Yep, many travelers, RV’ers if you will, or those livin’ the RV Lifestyle have come rely upon laptops for access to many things – email, skype, Amazon (and other vendors), and for those earning a living on the road – many other needs – including connectivity to their business, the ability to create posts (like this one) and communicate with readers, etc.
There are two important components designed to make this “magic” happen – a laptop (or tablet) and wireless connectivity.
Lets start with a discussion of laptops and please allow me to vent a bit (as today I’m mildly hot under the collar) – I think we can (mostly) agree that Windows sucks, but do the computer manufacturers have to suck as well??
Frankly, the computer industry is the ONLY industry I can think of that sells you a product and (in my case) just 4 months after the purchase when it fails, you are left with only poor to downright unacceptable options for repairing it.
My specific situation goes like this (perhaps you can relate?)… I bought a Toshiba Satellite on Feb 2, on Jun 2 the internal speakers stopped working on my still virtually new laptop. Since the earbud jack still works, I am nearly certain it is a hardware issue. So, as much as I hate Windows, it is likely that Microsloth is not to blame here – Toshiba is.
So what are my options for repair? Only one – pay to ship it to Toshiba’s factory service center and live without it about 3 weeks. Mind you, there is a Best Buy repair center right here in Casper – but will Toshiba authorize a repair there? Noooo! So, I want to add Toshiba to the “You Suck” hall of fame – right next to Microsloth.
Now, before Toshiba finds a way to send me a virus to cause more trouble, from prior experience, most if not all computer manufacturers pull this crap. So, had it been an Acer, Asus, or Dell, answers would likely be the same – but that doesn’t mean I have to like it *at all*.
Phew! Glad I got that off my chest – and thanks for listening. If you can relate at all – leave me a note below!
Now – about connectivity…
Without connectivity, the RV lifestyle would resemble life in the 1980’s! So, while a computer is important, so is connectivity. Many (most?) RV parks have WiFi, but many limit data usage to enable all residents (temporary or long term) to share the connection – this reduces speed and limits the ability to do any video streaming or “high intensity” usage at all.
Alternatives? Right now there are a few – but none are great. Satellite internet will eventually (in my humble opinion) be a great solution, but for now it is expensive and you can’t travel with the dish and mount it as you travel from camp site to camp site as you do with a TV dish. Sooner or later, this will likely change.
Cell phone can be used to create “hot spots”, thus allowing your laptop to “surf the web” with access provided by your cell phone provider. When it comes to cell phone providers, I maintain that Verizon has by far the best nationwide signal coverage, and good “4g” speed in many areas. Recently, I’ve seen them advertise 10 gig data plans for about $100/month – of course, not being in Verizon sales, you’d have to contact them for specifics on their plans.
If you can get 10 gigs of data per month, unless you’ve got the kids watching movies daily or you’re a heavy creator of video content, you should be fine – and being a Verizon user, I know the bandwidth speeds are typically quite fast.
If you plan to stay at a campground for an extended period, you may be able to make a deal with the local cable provider to provide you with internet access.
Of two things I am certain – wireless connection options will improve and increase in number in the coming months and years; and the PC industry will continue to treat PC owners like crap for as long as they can get away with it. Got thoughts? Use the space below the share ’em! And… while you’re here – please do check out our articles on RV’ing on topics ranging from earning a living on the road to great spots to visit to how to stay in your RV all winter in the mountains!