Motorhome WiFi is a question that appears on a regular basis in all the motorhome forums. Which system should I buy? and which SIM card is the best? are just two of the many questions people ask about. Many motorhome owners buy expensive equipment that sits on the roof of their motorhome and fancy routers that can connect several devices. Six years ago when we first bought a motorhome I bought a WiFi booster antennae and used it a few times but it has been a waste of money. The reason? It was difficult to use and times have changed.
In this article I will tell you why you don’t need to buy anything!
This year, we have done quite a bit of travelling in our motorhome. We have traveled in the UK, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium. It’s great touring in a motorhome, but one of the most frustrating things about touring in a motorhome has been the difficulty of getting a reliable phone/Internet signal. This year, however, I have found that things have changed dramatically, and for the better!
What has changed with motorhome WiFi?
Two years ago I changed the SIM card in my mobile phone from 4G to 5G. Two years ago there didn’t seem to be much 5G around but now that situation has changed dramatically, especially in France and Germany and this has made a huge difference to the quality, speed and coverage of 4G and 5G Internet.
This year on our motorhome travels I was getting 5G almost constantly so when we were in France recently I decided to do a 5G Internet speed test in all the locations we stopped in and the results were amazing. Firstly, I was getting a good 5G data connection in cities, towns and even rural areas. In fact, during our one month tour of western France there were no occasions when I didn’t have a data connection, although some areas were faster that others.
How fast were the 5G speeds in France
The download speeds I got with 5G were very surprising compared to my wife’s 4G phone. Here is a table of the 5G download speeds I was getting during our trip to France in August/September 2023.
|Date||Download Speed Mbps||Upload Speed Mbps|
All we need is a phone not expensive gadgets
Before our motorhome adventures this year I was considering buying a router and antennae for our motorhome. I looked at what was available, the prices and the cost of SIM cards. SIM cards especially is a minefield and many have a cap on data use abroad. I decided not to spend hundreds of pounds on new routers etc, and I’m glad I didn’t. Our two mobile phones have a 20GB per month data allowance that we can use in Europe too. This data allowance rolls over each month and I had available nearly 60GB of data on each phone to last us the duration of our trip. At the end of our trip we had used only about 30GB of data, so we had plenty spare but what was fantastic was the fact that we had picked up excellent Internet download speeds as you can see from the table above.
The best download speed I achieved was an incredible 242 Mbps, better than most peoples home WiFi.
What about streaming services like Netflix?
Many people like to use Netflix and other streaming services whilst away in their motorhomes. These services use a huge amount of data, but there is a way to use Netflix without using any data at all. My wife and I both took our tablets and before we left the UK we both downloaded about 10 movies and TV shows that we liked from Netflix. I know that it’s not the same as watching live TV but we had enough movies to easily keep us going whilst we were in Europe.
My advice about motorhome Wi-Fi
Don’t buy expensive gadgets before you have tried using your phones abroad. If you don’t already have a 5G phone next time you change phones make sure that your new phone is 5G enabled and that you have a 5G SIM card.
Some background to 5G in France
The rollout of 5G in France began in 2019, and is expected to be completed by 2025. The rollout is being led by the country’s four major mobile network operators: Orange, SFR, Bouygues Télécom, and Free Mobile.
As of September 2023, 5G coverage is available in all major French cities, and is rapidly expanding to rural areas. By the end of 2023, it is estimated that 5G coverage will be available to over 90% of the French population.
For more information about 5G in France, which seems to be far ahead of the UK rollout of 5G click here
The rollout of 5G is expected to have a significant impact on the French economy, creating new jobs and boosting productivity. 5G will also enable new and innovative applications, such as self-driving cars, smart cities, and the Internet of Things.
Here are some of the benefits of 5G:
- Faster speeds: 5G is significantly faster than 4G, with speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. This means that users can download large files, stream high-definition video, and play online games without lag.
- Lower latency: 5G has lower latency than 4G, meaning that there is less delay between a user’s request and the response from the server. This is important for applications such as real-time gaming and virtual reality.
- More capacity: 5G can support more devices than 4G, meaning that networks can handle more traffic without becoming congested. This is important for areas with a high population density, such as cities and major events.