MIFi

Great stuff here, many thanks as I have been looking into a similar setup and never did it due to technophobia!
 
A good point about coming in handy if and when your broadband provider goes down. Our local Virgin broadband is diabolical service.
 
Great thread with excellent tech input, thanks Fil et al for taking your time to explain stuff.

Numpty q if I may.



Is there a difference between and phone and a data SIM card please?
 
Is there a difference between and phone and a data SIM card please?

Yes, a data only SIM is just that. It won't have the ability to do calls or texts (although it will work with data based messaging like What'sApp or Facebook messenger etc)

Ironically, they seem to be more expensive than normal phone SIMs but if you found one at the right price with the right allowance and the right contract for you then it might make sense to use one in your Hotspot.

That's assuming that you're not using your hotspot to send you SMS notifications / alerts of course. Mine will let me send it SMS commands too, so it needs the SMS capability of a phone SIM. The M1, for example, doesn't strictly speaking need this, but you can receive messages and read them through the app which can be useful if you're reaching a data limit or something. It didn't really ever affect me as I had an unlimited data SIM in it, but it might be useful for some.

Most phone SIMs these days will work with hotspots, but it's always worth checking with the provider. I've used Three and O2 without issue.

As I mentioned before, the choice of SIM for hotspots is a fast moving target with offers and what's included constantly changing. This gets doubly complicated once you want to use it abroad so you'll need to do a bit of research on this as what suits one person's needs might be wrong for someone else.
 
Dan Trudgian is a nice bloke and does helpful videos on lots of camping stuff.

Worth a watch…..


He has other more current videos, I bought my M1 after watching this and don’t regret it.
 
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The only other thing I've not mentioned in choosing your router is the max number of devices you can connect.

The M1 allows you to connect up to 20 devices, which is likely to be plenty good enough for most people. However, some others might not support that many so do check that before spending your money.
 
We have a tv in the van but find it a pain to get a signal sometimes and I’m told the aerial issue could be sorted with an omnidirectional aerial fitted on the roof

I'm going to ask a stupid question @Daffy - if you don't have a 4G router at the moment, how is your TV getting it's signal?

I'm just checking that your TV is capable of using WiFi to get signal because if it isn't then you'd need to factor in the cost of replacing the TV for one that will.

Alternatively, you could try an inexpensive antenna that you stick on the roof when not driving and remove before you set off. I did a bit of research on this and the DTA240 seemed to get good reviews. I've never bought one or used one so am only commenting based on what I've read, but for a tenner or so it might be worth trying first before going down the whole WiFi route?
 
I’ve just ordered a TP link M7350 4G router at €63 from Amazon based on: I’ve had many TP link dongles of various types over the years and they’ve always worked well enough. I don’t need a huge data rate 150Mbps is fine. It’s unlocked so should work with my Orange 2nd SIM at €5 a month (unlimited data). The TP link gets good reviews on Amazon and I couldn’t justify the M1 at ~€330 on Amazon.

We generally have good 4G coverage in France (and Spain and Portugal) so I’ll see how it goes without an antenna but if it needs one I’ll get a Poynting puck - I’ve no concerns about drilling another hole in the van roof!
 
I’ll see how it goes without an antenna but if it needs one I’ll get a Poynting puck

I don't think the TP Link has the option to add an external antenna. :nenau

Orange 2nd SIM for €5 with unlimited data is exceptionally good value! I still struggle with travelling to EU as I've never found a PAYG unlimited SIM you can buy in the EU and while I can add 'data roaming' to my Three SIM for £5/day, I have to go through the rigmarole of doing it each day as there's no option to pre-pay for a set period - which is frustrating.

I'll figure it out one day :D

As for the 150Mbps, that's a maximum and you're likely not to get anywhere near that. My experience in France has been relatively good (better on average than the UK) but you'll likely be looking at realistic speeds of 20-40Mbps (which is still fine) in most places.
 
