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Life on the road would not be the same without internet access these days. Getting driving directions, and finding cheap gas or camping spots and what not. Oh well! We will go ahead and say it: Having good cell reception and internet access on the road is no more a luxury. It’s a necessity!

But the question of how you can get a reliable internet connection on the road is actually more complicated than it may seem at first. Although several major cities in the U.S. boast free Wi-Fi, it is unlikely that you are going to just pull in and find yourself reveling in the cyber glow of a blazingly fast, lag-free internet connection that does not even cost you a penny.  

Take it easy, though. We understand how imperative it is for you to stay connected, and so we have put together some simple yet best ways to help you get high-speed internet access on the road. As an added bonus, this article also includes some interesting tips to help you easily get around the most frequent accessibility issues you may experience while on the road.

How to Access Internet on the Road?

Let’s begin with the most obvious method to access the internet, and what can be the most annoying.

If you are camping in privately-owned, developed campgrounds, you have definitely come across ads for a free Wi-Fi facility that comes included in the total cost of your campground accommodations. At first glance this can sound like a tremendous internet solution available at no extra charge which only requires you to turn on the Wi-Fi on your device, choose the right connection, log in, and enjoy seamless connectivity while you are on the road.

But, while several campgrounds have the best of intent when they offer free WiFi, the reality is not all roses and there are unpleasant things to deal with. For example, it can be hard for one signal source to sufficiently cover a large area and meet the demands of numerous users. This may tax the bandwidth so excessively that even surfing feels more like viewing a slideshow.

How to Best Connect with the Internet on the Road?

When it comes to the internet on the road, it is safe to say we live in an era of abundance. There is more than one way to help you get online. But it all comes down to the specific purpose for which you need to use the internet on the road.

Before we dive into the options, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. If you are looking for an internet connection that is fast and affordable, unfortunately that is not the reality on the road. This does not mean you have to spend time without internet access, but you will most likely have to combine a few different options to enjoy good connectivity. We would advise you to not just blindly follow the masses and rather choose the option(s) that seems like the best fit for your needs.

Let’s explore how you can best exploit the potential of wireless telecom technologies available today as you endeavor to stay connected on the road.

#1: Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot and Cellular Data Plans

Undoubtedly, the best internet is the one you can carry along with you wherever you go. In the age of wireless technology, this translates into a device that can get you connected to a mobile network. You may have heard about a personal WiFi hotspot that works off a cellular data signal. It is the best way to get online while on the road, as it lets you find a strong connection anywhere within your carrier’s network coverage.

The biggest plus of dedicated cellular data devices is they come in all shapes and sizes, from a compact USB dongle to a portable modem. So you have a variety of hotspot choices to take your pick from. Albeit, which is the one available to you depends primarily on your cellular network. For this, explore your options with your existing cellular provider. Besides that, also check if any roaming charges would apply, so you will know beforehand what you are signing up for and if it fits well with your budget.

Quick Tips

If you are out and about with family or friends, it’ll do you good if you all have personal smartphones with dual SIMs. In addition to that, don’t rely on a single data plan and keep at least two plans active that you can use as a backup for your personal mobile hotspot.

What Are Some Benefits of Hotspots on the Road?

Here is why portable hotspots make one of the best ways to access internet on the road:

Speed

A modern portable modem is capable of handling multiple LTE bands, which offer bandwidth of the same standard as home cable internet.

Performance

Despite its popularity as a travel hotspot, the gadget can support 8-10 connected devices at once without slowing down the network.

Flexibility

A SIM card slot is mandatory in a travel modem but the latest devices offer novel eSIM technology that allows users to switch between multiple data plans on the go.

Reliability

Most devices have their own battery, and others can be powered directly via any compatible USB port.

Ease of Use

The configuration of the modem is done through a user-friendly app for which even basic technical knowledge is enough.

Security

The portable gadget supports encryption and comes with an already built-in VPN service.

#2: Signal Enhancing: Boosters & Cellular Antennas

Since cellular data is the primary way to access the internet on the road, optimizing your signal for better performance is a must. Antennas and boosters have the potential to convert a weak signal into a much more stable one, resulting in faster speed and superior connection.

Many hotspot devices from Wireless carriers like AT&T feature external antenna ports. A compatible hotspot antenna can enhance signal strength and quality, allowing you to access bands which you couldn’t otherwise. And, if you are using a smartphone or hotspot device which does not have an external antenna port, data transfer rates can be enhanced by using a cell phone signal booster.

Without any doubt, these pieces of equipment work like magic and give you the freedom to stay on an idyllic trip away from home much longer than you could otherwise.

#3: Travel Routers

If your networking needs are extensive, a travel router maybe your safest bet. It lets you surf wherever you go and acts as the middle man between your internet-enabled devices and available Wi-Fi options. In addition to that, routers can create a wider and stronger local Wi-Fi network.

With a mobile router, you can connect all your devices to the same network. All you have to do is set it up from your web browser, then place it anywhere you find the best Wi-Fi signal and let it do its magic. The better ones include a variety of features like boosting the signal from an existing Wi-Fi network to deliver better speeds on your device(s).

There You Are

What is ideal for you is likely to vary depending on the connectivity options you have. Both in terms of service and equipment. While smartphones and mobile hotspots can help you create your own Wi-Fi network, travel routers create a private network out of a public connection. You can also connect your internet-enabled devices to the nearest available free Wi-Fi service, if you’re lucky enough to get one.

And, this is where your home internet subscription can play a key role. Because if you are signed up for a home internet plan with ISPs like Spectrum, AT&T and Cox, you are likely to catch a free and secure high-speed internet connection across your ISP’s nationwide footprint via its out-of-home Wi-Fi hotspot network.

With sufficient knowledge and preparation, accessing internet on the road can be almost as safe, reliable, and convenient as your trusted home network. So plan accordingly and make sure you equip yourself with the right service and equipment to stay connected as you travel.

FAQs

1.     Can you get reliable internet on the road?

Yes, you can. Here, take a look at some of the best ways to get fast and reliable internet service on the road:

  1. Invest in cellular data plans and a personal Wi-Fi hotspot device
  2. Get signal enhancing boosters & cellular antennas
  3. Buy a travel router
  4. Use public Wi-Fi networks or your home ISP’s out-of-home WiFi hotspot network (if offered)

2.     How can I get internet access anywhere?

What is ideal for you is likely to vary depending on the connectivity options you have. Both in terms of service and equipment. While smartphones and mobile hotspots can help you create your own Wi-Fi network, travel routers create a private network out of a public connection. You can also connect your internet-enabled devices to the nearest available free Wi-Fi service, if you’re lucky enough to get one.

3.     How can I get internet as a digital nomad?

Well, the best option for digital nomads is the internet via a mobile hotspot. All you have to do is buy a dedicated hotspot solution, a 'MiFi'. This allows you to get a strong connection anywhere within your carrier’s network coverage.

4.     Can I make my car a WiFi hotspot?

Yes, the simplest way to do this is to use your existing smartphone as an ad hoc Wi-Fi hotspot. You can also make your car a Wi-Fi hub by adding a permanent wireless modem to your car. Keeping a dedicated mobile hotspot or OBD-II device is a great option.