A Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up an Internal Network in Your RV

One of the handiest upgrades you can make in an RV is setting up an internal network. I know, I know – networking sounds boring and technical. But having a simple home network in your RV opens up a whole world of possibilities.

You’ll be able to do things like:

  • Stream movies and shows from a media server to multiple devices around your RV
  • Print wirelessly from laptops and mobile devices
  • Share files and documents between devices
  • Connect smart home devices like security cameras and thermostats
  • And much more!

A basic RV network doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. With a little DIY spirit, you can get yourself set up in an afternoon.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to install your own networked wonderland on wheels. Grab a beer and let’s get started!

Step 1: Understanding the Basics

Alright, I know I said networking isn’t boring, but we do need to cover some basics real quick. I promise to keep it as painless as possible!

The main components of a home network are:

  • Router: This is the central hub that provides the network connection. It has ports to connect devices via ethernet cables and also broadcasts WiFi signals.
  • Switch: This expands your number of ethernet ports for wired connections.
  • Access Points: These boost your WiFi coverage area.
  • Devices: All the stuff you want to connect – phones, laptops, TVs, printers, etc.

For an RV, you’ll typically want:

  • A router near the front to connect to campground WiFi or a cellular modem
  • A switch to add more ethernet ports as needed
  • 1 or 2 access points to spread WiFi throughout
  • Devices like laptops, tablets, streaming sticks, and smart gadgets

Now that we’ve got the lingo down, let’s start installing this bad boy!

Step 2: Choosing a Router

The first decision is which router you want as the heart of your network. For an RV, look for:

  • Compact size: Space is limited, so find a small unit like the UniFi Dream Machine or TP-Link Archer AX21.
  • Dual band WiFi: You want it to support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
  • External antenna ports: This allows attaching high-gain antennas to improve signal capture.
  • Gigabit WAN port: For connecting high speed campground cable or modem.
  • Load balancing: Combines multiple WAN links like camp WiFi + cellular for better performance.

I’m a big fan of the Pepwave MAX BR1 myself. It checks all the boxes above, has excellent reception sensitivity, and is easy to configure. Plus it just looks super cool!

Step 3: Selecting Access Points

While the router provides WiFi, the signal won’t reach very far. Adding dedicated access points around your RV will fill in any dead zones.

Look for APs that are:

  • Dual band
  • Support 802.11ac standard or better
  • Ceiling or wall mountable
  • PoE powered (uses ethernet cable for power)

The UniFi UAP-AC-LITE is a great choice here. Two of these spaced evenly down the center of your RV should provide full coverage. Place near the front and rear.

Step 4: Wired Connections

For stationary devices like Smart TVs, desktop PCs, and printers, wired ethernet connections are best.

Start by running an ethernet cable from your main router to a network switch located in a central area. This gives you a bundle of ports to connect nearby devices.

From there you can add more switches in different zones as needed. Use flat ethernet cables run under carpet or along trim to keep things tidy.

I’m a big believer in overdoing it on ethernet – you never know when you’ll add a new wired device!

Step 5: Installing and Configuring

Now for the fun part – time to install this stuff! Here’s a simple process:

  1. Mount the router in an open area near the front. Remove clutter around it so the antennas have a clear 360 degree view.
  2. Install access points by first running ethernet cables to the desired AP locations. Then mount and power them up.
  3. Connect switches by running a cable from the router LAN port to the primary switch. Then patch cables to devices.
  4. Configure the router by connecting to it’s setup page at Run through the setup wizard naming your network SSIDs and setting passwords. Enable load balancing if available.
  5. Connect devices by joining the WiFi networks or plugging into ethernet ports. Configure static IPs if desired.

And that’s it! I like to use network mapping apps like Fing to double check all devices are connected properly. Some tweaks to antenna angles may be needed to optimize WiFi coverage.

Step 6: Connecting to Campground WiFi

When rolling into a new campsite, use your shiny new network gear to get the best internet connection:

  • Scan for the SSID broadcast by the campground
  • Select the strongest signal and enter any required login
  • Enable load balancing on the router to combine camp WiFi with cellular
  • Connect all devices to the internal network as usual and enjoy the boosted signal!

Advanced Tips and Tricks

Here are some power user tips for taking your RV network to the next level:

  • Create VLANs to segment your network into zones for security and performance. The Ubiquiti router and switches support advanced configurations.
  • Set up a firewall to protect devices from unwanted traffic. Many routers have basic firewall settings to toggle.
  • Enable VPN for secure remote access back home and encrypted internet browsing. Routers like the Pepwave support VPN servers.
  • Automate connectivity with scripts to switch networks and check status. Have it text or email you alerts!
  • Monitor remotely using dashboard apps to check usage, connected devices, speeds, and more. Unifi has excellent remote monitoring.
  • Add external antennas like directional yagis to point at camp WiFi towers for maximum range extension.

That wraps up this guide on creating your own high speed networked paradise on wheels! Let me know if you have any other tips in the comments. Now go get your RV connected. Your Netflix binge watching depends on it!


Setting up a home network in an RV allows you to securely connect all your devices and enhance your internet experience on the road. The key steps are:

  • Choosing a good router like the Pepwave BR1
  • Adding UniFi access points for full WiFi coverage
  • Using switches to connect stationary devices via ethernet
  • Configuring the router with WiFi settings and load balancing
  • Connecting devices to the internal network
  • Leveraging campground WiFi with external antennas

With a few simple components, you can install a robust networking system perfect for an RV lifestyle. Power users can take it further with advanced features like VLANs, VPNs, and remote monitoring.

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