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It’s an HDMI dongle to watch Amazon Prime etc on telly, it turns it into a Smart TV so you can watch YouTube etc. You need an Amazon account which might be an issue for some.

Other such dongles are available like Roku, AppleTV etc, I just use the term Firestick as a generic term for these things.


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Have been doing a little bit of looking into them since you mentioned them :thumb2

It seems most of them raise warning flags in my overly cautious IT world (as do smart TVs in general) so I'd probably opt for the Apple TV with a 12v conversion of some sort. As ever, the most expensive option :blast

I'm aware that my distrust of these things goes well beyond the norm (to the point where I use other people's loyalty cards for supermarkets and have never had one of my own!) so don't let my prejudice put anyone off :D

I do like that the Apple TV can be controlled using my phone as the remote - one less device to carry / charge / lose...
 
I'm going to ask a stupid question @Daffy - if you don't have a 4G router at the moment, how is your TV getting it's signal?

I'm just checking that your TV is capable of using WiFi to get signal because if it isn't then you'd need to factor in the cost of replacing the TV for one that will.

Alternatively, you could try an inexpensive antenna that you stick on the roof when not driving and remove before you set off. I did a bit of research on this and the DTA240 seemed to get good reviews. I've never bought one or used one so am only commenting based on what I've read, but for a tenner or so it might be worth trying first before going down the whole WiFi route?
We’ve used the exact aerial that you linked to as well as an Avtex caravan aerial but have been disappointed at the signal in rural areas, they are also no use for catch up/motogp as we tend to only watch TV if theres either something to watch or we’ve nothing better to do.

It’s a pain in the backside though as I don't want a permanent external aerial so have the wire out the window and up onto the roof.

We have a fire stick and also a HDMI adaptor that works for the iPad that both plug into the TV, all of which have been attempts to improve the situation.

Thats where I’m coming from with the Netgear M1, we can have WiFi in the van for our phones/ipad and as a side benefit it fixes the TV problem.

One more question, on the puck that you linked to, it says in red ‘IMPORTANT NOTE: This antenna does NOT support the 1400MHz cellular frequencies (Band 32), which are used by Three and Vodafone in some areas of the UK. Please check prior to purchase.‘ - is this something I should consider if I’m going for a Three SIM card?
 
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I am currently using a Huawei B535 mifi unit. I was using as a house unit but have now upgraded to a 5G for the house.
The Huawei has given in excess of 100mbs in the past with the antenna that comes with it. I have now added a Poynting MIMO antenna which has supercharged it and have had over 250mbs here in France, works well with the Firestick and TV. I found the Huawei perfomed better than the Teltonika RUT 950 router I had in real life testing in the van and only cost me £65 including the 12v adaptor.
I am currently using a Three data sim from Scancom which I think was @ £130 for monthly unlimited data for 36 months. Works out at peanuts on a monthly basis. Only works in UK though.
 
That's a good spot @Daffy :thumb2

Three and Vodaphone don't use 1400MHz exclusively, they do use a range of frequencies, although they are the only UK providers who use that specific band.

I've no personal experience of those pucks, so I'm not sure how much of a difference missing that frequency band makes in the real world.

The next bump up which includes it seems to be hitting that £80 magic figure I'd originally stated. Maybe that's why the cheaper one was cheaper.
 
Thanks for that, I shall buy the more expensive version of both router and puck. And I’ll get an extra power plug, though I think it’s a standard type, but I don’t know which one.

A really useful thread. Thanks to all who have chipped in. Appreciated. :)
 
I am currently using a Three data sim from Scancom which I think was @ £130 for monthly unlimited data for 36 months

? something there doesn't add up. I'm sure it's not £130/month.

I found the £7.00 / month Data only SIM which is exceptionally good value, as well as the version with calls and texts for only £7.50

However, these are for business use only so unfortunately not something I can make use of.
 
£130 for 36 months would be £3.61/month which would be hyper cheap.

I’d like a slice of that.
 


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