WiFi For Campervans & Motorhomes: Everything You Need To Know

Campervan, caravan and motorhome trips are no longer just about disconnecting from the world. With our increasingly flexible lifestyles, people work, chat, and game from the comfort of their camper — which means you need a reliable WiFi connection when you’re out on the road.

This guide tells you everything you need to know about setting up WiFi for your campervan, caravan or motorhome. It covers what you need to get a reliable internet connection, how much it costs, and how to set up your campervan or motorhome WiFi router.

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Should you get WiFi in your campervan or motorhome?

If you use your campervan to retreat into nature or to disconnect from the daily grind, you might not see WiFi as a necessary addition to your motorhome setup.

However, reliable internet access has become a big part of many of our creature comforts, even while we’re on holiday. From video calling friends and family to streaming Netflix boxsets on a rainy day, there’s always a chance you’ll want a strong internet connection that doesn’t use up all your phone data.

Adding WiFi to your campervan is an affordable way to stay connected. You can catch up with your loved ones while you’re away, work from anywhere, and save your phone data for when you’re out exploring.

What do you need to get WiFi in your campervan?

There are 3 main ways to set up WiFi in your campervan or motorhome:

  • Use your phone as a WiFi hotspot
  • Use a dongle
  • Install a purpose-built motorhome WiFi router.

There are pros and cons to each of these methods. Tethering to your phone is highly convenient — you already have everything you need to get set up — but it burns through data and battery quickly. So it’s an expensive way to stream, Zoom, or work.

Dongles work by creating a connection to local 3G, 4G, or 5G networks. This is typically a more affordable option than tethering to your phone, and it’s also relatively easy to set up. However, dongles are notoriously temperamental, especially when it comes to bandwidth-heavy services like streaming.

Motorhome WiFi routers work the same way as dongles and require a little more hands-on installation and an initial financial outlay, but they soon pay for themselves. Routers offer by far the most reliable and strong connection — so once you’re set up, you can travel anywhere and stay connected.

The best way to get WiFi in your campervan or motorhome

Installing a WiFi router in your campervan is the best way to get a strong internet connection that allows you to stream and work without disruption.

Purpose-built campervan and motorhome WiFi routers offer a flexible connection that links to surrounding networks using a built-in antenna. This can be 3G, 4G, 5G, or a local WiFi hotspot. It then amplifies the signal using an externally-mounted powerful antenna so you can add multiple devices to your network.

Routers are faster, more reliable, and ultimately more cost-effective than other motorhome WiFi setups. You can install your motorhome router yourself, or find a WiFi installer to make the job easier.

How much does it cost to get WiFi in a campervan?

With phone tethering, the more data you use, the more you’ll pay — so there’s no upper limit to how much you could pay for continuous WiFi access. If you’ve set a data usage limit with your SIM provider, you may quickly find yourself out of data.

Dongles are typically cheaper, with individual devices starting at around £10 per month. This can be cost-effective if you spend a lot of time in your caravan or motorhome (and don’t mind the odd technical hitch when trying to stream your favourite film or Zoom with your boss). However, if you only head out in your campervan a few times a year, you’ll ultimately pay for a lot of data you don’t end up using.

WiFi routers require a little more upfront investment, with full packages that include a quality purpose-built router and antenna costing around £350. However, with this in place, you can simply insert your SIM card and connect immediately to fast, reliable WiFi. Unlike with a dongle, your data will only be used if you’re out of range of a WiFi hotspot — so it can save you money in the long run.

Setting up your campervan or motorhome WiFi router

To get WiFi in your recreational vehicle, you’ll need to install both the router box and the roof antenna. The roof antenna is designed to pick up signals more reliably than internal routers only, and is omni-directional, so once it’s installed, you won’t need to make any adjustments.

Here’s how to set up your router:

  1. Decide where to put your router inside your campervan. It’s available with an extra long cable if you want to position it further into the vehicle. Plug in your router via the 12v cigarette adaptor.
  2. Find a suitable position for your roof antenna. Ideally this should be close to the internal router, on a flat surface, and at least 30cm away from any potential signal blockers.
  3. Attach the antenna to the roof using these WiFi installation instructions. There are also many approved, experienced installers who can do this for you.

Checking your internet speed in your campervan or motorhome

Once your router is installed, you’ll be eager to find out how fast your motorhome WiFi connection is. It’s easy to do this — just run an internet speed test in your browser. This will show you if your internet connection is fast enough to connect multiple devices and perform high-bandwidth activities like gaming or video streaming.

What is a WiFi internet booster and do you need one?

WiFi internet boosters are designed to amplify the signal from your router, so it can reach devices further afield. At home, they’re often used to get WiFi in rooms or buildings that are far away from your router location.

In your campervan or motorhome, a WiFi internet booster may be necessary if you’re using a lightweight router or dongle. But if you’re using a purpose-built WiFi system, you’re unlikely to need a booster, thanks to the antenna’s built-in amplification feature.

Can you use campervan WiFi outside the UK?

If you’re tethering your device to your phone or using a dongle, you’ll need to ensure you have a generous roaming package, otherwise using WiFi outside the UK can get very expensive.

With a router, you can use WiFi outside the UK in line with your SIM roaming package. Alternatively, if you want to keep data usage costs low, you can restrict roaming with your SIM card provider while allowing the router to find local WiFi hotspots, which are free to connect to. Maxview’s motorhome WiFi router is optimised for UK and European connectivity, and we can also supply variants that work even further afield.

Buy campervan WiFi systems online

Maxview’s WiFi system is built for campervans, caravans, motorhomes, canal boats, and even horse boxes. It’s a reliable way to stay connected, no matter where you go. With a strong signal, easy antenna installation, and reliable WiFi, it’s ideal for digital nomads and holidaymakers alike.

Find out more about Maxview’s motorhome WiFi system.

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