FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions about MIRC
Here is a list of frequently asked questions that we received at the Mobile Internet Resource Center (aka 'MIRC'). Click on each question for the answer to be displayed.
If you have any further questions that are not addressed here, please contact us.
About The Mobile Internet Resource Center
The Story of the Mobile Internet Resource Center
Chris hit the road in 2006 and Cherie joined him soon after. We weren't retired early or taking a gap year - we took our tech careers on the road while we embraced our wanderlust.
We've primarily traveled by RV since then, mixing in other side adventures. We now split our time between RV and boat throughout the year.
We both continued to work remotely as software developers, app developers, authors and strategy consultants. We are honored to have been catalysts for projects like RVillage and Xscapers (a new division if the Escapees RV Club aimed at the 'working aged' RVer) - helping shape them behind the scenes before launch.
Our posts on our personal travel blog, Technomadia, about how we kept online to continue working remotely became some of our most popular.
In 2013, after yet another e-mailed question about the topic - we decided on a whim to compile all of our blog posts on mobile internet into one place for easier access.
And thus the first edition of The Mobile Internet Handbook was published in under 3 weeks and we went back to our 'day jobs'.
We had to make a decision between continuing to treat covering this topic as a side hobby that was taking up more and more of our time - or jump fully in by giving up our other successful pursuits to focus on this topic. A IndieGoGo funding campaign in 2014 showed us there was massive support for a member supported resource like this.
Originally we focused on RV-specific solutions, but now we are now simply the Mobile Internet Resource Center for all US based nomads.
We would have never imaged it possible - we get to do the things we truly love: play with technology, live mobile and help people pursue their dreams.
And we're honored that we are funded by the very folks we're serving - our fellow nomadic community. And we're thrilled that we've been able to build a team of awesome folks who help us keep on top of this growing resource.
Private consultations and advising are unfortunately just not feasible services for us to offer any longer at the Mobile Internet Resource Center.
After years of running the resource center and trying a variety of approaches, including conducting nearly 150 private sessions in the past (so we know first hand how much effort they require), we have found balance between helping the many in our nomadic community and providing quality guidance is via our self-helped based approach.
We've also found that people who take the time to assess their needs, understand their unique challenges, and do their own research report the most success in keeping connected. And many who short-cut this process end up purchasing something they don't understand or isn't the right fit for their needs.
So we focus on creating tools and resources to aid in your education and research, and keeping them as updated as humanly possible as this technology industry rapidly evolves. We offer multiple ways to approach the content for various learning styles, from structured courses, curated topical collections, sample setups, written & video and self directed research.
Our staff is available to interactively guide our members in our member forums and webinars as they work their way through the content. And those taking our video course can also attend our student workshops to have questions answered in a smaller video room setting with our staff.
If you're an MIA member (or become one), do follow up with any questions you have in member spaces. If you're enrolled in the video course, do register for an upcoming workshop.
We understand that not everyone has time or interest in essentially 'going to school' to become proficient enough to select their ideal setup. But we are firm in our self-help approach after years of trying to create a balance that is sustainable for us and our team, so that we can best serve our community.
If you're willing to dive in, we look forward to assisting you in member spaces.
We understand that not everyone wants to essentially 'go to school' to be able to select their own setup - but this is the most effective method we have found. And allows our staff to sustainable serve the needs of the many with a solid work/life balance.
We decided a while ago to not pursue offering affiliates kickbacks for our membership program - all the rage that they are.
The reasons are multi-fold.
- For one, we are a community funded resource center. We prefer to keep our membership fees as low as possible for all and not need to build in allowance for affiliate or marketing efforts.
- Our marketing plan is pretty simple - we focus on creating quality content worthy of sharing and referencing folks to. We give away a lot of free content & resources that hopefully is valuable to our nomadic communities.
- We strive for authentic recommendations and word of mouth referrals to our content & resources that are not incentivized by financial compensation. As we ourselves are not dependent on selling gear or plans to fund this site, we don't want our content/membership to be marketed in this way either. Share it because you WANT to, not because you NEED to.
We do try to take notice however based on where folks say their referrals are from and acknowledge that as best we can.
As far as our book and apps, they're offered on Amazon, iBooks and the app stores. You're of course welcome to use your affiliate links when sharing about them.
When we have a particular role to fill, we tend to first look from within our premium membership to hire from. We feel those who are called to join & support this site have the best understanding of our content and mission.
