Riding the Wireless Waves: A Deep Dive into Verizon RV Internet

As someone who spent a year working remotely out of a camper van, I know firsthand how frustrating spotty mobile internet can be when you’re trying to get work done on the go.

That’s why so many RV travelers and remote workers swear by Verizon for mobile internet. Verizon has a reputation for having the most extensive nationwide cellular network with the fastest speeds. But is Verizon’s service truly the most reliable for RVers? And how do the different plans and equipment options stack up for full-time travel?

Weighing the Pros of Verizon RV Internet

There are a few key reasons why Verizon tops the charts for mobile connectivity:

Sheer Size of the Network

Like a good down home buffet, Verizon offers the most coverage across the country. We’re talking around 2 million square miles of 4G LTE data coverage from sea to shining sea.

Verizon has invested tons of time and money into building out their network. They were the first to launch 5G coverage and now offer it in over 2,700 cities. That means you’re more likely to get a strong, speedy cellular connection in remote areas and while traveling through small towns where other providers drop calls.

Fastest Overall Speeds

Multiple independent studies have found Verizon delivers the fastest average mobile data speeds compared to AT&T, T-Mobile, and other networks. We’re talking double the download and upload speeds in some cases!

Quick connectivity is clutch when you want to stream HD videos, hop on video calls, or download big files while RVing. Nothing kills your vibe like buffering wheels when you’re trying to watch the new season of Ozark during off-grid happy hour. Gotta have that sweet, sweet bandwidth!

Reliable Coverage Coast to Coast

Not only is Verizon the largest network, but it’s also the most dependable and consistent across diverse terrain. Whether you’re road tripping through the Rocky Mountains, boondocking in the desert, or exploring thick forests, Verizon is built to handle the topography.

Other mobile carriers might have a few dead zones or patchy service areas that leave you hanging. But Verizon strives for reliable service in both rural and urban locations from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters. That consistency is key for folks who are constantly on the move.

Security and Network Management

Verizon invests a ton into proactive network monitoring and protective measures like encryption and fraud prevention. For cybersecurity nuts like me, it’s reassuring knowing Verizon has security down pat.

When your livelihood depends on mobile internet access, you want a network that’s buttoned up tight. Big V gets top marks for protecting user data and beefing up defenses against attacks. Safety first!

Broad Equipment Options

You can tap into Verizon’s service using your smartphone, a MiFi hotspot device, or external antenna and router combos. Verizon authorizes a bunch of different hardware, so you can pick the gear that fits your lifestyle and budget.

For weekenders who already have Verizon phones, using your device’s hotspot feature may suffice. But full-timers and remote workers may want standalone hotspots or routers with enhanced antennas for maximum speeds. More on that later!

When the Verizon Network Falls Short

Look, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of the drawbacks of relying on Verizon for your RV. Their service isn’t perfect by any means:

Verizon Doesn’t Own All the Towers

While Verizon does operate a huge number of cell towers nationwide, they don’t actually own the entire physical infrastructure. Verizon and other major carriers actually lease some towers from third-party companies.

This can lead to differences in service quality and coverage depending on who’s operating that equipment. In more remote areas, you might hop onto a weaker leased tower and notice your bars drop. Just the nature of the beast!

Speeds Vary by Location

Despite having speedy service on average, Verizon’s network can still get bogged down in areas with high traffic and congestion. You’ll definitely notice slower speeds around major cities, at huge events like sports games or festivals, and during other network-taxing scenarios.

When the local towers are slammed with usage, your mobile plan gets deprioritized so Verizon can ration bandwidth. Not ideal when you have a hundred emails to answer!

Rural Dead Zones Exist

Although Verizon touts coast-to-coast service, some pockets in the sticks still lack strong LTE coverage. If you venture way off the beaten path, be prepared for dropped calls and slooooow data.

I had a few camps deep in the Sierras and desolate stretches of Nevada where I couldn’t even send a text. Good thing I downloaded that map ahead of time! Always wise to have an offline backup navigational plan.

Throttling Can Creep Up

One major gripe RV travelers have is Verizon’s throttling practices. If you exceed your plan’s monthly high-speed data allowance, your speeds get throttled (or slowed) down to 256kbps. This essentially makes webpages and streaming unusable.

