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Old 10-16-2015, 08:40 PM   #21
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Warsaw,NC
Posts: 2,485
Originally Posted by david-o View Post
To the OP, the On Star 4G LTE device in your vehicle uses the AT&T wireless network. You said your smartphone uses the Sprint network. While it's possible that the antenna in your vehicle is better than an antenna in your smartphone, I think the primary reason your vehicle works better as a hotspot is because it's connected to a much superior wireless network. Independent testing puts AT&T side by side with Verizon at the top of the national network coverage and speed rankings (Verizon has a slight edge in some areas, AT&T has a slight edge in other areas). Sprint and T-Mobile are a distant third and fourth. The quality of your phone antenna (or antenna booster) won't mean much if it can't locate a decent cell signal.

To those of you interested in opinions on wireless solutions ...

A "stand alone" MiFi/Hotspot device on AT&T or Verizon is definitely the way to go if you're working from your RV and/or using lots of data because the battery life on a MiFi is so much better than trying to use a smartphone as a hotspot for extended periods. Sure, there's a small monthly cost to add an additional device to your plan, but if this is how you earn your living then get the right tools for the job.

If you only need a hotspot on limited occasion then a smartphone on AT&T or Verizon is the way to go. BUT, make sure you clearly understand the limitations you may face if you select Verizon ...

If ependydad is using a Verizon phone then that should explain why he needed to use his wife's phone for conference calls while using his phone as a tether/hotspot. Most Verizon phones do NOT support simultaneous talk and internet on a cellular connection. That also means with most Verizon phones you can't be on a phone call while using apps (search for an address or a restaurant, use the web browser, post to the forum, etc). This limitation is also true for Sprint.

I prefer AT&T because AT&T's devices support simultaneous voice and data, meaning you can use an AT&T smartphone as a hotspot while at the same time make/receive voice calls. With an AT&T smartphone I can talk on the phone while at the same time use Trip Advisor to search for a restaurant, or use Amazon to find the price on an item, or use Maps to search an address for driving directions, or research anything else that I might need to know while talking with someone. You get the idea.

I look forward to reading other opinions on this topic.


With a Apple iPhone 6 you can talk and and send data at the same time. I use Verizon.

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spock123 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-16-2015, 10:03 PM   #22
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 63
I decided to go with the OnStar yearly data plan for my truck's 4G wifi hotspot for my wife to get internet access to do work while camping. It has worked out great so far. She connects her laptop at the campsite to do work and has been able to get great connectivity wherever we have camped. We have not yet camped in places completely off the grid, but we have camped in places where our Sprint phones have had a tough time picking up a reliable signal. The OnStar wifi has had no issues picking up a signal where our phones' could not reach a data network. There are probably better options out there by purchasing a permanent data signal booster and installing it in our RV, but for where we've camped, the OnStar wifi seems to work out great. When we do finally get around to going to remote locations in the mountains, I doubt even the best data signal boosters will be able to pick up a reliable signal so I'm content with the OnStar option.

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Old 10-21-2015, 07:38 PM   #23
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 81
A company named Wilson Electronics makes cell signal boosters that work in your car, truck or RV. They sell a model for $199 and a better one, designed specifically for the RV, for $599.

I bought the cheaper one 3 years ago and tested it in REMOTE areas of eastern Tennessee near the Smoky Mountain National Park. Areas where the signal read "1X" and zero bars. You turn on the Wilson, drop your cell phone into the bracket and your signal gets multiplied 4-5 times stronger.

Now, to be clear, if there is NO SIGNAL, it will not work. You have to have some kind of cell signal, and it will amplify that. Their website includes a product selector wizard to guide you.

I was told about this product by the guy I bought my property from, as it is 3 miles from the National park and the mountains are 2000-6000 feet high. Cell signals are present but weak, so you can get text and email, but not make outbound calls, UNLESS YOU USE THE WILSON BOOSTER.

Anyway, I was quite pleased with it. It should do exactly what you want.

weBoost 470107 Drive 4G-S Cradle Signal Booster Kit
walk_the_walk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-21-2015, 07:41 PM   #24
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Newport, TN
Posts: 81
This product will do EXACTLY what you need. They also make an RV model. I OWN one of these and tested it in remote areas near the Smoky Mountain National Park where they are steep mountains. It will amplify a weak signal. See:

weBoost 470107 Drive 4G-S Cradle Signal Booster Kit

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