As much as we all love the idea of getting away from everything and going off-grid, realistically we are all a little obsessed with our mobile phones, tablets and laptops.
Even our TVs today are filled with streaming content over WiFi.
It’s not just our luxury gadgets that use WiFi data, but also necessities and sometimes essential items too.
What is really the best WiFi for caravans? The best WiFi for caravans include the Huawei B311 2020, NetGear AC810 and the TP-Link M7350 4G LTE. Alternatively, a mobile phone with strong 4G signal can be used as a personal hotspot to a tablet or smart TV. Campsite WiFi is also an option but is often slow and open to hackers.
Devices such as these allow you to use a dedicated mobile data plan, specifically for travelling and going on holiday, and connect a number of different devices simultaneously.
In this post I will share with you the best ways I have found getting online and getting a WiFi signal whilst you are in your caravan or are traveling.
We will look at the best devices, boosters, SIM only plans and also what you should avoid at all costs in your plight to get online.
Best WiFi and MiFi Devices for Fast Data Speeds in a Caravan
Here are the best devices on the market for 2021 to help give you the fastest possible WiFi speeds when staying in a caravan or mobile home:
|WiFi Device||Best For||More Info|
|Huawei B311 2020||Best Budget Friendly||Latest Amazon Price|
|NetGear AC797||Best Brand Choice||Latest Amazon Price|
|TP-Link M7350 4G LTE||Best Easy Setup Choice||Latest Amazon Price|
Huawei B311 2020
The Huawei B311 2020 is one of the most popular MiFi units on the market.
Although Huawei are a mobile provider, the device is not locked to Huawei networks, meaning you are free to choose any data plan provider you wish.
With download speed capability of up to 150MB a second (more than enough) and with the ability to connect up to 32 different gadgets, appliances and devices to this little hub, it will be more than suitable for the whole family on a caravan holiday.
This version (with using the link above) includes a free Smarty SIM.
This is also the newer version of the Huawei E5576-320.
The Net Gear AC797 is the big brand choice here.
Not only is it compatible with any mobile carrier, through a SIM card and data plan, but it offers download speeds of up to 400MB a second.
Realistically though, unless you really plan on some serious fast downloading, or PC gaming whilst you are travelling, you will be unlikely to find a need, or a data source, capable of this type of speed.
You are limited to 15 devices connected and although this is less than half the number of devices the Huawei allow, are you really going to need more than 15 devices connected?
Net Gear have specialised in routers and connectivity devices for many years now. They are a trusted brand.
If you are only going to use your MiFi unit for caravan holidays, I would recommend the Huawei B311 2020 at around half the price.
If though you may also need to use it for business use, or even home use to replace your current home broadband, this may be a better investment.
TP-Link M7350 4G LTE
The TP-Link is a neat little MiFi unit.
It’s much cheaper than the Net Gear, and only slightly more expensive than the Huawei, but the TP-Link does come with a handy touchscreen display.
These can really be helpful for those people who just want a simple setup, be guided through the process and see through the display what the device is doing, and how strong the signal is etc…
This though will only allow a maximum of 10 connected devices. This is considerably lower than the Huawei, and even lower than the TP-Link.
Again though, you have to ask yourself whether you would need more than 10 devices connected at any one time.
For caravan use this should cover almost all the devices you need to connect for the whole family, but if you plan to use this at home, you may not find this enough.
Best MiFi and WiFi Devices Compared
|WiFi Device||Max Download Speed||Max Connected Devices||Touchscreen||More Info|
|Huawei B311||150MB/s||32||No||Latest Amazon Price|
|NetGear AC797||400MB/s||15||Yes||Latest Amazon Price|
|TP-Link M7350||150MB/s||10||Yes||Latest Amazon Price|
You will have noticed both in this post I have mentioned both MiFi and WiFi.
Ultimately, they do the same job, which is to provide data to your device. The phrases can be interchangeable at time which doesn’t help, but the terms do mean different things.
So, what is MiFi? – MiFi is a mobile WiFi signal which, through a MiFi router, allows you to connect several devices to the internet at the same time. MiFi is available in 3G, 4G and 5G connections. MiFi stands for ‘My WiFi’ or ‘Pocket WiFi’.
MiFi is a great option for connecting to the internet whilst you are away from your home.
You may have heard of an internet dongle, well MiFi is similar but unlike an internet dongle it allows you to connect multiple devices at the same time.
This can be ideal for families in a caravan, as each member of the family can connect their own device just like you would at home.
Difference between MiFi and WiFi
MiFi uses a mobile data plan to access the internet on the move, whereas WiFi is a point of internet data from one fixed location, such as a WiFi hotspot. Step outside the range of a WiFi hotspot and you will lose internet coverage. MiFi will continue to provide internet data as you roam.
Camp ground WiFi is good if you’re at a campsite, although it can be slow if many users are on at the same time or you pitch is far from the WiFi router. It also comes with some risks, which we will look at further on in this post.