While all carriers do this to prevent unlimited data plans from getting overwhelmed, Verizon seems to be quite aggressive about throttling compared to others. Be prepared for slashed speeds if you go over your limit!

Customer Service Isn’t Great

Let’s just say Verizon’s customer support isn’t winning any awards. Many users complain of long hold times, scripted responses, wasted time getting transferred, and reps who can’t solve issues.

For a telecom giant, they seem understaffed. When you need technical help STAT, Verizon’s lackluster service department can leave you high and dry.

Equipment is Pricey

As you’ll soon see, Verizon’s data plans and mobile hotspot devices don’t come cheap. You’ll shell out more for Verizon than competitors, so it’s definitely a premium service. Some folks can’t stomach the high prices, especially for unlimited data.

If budget is a concern, T-Mobile or local/regional networks could be more wallet-friendly. But those savings come at the cost of coverage and speeds.

Types of Verizon Plans for RVers

Alright, now that we’ve assessed the pros and cons, let’s explore the different ways to get Verizon service in your RV. You’ve got a few options when it comes to plans and devices:

Cell Phone Hotspot

The simplest way to get internet in your RV is turning your Verizon smartphone into a mobile hotspot. You can designate your phone’s cellular data for hotspot usage and connect other devices like laptops and tablets.

Many Verizon plans include some amount of high-speed hotspot data before throttling kicks in. For example, the Play More Unlimited plan provides 15GB of 4G LTE hotspot data per line.

The upsides are not needing any extra devices and tapping into your existing cellular plan. Downsides are hotspot data caps, security risks, and killing your phone battery life quicker.

Mobile Hotspot Devices

For more robust wireless internet, Verizon has dedicated mobile hotspots like the Jetpack available. These connect to the cellular network and broadcast a WiFi signal for your RV. You’ll need to add a hotspot device to your account or activate a standalone data plan.

Benefits are better antenna reception, long battery life, connecting multiple devices, and separating hotspot data from your cell usage. The con is another gadget to keep charged and protect from damage.

Installed Routers and Antennas

Some RVers install a modem/router combo and external antenna permanently on their rig for whole-home connectivity. You can get a modem with WiFi broadcasting abilities or use a router for wired Ethernet connections.

This setup provides the strongest signal amplification, simultaneous wired and wireless connections, and WiFi range throughout your RV. The installation and equipment costs are the biggest downsides.

Third-Party Resellers

Various resellers purchase wholesale data from Verizon and other carriers to package their own plans. For example, Nomad Internet, Mobile Must Have, and Digital Antenna are popular Verizon MVNOs.

The advantage is getting unlimited unthrottled data on Verizon’s network which Verizon directly doesn’t offer. Potential risks are less predictable service and account management.

Choosing Your Plan and Device

Which route is best really depends on your budget, internet needs, and tech skills. Light users who stick to web browsing and email may be fine using their phone’s hotspot feature.

Data hungry streamers and remote workers are better off with a dedicated hotspot device or installed router setup. And unlimited data fiends should look at third-party resellers.

It comes down to weighing mobility vs. speed, balancing data caps with costs, and picking gear you’re comfortable using. Let’s explore some specific Verizon plans and equipment to consider.

Reviewing Verizon’s Core Data Plans

Verizon offers prepaid, shared data, and unlimited plans for lines, smart devices, hotspots, and home internet. Here are some of the most popular options for RVers explained:

Unlimited Smartphone Plans

For unlimited talk, text, and web browsing on your cell phone, Verizon has four plan tiers:

  • Start Unlimited – The basic unlimited plan with no perks. Video streams at 480p quality.
  • Play More Unlimited – Includes 15GB of 4G LTE hotspot data and extras like Disney+ and Apple Music subscriptions. Videos stream at 720p resolution.
  • Do More Unlimited – Adds 500GB of Verizon Cloud storage but no hotspot data or streaming perks. Also 720p video.
  • Get More Unlimited – The premium plan with 30GB of high-speed hotspot data, highest priority on the network, and free subscriptions to services like Disney+, ESPN+, and Apple Music. Videos stream in 1080p HD.

Prices range from $70-$90 per month per line depending on the plan and number of lines. Taxes and fees extra.

