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Old 12-25-2019, 12:43 PM   #1
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Using RV Park's Free wifi

Hello. I am moving out to Southern WA State and will be staying at a RV park for an extended amount of time while we look for a house.

The RV park offers free WiFi. I plan on bringing my AppleTV and I also want to ideally have a "permanent" / always on network / LAN in my coach. Do I need to invest in a WiFi extender / router within the coach or once I connect my devices to the park's WiFi I should be good to go? TIA and Merry Christmas!
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:08 PM   #2
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The first thing to consider is the quality of the campground WiFi. An extended doesn't help if the signal is poor.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:14 PM   #3
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The first thing to consider is the quality of the campground WiFi. An extended doesn't help if the signal is poor.


Understood. Won’t know that until I get there but as I read online info about these extenders pick up weak WiFi signals not just the one in the campground and amplify them so ideally a weak signal will be increased or am I thinking about it incorrectly? Thanks
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:14 PM   #4
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I would not depend on an RV park public wifi for anything. Consider instead an appropriate cell/data plan that meets your needs.

My .02
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:25 PM   #5
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My experience with park WiFi is that it is too slow to be useful.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:26 PM   #6
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It’s been my experience in a number of RV parks that the Free WiFi is limited speed and data. It’s good for email and such but that’s it. We are in a park in Tucson for the winter. We have own high speed service thru CenturyLink. It’s a monthly contract with a rented modem. It easily runs streaming video and the like.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:28 PM   #7
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Best to have some sort of backup plan, especially if you think you are going to want to be able to stream video. Sometimes when using the park's free wifi you're lucky if you can even web browse or check your email. Really depends on the park, but streaming is seldom possible.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:33 PM   #8
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Not just a weak signal

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Originally Posted by CedarCreekWoody View Post
The first thing to consider is the quality of the campground WiFi. An extended doesn't help if the signal is poor.
A weak signal is not the only concern.

The other concern is whether the network is oversubscribed. At the resort where the Cherokee 38P lives, the WiFi is fine on the weekdays, but on the warm weekends the day visitors and weekend transients show up and leave their iPhones/iPads in their cars, but turned on. Apple products are very chatty. They are always downloading notifications and changes and uploading pictures that could wait a few days. These saturate the network so heavily that bandwidth drops to a crawl, even when the signal is strong.

(The owner got some questionable advice to limit each of his three routers to 30 concurrent connections so you could, of course, be in the middle of a perfectly adequate connection and suddenly everything stops.)

And of course, streaming audio and video are blocked to conserve bandwidth. If you go to YouTube for example, and attempt to start a video, you just get a "Blocked" message.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:50 PM   #9
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Unless the RV Park encourages streaming (a few do), it would be very rude to hog the bandwidth, slowing down everyone else at the park.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:52 PM   #10
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Most RV park's WIFI does not allow enough bandwidth to stream. A couple of years ago, I stayed at a park about 3 months with WIFI. Rather than using theirs I subscribed to a over air internet service of which I was able to stream without any problems. I don't remember the name. I would guess there are others like this.
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Old 12-25-2019, 01:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HangDiver View Post
I would not depend on an RV park public wifi for anything. Consider instead an appropriate cell/data plan that meets your needs.

My .02
^^^^^^THIS!
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Old 12-25-2019, 02:08 PM   #12
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It is a gross disregard of fellow campers to stream using park wifi in the VAST majority of parks. Unless your campground says streaming is fine you should refrain from it OR bring your own data via cell phone.
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Old 12-25-2019, 02:49 PM   #13
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My experience

I had just hooked up at an upscale RV Park. The second I turned on my computer Norton Internet Security said I was being hacked. Someone got my email and locked up several programs. Luckily I just got a lesson out of it. My new trailer came with a WifiRanger installed. It not only amplifies the signal but since you log it into the rv park wifi and then log in the the Wifiranger it secures your connection. They would have to know the password to WifiRanger to get to your computer. It also creates a local wifi inside the trailer.
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Old 12-25-2019, 03:03 PM   #14
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Our last RV I had an Ubiquiti M2 and a home WiFi router. The M2 connected to the park’s WI FI then passed it to the internet port on the SOHO router. My devices then connected to the router. It made a secure network within my RV so I could use the WIFI printer and connect all of my devices. The park only saw 1 connection for the M2. It worked very well but could be a bit of a pain to get it to connect at times. With the new motor home we have the WIFI Ranger and it is an exponential improvement as far as connecting to thePark’s system and is plenty easy to connect the devices. I still have a secure network within the RV with a WiFi connection to the park. It is working very well at this park, in fact they are about The second best WiFi I have ever seen in a park. It is still not good enough for streaming but is plenty fast and reliable for everything else I want to do. As far as using the parks Wi Fi, everyone else is right, not usually designed for heavy use and frequently not reliable nor really secure.
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Old 12-25-2019, 03:39 PM   #15
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What everyone said about park Wi-Fi is true. However, if you still plan to use the park Wi-Fi and plan to do any banking, etc., make sure to use a VPN.

Really, though, the best plan is Cell. We have an unlimited data and Cell Boaster amp mounted in RV. I don’t recall the last time I even attempted to use a park Wi-Fi. And with Cell you don’t need a VPN because the majors like Verizon encrypt the data.
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Old 12-25-2019, 03:54 PM   #16
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You are probably not going to be satisfied with wifi in an rv park. Many parks will tell you that their wifi is for email only. Plus it's not secure.

