet on the ro
At last! A topic I can contribute to even though I don't have my bus yet.
First of all, though, a caveat. I work for RioLink Internet, a locally owned and operated ISP in Truth or Consequences, NM and we are agents for the system I will be talking about.
One of the troubles with using Satellite internet on the road is the fact that the two way satellite systems are required to be installed by a licensed installer as they are transmitting data out to the satellite. Now, the requirements to become a licensed installer are not very difficult but you do have to go to a class and pass a test to become official. One way around this is to utilize a hybrid system where you are using a satellite downlink and a non-satellite uplink. This type of system works very well for the majority of the internet traffic you would expect, i.e browsing web pages and reading your email. It provides only dial up speed for uploads so if you are sending that 20MB video of the entire roof raise on your skoolie project be prepared to wait a while.
Hybrid satellite systems are not required to be installed by a licensed installer since they are receivers only. They do require some other type of internet connection (telephone, cell phone etc.) to provide the uplink. The equipment is quite inexpensive since there is no transmitter in the system. Our system, for example, is $169.00 for the antenna and satellite connection equipment. This includes installation if you happen to be travelling through T or C.
To orient the dish, you will need a device called a "bird dog." this is basically a meter that connects in the antenna line to the satellite dish to let you know that you are receiving a satellite signal. Once you have the dish pointed, it's just a matter of setting up the software. Using one of the internet accellerator packages (such as SlipStream) I've seen almost 1MB speeds on our test dish at the office. 400K to 600K is more the norm, however.
Monthly charges for this type of service are commensurate with the other satellite internet providers but we have a number of customers who are full time RVers and carry their internet around on a tripod that they set up on stops.
WiFi antennas are great and there are any number of free hotspots around the country but you have to be where you can get the WiFi signal, which means RV parks or truck stops or some other commercial establishment. Even if you are wardriving and find an open hotspot somewhere, that means that you are likely in some type of urban environment. With a hybrid satellite system you are only restricted to where you can see the satellite and where you can get, for example, a cell phone signal for your uplink.
Hybrid systems are not for everyone; but, if you are trying to build an inexpensive system while staying off grid as much as possible, they may be worth looking into.
whitedog (maybe whitedognose one of these days)