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Wifi in your ‘van

It’s not just the age of the internet, but many of us find it difficult to lead anything resembling a normal life without the full and continuous life of a smartphone or tablet.

Whilst these may provide the necessary connection through your mobile network provider, it is probably not going to take very long before you reach the limit of your data allowance and, once that has been passed, having to start paying an arm and a leg for your access to the internet. This is likely to be especially true if you are “tethering” your smartphone to a tablet or laptop.

That’s why you probably rely on Wifi access to your broadband connection at home – but what about when you are on the move and enjoying a caravan holiday in particular?

Caravan site Wifi

An increasing number of caravan and camping sites recognise that a wireless connection to the internet has become one of life’s essentials – even when you are out in the wilds and taking advantage of the predominantly outdoor life.

Evidence for that recognition might be illustrated by the growth in the number of campsites specifically earmarked by the Caravan Club for their provision of broadband Wifi on site. Including both Club and affiliated sites, the Caravan Club currently offers a total of 139 sites that offer this facility.

The listings are graded gold, silver and bronze, according to the speed and reliability of each site’s connection, but also come with warnings about what to expect from this kind of Wifi in your caravan:

  • there is no guarantee that the Wifi connection is going to be up and running all of the time – but, then are you likely to have 100% reliability even in your home setup;
  • it is still a largely outdoor environment, subject to the vagaries of storms, lightning strikes or even the local wildlife nibbling away at supply cables;
  • speeds may be lower than you expect at home, simply because you are sharing a limited bandwidth with your fellow campers and some sites might be more remote than others;
  • don’t expect the connection to support streaming video or TV – such as iPlayer, YouTube, Skype or FaceTime – but stick to the basic tasks of opening and sending mail and moderate surfing only;
  • that said, many sites have plans in hand to improve and speed up connections – with the provision of more lines or the replacement of copper with fibre optic cabling

Boosters and mobile routers

If you want to improve your chances of a more effective and faster connection to your campsite’s Wifi service, you can buy antennae and onboard boosters to amplify the signal you are receiving. If your campsite doesn’t have a Wifi connection, with the appropriate booster you may even be able to connect to one provided by the local pub, café or restaurant.

There are a number of suppliers in the UK, and you might want to start weighing up your options by visiting the website Wifi on board.

If you are from anyone else’s hub, you might want to consider a 3G or 4G mobile router – but then, of course, you need to pay your mobile network provider for the data you use.