The Ultimate Guide to RV Wi-Fi

For many RVers, having a reliable internet connection while camping is crucial. Here’s what you need to know to find the best RV Wi-Fi solution for you

With the right setup and gear, you can have internet access almost anywhere whether boondocking or relaxing poolside at an RV resort. If you’re working remotely or roadschooling the kids, you can power through Zoom calls or stream videos while camping just about anywhere.

First things first: What is RV Wi-Fi? As far as the internet goes, Wi-Fi in your RV works just like Wi-Fi anywhere else. You have a phone, tablet, computer, or any other Wi-Fi-enabled device; you connect it to the Wi-Fi and then browse or stream like you would at home.

The biggest difference is where the original signal comes from. Internet solutions for an RV are a little more complicated than a stationary home and need careful consideration. 

White Tank Mountains Regional Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are several different ways you can stay connected during your travels. The two primary options are using cellular data from a provider like AT&T or a signal pulled from a local Wi-Fi network. This guide will explain how these options work, what the confusing internet terms mean, the gear you need to maximize your connection, and which Wi-Fi setup is right for you and your RV.

How will you use the internet?

The first step in determining the best RV Wi-Fi solution is to think about the level of connectivity you will need. Deciding how you’re going to use the internet while on the road is one of the most important considerations before you purchase anything.

Will you just be using your email and checking in with friends via Facebook? Will you be working from your RV? Do you have obligatory video conferences? Do your kids enjoy playing video games? Are video calls with family and friends from home a must? 

If you use the internet only occasionally like checking email or online shopping then you probably only need a minimal internet setup. Depending on where you want to camp and your cell phone provider, you can probably get by by using campground Wi-Fi or your phone as a mobile hotspot.

However, if you plan on streaming movies or music you’ll need some more gear—and data—for a reliable internet connection. Most people are surprised at how quickly they use up data when they’re streaming.

If you’re working on the road or need internet access for homeschooling then you should be prepared to use at least 100GBs of data per month which is why an unlimited data plan is likely the best option. This way, you don’t have to worry about the amount of data you’re using throughout the month. 

You also need to consider where you’ll be camping as your Wi-Fi needs will vary depending on if you’re staying at campgrounds or boondocking. 

Pala Casino RV Resort, Pala, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do RV parks and campgrounds have Wi-Fi?

You might be wondering why you can’t just use the Wi-Fi network at RV parks and campgrounds. Most RV parks will have Wi-Fi and many RV parks offer free internet but getting a strong signal can be a different story.

We do not rely solely on Wi-Fi at RV parks. While we view it as a bonus if it works well, campground Wi-Fi networks don’t have the best reputation. 

RV park Wi-Fi is slow for a few reasons:

  • The other metal RVs in between your device and the Wi-Fi router weaken the signal
  • The more people who are using the network, the slower the signal
  • Rural and remote campground locations may rely on satellite internet, DSL, or fixed wireless internet which tend to be slower

Generally, you can expect campground and RV park Wi-Fi to be a lot slower than your home Wi-Fi or even other public Wi-Fi sources like coffee shops. If you need a reliable internet signal you need to invest in a little extra gear. 

You can make the most of campground Wi-Fi by purchasing a Wi-Fi extender or repeater. The extender helps by rebroadcasting the campground’s internet signal throughout your rig. Most likely the signal weakens before it reaches your RV so a reliable Wi-Fi repeater will give your internet speed a boost.

Boondocking along Utah Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Internet access while boondocking

Don’t expect to find a public Wi-Fi network when boondocking. Instead, you can stay connected with cellular data. You’ll need to keep an eye on your power consumption if you’re dry camping as many internet signal devices (i.e. boosters, satellites, routers, hotspots) will need to be charged or plugged in to get a signal.

Wi-Fi can vary greatly whether you’re boondocking or staying in an RV park. There are a few ways to check your connection even before you pick a campsite like Campendium for reviews on cell phone coverage. These resources give an estimation of the cell phone signal in a destination. For remote work, you’ll generally want at least two bars of signal.

If the signal isn’t quite as strong as you need it to be, check the settings of your apps to make sure you’re using as little data as possible. For example, with video players like YouTube or Netflix, you can choose a lower resolution. Or, if your email is loading slowly, select the option to load it as basic HTML.

