*Note: none of this blog post is sponsored. We are just sharing our advice and experience to help others out!
Hoping to work remotely with great internet? This is the post for you!
When we decided to take full advantage of the work-from-home-situation we found ourselves in, it took awhile to figure out how to put together an internet connection that would meet the demands of both our jobs.
We are both required to video conference and screen share for the majority of the work day. Daniel’s set up includes a laptop and a cell phone, while mine requires a laptop and an iPad (both involved in video conferencing).
In order to (a) find an unlimited internet solution to host at least 4 devices simultaneously, but sometimes up to 6 devices, (b) allow for powerful upload and download in order to successfully video conference and screen share, and (c) be reliable no matter where we were parked – it required a lot of research, trial and error. Not for you though!
Here are our exact set-up and recommendations:
- INTERNET PLAN:
- After determining we would spend most of our time on the west coast of the USA, we learned that AT&T and Verizon are the best providers. It’s worth taking a look into reliable providers in the areas you will find yourself in the most so you know who to purchase a contract with. Here are maps for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
- We purchased a sim card from OTR Mobile which gives us unlimited internet data without bandwidth throttling (intentional slowing down of service) through AT&T for $80 per month. We chose AT&T because we already have cell phone Verizon contracts that we can use as hotspot back-ups. We chose OTR because they have great pricing and customer support.
- Sim Card (as mentioned above with the Internet Plan information)
- Wi-Fi Router with a PCI Slot for an LTE Modem. We purchased ours from LTEFix.com.
- LTE Modem with a high CAT number. An LTE Modem is the thing that connects you to the internet via mobile phone signal. The higher your CAT, the faster your internet and the more internet channels you’ll have access to. This provides better signal in areas where lower CAT numbers might not get any signal. Here is a helpful website about theoretical speeds. We purchased a CAT 12 Modem and installed that. Here is a good installation tutorial.
- Antennas ensure faster, more reliable internet, especially in areas where cell phones might not get strong signals. There are two different concepts of antennas to choose from: omnidirectional and directional. An omnidirectional antenna receives signal from all directions, which means you will not have to set the antenna up in any special way. Directional antennas, however, offer better reception, but require you to set them up physically pointing in the direction of the nearest cell tower. We chose to purchase this directional antenna, and we mounted it on an extension pole. To figure out where to point the antenna, we use a website called Cellmapper and we also test our internet speed a few times using Speedtest to see which direction gives us the best results.
- Extension Pole to more easily pick up wave lengths from the nearest cell tower. This is extremely helpful when you’re in wooded areas. We bought this one. We recommend purchasing one, as we have seen faster internet and better results by putting the antenna up a few additional feet.
- Coax Cables to connect your antenna to your router. We bought these and honestly, they’re a bit too long. Buy long enough cables to accommodate a fully extended extension pole.
- Other: power source. We are traveling in an RV, which runs off electricity if we’re plugged in at a campground or a generator if we’re boondocking. Depending on your individual circumstance, you will need to sort out your power source, as this entire set up needs electricity to work.
All in all, this advanced setup is perfect if you plan to visit more remote areas (BLM land, boondocking, out of service National and State Parks) and need access to to video calling (Zoom, Skype, Teams), screen sharing, and/or video streaming (like Netflix, Hulu, Prime, YouTube). We have had camp hosts impressed that we worked all day from the RV in areas where they typically don’t have service.
A MORE BASIC PLAN:
If you just want basic email, Instagram, blogging, researching, photo editing, etc.. and will mostly be in areas with good cell phone signal, here is your plan for a basic, reliable set up:
There are a variety of different LTE modems to choose from, but we think NETGEAR 4G LTE Broadband Modem is best for somebody who is new to the mobile internet thing and just needs the basics. This in combination with NETGEAR 6000450 MIMO Antenna offers a decent package which should be enough for basic internet usage.
With an LTE modem you will likely also need a mobile phone contract. We purchased our sim card from OTR Mobile which gives us unlimited internet data without bandwidth throttling (intentional slowing down of service) through AT&T for $80 per month.
From there, you’ll just set up the LTE modem, connect the Antenna, and activate the SIM card. Once done, you will have truly unlimited internet with speeds up to 30 MBs. However, this modem does not offer Wifi, which means you must connect it directly to your laptop via Ethernet cable or purchase a Wifi Router.
Let us know if this post is helpful! Happy traveling!