MiFi is your own portable internet data. Your MiFi hub allows you to roam across the country, and as long as your network provider has signal in your area, you will manage to get online.
MiFi could be compared to being able to take your home broadband modem or router with you as you travel.
All WiFi Options – 3G, 4G, 5G, MiFi and Site WiFi
There are three main ways to pass internet data to your phone, laptop, tablet or TV whilst you are on holiday.
- Mobile Phone Data as a Hotspot – 3G, 4G and 5G
- Campsite WiFi
- MiFi Device and SIM Only Data Plan
Mobile Phone Data as a Hotspot – 3G, 4G and 5G
The easiest way to get online is using your existing mobile phone data plan.
Almost all smart phones have a feature that allow you to turn your mobile phone in to a WiFi router, hub or WiFi hotspot.
On an Android device, for instance, you would go into Settings and choose the Personal Hotspot option.
By selecting this option, you will be asked to enter a password. This will essentially become your WiFi Password.
Once activated, you would switch on your tablet, laptop or smart TV and search for WiFi signal in the usual way, and you should see your mobile phone (usually it will display your mobile phone’s make and model) appear in the list as one of the WiFi options.
Select this option and you will be prompted for the password you set on your mobile phone. Type this in and voila, you should be connected to your mobile phone’s data signal.
Be advised though, this option comes with some very important considerations you must bear in mind:
- You are using your mobile phone’s data plan. If your plan includes 8GB of data for example, this is the data you will be using on any devices connected to it.
- If you exceed your mobile phones data limit you may be charged a hefty fee
- Your tablet, laptop and especially smart TV will be more data hungry than your mobile phone. A smart TV can easily use 1GB or more of data in just an hour!
- You will be limited to your mobile phone’s current data speed. If you are in a rural area and only have 3G, this is all you can use on your tablet or laptop. It will be too slow for a smart TV
You really need to keep a watchful monitor on your mobile phone data usage if you use this option to avoid costly fees from your mobile phone data provider.
This option is better suited to those who only want to browse emails or a few web pages – or those who have 32GB of data or more on their current plan and have plenty to spare.
You may be fortunate enough for your caravan campsite to offer a WiFi plan.
Some campsites include WiFi as part of your stay, whilst others charge a fee.
You may find a slower free plan available, but a faster connection available at a cost.
Campsite WiFi is fine, although during peak times when everyone starts to connect online at the end of the day, you can find that the connection speed starts slowing down considerable or grinding to a halt.
This is because the available data has to be shared among all the connected devices in the campground. Also, if your pitch is the furthest from the campsites WiFi router, you can also find intermittent slow down.
Campsites can also restrict their data to just browsing websites or checking email and not allow media streaming such as YouTube, BBC iPlayer or Netflix. Again, to allow the internet data to be shared fairly across other caravan residents.
You should also be aware that campsite data may not be secure. If you are not using a VPN you should limit any personal information you share.
It can be easy for hackers to actively target unsecure campsite WiFi connections and ‘listen in’ for online purchases and attempt to steal personal information.
A VPN can help protect your privacy, and a MiFi unit provides greater security as you generally have to be within 10 metres of the MiFi unit, plus you have a unique password to access your MiFi data unlike a campsite in which the same password is shared across all guests.
MiFi Device and SIM Data Plan
A MiFi unit can offer the best of both worlds.
A hub to allow you to connect multiple devices and a separate data plan to avoid using your own mobile phone data.
If your caravan is a static caravan, and you stay in the same campsite often, it is well worth checking the data coverage for your campsite area with the MiFi data providers.
You want to make sure you go with the plan that gives you the fastest and strongest speeds.
You can check mobile data signal strength across the UK using the Ofcom Mobile Coverage Checker
Is MiFi as Good as WiFi?
MiFi can be better than WiFi but depends on where you are and how strong the WiFi signal is.
On the whole a WiFi signal can provide faster speeds than MiFi can, but technology is growing at a rapid rate.
MiFi data can now be accessed at speeds of up to 25MB a second. That’s fast enough to stream movies online.
Whether your MiFi signal is stronger and faster than a WiFi signal will come down to several factors:
- Whether you are accessing 3G or 4G (or even 5G) for your MiFi hub. The latter two are considerably faster than 3G.
- If you have poor mobile data signal for your network provider, your MiFi speeds will also be slow.
- How many uses are using the same WiFi signal source – your connection will be slower based on the how many other users are connected
- Your proximity to the WiFi router – the further away you are the slower your connection speed
- How fast the WiFi speed is. Some WiFi speeds are still slow in rural areas.
How to get a better WiFi signal when in a Caravan
It can be really frustrating at the end of the day, after an exciting day in the countryside or by the beach, to get back to your caravan and face incredibly slow internet speeds when trying to catch up with friend, family or the next episode of your latest boxset series.