Sea Wind RV Resort, Riviera, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Internet terms you should know for RV Wi-Fi solutions

To help you understand the terminology around RV Wi-Fi, here is an explanation of common internet terms and gear options. 

Speed test: No matter the source, how fast your internet is running ultimately determines what you can do on it. Since internet speed doesn’t necessarily relate to the number of bars of cell phone signal or the level of your Wi-Fi connection, it’s helpful to know how to test it. 

Google has a speed test function. To use it, type “Speed Test” into the Google search bar and click the blue “Run Speed Test” button on the results page. You can also use a speed testing website such as Ookla. You’ll need 1 Mbps (megabit per second) down for basic internet needs like checking email but you’ll want between 4 and 5 Mbps down for streaming.

If you’re uploading files or doing video calls you should pay attention to your upload speed as well. Upload speeds are typically slower than download speeds so don’t be surprised if your results say 10 Mbps down and less than 1 Mbps up. 

Hotspot: This is the device that creates an internet connection from cellular data. Just like at home, you’ll have a password-protected WiFi network to connect to. 

Companies use the term “hotspot” differently: T Mobile refers to its devices as mobile hotspots, Verizon calls its version Jetpack, AT&T uses the term Unite, and Netgear calls its hotspot device Nighthawk. While they have different names, they do the same job of supplying an internet signal. Most of these devices cost $100 or more.

Your smartphone can also be used as a hotspot. This is often referred to as tethering. Tethering your phone for Wi-Fi tends to be slower than using a dedicated hotspot device for your internet. It can work in a pinch but if you’re planning on boondocking or streaming regularly, tethering isn’t a practical long-term solution and you’ll most likely need a hotspot device. 

Booster: Typically referring to boosting cellular data, these devices are designed to increase your signal from one bar of service to two. Cell phone boosters enhance a signal and increase internet speeds. This can mean the difference between getting 3 and 5 Mbps down. These devices range from $30 to upwards of $500.

Jekyll Island Campground, Jekyll Island, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Repeater, Extender, or Ranger: These three terms are essentially interchangeable. A Wi-Fi ranger rebroadcasts by repeating and extending the existing WiFi signal inside your RV. This solves a common connectivity problem when you’re too far away from the campground’s Wi-Fi router or there’s too much interference between your RV and the router. A repeater device can significantly enhance your internet speeds when using campground WiFi. 

Some newer RVs may have these devices already built-in. 

Router: Most people use a router and a modem connected to a professionally installed cable for their at-home Wi-Fi. And while this isn’t the typical internet setup you see on the road, you can use a router in your RV Wi-Fi setup as well. Wi-Fi repeaters, for example, use an antenna on the roof as well as a router inside the rig that broadcasts your RV Wi-Fi connection.

Unlimited Data: If you don’t have an unlimited data plan, you have limits on how much internet you can use. Most RVers will find that unlimited data is a more economical option than limited data where you pay for usage in addition to other fees like a protection fee that prevents you from going over your data limit.

If you plan on using cellular data as your source for an internet connection, consider an unlimited data plan so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of your usage.

Throttling: Throttling is when a cell phone provider slows down your signal. This can happen when you’ve reached a certain data threshold or if a tower is overloaded (for example, when there are a lot of people connected at once like at a festival or a concert). Throttling can be difficult to avoid. To help alleviate this problem, you can use two different carriers so you can hop on another network if one slows down.

Cedar Pass Campground, Badlands National Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Common RV Wi-Fi solutions

Once you understand where and how you plan to use the internet, it’s time to decide what type of RV Wi-Fi solution is best for you. Let’s walk through the different options for getting internet access in your RV. 

Cellular data

This is by far the most popular internet connection option for full-time RVers. For this RV Wi-Fi option, purchase a hotspot from your data provider of choice.

Verizon and AT&T are considered to have the best coverage nationwide. You can opt to use one provider for your cell phones and the other for a hotspot. That way, if you don’t have a signal with one network somewhere, there’s a chance that we will have service with the other provider.