However, we are always on the look out for contributors to the resource center who can help fill in areas we don't have fully covered yet. If you have a particular experience that you'd like to contribute - be in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There's no denying it, this topic is technical. We do our best to break it down into non-tech terms and explain things that most should able to understand - but there's only so far we can go and still provide accurate information.
We'd recommend you read through and view some of our free content (such as our Overview) - if you're able to get through that without too big of a headache, then you'll likely do well diving in. We strive to use similar language as you find there, and keep a full Glossary of terms integrated into every article.
If you're willing to be patient, do your research and pace yourself - you should be able to get through things.
We are constantly on the look out for new products, and we do make an attempt to acquire a decent sampling of the promising options.
We overview most consumer accessible mobile specific gear with specs and general impressions, and members can leave reviews for each other. As a secondary mission here on the resource center, we also review a sampling of products as part of the in-depth content we create for our premium members.
However, it would be impossible to review every single product available. We tend to research the 'best in class' options and review those.
Remember our staff lives in RV's & boats too, and we have limited space for installing & storing gear - and our primary mission here is tracking the industry, keeping you up to date and providing member guidance.
We also don't just turn on a gadget and see if it works - we take it out to multiple locations and take readings over time. This could take months for us to get sufficient hands on experience to make an assessment and fully review a product. We do share our field testing data as we collect it with members.
Also, we do not cover most general mobile technology equipment - such as computers, TVs, streaming devices, smartphones, printers & tablets.
Our reviews are focused on consumer accessible equipment specific to mobile internet - such as dedicated hotspots, mobile routers, mobile cellular boosters, antennas and mobile WiFi repeating gear. We do not review equipment designed and marketed for stationary use and only dabble in enterprise level gear.
We know RVers and cruisers aren't the only ones who depend on the internet options we cover. Truckers, rural folks, nomads, travelers, storm chasers and cord-cutters also might rely on wireless connections instead of hardwired internet.
And we know many folks travel part time, and desire a setup that might be usable 'at home' and on the road. Or those living in mobile substrates might be stationary for long periods of time.
We absolutely welcome you to join (we even have off topic areas in our forums so you can connect with each other), but just know upfront we are very focused on mobile internet options for US based nomads. Our 'Top Picks', product listings and advice are specific to mobile situations and installation on an RV or boat.
Installation & equipment options for stationary homes, offices and trucks might have different considerations. And the approaches are different (such as routers that can provide Wi-Fi to a 2500 sq ft house is different than a mobile router that is designed to only cover 200 sq ft.)
Residential and stationary specific options are not our area of expertise and we do not focus on them. Mobile keeps our staff more than busy enough as is.
There is a heck of a lot of cross over however and you will learn a lot, and have access to our ongoing research & knowledge. We'll do our best to point out where the differences & considerations are when asked, but we make no promises that we'll be able to provide specific guidance for non-mobile use.
You will need to adapt what you learn here to apply to your own situation, and continue research on your own.
We are focused on US based nomads - RVers and cruisers. All of the gear and data plans we track in our News Center and Gear Center are options available & certified for purchase in the US. That keeps us more than busy enough.
However, a lot of our content is global - concepts like signal enhancing strategies, modem specifications, Wi-Fi, networking, privacy, assembling your arsenal, testing your performance, etc.
So if you're willing to apply what you learn here to the specifics of your country, you may find a membership worthwhile. But you won't find cellular data plan and specific listings for gear available in other countries - you'll need to continue your research outside this resource center.
For our Canadian friends, we do keep a higher overview guide to help you with considerations for options within Canada and when traveling to the US.
And for our US based nomads, we keep a variety of OCONUS (outside the continental US) guides for shorter trips to Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, Alaska and Internationally. But we are not focused on long term solutions outside the US.
Researching your ideal mobile internet setup can take time, and ramping up to hit the road can be a chaotic period of time with a lot of distractions. Also, deals and specials come up that might be worthwhile snagging before they disappear (like sweet data plans) - and equipment shortages can mean longer shipping times.
So if mobile internet is going to be an important part of your mobile lifestyle, it can definitely make sense to join a few months before your anticipated departure date. Trying to rush the research, decisions & purchases for the last minute can lead to a compromised setup based on what you can quickly acquire.
We've had members join anywhere from 1 day to 2 years before hitting the road as part of their research process. 2-6 months however is probably a decent window to give you plenty of time to focus on this sometimes complex topic. But really, it depends on how much time you want to give yourself to come up to speed.
We do advise however - in general - not to purchase gear more than 2-3 month in advance of needing it - technology changes rapidly and quickly can become obsolete. But there may be exceptions to this from time to time.
