Deciding on the Best Route for Your Over-the-Road Wi-Fi - dummies

Deciding on the Best Route for Your Over-the-Road Wi-Fi

By E. Phil Haley

When it comes to over-the-road types, everybody’s situation is vastly different. Because of that, there’s not a universal solution to the question of how long any Wi-Fi subscription should be, which WISP you should subscribe to, whether you should maintain a dialup account, or whether you should choose to sign up with a cellular carrier for data service.

But the following information makes it possible so that, hopefully, it’ll become clear which route is the most beneficial and economical to you.

If you’re a trucker

Most truckers agree that they don’t spend much time in truck stops. Right. All those trucks you see clogging the lots must be mirages, merely Fig Newtons of your amalgamation. Face it; trucks stop at truck stops.

That means a truck stop WISP will probably provide you with the best Wi-Fi service. Still, depending on whether you haul peaches or couches, the plan and provider best suited to you might be drastically different. For example, are you a trucker . . .

  • With a dedicated route? If you haul the same freight over the same route week after week, year after year, it’s likely that you make the same stops. Are the truck stops you frequent all in the same chain? If they are, signing up for an annual Wi-Fi subscription can save you some money over the long term. If your stops run the gamut of travel plaza chains, could you alter your stops so that an annual subscription might be feasible?
  • Traveling far and wide? If you’re never heading in the same direction two weeks in a row, or you rarely spend three nights a week in a truck stop of the same chain, you might consider paying for Wi-Fi by the day, using dialup as a backup. If, however, you can plan to be in a position to use the same WISP three or four nights a week, you can save a few bucks by signing up for a monthly or annual plan.
  • Hauling over-dimensional loads? If you haul over-dimensional freight (think WIDE LOAD), then parking within sight of the facilities is difficult to do. Because that’s where the access point is most often located, you might be parked, quite often, too far away to make a connection. If that’s the case, you might want to investigate a high-speed cell data plan.

The level of Internet access that you require each day, week, or month is a primary consideration in determining the type and level of wireless Internet service you subscribe to. If, for example, you check your e-mail or surf the Net a couple of times a week, you might want to pay by the day.

Surprisingly, some of the most competitively priced and widely available Wi-Fi in the nation is provided by the truck-stop and travel-plaza chains.

If you’re an RVer

How you use your RV as well as the frequency with which you need access to the Internet are the two most important considerations when determining how wireless Internet access fits into your plans. The type and level of service best suited to your needs is different depending on whether (for example) you’re

  • On vacation: If you’re only away from home for a couple of weeks, or maybe, a month, it makes no sense whatsoever to sign up with a single service for more than one or two days. Using dialup as a back-up, though, does make sense.
  • On an extended trip: For trips longer than a month, it might be worth your while to plan your trip in such a way that you can take advantage of a month-to-month subscription.
  • Living in your RV: Especially if you need consistent and regular access to the Internet, you might well consider investing in a satellite Internet system.