If you plan on boondocking or spending time in national parks and on public lands, you will need to rely on cellular data. While some remote campsites have decent Verizon and AT&T coverage, other remote areas will not. This is where a cell phone booster comes in handy.

The Netgear MIMO cell phone booster has a directional antenna meaning that it needs to face in the direction of a cell tower in order to boost a signal. For a higher price, you can install an omnidirectional antenna.

Best for: Boondocking, campgrounds without Wi-Fi, streaming, and staying connected while driving

Cons: Unlimited data plans can be costly but for many RVers it’s worth the price for having reliable connectivity on the road

Edisto Island State Park, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Public WiFi

For basic internet needs, you can use RV park Wi-Fi. Sometimes you’ll find a strong enough connection for using streaming services but it isn’t always reliable or predictable.

If you want to use campground Wi-Fi but need faster speeds install a Wi-Fi extender in your RV. Installation takes a few hours and the devices will cost a few hundred dollars.

In addition to RV parks, you can often find free, public Wi-Fi in parking lots of businesses like Lowes, McDonald’s, and Starbucks.

Best for: If you plan on staying in RV parks and campgrounds with amenities.

Cons: Public Wi-Fi can be less secure and easily hacked which makes your identity and information vulnerable. If using public Wi-Fi, avoid logging into online banking or any other accounts you wouldn’t want to be hacked. Public Wi-Fi is also unreliable, particularly at campgrounds. 

7 Feathers Casino RV Resort, Canyonville, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Starlink and satellite options

Like most new technologies, Starlink’s satellite internet services continue to change and advance. For RVers using Starlink (now called Starlink Mobile) or those considering equipping their rigs with this system, here are the latest updates you should know about Starlink’s satellite internet system.

HughesNet is another satellite internet option that requires a dish to be installed on your RV. If you plan on staying at an RV park for weeks or months at a time, this could be a good option for you.

Best for: Long-term stays where Wi-Fi networks or cellular data is not available. Also, full-time RVers who like to camp in remote areas.

Cons: Starlink’s initial setup costs and Priority-based plans are expensive. Also, speed is affected by population density so can be slower if you’re in more populated regions.

Frog City RV Park, Duson. Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Global Internet

If you’re planning on crossing borders with your RV, a Skyroam device might be the best option for you. This global internet plan is similar to a cellular data plan and designed for international travelers. You can buy unlimited data for a 24-hour period, a monthly subscription, or pay per gigabyte of data. 

When compared with AT&T or Verizon hotspots, the Skyroam device isn’t as powerful. Plus, most U.S.-based cellular networks work in Canada and Mexico. 

Best for: International travelers particularly outside of North America.

Cons: Cell phone data plans based in the U.S. offer better coverage and signal than global options. 

Tips for installing RV Wi-Fi

Professional installation is available (and sometimes recommended) for any Wi-Fi device you decide to buy. Before you start tackling installation on your own, make sure you read the manufacturer’s installation guide and that you have all the required tools and accessories.

Your router and antennae (which may come housed in one unit depending on what you select) should attach to the roof of your rig to maximize your signal. There will be a few screws plus you’ll need to run a cable inside. Since that means drilling holes into your roof be sure to seal the holes with a manufacturer-approved sealant.

Different Wi-Fi product manufacturers may recommend different mounting locations on the roof. Make sure it has a clear line of sight as anything that may interfere with a signal will impede your Wi-Fi.

Then there’s the power switch. Your product will come with instructions for installing the power switch but a professional can also install it for you. Also, note that adding the router or antennae to the roof of your RV will raise the height of your rig. 

My Old Kentucky Home State Park Campground, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to stay connected anywhere

Since no single internet option will cover you 100 percent of the time, to stay fully connected consider using a combination of the above options for increased reliability.

Mix and match these options to best fit your needs. If you’re planning on spending most of your time boondocking, you could skip the investment of a Wi-Fi extender. If you don’t need a constant internet connection, you can choose between a cell phone booster or unlimited data on a hotspot device. 

Taking the time to properly set up an internet connection makes traveling in an RV full-time possible. In the age of remote work and virtual schooling, the ability to stay connected almost anywhere allows you to see the world and still support your families.

Depending on your needs, your RV Wi-Fi will come with an upfront cost but it’s all worth it when you can take a work-related video call from your hammock while boondocking in a scenic location. 

