Part of selecting the right carrier(s) for you is knowing where they have the coverage you desire. And once you have them selected and part of your mobile internet arsenal, it’s helpful to know where along your routes you’ll get signal.
A Quick Video Going over our top tips:
Here are some handy resources for tracking this sort of information down:
Checking the carriers online maps:
The maps are stored on device, so you don’t even need to have coverage right now to find out which direction to head to find coverage when you don't have any.
Crowdsourced Coverage Maps:
Of course, just because a carrier claims they have coverage, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to find it. There are some wonderful resources out there that aggregate crowdsourced actual signal and speed reports and create a coverage map based on what is really possible in certain locations.
Here are some of our favorites that we utilize:
- Cellmapper - https://www.cellmapper.net/ is a website (no app) that displays crowdsourced speed reports, but it also contains location information for cell towers which can be handy for aiming antennas. The site can be confusing to use, but they do have a beta test for a simpler interface at https://www.cellmapper.net/testmap/.
- Sensorly - http://www.sensorly.com and they also have an iOS and Android app of the same name.
- OpenSignal - http://www.opensignal.com and an iOS & Android app of the same name.
- RootMetrics - http://www.rootmetrics.com/us/ and they also have an iOS and Android app called ‘CoverageMap’.
Of course, with crowdsourcing - the maps are only as useful as the data they collect from users of their apps. These resources tend to have good data for urban areas where they have a strong user base. But when you get to smaller cities, the maps can show no coverage at all. Which is why we created Coverage? so that we at least have a best guess at where coverage might be.
Campground / Marina Reviews
Since so many RVers and boaters depend on a solid internet connection, you’ll frequently find reports of cellular coverage (and Wi-Fi performance) hidden within campground reviews. Here are some of our favorites:
- Campendium – This review site includes specific fields for reporting coverage on each of the major carriers. This site tends to be frequented by bandwidth hungry RVers, and lists commercial, public and free camp spots.
- Freecampsites – A database of remote camping and RV boondocking options, and asks reviewers to report their cellular signal for each carrier.
- RVParkReviews – This is one of the longest running review sites, and fellow RVers tend to leave coverage reports on rvparkreviews.com.
- RVParky – Another popular review site is RVParky.com where you might find coverage mentions.
- All Stays - Their app and website also has reviews where past campers might have noted the cellular coverage.
- ActiveCaptain - Boaters share their experiences on an app and website, and mentions of internet availability are often included within reviews.
And of course, don't just read reviews - leave your reviews to help other travelers plan!
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