WIFI or MYFI as it’s called

 

Like most people both Tracey and I use the internet for a number of reasons, we have all become accustomed to the convenience of looking up a location, finding a bargain and booking a holiday as well as sending the odd email, that seems to have replaced the letter as the preferred method of communication. In recent years this has grown to include media streaming of both films, television programmes and music.

At home this is taken care of by the internet and WIFI it offers but what about in the Motorhome, you can use your mobile  phone but this can be expensive and not all networks allow tethering. I wanted to replicate what I had at home, a reliable internet connection with the ability to stream media as and when we so wished.

It became clear that we needed an independent router with its own data network signal, if we could find one unlocked then we also had access to multiple networks both here and abroad. Now I am no expert but I find the internet to be a fantastic source of information both good and bad, so here is where I put on the anorak and start my research project. I realised there are a mass of options but what would suit my needs? I initially bought a small Vodaphone MYFI device from Argos for about £30.00, I perched it in one of the roof skylights and was pleased to be able to download emails and surf the net but to be fair this was also possible with my phone and was not suitable for media streaming, so I looked again to see what else there was on offer.

I had seen the products offered by Motorhome WIFI and when at the Peterbourgh show spoke to Adam who is very, very helpful, he explained the options he could provide and what would be suitable for what we wanted to do however as this was a significant investment I decided to think on it overnight.

Next day I took the plunge and bought the Kit #3 with a roof mounted 4G antenna and an unlocked 4G Huawei B315 Router, the kit comes complete with both mains and a stabilized 12v power supply along with a sim card to get you up and running.

I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it was to register my lap top and both of our phones to the router but the real test would be when we were home and I tried to connect the NOW TV box we intended to use to keep up with the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

 

4G Antenna

4G Antenna

Underside of the roof mounted 4G antenna

Underside of the roof mounted 4G antenna

 

I bought a new NOW TV box from Tesco, on offer, for £12.50 that gave me a three month entertainment pass, all I had to do now was plug it in and set it up. Well here is where I expected it to go downhill quickly but to my utter amazement within five minutes we were watching the latest in box sets, it took all of five minutes because I had to try and remember what my password was, I must learn to write these things down!

Now any of you who have one of these NOW TV units will know it works from a mains power adaptor plugged into the back of the unit so if I wanted to run this from a 12v supply, for those off hook up trips, I needed a 12v to something else adaptor. Out came the magnifying glass and was surprised to see the NOW TV unit required 5.99v, why I asked? and where do I find one?

Now TV box and voltage regulator

Now TV box and voltage regulator

Amazon again, yes Google and Amazon are two of my best friends, some £8.00 and two days later I was fitting and adjusting the newly arrived power supply, it worked first time with the aid of a multi-meter and a small screwdriver for the adjustment screw.

So to recap I invested £315.00 in the MYFI kit, £12.50 in the NOW TV box and £8.00 in the power supply, a little time and some cable ties.

 

Voltage regulator

Voltage regulator

The result, ten days holiday in the highlands of Scotland with no phone signal but not one episode of Game of Thrones or Pointless missed, all courtesy of an ever present 3G signal, we have not yet been unable to stream media, a 3G or 4G signal has always been present. Just to be fair we have the ability to watch television via satellite and digital tv but NOW TV does need the internet so unless you are on a campsite with a good bandwidth you are going to miss crucial episodes!

This set up allows us the freedom to choose what we watch and listen to just as if we were at home, exactly what I was trying to achieve, and if we are abroad the unlocked router can use any sim card and provide a usable internet connection at local rates.

Avtex TV with Now TV box, all 12v.

To date we have two IPhones, one windows laptop my MacBook Pro, 1 Now TV box, 1 kindle  and the capacity for four more devices, a very family friendly set up!

A quick update, Now TV has a new smart box on offer and I understand this operates at 12v dc, it also offers Freeview as well as the usual Now TV offerings.

Likes and dislikes:

Likes:

Very simple to operate.

Neat installation.

Relatively cheap to run, EE 6GB 90 days data SIM from Amazon £16.28. I have since purchased a data contract with 3 that gives 12gb data on a rolling monthly basis all for £12.00 a month, this was an offer at the time but it pays to shop about. We are usually away three weeks a month and I have yet to exceed the data limit watching at least one film over a weekend along with the various e mail and blog updates.

Superb service and support from Motorhome WIFI

You can also use Skype with this unit as well

Dislikes:

Drilling 25mm hole in van roof for the 4G antenna.

Being up a ladder to do above.