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking

The Best RV Internet Options (for 2023)

Traveling around in an RV is a fantastic way to explore and see the world. But just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you can’t have access to fast internet service.

As a half-time RVer who works online as I travel, having access to the internet in my motorhome is incredibly important. Fortunately, there are several different RV internet options meaning it’s totally possible to stay connected while on the road.

Whether you need it for work, trip planning, or simply getting directions, finding ways to stay connected to the internet can be one of the many challenges to RV living.

Tucson-Lazydays KOA, Tucson, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

These days, you can manage to stay online even while boondocking in the middle of nowhere.

If you’re wondering how to get internet in your RV, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll discuss the best RV internet options so you can have broadband in your RV no matter where you roam. 

Bakersfield RV Resort, Bakersfield, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

First, know your internet needs 

It is important that you understand what your needs are while traveling in your RV. Do you simply want to be able to surf the web and check your email? Or do you need to be able to hop on Zoom meetings regularly? What you need to get out of your internet connection will directly affect the type of RV internet options available to you. 

Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The 4 RV internet options

There are four main RV internet options to consider:

  • Free Wi-Fi networks
  • Paid Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Cellular options
  • Satellite internet

Each way to get online in your RV has pros and cons. 

Grandmas RV Camping, Elizabethtown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Free Wi-Fi networks

Wherever you go, you almost always have the option of connecting to a public Wi-Fi—whether it is in a campground, Starbucks, or public library. Using public Wi-Fi can be a great way to save on internet costs especially if you plan to stay in campgrounds and RV parks and don’t want to wander too far into the wilderness. 

This is the most common use for multiple reasons. It is very widely available and often it’s free.

Still, campground Wi-Fi has its drawbacks. Often, these networks are slower and less reliable and there’s a good chance you’ll find it difficult to join video calls or stream TV. Since it is a public Wi-Fi, be sure to take the necessary safety and security precautions to protect your device and your information.

Using public and campground Wi-Fi networks is the least reliable option because public Wi-Fi is not always available—and even when it is the connection isn’t necessarily going to be great. However, public Wi-Fi is also the best way to get free internet on the road. It can be a good choice if you really only need the internet for recreational purposes.

Some things to consider are:

  • If it’s being used by lots of people, the speed can be slow.
  • Need a secure internet connection? Public Wi-Fi isn’t going to be your best bet.
  • Not all public Wi-Fi is free and unlimited. Some are monitored and you will receive a certain amount of usage over a timed period either free or paid. Access to some public Wi-Fi will have a fee possible to connect or for a time or data limit.

What I like about free hotspots

  • Cost: Free
  • Availability: You can find a free hotspot in almost any cafe or library

Things to consider

  • Safety: Public internet access can be risky
  • Location: You must be in a specific place to access it.
Frog City RV Park, Duson, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Paid Wi-Fi hotspots

Many internet providers have nationwide hotspots that you can access through the service you have registered at your home address. Although they likely aren’t available in the wilderness, they are readily available in cities and towns throughout the country. For instance, Xfinity, one of the largest internet providers in the U.S. has over 8 million hotspots nationwide through which you can access the internet. Keep in mind that these hotspots are similar to public WiFi so use caution to keep your device and data secure.

What I like about paid hotspots

  • Mobile: It’s always with you
  • Data: If you have an unlimited plan, you don’t need to track usage

Things to consider

  • Availability: Some areas you travel to may not be covered
  • Data: If you don’t have an unlimited plan, overage costs can be pricey
  • Location: You must be in a specific place to access it.
Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. Cellular options

Getting online with your phone or hotspot device is popular. It’s easy to get, easy to use, and is something most people have some experience using already. That said, you can’t get cell reception everywhere and getting enough data can be costly. There are also a number of different cell carriers to choose from so you will need to do some research to decide which is best for you. 

Nomad Internet takes away the need for mobile hotspotting with one carrier by providing cellular internet from available carriers. For traveling nomads, this can be a great option for RV internet service. With a starting price of $149/mo. after a $99 one-time membership fee, you can enjoy unlimited data from the largest rural internet provider currently. 

