Hi Skoolie friends,
In my pilot life, we call it a PIREP (a pilot report)...so in my bus life, I guess this is going to be a BUREP (probably pronounced like a belch). Okay, perhaps this isn't the best way to start off a review...I'll start over.
About 3 months ago, we bought a cellular WiFi modem...a hotspot...from The RV IT Guy, at https://www.thervitguy.com/about-us/
and I wanted to share our experience with it.
That link is to their "about us" page, not the product page, because I liked their story and their motivation. That was a good first impression, so we reached out to them. We quickly contacted someone live and US-based via chat, then had a follow up conversion with another rep on the phone. In both cases, they were knowledgeable and pleasant...and the rep on the phone actually lives on the road. So, another good impression.
After checking coverage where we live, which is rural and without "real" internet connections, we wanted to give them a try. We bought the XR-2 version, which is for a 120V AC circuit. The XR-1 has a battery, but we'll always have 120V power on board so we went with the XR-2 based on their recommendation. Apparently the XR-2 has a more powerful processor and, given our remote location with fringe cellular coverage, we chose that one.
They're using the Sprint network and, frankly, I wasn't hopeful. I made a point of asking about their return policy, in the event it didn't work for us. They said they had a 10-day policy, so I thought we'd give it a try. If it worked here, at home, we'd feel better about taking it out on the road.
So...drum roll...after 3 months of use, I have to say I am super
impressed. There are 3 of us in this house and my daughter's currently attending Zoom school online. We turned off our Verizon hotspots and all 3 of us have been using the RV IT Guy modem exclusively. And it's worked great! It's faster than our Verizon hotspot and it's consistently supported all 3 of us, even with my daughter's class streaming during the day.
The modem has two WiFi networks (SSIDs)...one is VPN protected and one is not. This gives you the option of using the VPN for added online privacy, if you want, but you can also switch to the non-VPN one if you have site issues through the VPN.
The modem has ethernet jacks to connect an external modem, but in a bus the WiFi from the modem is plenty strong. We did connect an external modem, but that was just so we could add some coverage outside our house. Inside, it's not needed.
My only complaint is a minor one. They use a standard password for the WiFi networks on all their modems. But, they did say they could change it if we wanted...so that complaint is easily resolved.
I just ran a SpeedTest.net test on the connection and have 5.56Mbps download and 3Mbps upload right now. This is usually a busy time and I'm also streaming a YouTube video while I'm typing this and running the speed test...and who knows what my daughter's doing?! So, I think that's pretty good considering our location and options. It's definitely better than the HughesNet satellite we tried for 2 years. Oh, and if it matters, this speed test was run through a server in NJ (because of the VPN) but I'm really in Arizona.
Anyway, we're impressed and I think it's a viable option.
Be well and, as our friend Vinnie says..."Put life into living and do it with enthusiasm!"
Ross and Kara Taylor