Either use you telephone as a hotspot or if that's not possible, get a hotspot from a cell carrier. Verizon and Sprint have lower cost plans targeted to rvers through the Family MotorCoach Association. FMCA.com

You may need to adjust your internet use. 'Always on' will eat through your data plan pretty quickly.
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Old 12-25-2019, 05:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by lacamastraveler View Post
What everyone said about park Wi-Fi is true. However, if you still plan to use the park Wi-Fi and plan to do any banking, etc., make sure to use a VPN.

Really, though, the best plan is Cell. We have an unlimited data and Cell Boaster amp mounted in RV. I don’t recall the last time I even attempted to use a park Wi-Fi. And with Cell you don’t need a VPN because the majors like Verizon encrypt the data.
Interested in what the cell booster is that you mentioned. Thanks
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Old 12-25-2019, 05:51 PM   #18
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I have a JetPack from Verizon. Works great for me - my own private hotspot.
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Old 12-25-2019, 06:09 PM   #19
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Great info! Thank you all! I guess i'll roll with my Spring all you can eat sell plan for now. Thanks!
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Old 12-25-2019, 07:42 PM   #20
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while there will be many differing opinions and suggestions on this forum, experience is usually the best teacher. When you've traveled for years, for many, many thousands of miles across the country, and with stops at many, many rv parks and campgrounds, you will begin to see patterns and understand that 'wifi' is not the same everywhere, is not defined the same everywhere, and is not really 'free', even when advertised that way...

some parks try to add internet 'wifi' from their office router, where you must be very, very close, if not IN the office, to get connected. Old school.

some parks try to add internet 'wifi' with a few 'antennas' within their park, but 'connecting' to this signal can be problematic for every site, depending on your distance to the broadcast signal, or their power to push the signal to the point where everyone can actually see it. It's not the speed, but the signal's strength. Yes, a signal booster could help in these situations.

some parks have a decent signal, yet the 'speed' is not their primary concern, just that they honor their 'advertising' that they have wifi, no matter whether it's actually 'usable', or not.

some parks 'demand' that you ONLY use their wifi connection for very basic email and web surfing, and anything else is specifically prohibited. 'How' they know 'who' is doing what or when is probably the question, and they probably really have no way of knowing that. They've probably received complaints, and then asked someone who knows about technology of what to do, and received the typical response that 'well, your system is not designed to handle that many connections at one time, so you must make folks only use it for the 'basic' stuff, or else your complaints will continue....or you can pay an additional $1,000 per month to 'upgrade' to a better system - and 'we'll' handle it for you! They declined. I don't blame them, either.

There are actually a very few parks who actually KNOW what they are doing, have staff who are skilled in what 'wifi' really means for their customers, and know how to create a system that 'works'. Can it be 'slow' at times? sure. Yours at home can, too. But they don't 'demand' that customers 'only' do certain things with their internet.

Some demand that you cannot 'stream' anything with their wifi, or they will 'cut off' your connection, and ask you to promptly LEAVE the park. Really? Crazy, but possibly true.

A few have fallen into the hands of the 'dark side', and decided that since they don't really know how best to handle this technology situation on their own, to bring in an outside 'company' to handle the equipment, technology, and customer service. They hand out a single 'WIFI COUPON' where the RV owner can connect ONE device to the internet. They don't promise speed, only the connection. What if you need 'more' device connections, as most of us certainly would like? They then want you to PAY for those, either in a block of hours, a 24 hour connection, or the 'whole stay' connection timeframe, with a higher cost for each, of course. Crazy. This is where a 'wifiRanger' type device/antenna/router comes in handy - it's a 'single' connection to their wifi, yet give YOU ultimately unlimited devices to be able to connect to it - all your phones, smart tvs, chrome cast, roku, laptops, desktops, tablets, etc.

But, having said all that, self-wifi is really becoming the most 'average' way that RVrs now connect to the internet. 'self-wifi' is basically your cell phone 'plan' with your provider, thru the phone, or thru it's 'hot-spot' capability to share to other devices, or even a separate 'mifi/wifi' device that does the same. With 'unlimited' data plans, most folks have the option to 'carry' their internet with them, and relying on rv parks or campgrounds is becoming less and less a concern, at least in areas where most major carriers have a decent signal - but that also is becoming less and less a concern.


So, in essence, don't bank on an rv park or campground's wifi signal and speed being as useful to you as you'd like, especially for streaming data, video, or movies, etc. Some will say it's not allowed, some other RVrs will proclaim that you 'shouldn't' some 'hog' the internet(what?), and some of us will not be bothered by anything you decide to do - so 'stream away' if you wish.
You will probably want a 'second option' to 'free wifi', but until you arrive and get connected, and a few days of usage has passed, you won't really know. I wouldn't do anything until then.
You may even find that some parks who have long-term renters will allow a cable company to provide the site with CABLE INTERNET. This is a good option for some. We did this recently, for about 4 months. It was great. When we then moved, it was to an area not too far away, but that provided did not service that area, and therefore allowed us to cancel the service with no additional fees. Nice.

We currently use an Unlimited Data service from NetBuddy.co, which is a wifi/mifi router device that uses the AT*T network, cost $65 flat per month, can be cancelled and/or restarted any months you don't need it, and only really requires you to have the correct device that provides that connection - I believe mine is a Netgear device, which their website typically has available. Check it out.


(I don't blame rv parks and campgrounds for not really being interested in spending the amounts of money, time, and customer service to make true 'wifi' park wide, with enough 'speed' to satisfy everyone. It's a very difficult proposition that most of us don't understand the requirements for. It's similar to satellite tv. With so many traveling with their 'own' tv, parks are finding it no longer a 'draw' to have the expensive cable connections as they used to.)
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