What I like about cellular options

  • Availability: Nomad can keep you connected almost anywhere by accessing service from many major providers

Things to consider

  • Price: Can be expensive
Jack’s Landing RV Park, Grant’s Pass, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Satellite internet for RVers

Satellite internet was super slow and clunky up until recently. That said, Starlink RV internet is now on the market providing fast and reliable satellite internet pretty much anywhere you can clearly see the sky. Now you are no longer limited to cellular coverage areas. The issues:

  • You won’t get connected while parked under trees
  • Bad weather and the number of users in the area also impacts connectivity
  • The Starlink equipment requires electricity to get online
  • Some users find that it’s a bit expensive for their budget (at $599, the basic Starlink hardware isn’t inexpensive but the Flat High Performance kit more than quadruples that to $2,500)

Starlink RV internet just isn’t at a place where it can be the sole internet provider for travelers because of the connectivity issues.

What I like about Starlink RV

  • Availability: Starlink is available most anywhere and growing
  • Mobility: Surfing and streaming is available while you are driving

Things to consider

  • Price: Startup cost is expensive
Sun Outdoors Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Get internet redundancy and good hardware

Once you decide which internet service option will work best for you, take a second look and decide on your second best option. Then, go ahead and invest in both the first and second pick. Some even have a third option in their back pocket as well. This is known as having internet redundancy.

Redundancy is especially important if you NEED to have internet access to do remote work from your RV. Both cellular broadband service and satellite internet are far from flawless. You may have connectivity issues when using either. And as I mentioned before, you never know when a public Wi-Fi network might not be usable.

However, if you have two or even three connectivity options available to you, you should be able to get online consistently pretty much anywhere. 

Hilltop RV Park, Fort Stockton, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider a cellular router

If you choose to go with cell service for your RV internet (and really, it’s best to have at least one cell plan available for use), you might want to consider investing in a cellular router. A good router will help pull in a better signal and amplify it throughout your rig. 

A router is especially handy if you have multiple cell plans.

Purchase a router with multiple card slots and you can use the router for all of your cell plans simultaneously rather than having an individual hotspot for each one. Some routers will even intelligently hop between networks for you, ensuring you always have the best connection possible. 

Try a cell phone signal booster

In addition to the aforementioned router, you can also invest in a cellular broadband booster. This device boosts whatever cell signal you’re pulling in. It ensures that if you have a connection at all, it is a stronger one. 

Get a Wi-Fi repeater

Want to take advantage of the free public Wi-Fi networks out there? Some RVers get a lot of use out of Wi-Fi repeater systems. These pull in Wi-Fi signals from the area and will actually amplify a signal making it usable inside your RV. This is one of the least expensive RV internet options but is also probably the least reliable.

Columbia Waterfront RV Park, Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pro Tip 1: Plan RV trips around cell service

If you’re counting on cellular broadband internet service and/or public Wi-Fi networks, there are some areas you will need to avoid unless you can afford to be offline for the duration of your stay. 

In order to figure out whether you will have cell signal or access to Wi-Fi in a certain location, I recommend using campground review websites. Here, you can see if other campers have been able to connect to campground Wi-Fi or to various cell carriers. 

Katy Lake RV Park, Katy, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Pro Tip 2: Avoid crowded places

My next tip for ensuring you have decent internet speeds? Avoid super crowded areas whenever possible. Cell towers can get overloaded when there are lots of RVers around trying to use them simultaneously. Likewise, Starlink for RVers will slow down when there are too many people using the service in one area—not to mention all those nearby rigs acting as obstructions to the sky. Because of this, ensuring you stay away from the crowds will give you a better chance of having good speeds. 

Starlink’s active high capacity coverage promise includes most of the US and Canada although about a quarter of the US from the Great Lakes down to Florida is less than perfect.

Sonoran Desert RV Park, Gila Bend, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Consider your needs and get connected

Getting internet in an RV is not as hard or as complicated as it can seem.

Figure out which of the RV internet options will work best for your needs? Then, start putting together your setup right away! Doing so will ensure you can work (and play) no matter where in the country you end up playing, working, and living.