Unlimited Hotspot Plans

Verizon has standalone unlimited hotspot plans just for your Jetpacks and other wireless devices:

  • Basic Unlimited – Unlimited 4G LTE data that may be throttled in times of congestion. Video maxes out at 480p quality. $50/month for one device, with discounts for adding more.
  • Premium Unlimited – Unthrottled data priority and 720p HD video streaming. $80/month for one device, multi-line discounts available.
  • Ultimate Unlimited – Top data priority and 1080p HD video. 30GB of high-speed hotspot data for using your phone as a hotspot. $100/month for one device.

Prepaid Unlimited

Verizon Prepaid offers a standalone unlimited LTE data and hotspot plan for $65/month. Video maxes out at 480p and you may experience throttling. There are also cheaper prepaid plans with 6GB, 12GB, and 24GB of data.

Home Internet

If you set up permanent residence in your RV, Verizon has Unlimited 5G Home Internet plans starting at $50/month. You get an indoor or outdoor router and no data caps. Speeds around 300 Mbps. Requires a 5G Ultra Wideband connection.

Business Plans

Verizon has a selection of shared data plans and unlimited options for small business and enterprise customers. More expensive than consumer offerings but with enhanced security, dedicated support, and network customization abilities.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind taxes, fees, and potential overage charges add to the monthly cost. Having AutoPay and paperless billing can score you discounts. Unlimited plans may experience throttling at any time based on network activity. And streaming video/audio quality varies.

Reviewing Verizon Mobile Hotspot Devices

If you want to use a dedicated mobile hotspot, here are some top Verizon-approved options:

Verizon Jetpack MiFi Devices

Verizon’s flagship line of mobile hotspots. The Jetpack MiFi 8800L has the best combination of fast LTE speeds, portability, and long battery life. Connect up to 15 devices and lasts 24 hours per charge. $99 upfront plus data plan.

Inseego MiFi Hotspots

Rugged and reliable hotspots with good antennas. The MiFi M2100 5G UW hotspot can achieve super fast 5G speeds in select areas. $399 upfront plus data plan.

NETGEAR Hotspots

NETGEAR has a range of hotspots like the Nighthawk M5 that supports Ethernet connectivity for wired devices. User-friendly LCD screens. $299 upfront plus data plan.

GlocalMe U3 and U2 Hotspots

Budget-friendly mobile hotspots good for lighter internet users. Don’t expect the fastest speeds but the U3 lets you connect up to 5 devices at once. $99 upfront plus data plan.

Antenna and Router Combos

For higher speeds, enhanced range, and WiFi broadcasting throughout your RV, install a modem/router combo. Pair it with a directional/omni antenna. Equipment and setup costs will be $500+.

WeCell, Waveform, Pepwave, and Cradlepoint are top brands. This is a more advanced DIY approach requiring roof access and cabling.

What Hotspot is Best?

Prioritize battery life, WiFi range, number of device connections, and LTE capabilities when shopping. Touchscreens add convenience but drain power quicker. Also consider 5G support for future-proofing as the technology expands.

I’m a fan of the Inseego MiFi 8000 due to its balance of portability, speeds, and advanced antenna design. But Jetpacks work great too!

Exploring Third-Party Resellers for Unlimited Data

If you want truly unlimited high-speed Verizon data without throttling concerns, check out these popular third-party resellers:

Nomad Internet

Offers unlimited, unthrottled data plans around $100/month. Uses Verizon’s network and provides modems/hotspots. No contracts and flexible billing. Reliable customer service.


Specializes in unlimited Verizon data plans starting at $89/month. Equipment packages and multiple SIM cards available for connecting several devices.

Mobile Must Have

Another provider of uncapped Verizon LTE data. $99/month for unlimited hotspot usage. Device options include Nighthawk M1 routers and Mofi SIM4 routers. Rave reviews of their customer support.

RVMobile Internet

Unlimited Verizon data plans for RVs and mobile use. $99/month bundled with modem/router combos. 14-day money-back guarantee and no multi-month contracts.

Understanding Resellers

These providers purchase wholesale “Business Unlimited” data from Verizon and repackage it for consumers. Make sure to research any company thoroughly before signing up. Customer service reputation and plan management practices are especially important.