We do have many members who join after hitting the road - when they've discovered that what they set out with just isn't meeting their needs. Or they just want to stay in the know of when it might be time to upgrade components of their system.
Whenever you decide to join, we look forward to assisting you.
We want to make sure you fully understand what your membership includes, and doesn't include. Here are some specific things that the MIA is not intended for:
- Substitute for reading / viewing the content - Membership is best utilized if you're committed to educating yourself and utilizing this resource in the self-help intention it is presented. Please utilize the in-depth guides, classrooms, resource collections & video content throughout the site. Also, keep in the know with your member alerts as this industry constantly changes.
- E-mail and/or private guidance - We are community centric - and ask members to post their questions in the Q&A forums or our private MIA Facebook group. This helps other members learn & chime in as well.
- In-depth Advising - Our focus is creating content that helps you understand your options. It's designed to be self-paced and self-help. To effectively provide that content, we have to stay constantly on top of the industry, analyzing news and updating applicable guides. While we welcome questions in our member areas as you pursue your research, we're unable to assess your unique needs and recommend a suitable solution. Having conducted private advising sessions in the past, we know this takes multiple hours of time to do right - which is time we just don't have available and nor is it included in our low membership costs.
- 24/7 Instant Responses - We're full time nomads ourselves - we don't just play them on the internet. That's how we know about this stuff. Our own time and bandwidth availability can vary quite a bit. and we do encourage our staff to have a work/life balance. We set aside time (and effort to have connectivity) to read the Q&A forums to respond to member questions. We will do our very best to respond to inquiries within a business day and we post a status alert when we know we'll have limited availability due to holidays, lack of signal (such as due to field testing excursions), etc. Major breaking events can also command our team's full attention.
- Technical Support - The MIA is not a substitute for the customer support provided by the manufacturer or vendor you purchased equipment from, or for the solutions you've implemented. We are however happy to help you troubleshoot a problem, confirm a problem or point you in the right direction to get help.
- General Mobile Tech - Many folks know us for our Technomadia.com blog, where we do write about our personal experiences with mobile tech (computers, tablets, solar, lithium batteries, GPS, lighting, apps, etc.). This site is specifically about mobile internet options & equipment - and we super focus on it here. It keeps us busy enough as is to stay on top of. However, our members do have access to our off topic discussion forum, and we do welcome questions there if you have them. We'll answer when we can.
- Commercial Use: Our content is intended for personal use only - not for helping related businesses target their products & services at RVers & boaters. If you would like our assistance in getting a market overview or in-depth feedback in your product development, please contact us. When we have time, we do offer business-to-business consulting services.
- Remember... membership is intended to provide education, a venue for asking questions to further your understanding for building your personal mobile internet setup. And keeping you keep up to date on the industry. We feel it's important that you understand the solutions you're purchasing, as when you're 'out there' - you may not be able to get online to get help setting up your equipment.
A membership is intended for personal use, and a single membership covers one nomadic household.
If you are running a business and are joining to keep connected to do so - we consider that covered under personal use. Welcome!
Nomads Also in the Industry
If you both run or work for a business that provides services to our audience and are also an RVer/boater yourself joining for personal education to keep connected - please note our mobile internet vendors & company representative policy: We do not allow products or services we cover to have an official presence in member interactive places.
However, we recognize that some who represent mobile internet related products are also travelers themselves, and would like to join for their own personal interest. And we welcome this.
We just ask that if you do represent a product that you refrain from posting anything that could be seen as marketing of the product. If you see a fellow member with a question about your product that you can answer, that is most appreciated - just please be transparent about your affiliation, and keep it supportive not 'selling'.
We also ask that you not use member exclusive content to support your own role or customers. We know this is a muddy area, because obviously you'll personally learn stuff that betters your business. But sharing member exclusive content with your customers, or using our resources to look up answers to support your customers or build your own content - is just not cool nor the intentions of MIRC. Please instead refer your customers to our site and encourage them to become members themselves.
Our content is intended for personal use only - not for helping related businesses target their products & services at RVers & boaters. We are not a business to business service in this respect.
This includes mobile internet gear manufacturers, vendors, data plan resellers, builders, renovators, tech consultant or other business wanting to gain access specifically for support of their business.
We know some want to join as a token of supporting us, but this goes against our no sponsorship unbiased approach. Please respect that.
At present time we do not offer a commercial level membership.
We ask that unless you are personally an RVer or boater yourself and joining for the intentions of our resources, please don't join.
