Off grid internet

Browneye

Dr. WattSon
Joined
Nov 2, 2021
Messages
1,217
Location
Southern California
We've had Verizon for over twenty five years - now on the 'senior' plan for like $30/phone, unlimted data. (They figure old people are not online 24/7 I guess). One of the kids even came back and got on our plan.

Wife said she'd go anywhere in the RV as long as she could get data. We spent the last two weeks living and traveling, four states, and nearly ZERO data the whole trip. Great cell, calls and texts, but data is so slow as to be unusable. Wifey says I flunked the test. LOL

One park we were in, and we've seen this elsewhere - some residents have cellular receiver antennas, like a dish on a tall pole, and as soon as they turn those on they suck up ALL the bandwidth. We may as well have none. Maybe we need one of those. The 'hot spot' wifi isn't the problem - it's the cellular data throughput on the signal.

Then I just found out Verizon is the 'old standard', uses old tech, and ATT and T-Mobile have newer protocols and more coverage, so we're suck with the dud. I'm so disgusted I could scream.

So StarLink is looking like the best option. And yes, the 'RV' service is now available, and you can turn it on or off by the month if you're not using. it. Once I actually retire we'll surely get one of those dishes.

In the meantime, Verizon cellular completely sucks. And 'RV park wifi' may as well be non-existent as well. Worthless.
 

Texas-Mark

Solar Addict
Joined
Aug 4, 2021
Messages
536
Hey, I don't know if maybe you missed it earlier in this thread,
but I'm on unlimited AT&T plan and it costs me 23$ a month including taxes and fees. (I purchased my own modem for ~150$)

Sure would like to know what this "secret plan" (your term) is called or how to get it. Nobody I have talked to at AT&T has a clue. And what type of service is it that needs a modem? DSL over a landline?
 

12VoltInstalls

…myself everything do I…
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
4,242
Location
Vermont
Then I just found out Verizon is the 'old standard', uses old tech, and ATT and T-Mobile have newer protocols and more coverage, so we're suck with the dud. I'm so disgusted I could scream
Verizon is a development on I believe PCS(??), whereas the other two are GSM. By today’s standards they are both “old”, and the LTE / 5G data isn’t exactly the same as the phone protocols.
The biggest issue is devices ‘want’ to grab at 5G LTE when the signal is insufficient to do this well. My old phone was often showing 4G and would load just fine at 2-3 bars but when the battery gave out I got the iOS12/SE. it hangs onto 5GLTE at one bar and won’t do anything but sit there. Slow at 4G or 3G is better than nothing at 5G.
The biggest difference in carriers is often the mHz of the radio protocols. The high mHz is technically faster but doesn’t handle walls or distance very well. I believe Verizon uses higher frequency channels.
as soon as they turn those on they suck up ALL the bandwidth
A signal booster can be had for as little as $60 to $1500.
The signal is what it is from at the tower to whatever distance it takes to get to you, and the bandwidth is merely a combination of “the tower’s” router capacity and the throughput from whatever connects it to the backbone.
So while a signal booster will likely improve your service, you will still be subject to whatever the bottleneck is. Other users with boosters aren’t sucking up the broadcast bandwidth- it’s the switch/router, the simultaneous backbone packets, the processor (server) at the tower.
 

Xhumeka

Off-Grid'er
Joined
May 31, 2021
Messages
100
Location
Highland Grove, Ontario Canada
My Starlink arrived this spring and I've been using it offgrid since - very impressed with it! Uses about 50 watts on average (with "heater" disabled), pings to google around 40ms, and great uptime. Speeds fluctuate a bit, but averages about 150Mbps down and 20Mbps up.

My only gripe with it is the cost... $162.72/month (CAD), and that's not even the RV version ($30 more per month!)
 
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RobertGreen

Solar Addict
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Messages
306
Sure would like to know what this "secret plan" (your term) is called or how to get it. Nobody I have talked to at AT&T has a clue. And what type of service is it that needs a modem? DSL over a landline?
It's called the "AT&T Unlimited Tablet Plan" according to my bill. I've also heard it called the Unlimited Ipad plan.
It seems to be a plan which is seldom advertised (but is still available) which was formerly promoted for use with Apple IPads to give them internet connectivity over the 3G/4G cell phone network. The big attraction to this for me was that you can just take the SIM card that would normally go into the IPad and instead place it into a 4G modem/router in order to use the connection with all your devices and computers.
I regularly use hundreds of GB per month. You can get it at an AT&T store or over the phone, but if you get it over the phone they will have to ship out a SIM card for you.
edit: To be clear, this is NOT a phone plan--- it is a data only plan. The variety of unlimited phone plans offered are not the same thing.

It's kind of problematic though, because most of their phone operators seem to not have heard of this plan and they will try to sell you a lot of other plans that aren't the same thing.
 

Aspen Eng

New Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
9
I’ve got Starlink at our off-grid place and it works great. It costs $110 a month (just went up from $99) and the dish was $500. It’s a small rectangular dish - maybe 12 in by 20 in. You can do basically anything and it’s never down. We don’t have cell service and DSL was $90/mo. With DSL if you were watching TV and someone turned on their phone it would start buffering. Not a problem with Starlink.

We are several hours away so we use it for monitoring and turning stuff on and off. I kept both systems for a while but just last month turned off the DSL.
 

mvonw

Solar Addict
Joined
Sep 23, 2019
Messages
218
I've had Starlink at my remote cabin for a while, 100% powered by solar/batteries. I now have security cameras and motion sensors all around my property. Starlink draws about 45 watts under normal conditions, and the router/access points draw another 100 watts. My current small solar array more than keeps up with it and my batteries are almost always at 100% at the end of each day.
 

Browneye

Dr. WattSon
Joined
Nov 2, 2021
Messages
1,217
Location
Southern California
Seems the Starlink 'RV' version was recently released for mobile use, take it with you. You just can't use it while moving. And if you're using it in an area already served by Starlink that is on the waiting list for service, you compete for access and are 'deprioritized'. Most are reporting they still work pretty well. The RV unit is always deprioritized - the fixed location subscribers save $25/month and get priority access.

There are plenty of good vids on YT now, lots of early adopters reporting their results, and all like it pretty well. It's expensive - about $800 to get started, but works anywhere, and you can put the service on standby, by the month, if you're not using it.

For fixed location there's also an ethernet device to hardwire to your connection - in lieu of the default wifi - for faster thru-put.

IMO this is the defacto product/service for off grid data/internet, remote fixed location, or mobile.

For our mobile use we're going to try a cellular signal booster first, since we mostly have a signal, just really crappy data thru-put. Seems the WeBoost Direct Reach is one of the best - about $500. Used with a MIFI unit - a mobile hotspot - you get good data access throughout your RV for all your devices. Also good YT vids on this product. We already have unlimited data on our 'senior plan' with Verizon, cheap.
 
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