Getting Your Setup Installed and Working

Once you’ve chosen your Verizon devices and plans, you need to get everything activated and installed. Here are some tips:

Activating Devices and Plans

For Verizon hotspots and routers, you’ll need to contact Verizon or follow the setup guide to get service activated on the equipment. Provide the device ID and your account information.

If going through a reseller, they will provide guidance on activation. You may need to contact them instead of Verizon if issues arise.

Install and Secure Hotspot Devices

Place your hotspot in a central area of your RV for optimal WiFi range. Keep it away from metal surfaces that can interfere with signals.

Hotspots are small and easily stolen, so secure the device somewhere discreet when not monitoring it closely. Never leave it sitting out!

Setting Up Antenna/Router Combos

You’ll need to run coaxial cables between roof antennas into your RV to connect with router/modems. Use appropriate roof sealants and weatherproofing methods when mounting antennas.

Determine the best placement based on your floor plan. You want the antenna elevated as much as possible and angled outward from obstructions. Have a pro handle installation if you’re not technical.

Connecting and Monitoring Devices

Once turned on and broadcasting, you can join the WiFi network from hotspots and routers. Some allow both 2.4GHz and 5GHz band connections.

Check your signal strength and speeds from different areas. Move the device around or tweak antennas as needed to improve range and performance. Test your setup thoroughly before hitting the road!

Prioritizing Traffic

If multiple people are connecting, you may want to configure traffic prioritization rules so that your work laptop gets priority bandwidth for video calls.

Gaming devices and streaming boxes can hog bandwidth, so deprioritize as needed. This helps ensure business critical activities aren’t disrupted.

Optimizing and Troubleshooting Your Mobile Internet

No wireless setup is perfect, so expect to do some optimizing and troubleshooting. A few pro tips:

Be Strategic With Data Usage

Monitor your data usage within your plan’s limits to avoid speed throttling. Download large files during off-peak hours when the network is less congested. Disable auto-updates and streaming apps when not in use.

Try External Antennas and Signal Boosters

Weak signal? Attach higher gain antennas to hotspots or utilize a cellular signal booster like weBoost to amplify reception. Proper antenna positioning is key!

Minimize Bandwidth Hogs

Disable auto video playback on websites. Set streaming resolution caps on Netflix/YouTube. Use WiFi for large downloads only. Switch streaming boxes to wired Ethernet connections if possible to free up wireless bandwidth.

Keep Devices Cooled and Charged

Overheating and low batteries equal poor performance. Keep hotspots and routers in well-ventilated areas and plugged into power when stationary. Consider 12V DC power options.

Reboot and Reset Connections Regularly

Power cycle modems and routers occasionally to clear up glitches. Renew your device’s IP address and flush the DNS cache to grab the latest network settings. Close and reopen apps to clear any caching issues.

Switch Bands and Evaluate Congestion

Try toggling your router settings to the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band for better connectivity. Monitor congestion using apps like Netspot and move to less populated channels. Avoid the oversaturated channels 1, 6, and 11.

Switch to Cellular When Needed

If the campground WiFi is super sluggish, use your Verizon hotspot instead for faster performance. Save public WiFi for lightweight browsing and use cellular for bandwidth intensive work.

Contact Support ASAP if Needed

If you still can’t resolve connection problems after basic troubleshooting, reach out to Verizon or your reseller for technical support right away. Record any error messages and have speed test results ready to share.

Have Backup Options Available

No network is 100% reliable, so have a contingency plan for staying online if your primary service is down. Carry external batteries to power hotspots if needed. Locate nearby coffee shops with WiFi in case of long outages.

Final Thoughts on Using Verizon for RV Internet Access

And there you have it – my complete guide to using Verizon for connectivity in your RV or camper van!

In summary, Verizon is a top choice for RVers needing reliable high-speed internet across wide swaths of the country. Their coast-to-coast LTE network can deliver strong signals in rural areas where other providers falter.

But Verizon comes at a premium price. Their unlimited data plans cost more than competitors, throttling can kick in quickly, and equipment like hotspots is expensive. Still, for many full-time RVers, Verizon is worth the investment.

Assess your usage needs, be strategic with data limits, and don’t hesitate to tweak your setup for optimal performance. With the right combination of Verizon plans and hardware, you can work, stream, and surf on the go with minimal headaches.

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