Top Tip: Rebooting the device, to restart the connection, is also the first thing to try. As it restarts it reconnects to the WiFi and can help flush out any gremlins set to spoil your evening.
If that fails it may be your WiFi is running really slow, particularly if everyone is now back after a day out and all trying to do the same thing.
Swapping from the campsite’s WiFi signal to using a MiFi unit or your mobile data plan may help speed things up.
You won’t, at least, be competing for data with the entire campsite.
A WiFi booster may also give your data that enhanced boost you need, especially if you are furthest away from the data signal.
WiFi Boosters – Are They Worth It?
A WiFi Booster attached to your caravan can really help boost your WiFi signal.
A WiFi Booster, like the really popular Kuma Wireless WiFi Hotspot Kit, is easy to install and simple to connect to.
Here’s an instruction video showing step by step how easy the Kuma is to setup and get started:
Satellite WiFi – Is Satellite WiFi Any Good?
If you have tried all other options, but your campsite has no WiFi (or really poor even with a booster) and is in such a rural location that no network providers give coverage, then satellite WiFi maybe the last resort.
By far the most expensive option, but satellite WiFi can be accessed even in the remotest of locations.
Satellite WiFi is best suited for emergencies, such as being stranded whilst remote hiking at altitude rather than streaming EastEnders on BBC iPlayer, but it may give you data when you need it most.
Even billionaire Elon Musk is planning on a global satellite service from Star Link in the near future.
You will need a satellite dish, similar to those many of purchased back in the 1990s for Sky TV but instead of receiving a television signal, you’ll receive a data signal instead.
I haven’t used any of the satellite WiFi services, so won’t recommend any here. The Freedom Sat packages look to be reasonable at the moment.
How Expensive is Satellite WiFi?
As I mentioned, it will be the more expensive option, but it may be your only option depending on location.
Expect to pay from £20 a month, but this price may only get you a small amount of data. It will be fine for causally browsing websites or checking email – but for £20 you probably have enough data to stream 2 to 3 episodes from a boxset series online (around 2GB).
More and more satellite WiFi options are coming on to the market, so I do expect prices to start decreasing.
Already services are popping up providing unlimited data from £30 per month and at a speed of 20MB a second, it will at least give you standard definition streaming.
Expect to pay upwards of £70 per month for the highest speeds but you probably won’t need anything close to that in a caravan.
Staying Safe When Browsing the Internet When Caravanning – Avoiding Risks
We think nothing today of connecting to a WiFi hotspot, or The Cloud, when we’re out and about and taker to the internet.
Surely no harm can come from checking a few emails, the latest weather forecast and updated Facebook posts – can it?
Unfortunately, it can.
As the internet is becoming more sophisticated, so are the attempts to listen in to your data.
One of the most unsecure places are unprotected open WiFi hubs. The type you find at shopping centres, restaurants and campsites.
The owners of these WiFi hotspots aren’t providing bad services, it’s just open WiFi networks are easily cracked by the scammers. They can infiltrate the network and spy on your data – which can not only be personal, but sensitive too such as passwords and bank details.
This is where a VPN service can come in.
VPN (Virtual Private Network) services have been around for many years now. They create a safe, encrypted ‘tunnel’ that your data flows through outside of the prying eyes of scammers on open WiFi networks.
You still can connect to the campsite WiFi but through the VPN. This added security steps encrypts your data and allows you to browse safely online.
I would really recommend Nord VPN. I have used it myself and is even used by famous YouTuber PewDiePie. Plans start from around £3.00 per month.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to decide which WiFi or MiFi to go for?
The simple answer to this is to first know where you are going to be staying.
If your caravan is static and always in a fixed location it’s worth checking whether your campground has WiFi and how good it is, especially at peak time.
If you do go for the campsite WiFi option, I would really recommend a VPN service such as Nord VPN for added protection and security.
If campsite WiFi isn’t an option, and you have a good mobile signal and phone data plan (such as the Unlimited Date Plan from Vodafone) you could simply use your mobile phone as a WiFi hotspot and connect your laptop or tablet.
I have tried connecting a Smart TV through a 4G mobile phone data plan. It works but even though I have full bars of signal, even at 4G the streaming TV channel was a little jerky.
If all these options fail then look towards the MiFi option, and choose a network provider with the strongest signal on your campground for your SIM data plan.
What is the best way to get WiFi in a caravan?
The best way to get WiFi in a caravan is through a MiFi hub, or you’re using your mobile phone as a hotspot or the campsite WiFi, if available.
The strongest signal will be from whichever data provider has the widest coverage based on the location of your caravan.
If none of these options work, then a satellite WiFi option would be the best alternative, although often the most expensive option.
Wherever you are, there is always an option for WiFi.
Whether this is through your mobile plan, a separate MiFi plan, the campsite’s WiFi or satellite WiFi, you can always stay connected wherever you go.
Fortunately, the advances in technology are reducing the costs of the devices, and vast competition is helping drive down the costs of the data.
This is a win-win for caravan owners!