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Old 11-28-2023, 11:52 AM   #1
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Home Internet Gateway when traveling

Our motorhome has built in Winegard Air360. It has worked well for us with a Verizon SIM, but we kept exceeding the data capacity of our plan and would be throttled back for one week each month. So, now we’re using a T-Mobile home internet gateway to avoid being throttled.

My question is, has anyone tried driving with a home gateway (either Verizon or T-Mobile) in operation to see if you continue to have internet access on the highway? That is a benefit of the Winegard system and I’m curious if we’ll continue to have it with the home gateway setup. If it does work, then I plan to purchase a small inverter to keep it alive when motoring.
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Old 11-28-2023, 12:32 PM   #2
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https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile gets some correspondence related to home internet. You might get some responses there from experienced users. I'm interested to hear your results, if you use either system, if you try it.

I tried a TMHI gateway for use at home and was satisfied, but only with an external antenna. That adds to your cost and effort. Cox beat TMo's price when I attempted to cancel my service and return their equipment. (Funny how that discount appeared only when I was standing at their counter with equipment in hand.) I opted to return TMHI's equipment, instead.

One thing I learned in my research is that TMo (and probably Verizon) limit subscriptions by address to limit demand on each tower. I suspect they have the capacity to whitelist or blacklist connections to each tower based on IMEI, the unique identifer of the cellular radio. If they actually do (I don't know) you may find that you can't connect with your gateway even if you have an excellent connection on a phone.

I use a Visible Mobile SIM in a Netgear LM1200 modem connected to an iNet travel router. It's technically against Visible's TOS (as is traveling with a TMHI gateway) but a custom firewall command in the iNet travel router can mask the fact you're not using it in a phone.

I chose the LM1200 modem because it has connections for an external antenna. I put the Waveform antenna I bought for the TMHI gateway on an extendible pole. That allows connections in remote areas where I wouldn't otherwise be able to use it, or even a phone, for that matter.

The setup is a bit flaky but I already own it, it's cheap, I'm not dependent on it for my livelihood and I can entertain myself in other ways when the internet isn't available. I can also start and stop Visible service whenever I want.

Starlink has a mobile option but it's expensive, although you can suspend it. One characteristic of the standard mobile service is that they might deprioritize your connection. I suspect that a deprioritized Starlink connection is still magnitudes better than a deprioritized cellular connection.

I have no experience with Starlink.
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Old 11-28-2023, 12:39 PM   #3
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... If it does work, then I plan to purchase a small inverter to keep it alive when motoring.
I think most gateway devices have DC power inputs, e.g., USB-C. You'd be better off using a compatible 12V adapter. I don't think you'd have a problem finding one.
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Old 11-28-2023, 01:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by chriscowles View Post
https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile gets some correspondence related to home internet. You might get some responses there from experienced users. I'm interested to hear your results, if you use either system, if you try it.

I tried a TMHI gateway for use at home and was satisfied, but only with an external antenna. That adds to your cost and effort. Cox beat TMo's price when I attempted to cancel my service and return their equipment. (Funny how that discount appeared only when I was standing at their counter with equipment in hand.) I opted to return TMHI's equipment, instead.

One thing I learned in my research is that TMo (and probably Verizon) limit subscriptions by address to limit demand on each tower. I suspect they have the capacity to whitelist or blacklist connections to each tower based on IMEI, the unique identifer of the cellular radio. If they actually do (I don't know) you may find that you can't connect with your gateway even if you have an excellent connection on a phone.

I use a Visible Mobile SIM in a Netgear LM1200 modem connected to an iNet travel router. It's technically against Visible's TOS (as is traveling with a TMHI gateway) but a custom firewall command in the iNet travel router can mask the fact you're not using it in a phone.

I chose the LM1200 modem because it has connections for an external antenna. I put the Waveform antenna I bought for the TMHI gateway on an extendible pole. That allows connections in remote areas where I wouldn't otherwise be able to use it, or even a phone, for that matter.

The setup is a bit flaky but I already own it, it's cheap, I'm not dependent on it for my livelihood and I can entertain myself in other ways when the internet isn't available. I can also start and stop Visible service whenever I want.

Starlink has a mobile option but it's expensive, although you can suspend it. One characteristic of the standard mobile service is that they might deprioritize your connection. I suspect that a deprioritized Starlink connection is still magnitudes better than a deprioritized cellular connection.

