Caravan internet guide – access via satellite
Look to the skies for another great way of getting online with ease, and it's more reliable than your sat-nav too!
Also read: More caravanning advice Buyer's Guide Using your phone network
The one sure way of getting the internet wherever you are (trees and buildings permitting) is to go for a satellite link. We're talking here about a two-way link that transmits to the satellite as well as receives from it.
You'll need a big dish (about 80cm) equipped with a special two-way LNB. It's not the sort of kit you could sensibly install on the roof of a caravan but you can get a tripod-mounted system for use on the ground.
The dish must have line of sight to the satellite and alignment is critical. This means using a heavy-duty tripod, preferably with a ground anchor, to steady the dish. You'll also need a satellite modem, commonly referred to as a satmodem, to process the signals. Prices for the complete kit start at about £800.
An entry-level contract with a provider such as Satellite Internet (formerly BeyonDSL) will cost about £16 per month. For this you get a download speed of up to 4Mbps with a monthly data allowance of 3GB. Coverage includes most of Europe.
1. Before buying a dish, consider possible future destinations to ensure you buy the correct size for your holidaying needs.
2. Assemble the dish at home first to avoid any “How much longer?” barracking.
3. Line of sight is everything. You can't receive signals through trees or a high wall.
4. On set-up, move the dish slowly to get a signal. Now is not the time for speed.
5. Peg the tripod to the ground and tighten everything up when you've found the satellite. Having 'No Signal' flash onto the screen when you're settled isn't funny.