If you want communication with us about your products or services or show your support for our community, please reach out directly. We authentically cover mobile internet gear appropriate for our audience, and appreciate a direct line of communications so we can accurately do so. We also might welcome exclusive discounts (but not affiliate relationships) we can pass along to our members.
For those considering joining us long term - we offer a discount for signing up for an auto renewing subscription. Ongoing support helps us better plan our resources around future funding.
The Annual Subscription option locks in the rate for as long as your payment profile stays active.
This is not a contract or commitment - you can cancel future renewals anytime from within your member account.
Not sure if you're in for the long term? No problem - you can sign up for a year at a time, and elect to manually renew at then current rates.
In order to keep prices as low as possible for everyone, we only offer a few select discounts:
- Purchasers of our book (find the discount code in the back)
- Members of partnered clubs, including Escapees/ Xscapers, RVillage Gold and Harvest Hosts / Boondockers Welcome (check your membership discounts on those sites while logged in.)
- Readers of some select awesome bloggers who are friends of the resource center.
Please note our coupon code policy - only one coupon per member, can not be combined with any promotions we are running and discounts are only valid for the first year of a full MIA membership (other membership levels not included.)
Vendor MobileMustHave (MMH) - who sells a lot of Peplink routers, antennas and data plans - offers Insider Core and Explore memberships on their site. These memberships give you extra discounts and perks when dealing with them. One of the perks is a membership to MIRC for further education, reviews, guidance, after sales support, discounts and alerts.
Their Explore membership includes a full MIA membership, and their Core our Library Card.
We have further partnered with MobileMustHave to provide more advanced resources for configuration, troubleshooting and education on Peplink gear - and all of our MIAs benefit from those perks regardless if they are a MMH member too.
A MMH Explore membership includes these benefits (the bold ones are those not included with a MIA direct membership):
- MIA Membership
- 10% Discount (higher discounts may be offered)
- MMH advanced content, webinars & tech support
- Free 2-Day Shipping
- Advanced RMA Warranty Replacement
- Restocking Fees Waived
- $10/mo Data Plan Discount & some data plans only available to MMH members.
Unless you know for sure you will be purchasing gear and/or data plans from MMH, you are probably best joining the MIA directly with us. If you decide on gear they offer and that they are the vendor you'd like to utilize - you can upgrade to their Explore membership. We offer pro-rated refunds when doing so, so there's really nothing to lose.
You can learn more about our relationship here: MobileMustHave Introduction
Video Course Questions
The Mobile Internet 101 course is included with the MIA membership at no extra cost. It's a simple course that basically orders our guides in the order we recommend approaching them. There are some short videos included with some topics, but they are filmed piecemeal over time and not necessarily to flow from one topic to the next.
If you're a self-paced reading based learner - that course may be perfectly suitable for you.
This video course however takes a different approach for visual learners. The video series was written & produced to flow together from one topic to the next, filmed over the course of a few days - designed to give you a foundation for selecting your right mobile internet setup.
This video course also includes quizzes and an assessment worksheet.
We recommend this course for anyone just starting to approach their mobile internet setup, especially those that are more visual/audio learners than written.
This course also includes attending our student workshops, which are smaller venue video sessions with our staff. So if you prefer a bit more personalized assistance, this is the best method.
No - we firmly believe in our approach, that all of our mobile internet needs are varied. And the options are changing all the time.
This course is developed to help you understand your unique needs and the options out there. And then how to approach our content to select your right solution.
But via our workshops and Q&A forum - we are here to help answer questions. But we can't do the work for you.
You will need to adapt what you learn here to apply to your own situation, and continue research on your own.
Indeed, the options are changing all of the time. We took a lot of care in developing this course so that the content is more high level and evergreen.
While we use specific equipment as examples in the course, they are best looked at as props - not the current products on the market.
Each video is related to content on our site, that we are constantly keeping up to date. So you'll be watching a video that give you a high level overview - and then following up with linked guides and our gear center to explore the latest and greatest.
And of course we regularly review this course - and if there are major shifts that make a chapter outdated, we will either re-film it or add links to content that you should be sure to follow-up with.
This course was originally filmed in late 2019, and has undergone two major refreshes. The last as recent as mid-2022 with a lot of updates for 5G cellular and Starlink.
This video course is a one-time enrollment fee, and you will retain access to it (and any updates we publish to the course) for as long as your MIA membership remains active.
The included private video sessions however are only included for the first 90-days of your enrollment.