Related Posts:

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking

Big Starlink Changes: Starlink for RVs Price Increase to $150/month + Portability for Residential Gone + Starlink Roam Replaces Starlink RV

Starlink is once again shaking things up but not in a good way for most RVers

There are a few options for RVers who need internet on the road. The best tactic is redundancy. Having a couple of options is always better than only having one. Depending on location, one provider might work better than another.

Many RVers use cellular providers to get their internet. T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T offer unlimited plans or data-only plans. Whether through a hot spot or a cell phone, RVers can connect to a device and have internet capabilities to work and stream.

Capital City RV Park, Montgomery, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights

Another option for internet is through a satellite service. Viasat, HughesNet, and Starlink are the most popular options. While Viasat and HughesNet operate mostly in rural communities where cellular service is minimal, Starlink burst onto the scene in May 2022 as a service targeted at RV users and other nomads frequently on the move.

Many RVers have ordered Starlink RV internet and have been using it for months. A few are very positive about the progress and future outlook but most agree that Starlink isn’t going to be replacing other internet providers RVers use any time soon.

And that was before Starlink announced big changes in late February 2023.

All Starlink for RVs service users in the US have received an email alerting them that their monthly service cost is going up $15/month—from $135/month to $150/month. This price change will take effect on April 24, 2023. 

The new pricing for RV service is already effective immediately for new customers. 

Starlink for RVs was officially launched in May 2022 as a service targeted at RV users and other nomads frequently on the move. The price for this service at the time of launch was $135/month.

Users on the RV plan can expect deprioritized best effort service wherever they used it which can often result in slow speeds in congested markets. But there are benefits including being able to order it anywhere, use it anywhere in your home continent, and pause service when not using it. 

Indian Waters RV Park, Indio, California © Rex Vogel, all rights

The Starlink website describes Starlink for RVs as follows:

  • Immediately access unlimited high-speed, low-latency internet on an as-needed basis at any destination where Starlink provides active coverage
  • $150/month with a one-time cost of $599 for portable hardware or $2,500 for in-motion hardware
  • Starlink for RVs service is available for portable use with the Standard Dish at $599 and also supports official in-motion use with the optional flat HP dish at $2,500

Starlink residential service price is changing based on capacity

Starlink Residential customers also received an email notifying them of a price change that will occur on April 24, 2023 but this time the price could go up or down depending on the network capacity in their service area:

  • Customers who are in a limited capacity area will see their service increase by $10/month to $120/month
  • Customers who are in an excess capacity area will see their service decrease by $20/month to $90/month

So depending on the area where your service address is located, you could see a price increase or decrease. While the price decrease will be nice for some customers, it is probably more likely that most residential users are in a limited capacity area and will therefore be seeing a price increase on their service.

The majority of the eastern half of the US is a limited capacity area along with large portions of California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Colorado. The areas of the US with excess capacity are generally lower population areas.  

The Starlink FAQ notes that the service plan cost is subject to change dependent on service location. This seems to suggest if customers move their service address to areas with excess or limited capacity, their monthly cost will change accordingly. And if your service area changes from one capacity to the other, you can potentially expect your monthly cost to change also. 

Those in excess capacity areas enjoying a price cut now could still see their prices go up if their areas become limited capacity in the future.

This price change also comes with the implementation of the delayed 1TB priority fair use policy data cap on residential service which is now slated to go into effect in April. 

Coastal Georgia RV Park, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights

Portability for Starlink Residential users is gone

One of the most surprising and disappointing changes in this big shakeup is that portability (the option to roam from your service address) is no longer allowed on US-based Residential Starlink accounts. This wasn’t communicated to users over email but rather updated in the FAQ.

Note: Portability is not available for Residential service in the US. You may change your service address or change your service plan to RV through your Starlink account.

This is a very abrupt and unfavorable policy change.

Many RVers choose the residential service over Starlink for RVs to have priority service at their home service address. This also gave the option to move their service address to open locations they visit to get priority service. But this policy change means that option is no longer available.

Unfortunately, this means many RVers will have to give up their Starlink Residential priority service and change to Starlink for RVs or maintain two lines of service. 

Residential users that wish to change to RV service can do so right on their account page. They will have to agree to the policy changes and acknowledge that they can’t go back to Residential service. Returning the Residential service requires new equipment and starting a new plan, assuming there is available capacity. 

