Owning an RV is becoming a way of life for people who want to travel and spend their life on the road. Many people also work as travel writers and thanks to increased availability of Internet access they can take their business on the road. Other people use an RV to travel in their retirement or as a vacation pastime.
Regardless of purpose, staying connected to the Internet has become a necessity and with satellite Internet RV owners can always remain connected wherever they go. This is also a plus when it comes to accessing emergency services and planning ahead as you travel. So how exactly do you set up an RV satellite Internet connection?
RV Satellite Internet Setup
Setting up satellite Internet for your RV is a relatively easy process if you have experience with satellite installation for your home. Even if you do not have experience, it is not very difficult to learn how to set up satellite Internet that you can access anytime and from any location as long as there is a clear view of the sky from the satellite dish.
- Satellite Internet Kit: Portable satellite Internet kits are usually built with quality to withstand travel and outdoor elements. They include a strong antenna and network system as well as a reliable satellite dish and connectivity is fairly easy to accomplish. Although there are different types of kits a typical kit may include the satellite dish, satellite modem, data modem and mounting hardware.
- Setting Up the Dish: You can choose to use a tripod to set up the satellite dish or mount it right on the roof of your RV. If you are using a tripod you simply loosen the bracket that holds the satellite dish on the top of the tripod, mount the satellite dish on the top of the tripod, and then tighten the bracket to secure the satellite dish into position.
If you choose to mount the dish on the roof of your RV the kit usually offers mounting hardware for this purpose. Depending upon the design of your RV and the type of satellite dish you purchased the mounting process will vary. The process will be outlined in the installation instructions and the newer satellite Internet kits merely require a screwdriver at most.
- Coaxial Cables and Satellite Modem: The satellite modem is small and very portable and connects to the satellite dish via coaxial cables. Most of the newer modems are capable of providing a connection to the satellite dish of at least 144 kbps which allows you uninterrupted use of VoIP (voice over IP) for services such as Skype and videoconferencing via web cam.
The high speed connection also makes watching DVDs a lot easier and allows you to access TV programs on the Internet. You can also use chat and instant messaging trouble free and browse the Internet with ease. Most of the newer satellite modems also provide Internet connectivity that is “always on” which eliminates the requirement to log in.
- Power Source: You will need a power source to set up the satellite Internet connection such as the generator you use for your RV, a battery, or you can also use a solar electric panel. You can choose to use one of these sources or a combination of multiple power sources depending upon what purpose you use each power source to provide power to other processes in your RV.
- Self Configuration: If you purchased a newer satellite Internet system for your RV these systems are usually very adept at finding a satellite signal and then repositioning to align with the signal. This eliminates the need for a compass to find the best direction for pointing the satellite dish. It does help to have a clear view of the sky that is unobstructed by trees to help the dish to easily locate the best satellite signal.
- Wireless Router: If you have more than one user that needs access to the Internet simultaneously you can add a wireless router to the system. As long as the user’s PCs are equipped with a wireless card it will automatically find the connection which multiple users can use at the same time.
Troubleshooting Portable Satellite Internet
Most RV satellite Internet connections are quite reliable however it is technology so you may need to troubleshoot the connection once you get everything set up. If the connection is not working or it works intermittently here are a few tips on troubleshooting the problem.
- Satellite Dish Direction: The satellite dish must have a clear path to the satellite it is pointing to. Although it may be pointing to the satellite you should be using there may be an obstruction such as trees or branches that are in the way, debris on the satellite dish, or any other type of object that could interrupt the signal. If you cannot move the object then consider repositioning or relocating the dish.
- Check the Interface: You can check the interface in your Web browser to determine the status of the Network Operations Center. If there is inclement weather or technical difficulty, the problem is not on your end and will only be temporary.
- Check the Connections: Check all of the connections to make sure nothing is loose and then move on to the device connections. You can check each device by shutting it down and then powering it up again. Perform this task one at a time from your PC to the dish controller, modem, router, and other devices that you have connected to the system.
- Check the Hardware: Check the hardware configuration to ensure your PC is communicating with the network and the router before proceeding to check the satellite hardware. Make sure the satellite dish is locked on to the signal and that the wind has not moved the dish away from the signal.
RV satellite Internet is convenient and easy to maintain and will keep you connected in any location with Internet access that is “always on.” This provides more reliability than having to determine along your trip which locations provide Internet access.