I have no experience with Starlink.
^^This^^

My company uses TMO Business and I was told by a Senior Engineer they do in fact track this and if you move the gateway without changing the address, it becomes a slow brick.
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Old 11-28-2023, 04:38 PM   #5
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T-Mobile home internet for RV

We have been using it for a couple months now and it’s been fine. We discussed the intended use of the device was for the RV with the T-mobile rep, they do now allow for full time RV use. In the areas we have used it where we had signal, 2 bars provided decent 60-80 MB down, 15ish up with less than 100ms latency. Roaming while underway was fine, steamed Netflix without a blip for over 250 miles on the interstate.the better the signal the better the bandwidth, best recorded was around 700 down and over 100 up.
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Old 11-28-2023, 04:50 PM   #6
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We have been using it for a couple months now and it’s been fine. We discussed the intended use of the device was for the RV with the T-mobile rep, they do now allow for full time RV use. In the areas we have used it where we had signal, 2 bars provided decent 60-80 MB down, 15ish up with less than 100ms latency. Roaming while underway was fine, steamed Netflix without a blip for over 250 miles on the interstate.the better the signal the better the bandwidth, best recorded was around 700 down and over 100 up.
BS, Thank you! This was exactly what I had hoped. Since it runs on a 12v adapter, I need to see if there is a cigarette lighter adapter available so that I can run it when boondocking. -Cliff
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Old 12-01-2023, 04:41 PM   #7
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We have been using it for a couple months now and it’s been fine. We discussed the intended use of the device was for the RV with the T-mobile rep, they do now allow for full time RV use. ...
That's good to hear.

Do you use an external antenna when parked at a camp site?
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Old 12-02-2023, 10:58 AM   #8
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Good topic, because I too have a TMo internet gateway. I just started the service a few months back so I didn't get a chance to try it out on RV'ing adventures. But, in February we leave on an extended two-month Southern trip so that'll be my first direct knowledge in seeing how well it'll perform for me.

Thanks to those already using TMo for their excellent input.
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Old 12-03-2023, 06:49 PM   #9
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Sorry for the delay. No, we do not have an external antenna. An external antenna would help for sure. I would prefer not to crack into the case and would prefer a supported solution. I am hoping to come across a 5g repeater that supports t-mobile high frequencies or a T-Mobile affordable solution.
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Old 12-03-2023, 11:49 PM   #10
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BS, Thank you! This was exactly what I had hoped. Since it runs on a 12v adapter, I need to see if there is a cigarette lighter adapter available so that I can run it when boondocking. -Cliff
Have you asked them about using your own modem and just getting a SIM card for your Winegard?
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Old 12-04-2023, 04:48 AM   #11
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This is good info. I just got a T-Mobile home internet gateway to put in the RV. I'm hoping to use it for remote work.
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Old 12-04-2023, 10:48 AM   #12
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I've heard that T-Mo has a newer gateway that has an external antenna with greater connectivity. When I first heard of this I wondered if they were going to replace their older model.
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Old 12-04-2023, 06:11 PM   #13
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Sorry for the delay. No, we do not have an external antenna. An external antenna would help for sure. I would prefer not to crack into the case and would prefer a supported solution. I am hoping to come across a 5g repeater that supports t-mobile high frequencies or a T-Mobile affordable solution.
When I was testing TMHI I did open the case but it was non-destructive. It was a bit of labor, particularly hanging the antenna, but it made it satisfactory as opposed to frequently unusable. My home has a concrete block firewall between me and the tower. The antenna mounted on the outside wall was unobstructed by buildings, but there were plenty of trees. Can't do anything about those. The same would be true in the places we usually choose to camp.
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Old 12-04-2023, 08:11 PM   #14
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Have you asked them about using your own modem and just getting a SIM card for your Winegard?
The problem is that the built-in Winegard unit only supports 4G, not 5G. Verizon was costing us $110/mo for 150GB, After that it throttled us down into uselessness.TMobile’s biggest plan was only $50/mo, but would throttle after 50GB. No bueno. Currently, the “home internet gateway” from either provider is the more effective solution for us.
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Old 12-08-2023, 05:28 PM   #15
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Our motorhome has built in Winegard Air360. It has worked well for us with a Verizon SIM, but we kept exceeding the data capacity of our plan and would be throttled back for one week each month. So, now we’re using a T-Mobile home internet gateway to avoid being throttled.