Terre Haute Campground, Terre Haute, Indiana © Rex Vogel, all rights

What if you have portability enabled now? 

For current Residential Starlink users traveling with active portability, it’s not quite clear what will happen next for these users. At this time, it appears portability is still working if you were lucky enough to have it enabled before this change took effect. But how long this will last, remains to be seen. Will these users be able to ride out portability indefinitely until they select to remove it or will it stop abruptly before that? 

Users with portability are kind of stuck at the moment not knowing what is next for them and parts of Starlink’s FAQ still have outdated information as I write this article. Since this change was not communicated over email, there is limited info on what is next for current users with portability enabled. 

Some Starlink customers have already received responses from customer service indicating that they can keep portability turned on until they turn it off. Hopefully, this will continue to be the case.

However, customers should be aware that Starlink could at any point decide to sunset portability on Residential plans and force either changing your service address or switching to Starlink for RVs. 

If you don’t want to give up your Starlink Residential plan and service address, you should start figuring out your other options so you are prepared when that change comes. 

Portland Fairview RV Park, Portland, Oregon © Rex Vogel, all rights

Portability already gone if not enabled

Some users may opt to have two Starlink lines of service—Starlink for RVs and Starlink Residential.

Residential Starlink Customers who currently have portability turned off might be shocked to notice that the portability option has already been removed from their account page and they can no longer add it. If you were hoping you could slide in under the radar for a grace period, it’s already too late.

This means if you want to travel with your Starlink and can’t move your service address, you have no choice but to convert your existing Starlink to RV service. Which means when you return to your fixed home base location, you’ll still be at best effort service without the ability to switch back to Residential. 

If you have a permanent residence where you depend on Starlink residential service and don’t want to be deprioritized on the RV service then your only option is to purchase a second Starlink for RVs kit that you’ll travel with. This option means at times, you’ll be paying for two Starlink services which can get expensive especially with the price increases. 

Overall we expect many part-time RVers that depend on Starlink at their residence to find this new policy change a pretty big slap in the face.

Starlink has for the past year made it clear that users who use Starlink at home could enjoy use outside their service address by enabling portability while they were traveling.

They just took that away from every one of these users, with no warning at all.  

New Green Acres RV Park, Walterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink should not be your only internet source

As I’ve said before, Starlink should be thought of as a complement to cellular versus a replacement. Starlink is a great option to keep connected where cellular signal doesn’t exist or in places without congestion. And it comes with other downsides like higher power usage and constantly shifting costs and terms. 

If mobile internet is an important part of your lifestyle, having multiple options is usually key to a reliable connection. Assembling a solution that combines cellular, Wi-Fi, and cellular has advantages—but certainly has costs and complexities.

Each of us has to determine how much redundancy we need in our setup to meet our unique mobile internet needs.

Clinton-Knoxville North KOA, Clinton, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights

Hang on to those unlimited cellular data plans

In particular, if you have certain legacy unlimited data plans from the carriers, its worthwhile keeping them in active service. Once you give up those sweet unlimited cellular plans, you can never get them back. Unlike Starlink’s shifts many cellular plans tend to remain grandfathered in as long as you keep paying the bill. 

Jamaica Beach RV Park, Galveston, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights

No contracts mean things can and will change

While it’s nice in some ways that Starlink doesn’t make you sign a contract, allowing you to stop service when you want, it’s also becoming quite obvious that SpaceX has no loyalty to existing customers.

No contract goes both ways—Starlink can change the terms of its offerings at any time. These latest price changes and plan changes are just more examples of how Starlink has abruptly changed over its rather short two-year run. For those with any history following SpaceX, this should not come as a surprise.

Starlink is proving once again that while it is revolutionary for what it has done for mobile internet, it can and will change at any time. 

Mt. Vernon RV Park, Mt. Vernon, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights

Option to cancel service if you don’t agree with the changes

In the email customers received notifying them of the price changes which varied based on your plan and location, it was also noted that if you did not want to continue service, you have the option to cancel since there is no contract.

