Home / Blog / The Guide to Static Caravan WiFi and Internet
Posted: October 5, 2020
Sometimes you need a break and to get away from it all. That doesn’t necessarily mean you want to isolate yourself from the world but instead, experience a relaxing change of scenery while still having that all-important choice to connect. When spending time at a caravan holiday park, you get the best of both worlds, the freedom to explore beautiful surroundings and take in the stunning British countryside but still close enough to enjoy civilisation and connectivity.
If you are looking to purchase, invest or simply book a visit to your favourite holiday caravan, often a question we get asked is ‘how can I get internet in my caravan?’ and we’ve put together this guide to ensure you can stay connected.
How do I Get WiFi in my Static Caravan?
Most holiday caravan parks will offer some sort of basic WiFi and our eight gorgeous parks are no different, they all feature free WiFi for our guests and visitors to use, simply enter the provided password and start browsing. This ensures you can still get online to check your social media and email but, depending on the size of the park, may not be fast enough or provide enough bandwidth for streaming movies or downloading large files within a short time frame.
If the thought of using the basic WiFi on your next trip away leaves you anxious, consider these options for improving the strength and quality of your connection, preventing downtime and providing a home-away-from-home internet experience.
WiFi Signal Boosters
If you are happy with the WiFi connection on the holiday caravan park when you are close to the router (usually at the central clubhouse), but your caravan is too deep into the park that it affects the quality of your signal, you can invest in a signal booster. These are simple devices that look like antennas that can be attached to the exterior of the caravan or USB devices that plug into your computer or laptop.
PROS: These can enhance the WiFi capability of your device or make it easier for WiFi signals to be picked up and will improve your connection, particularly if there is a distance between your caravan and the router, there is a lot of greenery on the park or during times of heavy rain.
CONS: WiFi signal boosters won’t improve a connection that has been oversubscribed or is under heavy use and is being slowed down by the number of users connected.
4G / 5G Internet
Most of us own or have owned an internet-enabled device, whether that’s a classic phone with mobile internet connectivity or a modern smartphone with all the bells and whistles. We are familiar with mobile internet and usually the availability of connection under our mobile phone provider.
There are four core networks across the UK - EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, every other provider including Tesco, Asda and Giff Gaff piggyback off of these core networks. This can make it much easier to check the connectivity of an area by simply requesting a free sim card from each of the networks and using an unlocked phone to check the next time you visit your caravan.
4G is the strongest, most readily available mobile internet connection - 5G is a stronger, faster and better connection but it will still be a few years before this reaches all non-cosmopolitan and rural areas. For now, a 4G connection will provide everything you need in regard to streaming, downloading and even gaming and 4G routers are available from most mobile providers or technology stores. Simply find the 4G router that meets your needs, pop in a mobile sim card, connect and away you go.
When you are looking for a 4G router, you might come across the following terms, features and functions;
Dual-Band: There are two main frequencies used for internet connectivity. 2.4GHz which is the older frequency and uses less power and provides a greater range than 5.0GHz, which is newer but has increased reliability and is much faster. Most modern devices use 5.0GHz but a Dual-band router provides backwards compatibility for older devices to connect via 2.4GHz.
External or internal antennas: External antennas offer a greater strength of connectivity than internal antennas and can increase the range of your signal.
Guest networks: Thinking of hiring out your holiday caravan or welcoming a guest into your caravan? A guest network saves you having to hand out your WiFi password and provides a separate connection via your router that doesn’t affect your main network.
Quality of service: Also known as Bandwidth Control, Quality of Service ensures that certain devices (your laptop or phone) or services (YouTube, Netflix, etc) get priority on your connection.
PROS: Pay as you go or pay monthly, once you’ve purchased the router and got yourself a sim card, it’s easy to set up, get connected and start using the internet as you would at home and you can stick to a budget that works for you.
CONS: There’s a bit of investigation required to find out which is the best network for your park and the area of the park your caravan is located, not every network will have quality signal strength. There is a mobile/broadband checker available through Ofcom that can provide an idea of available connectivity in a certain area.
