** Updated for 2014*
I wrote this eBook review last fall and since then a new, bigger and better Mobile Internet Handbook for 2014 has been released. Rather than being just a revised copy with only a few updates due to technology changes Technomadia have done a complete rewrite. They have added a ton of new content, expanding the book for 87 pages to a whopping 234 pages! I really enjoyed re-reading it, learning even more about the technology available and getting some great new tips. The book is written in a way that is useful to all kinds of people. Whether you’re a total technical neophyte (RVing newbie) all the way up to a communications guru (veteran full-timer), I think you’ll find it very helpful. The book graphics have also been greatly improved over the previous edition making understanding the sometimes complex materiel a lot easier.
This book gets a “LVE YOUR RV! two thumbs up.
I consider it the go-to resource on the subject.
The Mobile Internet Handbook
I have just finished reading The Mobile Internet Handbook by Technomadia and can recommended it highly to RVers both new and old. Though the subject matter can be quite technical and confusing they do a fine job of breaking it down into manageable chunks and explaining it in terms a layman can easily understand. The book is jam packed with useful information on all aspects of getting and utilizing online connections with honest opinions from people that live the life 24/7. Having RVed with my wife Anne now for over 3 years full time, mostly in United States, I found myself nodding my head along with what they were explaining. Things they were saying about service providers, signal connections, contracts, and hardware, etc. were right on the mark and mirror what we have experienced ourselves.
Chris and Cherie stress in the book to be realistic in your expectations in regards to how well you can expect your mobile connections to function. They write from extensive experience and technical knowledge based on years working in tech related industries and as full-timers traveling all over the country in various RVs. It was Anne that first clued me into their great Technomadia blog and we read it a lot when first starting out on our own full time adventures.
We’re Cherie & Chris – two gen-X geeks who are utilizing technology to engage in a full-time hyper mobile lifestyle. Some might call us digital nomads, full time RVers, vagabonds, location independent professionals, lifestyle designers, geeky gypsies or hippies on http.
We prefer – technomads.
I quickly picked up their app called Coverage and it has been our go to method of scouting out an area to see if we will be in range of the cell towers. Just looking at the coverage area on it for the main cell providers I quickly deduced that Verizon would be the way to go in the South West US. It’s a great app and is always being updated as the cell providers build new infrastructure.
Also in the book are some recommendations on what hardware they use and their experiences good and bad with it. They say that most of the MiFi devices they have tried had issues with firmware causing unstable operation. I’ve had those problems with our Sprint based Virgin Mobile unit but our newer Verizon Jetpack has been rock solid. We are fairly heavy users many times blowing through our 5 gig data cap and usually averaging 10 gigs a month. We have to be very careful when in a 4G area as the speed is so good it’s easy to eat up a ton of bandwidth. They have a pile of good tips and tricks in the book to help limit bandwidth usage. A few I have never thought of will easily pay for the purchase price of the book in savings.
I was very interested in the advice offered with regards to antennas, boosters and routers. We need to be connected to the internet most of the time but like to get out in the boonies away from it all. Most of these beautiful camp spots are right on the fringe of a decent cell data connection. So it was great to read about what systems they use in their current RV and how things are wired.
*Update* – in recent months I’ve purchased a Wilson Sleek Cell Phone booster to use with my Verizon Jetpack and it works great for fringe cell coverage areas! See my full review.
I know it may sound like I’m going out of my way to praise this book, but it is a goodie. If you are just starting out as an RVer and are mystified by all the terms and jargon with regards to mobile internet this is the book for you. But it is also full of enough meaty information that I feel it is well worth a read for more advanced technical minded folks. A bonus is the authors Chris and Cherie are readily available to interact with, they are very active on Facebook and update the Technomadia blog often. So I’m sure if you had a question about something in the book you could get an answer. *Update* Visit Technomadia’s newly launched website RV Mobile Internet Resource Center for even more in depth information and help.
If you would like a real life book rather than a Kindle or PDF version it can be also picked up from Amazon for just a little more money.
P.S. Extra Canadian Thoughts
As Canadian’s we’ve had a challenging time with getting a decent cell data plan, we had to swing a special deal with a Verizon rep, but it is fairly pricey at 10 bucks a gigabit. The main issue seems to be lack of a zip code. Postal codes and Canadian addresses don’t usually work in the companies computers. If any fellow Canadians have some tips on acquiring good, cheap seasonal internet cell data plans in the US, please let us know in a comment below or drop me a note through the contact page, thanks Ray