If you were within your original 30 days of purchase, you have the option for a full equipment refund. If you are outside your 30 days, but still within 12 months since you purchased, you can get a partial refund of $250 for your equipment. 

Up to this point used dishy terminals were generally bringing more than $250 on the private market but with these new changes there could be a flood of used equipment for sale driving the price down so it’s up to you to decide which path is best for you if you decide to cancel service. 

Buckhorn Lake Resort, Kerrville. Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights

Key Points

In review, here are the big changes affecting Starlink Residential and Starlink RV Service:

  • Starlink for RVs monthly charge is going up $15—from $135 to $150/month.
  • Starlink Residential Service increases $10/month for limited capacity locations but drops $20/month for excess capacity areas. Now it is $90-$120/month, depending on your location. 
  • Portability is removed as an option for Starlink Residential Customers in the US only forcing many nomads to Starlink for RVs Service at the increased price if they regularly travel with their Starlink.
  • Existing customers won’t see a price change until April 2023 while new customers will see the new price immediately.
Dakota Campground, Mitchell, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Roam replaces Starlink RV

And then on March 8, 2023, Starlink announced additional changes. Although not all affect RV users directly, I include them below.

The Starlink RV account type has been replaced with Starlink Roam. This subtle account name change comes with a couple updates to cover their services more broadly. They now offer Starlink Roam Regional which is basically the same as Starlink RV was. They now have the option of Starlink Roam Global for use anywhere (instead of use only on the continent of purchase).

Tom Sawyer RV Park, West Memphis, Arkansas © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Roam pricing

The Starlink Roam Regional comes in at the recently hiked monthly price tag that Starlink RV was at of $150. This can be used anywhere on land within the continent that you purchased your service in.

The Global option comes in at $200. This can be used anywhere on land that Starlink has regulatory approval to work.

Starlink Roam for Land Use only

One interesting thing that Starlink is being clear on now is that it is intended for land use only. Now that they explicitly state this in their wording on their site and order page, expect them to start geo-locking use on these plans to land only (may be fine close to shore also) at some point soon.

Starlink has put wording in their Terms of Service (TOS) about geofencing now. They state “Regional plans are geo-fenced to work on land within the same continent as the registered Shipping Address while the Global plans work on land anywhere there is active service coverage.” Time will tell if this is being enforced.

For boaters, this will likely mean there will be more Maritime specific plan options at higher rates (probably much higher) than many have been taking advantage of on the RV or Residential with Portability account types.

There are already some third party authorized resellers with some options out there but expect to see more directly from Starlink.

Wind Creek Casino RV Park, Atwell, Alabama © Rex Vogel, all rights

Starlink Terms of Service

As always, Starlink service and policies are evolving so quickly that their TOS don’t get updated quickly enough to keep up with these changes. For a little while, you will probably see conflicting info on their site regarding these changes depending on where you look.

Starlink RV accounts will likely turn into Starlink Roam accounts but for now you will see both names being used in their wording.

Starlink rent option in the UK

Starlink recently emailed potential customers offering a new rental program in the United Kingdom (UK). The new offer would make Starlink Residential service more affordable. The offer allows Starlink customers in the UK to rent the dish and router for £15 per month versus the full purchase price of £460 (High Performance Starlink hardware costs £2,410) with a one-time activation of £99. Buying outright works out better if you keep the service for more than two and a half years. While not available in North America at time of writing, a rental program may be offered in the coming days.

Leaf Verde RV Park, Buckeye, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights

Concluding thoughts

I dislike sharing big negative changes like this with my readers especially for full-time RVers using Starlink Residential with portability and part-time RVers that depend on Starlink at their residence but still travel with it occasionally.

I know this is a huge disappointment.

Your Starlink terms of service are not locked in. With such a young company with lots of demand offering a niche service not offered by any other company and their business growing at an incredible rate what you have today may look drastically different tomorrow. 

RVers depending on mobile internet should always have redundancy in their arsenal of internet tools and Starlink is proving that for us once again. 

With two price increases in less than a year, what is the next big change that Starlink will surprise us with? 

Unfortunately, we will have to wait and see.

Check back for updates as this big change plays out!

Worth Pondering…

We are all now connected by the Internet, like neurons in a giant brain.

—Stephen Hawking