My question is, has anyone tried driving with a home gateway (either Verizon or T-Mobile) in operation to see if you continue to have internet access on the highway? That is a benefit of the Winegard system and I’m curious if we’ll continue to have it with the home gateway setup. If it does work, then I plan to purchase a small inverter to keep it alive when motoring.
As a road-warrior first. I use the hotspot on the cell when mobile (I'm not streaming just keeping the laptop running web apps (with VPN) and email running). When I'm at site I have a Verizon TCL LinkZone 5G cradled in a weBoost Drive Sleek booster and plugged into either a log-periodic (directional) or omni (pancake) antenna depending on cell tower reports. That I use for streaming. It keeps the costs way down. We also have both phones able to Google Cast to the TV so we can watch football w/o killing the hotspot budgets.

If anyone is wondering, the directional antenna is on a custom fold-down mount mounted on the condenser housing of the main A/C so it adds only 2" to the height when travelling and is rock stable when deployed. I use a program called Network Cell Info (paid version) to check signal strength and tower ID (also good for WiFi signal checking) so I know which antenna and where to point the directional one if I need to to use it.
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Old 12-08-2023, 07:07 PM   #16
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It is very likely you are still being throttled only without knowing it. The major carriers with towers sell unused bandwidth to the other companies without equipment. Data on cellular networks is all digital packets each of which has a priority in the header. The traffic on the equipment owners network has priority. If that carrier is busy , the other packets will be delayed.
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Originally Posted by RVwino View Post
Our motorhome has built in Winegard Air360. It has worked well for us with a Verizon SIM, but we kept exceeding the data capacity of our plan and would be throttled back for one week each month. So, now we’re using a T-Mobile home internet gateway to avoid being throttled.

My question is, has anyone tried driving with a home gateway (either Verizon or T-Mobile) in operation to see if you continue to have internet access on the highway? That is a benefit of the Winegard system and I’m curious if we’ll continue to have it with the home gateway setup. If it does work, then I plan to purchase a small inverter to keep it alive when motoring.
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Old 12-08-2023, 07:11 PM   #17
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It's important to distinguish between services from the different carriers. A mobile hotspot plan with dedicated hotspot, vs. a mobile phone used as a hotspot, vs. something T-Mobile Home Internet all have different plans, caps, throttling, etc. I bought T-Mo home internet recently and from what they've told me, and what I can verify, there are no caps or throttling due to usage on that. Speeds on all of course are going to depend on congestion at the tower.
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Old 12-08-2023, 10:28 PM   #18
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It is very likely you are still being throttled only without knowing it. The major carriers with towers sell unused bandwidth to the other companies without equipment. Data on cellular networks is all digital packets each of which has a priority in the header. The traffic on the equipment owners network has priority. If that carrier is busy , the other packets will be delayed.
Great point that is very important to understand. Thank you.

Cellular devices differ between voice/data, data only, voice only. Carriers know the device type by the IMEI account EID (which includes the ICCID identifying which carrier is 'home'). The towers are all set up to prioritize traffic very specifically among the channels available.

The tower handoff protocols (how the signal moves as you do) will ALWAYS prioritize voice over data. That means your data rate might not be be the best but you're least likely to be dropped.

Mobile hotspots work the other way around. While mobile is in the name, they are high-speed data devices and priority is data speed, the compromise is they don't 'move' well between cells (slow hand-off) so dropped packets while in continuous motion is likely.

That's why I have both options.

Rate limiting is also a BIG factor. Dedicated hotspots will be on channels not used for voice so less a factor for them, but for a voice/data device (cell phone) you can get throttled by the tower you are on as congestion increases (voice over data priority).

Make decisions on what data to use where and when with this in mind. If you're trying to do a Zoom call while moving it isn't a good idea - especially if you're doing video / presentation. Pull over and switch to a dedicated hotspot device and all will work and you won't get dropped due to slow hand-off. If you just need to check email and do some web surfing then data speed isn't a big issue so a separate hotspot isn't needed.
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Old 12-10-2023, 01:19 AM   #19
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... a custom fold-down mount mounted on the condenser housing of the main A/C so it adds only 2" to the height when travelling and is rock stable when deployed. ...
Can you elaborate on this? Pics, maybe?
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