Very similar to purchasing a 4G router but handled solely through your mobile device and billed to your mobile contract or pre-paid balance. Mobile tethering includes connecting your device to your mobile’s network and using the internet as normal. Not every phone supports tethering and some networks charge additional fees for tethering so be sure to check your phone’s capability and your contract clauses. There is a slight downgrade in the speed you will experience when accessing the internet via a tethered mobile phone connection. It can also be very easy to speed through a mobile data allowance so if you have a monthly cap, you’ll need to monitor this closely.
PROS: Very simple if your phone supports tethering and good for when travelling for short periods of time, over a weekend or a bank holiday break.
CONS: Can work out more expensive when you have a mobile data cap and some contracts don’t allow tethering without an additional fee.
MiFi Internet Device
If your contract or phone doesn’t support tethering and the park WiFi doesn’t offer you the connection speed or quality you need, consider a MiFi internet device. Working the same way to a mobile phone contract, you can choose between monthly or Pay-As-You-Go depending on your frequency of travel. There are multiple MiFi devices to choose from with different features depending on your needs;
Long battery life
Support for 10-plus connections
Provides a WiFi connection
MiFi devices, like mobile phones, are often locked to a certain network provider. If you want full flexibility on the provider you use or you are travelling into different rural areas where a certain provider offers better connection than another; consider investing in an unlocked MiFi device that can be used with different networks. If you are planning on travelling across Europe, you can pick up a MiFi device that supports connections outside the UK.
PROS: You set your budget for data and can shop around for the best data SIM deal. Support for connecting all the family devices you will ever need while travelling including mobiles, tablets and computers.
CONS: Another contract to manage if you choose to go for a data SIM contract over 12 or 24 months. Some providers offer better connection than others in certain rural areas.
If access to a quality connection is a necessity, satellite internet connections may be your best option when looking at how to get WiFi internet in your caravan. Satellite connections are handled via a large satellite dish that must be accurately positioned with a clear line of sight to the sky (no trees or walls blocking the way). The kits can be expensive to purchase and the cost of ongoing data is likely to cost more than a tethered, 4G/5G or dongle connection. It can also take some time to set up as the dish needs to be moved in minor increments until a signal is found and then firmly fixed in place using pegs and a weighted tripod.
PROS: The best connection available, as long as you have a clear line of sight to the sky. The most reliable connection to the internet in rural areas where mobile signals are typically weaker.
CONS: The most expensive type of internet connection for a caravan, expect to pay between £1000 - £3500 for the satellite set-up and then a further £15 - £60 a month for data.
Getting Connected In Your Caravan
We live in the world of connectivity and sometimes it’s not possible to go off-grid for a few days. If you are looking at the best method of how to get WiFi in a caravan, we have provided a table summary of the information above for your convenience.
WiFi Signal Booster
Improves connections already available
No further contract cost
Won’t improve an oversubscribed connection
4G/5G Mobile Internet
Quick and easy to set-up
Choose your plan according to your budget
Needs investigation to find the best provider for the area your caravan is located
No additional devices or contracts required
Can quickly use all available data on a contract
Some network providers don’t allow free tethering
MiFi Internet Device
Complete control over your budget and contract
Support for multiple connected devices
Requires an additional contract and device cost
Need to find the best provider for your area
The most reliable internet connection for rural areas
Very expensive for set-up and ongoing data costs
We hope our static caravan internet and WiFi guide has provided the detail you need to make an informed choice. If you are considering your own holiday caravan, we hope this guide has been helpful in answering your questions about internet connectivity and ensuring you can remain connected, even when you’ve gone rural.
Allens Caravans are leading providers of the UK’s most luxurious holiday caravans, whether you want somewhere cosy and peaceful for a couple or a family-friendly base of operations.
View our brochures for more information or read more about our holiday parks. We manage eight gorgeous holiday parks - each boasting free WiFi for visitors and guests - and all located in stunning areas of the UK.