The 3 Best Campground WiFi Signal Booster Solutions
Campgrounds with free WiFi…
Are you tired of reading mind-numbing technospeak in other posts on this Google results page? Just want to know the single best option to get hooked up to blazing fast Internet with a minimum of hassle?
You know by now that many — if not most — campgrounds in America advertise “Free WiFi” as an enticement and amenity to guests.
You also know by now that you often get what you pay for — or rather don’t pay for.
Quite simply, the free Internet access is weak at best, shared by a whole campground full of other campers who — like you — probably have more than one device accessing a limited amount of WiFi bandwidth.
It’s no wonder you can’t get online half the time.
But that’s why you’re here. There must be a way, you think, to improve your Internet access while staying at these low-signal facilities.
Now that we’ve defined the problem, what’s the solution?
We at Blue Mountain Reviews have scoured the RV and camping forums to determine a consensus answer.
And what follows represents the best solution — or, at least, the solution that seems to work for many RVers and campers.
It’s centered around two products, both of which are receiving unprecedented high ratings from the tough buying public on Amazon.
What’s the bottom line?
It’s dim for those folks who expect strong, free Internet access at campgrounds. The sad truth is, most camp owners won’t invest two nickels in a strong WiFi transmitter.
But the bottom line for you is:
- You must be willing to invest in a high-quality WiFi booster that significantly raises your chances of capturing and augmenting the campground’s weak signal, with or without the help of an external antenna.
- Then, acquire an inexpensive router (if you don’t already have one.) And, finally,
- Get a terrific wireless signal booster that will have you sipping your morning coffee outside, surfing the headlines on your tablet or smartphone.
Here’s what to do to gain better WiFi access:
- Get a vital little gadget called the Peplink Pepwave Surf On-The-Go Wi-Fi Router to capture and boost the campground’s free WiFi signal. (Take a look at our product review for more detail).
- Ideally, you’ll want to park within 150 feet of the building that houses the transmitter — usually the camp office.
- This device will give you strong access to the signal right out of the box — provided you are close enough.
- If, however, you find you are consistently parked more than 150 feet from the source, no matter what campground you visit, you’ll need to acquire an Outdoor Omnidirectional Antenna,
- Attach it somewhere outside — usually at the top of your roof access ladder, or atop a 10-foot telescoping pole, which you can find here on Amazon.
- Then, snake the 30-foot cable in through a window or piece of conduit to the back of your Peplink router.
- Substitute that cable for the short antennae on the back.
- You should now be receiving a strong signal — or as strong as your campground is putting out. That’s a limiting factor. But there’s also a way around that. We’ll come back to it in a moment.
Next, let’s route the signal to all your devices — seamlessly and wirelessly
Now that you’re connected, here’s another dandy device that will help distribute your strong new signal to your laptop, iPad, Kindle, Nook and even your smartphone.
Plug the WPS Signal Extender Wireless Repeater into a wall plug and enjoy blazing fast Internet connectivity to all your WiFi-enabled devices. You’ll be fully connected — even out under your canopy on these upcoming Spring and Summer mornings and evenings. (See the detailed product review by clicking here.)
Envision yourself sitting peacefully outside early each morning, quietly drinking coffee and reading the day’s headlines on your smartphone — which is not burning minutes on your not-unlimited plan. Instead, it’s wired wirelessly into your new extender.
If, after all this, you’re still unable to get a good, “free” WiFi connection:
It’s time to give up on the hope of gaining free WiFi access and simply attach your smartphone — with an unlimited minutes data plan — to the USB port on the back of our first recommendation — the Peplink Pepwave Surf On-The-Go Wi-Fi Router.
Of course, you’ll still need a separate router to hook up all your hard-wired, non-WiFi-enabled devices — like your desktop PC and your TV. (Or, if you already have a router with multiple ethernet ports, use that).
But many RVers and campers report that having at least the Peplink Pepwave Surf On-The-Go Wi-Fi Router (detailed below) is worth the investment, as it provides (a) a good shot at free access and (b) a reliable backup that will make good use of your cellular data plan if all else fails.
Here’s a product review on the Surf-On-the-Go:
Peplink Pepwave Surf On-The-Go Wi-Fi Router
With over 60 five-star reviews, this product consistently performs at the top of its class of medium-priced personal extended range WiFi routers.
Turns your unit into a rebroadcaster of your campground’s sometimes anemic signal.
Called by the manufacturer the “Swiss Army Knife of Mobile Web Access,” this cunning little device is a WiFi repeater (meaning that it grabs your campground’s weak signal from up to 150 feet away and boosts it for your use.)
It also makes wired devices, such as printers, play nice within your wireless network.
And if all else fails, you can give up on free access and share a single paid WiFi connection from your cell phone via USB cable, routed to your laptop, tablet, and other devices.
Things we like about this unit:
- Gives you the option of either using the campground’s free signal — or, if that is substandard or out of reach. it lets you use your cell phone’s unlimited data plan to instantly provide a Wifi “hotspot” to connect all your devices.
- Its compact size and white color allow it to virtually disappear wherever you put it — on a desk, on the dinette, or on a kitchen counter.
Things we found less than perfect:
- Some users report that it is a bit hard to set up initially, but all said the call-in tech support was very supportive.
- You’ll still need a reliable router with multiple outputs to connect hardwired devices like your TV and desktop unit.
And, here’s the lowdown on the repeater,
WPS Signal Extender Wireless Repeater
With an unbelievable 100% approval rating on Amazon, this little unit is all set to deliver results.
It extends robust coverage wirelessly from your WiFi source to all your connected devices — including iPads, Kindles, Smart TVs, Smart Plugs. Turns your RV into a Smart Home on the Go.
Compatible with any router or access point, this device makes it easy to expand and strengthen your network even as it changes over time. Boosts your existing network range, delivering dual band WiFi up to 300 Mbps.
This Wifi repeater is small and discreet, easily blending into your home decor.
Wait. There’s more.
Extremely easy to connect. Just use one of three modes: (1) Repeater Mode, for extending WiFi coverage of an existing wireless network. (2) AP Mode, for covering a wired network to a wireless network. And (3) Router Mode is for creating an instant private wireless network and enabling multiple devices to share it.
Eliminate dead spots in areas of your RV or camper. This network extender delivers blazing-fast dual-band Wi-Fi across your RV. Stream movies and play games in any room, area or even outside.
Things we like about this unit:
- Virtually assures seamless WiFi connectivity across all devices, regardless of make, model or operating system.
- All at an extremely low price, with an ironclad money back guarantee if it fails to deliver as promised.
Things we found less than perfect:
- Not much. Even the setup process is ridiculously easy. Watch and listen as this charming young Japanese woman walks us through connection from the device to her cell phone. .
In conclusion. here’s a handy listing of all the links we’ve talked about. Get wired — by going wireless — today!
Our Overall Rating on this comprehensive solution: 5-Plus Stars