RVs make for amazing vacations, whether you’re looking to camp out in nature or just avoid paying for hotel rooms. The only thing that can make it more awesome is staying connected while you’re gone.
And if you’re living the RV life and using your camper as a permanent residence, it’s even more important to get an easy and reliable internet connection that’s available across the country. Satellite internet makes that possible.
Satellite internet for RVs: the basics
- Viasat and HughesNet are the two best satellite providers for RV owners.
- Viasat is the fastest satellite internet service and has no data caps.
- HughesNet offers a better budget plan if you want cheap satellite internet.
- Both Viasat and HughesNet are available nationwide.
- Viasat and HughesNet both come with satellite Wi-Fi capability, so you can set up a Wi-Fi network in your RV.
- Speed, data caps, and price should all factor into your decision.
- Satellite internet is usually more expensive than cable or fiber.
Satellite internet brands to consider for RVs
There are two major satellite internet brands in the US: HughesNet and Viasat. The two brands are fairly different in terms of speeds offered and package details, so it’s worth breaking down the pros and cons of each.
- Price: $59.99–$149.99/mo.
- Speed: 25 Mbps
- Data cap: 10 GB–50 GB
- Price: $50.00–$150.00/mo.
- Speed: 12–100 Mbps
- Data cap: Unlimited*
*Data thresholds apply.
Data as of 6/10/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Top RV internet brands
Viasat is generally the better service of the two. It offers speeds up to 100 Mbps, which is pretty impressive for satellite. That speed will give you plenty of bandwidth for streaming HD videos or for gaming in your RV. Viasat also offers a wide variety of plans to suit different needs, from more budget-oriented packages to plans with all the bells and whistles.
Check out our full review of Viasat satellite internet.
HughesNet packages are more streamlined. Each plan offers the same speed: 25 Mbps. The plans differ in their data caps, which range from 10 GB to 50 GB. Once you reach the cap, your speed reduces until the next billing period. Don’t let this discourage you: if you’re only in your RV occasionally, you probably won’t run into this issue.
HughesNet shines in the value-for-your-money department. Although Viasat technically offers a cheaper plan, the speeds are less than half of what you’d get with the base HughesNet package. For that reason, we recommend HughesNet for RV owners on a budget.
Check out our full review of HughesNet satellite internet.
If you’re on a budget, HughesNet will get you more bang for your buck. If you want faster speeds or more data, go with Viasat.
Features to consider for RV internet
Choosing a satellite internet provider for your RV is just like choosing any other type of internet: you need to consider speed, data caps, and prices to find the best fit for you. Since satellite internet is available nationwide, there’s no need to worry whether or not you’ll have coverage where you’re going.
If you’re logging in from an RV park or the road, you probably have better things to do than sit and watch your web pages load. Satellite internet has been known to be slow in the past, but fortunately now both Viasat and HughesNet offer decent speeds of up to 100 Mbps and 25 Mbps respectively.
How much speed do you actually need? That depends on what you want to do with your connection. If you’re just looking for a way to get online and maybe watch the occasional episode of Superstore on Hulu, HughesNet’s 25 Mbps should be plenty.
But if you want to stream in HD or connect multiple devices at once (say, on a camping trip with friends), you may want to spring for one of the higher-bandwidth Viasat plans.
Since streaming video tends to be the biggest drain on a connection, you can use your streaming habits as a benchmark for what speed to spring for.
Unless you’re streaming in 4K or with multiple devices at once, 25 Mbps should be fast enough for most needs.
What good is a blazing fast connection if you can’t use it to its full potential? Viasat gets this. All of its plans come with unlimited data, so you can stream to your heart’s content. The plans do have data thresholds, and speeds may slow if you exceed them. But the thresholds range from 35 GB to 150 GB, which is still higher than HughesNet’s caps.
HughesNet packages have caps starting at 10 GB and increasing by 10 GB with each service tier up to 50 GB. When you hit that cap, there aren’t any extra charges. Instead, your speed is just slowed substantially. Whether this is better or worse than paying an overage fee for more full-speed data depends on your taste—regardless, the slowed speeds are slow.
A higher data cap (or none at all) might seem better, but if you’re not in your RV very much or don’t use the internet a ton when you are, it may be a waste of money. Think through your usage habits before committing to an expensive plan.
Finally, consider your budget when selecting a provider and plan. And don’t just look at the maximum you’re willing to pay—take time to figure out how much speed and data you actually need so you don’t end up paying for service that you won’t use. Keep in mind that satellite internet tends to be more expensive than equivalent cable or fiber services. It is coming from space after all.
Both HughesNet and Viasat offer similar price ranges, starting at about $50 per month. While Viasat offers a lower starting price, HughesNet gives you significantly more speed for your money at the lower end of the pricing spectrum—12 Mbps with Viasat for $50 per month compared to 25 Mbps with HughesNet.
Viasat pulls ahead in the bigger plans by offering speeds up to 100 Mbps, but with HughesNet you only get an increased data allowance—your speed stays the same. This is why we recommend Viasat for RVers who are willing to spend the extra money for better service.
† Data as of 6/10/19. Offers are subject to change.
Connect while you disconnect
Whether you choose Viasat for the speed or HughesNet for the value, you’ll be getting a great internet service that follows you around the country, letting you stay connected even while you disconnect. Now park that RV, fire up Netflix, and enjoy!
Edited by Cara Haynes