RV Internet with the MoFi 4500
Our RV Internet Requirements.
Aside from the video work driven by our iLoveRVlife YouTube channel, we have client work that requires transmitting very large video, graphic and document files over Internet. As the adage goes: “Time is money.” but, when it comes to RV travel, time can also relate to fun time. I may work a day then play a day or work in the morning then Joan and I see the sites in the afternoon. Maintaining a productive work schedule and pleasure travel does not allow us to have slow Internet. This isn’t a luxury and the cost in time increases with slow Internet causing extra hours to upload and download large files.
For the past several years we have used a variety of data cell plans and have settle with AT&T and Verizon. In most locations, Verizon has provided the better coverage of the two. We have successfully used a MiFi 6600L Verizon hotspot, but with limitations. The hotspot doesn’t support an external antenna and the Wi-Fi coverage in the 5th wheel is limited to a few feet. We also have devices that we want to connect via an Ethernet cable and this connectivity doesn’t exist with a hotspot.
Using the MoFi 4500 3G/4g/LTE Router.
RV Internet with the MoFi 4500 router is a game changer. This feature rich router supports a wide variety of cellular bands including our needs for Verizon and AT&T. While I’m not sharing the entire list of features for the MoFi 4500, these are some that were important for our needs:
- Both Wi-Fi and hardwire Ethernet connectivity
- Auto and bandlock option for areas that may have congested cellular traffic
- Extend range antennas for both Wi-Fi and cellular
- The ability to add an option external antenna when located in fringe cell coverage areas
- Support for VPS services
- NAT for basic firewall support
This is but a fraction of the features offered by the MoFi 4500, but those we found important for our Internet business and entertainment needs.
Setting up the MoFi 4500 couldn’t be easier. Using the router straight out of the box took a few minutes inset a SIM card, attach the Wi-Fi and cell antennas and attach power to the unit. (Note: Make sure the correct antennas are attached to the correct terminals in the router. Failure to do so will result in poor service and possible damage to the router and/or antennas.) If no advanced features are needed, power the router, wait 4 to 5 minutes to sync with the cell service and you’re online.
A basic configuration is suggested. At a minimum, change the root password for the router and access for Wi-Fi. If nothing else is needed, that’s it.
Testing the MoFi 4500.
For this test, our RV is located in an area that has poor cell coverage. In the video below we compare both the cell strength of our hotspot to the MoFi 4500 using a desktop set up with not external antennas. We also show a speed test for both units. The improvements in speeds were better than expected with a 226% increase in download speed and 126% increase in upload.
What’s Next for Our MoFi 4500?
Our next step will be to add a portable, external antenna to our MoFi 4500 configuration. We have an antenna ordered and will be showing how we plan to use in a mobile fashion as well as Internet performance improvements.
Is a MoFi 4500 Right For You?
If your RV cell based Internet needs are basic with simple, low bandwidth requirements such as the email, small sized document correspondence and the occasional use of social media and YouTube video, then a good quality hotspot may work best. A hotspot is as simple as turn on and use.
But a hotspot has its limits. When higher bandwidth is needed for fringe areas, ability to connect computing devices via a hardwire Ethernet cable, and extended Wi-Fi distance not to mention the wide range of enterprise business class feature, then the MoFi 4500 may be more suited for your needs.
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