Welcome to our classroom - Mobile Internet 101.
This self paced course walks you through our indepth guides to help you assess your mobile internet needs, understand the challenges and get educated on the options out there.
Use it along with our textbook, The Mobile Internet Handbook.
The full course is included with our Premum MIA Membership, which also includes access to interactive guidance in our forums & webinars.
While this course is self paced, we are here to help!
Here are some ways that members can get additional guidance while going through the course:
Before you decide on what gear and plans will make up your mobile internet setup - you have to assess your mobile internet needs. What is right for you depends on what you want to be able to do online, your travel style and how important reliable mobile internet will be for you. In this section, the lessons are meant to help you assess your own personal needs and understand the basic options out there.
Chapter: Assessing your Needs & Understanding the Basics
Free | Beginner
Welcome to our classroom - where we have brought together some of our key guides to work through at your own pace. You're likely found your way here because you're gearing up to hit the road and are seeking a mobile internet solution that will keep you connected. Let’s get right to the question you're probably seeking an answer for:
What’s the best way to get online while traveling?
The answer is... ... whatever works best at your current location.
And that is the challenge of a mobile lifestyle. Your location is always changing, so the best way online may be changing too. In other words, there is no one single “best way.” The key is striking the right balance between your needs, budget and sanity. To do that, you need to understand the challenges of mobile internet, your specific needs and the trade-offs of the options available. It is not our goal to give you a shopping list for the singular perfect mobile internet setup (hint, there isn't one). Our goal here is to arm you with the information you need to research and create your own.
Go At Your Own Pace
There is no denying that at the root of it all, the content presented on this resource center covers pretty technical stuff. We try to start each topic off as fundamentally as we can, and then ramp up from the basics. This classroom isn’t intended to be consumed in one sitting, nor do we expect that you’ll understand it all immediately. Dive in at your own pace. Come back to each piece and re-visit sections as needed. Give your self plenty of time to work through this and really understand the challenges and potential solutions up ahead.
Rule #1: Reset Your Expectations
The technology for connecting while on the go has advanced at an incredible pace over the past few years. There have been vast improvements in both data speeds and coverage, and it’s only getting better. Meanwhile, the price for mobile internet data has plummeted, though typical monthly usage has gone up even faster than prices have gone down, so things might not feel any cheaper. Sometimes, you can even get connection speeds while on the go that exceed what you could get via the fastest fixed-place connections. It is downright amazing at times. But, despite all these advancements, there are still limitations and plenty of frustrations. The most important thing you can do to prepare yourself is to reset your expectations.
Be ready for the bad days. The slow days. The no days.
We’re not trying to scare you away, but we do want to make sure your expectations are realistic.
Keeping online most of the time while traveling is entirely possible, but it’s not necessarily always easy, cheap, or with the snappy fast speeds you might be used to.
Navigating mobile internet is not going to be anywhere near as easy as just plugging in a cable like one you might have had in your fixed home. And no, they don’t make a cable long enough to take your wired internet with you. You will be battling:
- Intermittent and unreliable connections.
- Varying speeds - from frustratingly slow to blazingly fast.
- Data usage limitations and caps.
If your mobile livelihood absolutely depends on keeping connected, you will have to carefully plan your mobile life around this need. This could mean altering routes and carefully planning where to stop to get work done. No matter how many backup plans you build into your connectivity arsenal, when you absolutely need to get online, that’s inevitably when the glitches will emerge. No matter how much time and money you invest in ensuring great connectivity, there will be times that you can’t get a stable connection to do everything you need from the location you want to be at. Mobile equipment can (and will) fail, firmware patches and upgrades can cause unintended problems, weather can interfere, or your exact location can influence your signal. Even something as invisible as your neighbor’s microwave oven can conflict with your Wi-Fi network, knocking you offline until their popcorn is ready. You need to realistically set your expectations, as well as the expectations of the people depending on you being online, such as clients, co-workers, family, and friends. There will inevitably be compromises in connectivity in exchange for your mobility. What tradeoffs are you willing to make? Very seriously consider the costs of assembling your mobile internet options. Decide for yourself how much it is worth spending to try to cover your bases, and how much internet access you really need. No matter what you do there will be days that staying connected is more of a headache than it is worth.
The most important rule for staying connected on the road is that you need to be prepared for these days.
Before you go too much further with the content in this classroom, we highly recommend you have a copy of The Mobile Internet Handbook available to reference (it's included with membership - Download it Now!).
And in particular, at this point, we recommend reading through the 'Going Wireless' chapter starting on Page 23 - so you understand more about the challenges of mobile internet.
You may notice as you read our content that there are several underlined words in red. Like this one: Hotspot Hover over them with your cursor, and you'll see a pop-up definition of the term. This is our integrated online glossary to better help you understand some of the techno-mumbo-jumbo that is impossible to avoid when talking about this stuff. You can also head over to our Online Glossary and look up terms you might not be familiar with.
Free | Beginner
By far the two most common ways that RVers will be able to get online is via either a cellular data connection or via campground or public WiFi network. But – one of the most basic questions we occasionally get asked – just what exactly is the difference? There's so much confusion out there as to why separate antennas and booster equipment are needed for cellular and WiFi connections. Both are wireless frequency signals after all, so just how are they different?
Read the Guide:
View the Video (7m):
Free | Beginner
Our overview guide to the basics of mobile internet options (cellular, Wi-Fi hotspots and satellite), and where we recommend anyone just starting out begin their research.
Read the Guide:
View the Video (16m):
Member / Free | Beginner
Assessing your needs is a critical step before you can approach your mobile internet setup. We feel there are a series of questions you should be able to answer before proceeding any further.
This guide goes over those questions, as well the challenges your answers might present.
Read the Guide: