With a wireless access point you pay for or free WiFi, you will be able to connect to internet while traveling.
A wifi hotspot refers to a very limited area (a radius of 300 feet) where someone within this area using a computer equipped with a 802.11b/n WiFi card, will be able to connect to internet through a wireless fidelity signal technology.
Note that most modern laptops nowadays have that technology allowing wireless internet for laptop. Also, an older desk computer or laptop model can be easily updated adding an inexpensive adapter device or WiFi card if needed.
This means that in finding a WiFi hotspot, you discovered a public or private enterprise which is connected to internet with the extra benefit of a WiFi receiver. Your computer with the help of the WiFi card is then connecting to that WiFi receiver which will allow the internet provider to connect you as well as other users.
This two way radio signal facilitates many people to be connected at the same time if they are within the wifi hotspot signal.
A WiFi network identification name (SSID: Service Set Identification Name) and a password may be required by the provider to establish the connection.
The actual speed of the connection depends on the connection speed between your computer and the WiFi receiver and between the WiFi receiver and the internet provider.
Let's have a look at PROS and CONS of this technology.
Many more campgrounds and other locations nowadays have a wireless access point with a WiFi network installed.
There are some online directories frequently updated which offer a searchable database of all WiFi hotspot locations around the world, such as :
Many coffee shops (ex. Starbucks), hotels, public libraries ( Public Libraries in USA ), State parks etc... have a free WiFi connection available.
You may need to ask for the SSID, password and the extent of the coverage area. Sometimes, only parking on the street and checking for a WiFi signal, you may discover a free connection without a need for a password.
Many campgrounds offer WiFi for free. However, it is not guaranteed that you will get the signal. Like mentioned above, you have to make a reservation of a site close enough to the receiver to get a proper signal.
Some other coffee shops, the airports, the truck stops and many other public places will offer a WiFi hotspot connection for a per-hour or daily rate ($3 to $7). It may be sometimes overpriced.
You can usually pay using a credit card, a Paypal account or some other services.
Check before going to a campground if the connection to the wireless access point is already included in the price or there is an extra charge.
If there is a charge, check if arrangements for more than per hour or daily rates but weekly, monthly or even seasonal rates are possible.
If you plan to use a wireless access point as your primary RV internet connection, you may consider the option to pay a reasonable monthly fee to a national WiFi provider which will facilitate the access to many locations which will normally be accessed independently with individual payments.
Boingo wireless is claiming to have the largest world's network. Use their Boingo search page to check the 'hotspots' along your RVing itinerary.
An excellent idea to increase the WiFi signal strength is the installation of a simple and effective booster and a 2.4 GHz external omni-directional wifi antenna that you install on the roof of your RV.
You can then pick up the signal from the wireless access point from any direction.
The big advantage of wifi antennas is that you may simply want to park close to a WiFi hotspot and get a connection staying in the comfort of your RV sitting at your desk without moving anything.
I should also mention that instead of using wireless internet for laptop or desktop computer, you may consider a smart phone instead.
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