Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Many of the people I talk to are concerned about traveling outside coverage zones or away from RV parks that have WIFI. Being without connection to the world is a major concern for people now and was for us when we started traveling. Our RV didn't come with a WIFI Booster or Weboost 4G-X RV so we had to decide which device we would go with. Many newer RVs come with WIFI boosters, but none come with a Weboost, which seems odd given how much more people are connected through 4G than WIFI. We thought about going with both but decided the Weboost would be a better fit for us as we were trying to be more off grid. It turns out, we were right.
Even though we stayed at many high-end places throughout the country, such as KOAs, the WIFI signal was weak or non-existent. The times the WIFI worked, the speeds were at most 5 mb/s. This is terrible for updating our console systems, streaming Netflix or Amazon Prime, and playing online games. We have unlimited data with our hot spot, so it made more sense to utilize the benefits of the Weboost. Speeds on 4G are always better than the WIFI we found, ranging from 5-60 mb/s, depending how far we were from a cell tower.
What it is & How it Works:
The Wilson Weboost 4G-X RV is a cell phone booster that amplifies the 4G signal of your device up to 32x, providing a much better signal. An omni-directional antenna is attached to one end of a trailer, while a receiver (the booster), is placed inside the opposite side of the RV providing an on-demand boost. There is a switch placed inside the RV that you flip on to activate the Weboost, which runs on 12V, which is necessary for RV or Van travel. The concept is simple, the benefits tremendous.
Tested Results & Tricks:
*Disclaimer: We use T-Mobile. Service will vary based on coverage of your carrier.
There are a few tricks to make things easier for quickly picking up the boosted signal when the system is turned on:
Turn on Airplane Mode before or after turning on the Weboost. Turning Airplane Mode off after activating the Weboost will instantly give the right signal strength
Test the boosted signal strength before and after using airplane mode to see how much the dBm decreased. Check you SIM STATUS, located in Settings – STATUS - About Phone in Android. For iPhone, you’ll have to look it up.
Be mindful of the Weboost sticking up on the top of the RV or Van. You don’t want to clip it by a tree branch hanging down. It could rip off the case or antenna.
Remember to turn the Weboost switch off when you’re not using it. It may have a low power usage, but it will drain your battery over time regardless.
If you are traveling through a lot of places (i.e. going through a lot of towers) you will need to go to your mobile networks and push search to find if you have a network available. Many times you need to manually connect to your carrier because it wasn't picked up automatically.
The receiver boost distance maxes out at around 6 to 8 feet, with signal strength decreasing substantially as you move further from the initial point.
The best way to setup a home network is to turn on Airplane Mode with a phone leaning against the receiver. Turn off Airplane Mode, followed by turning on Hot Spot once a signal is established. Leave the Hot Spot phone leaning against the receiver and have all other devices connect to this wireless router (phone hot spot). This gives the RV or Van maximal coverage and signal strength. As you can see below. This is the hot spot router option you want to go with to give all your devices solid connection.
The Weboost will take a signal strength, represented in dBm, and boost it. For example, I’m at -95 dBm in a big city, with download speeds at 47.1 mb/s and upload speeds at 26.8 mb/s. When traveling to rural areas, BLM sites, and most of the southwest dBm might be around -115 dBM or lower. The Weboost will take that signal and make it -95 dBm or -86 dBm. The data speeds may not relate to the dBm, but they will be improved.
We found the Weboost to really shine in places where the signal was at 1 bar or even zero bars. Here are some examples:
Alamogordo, NM – Staying at Oliver Lee Memorial State Park the signal was 1 bar to zero bars with 0.1 mb/s download. With the Weboost, it went to full bars and enough data to stream Netflix the week we were there. We even updated the Xbox and PS4
Villanueva State Park, NM – We were staying in a beautiful state park near Santa Fe, situated in a canyon and on a river. The place was magical, but the bars on the phone had an “X” on them, meaning zero signal. Turning on the Weboost gave us full bars and around 8 mb/s download speeds!
Sedona, AZ – Boondocking outside of town where there was no signal. The Weboost gave us full bars and high download speeds
Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground, AZ – We camped at this beautiful BLM site that’s 30 miles outside of the nearest town and the signal was barely 1 bar. With the Weboost, we had full signal and were able to stream Netflix while there.
Boondocking throughout the Southwest and around the country we found the Weboost our favorite addon to the RV.
When we stayed at Disney World’s Fort Wilderness, we thought this would be the place where WIFI would be available without a WIFI booster. This was not the case. We couldn’t get a signal. The main dining areas that did have WIFI were no better. The speeds were slow. The problem with WIFI is that too many people now use it, causing degradation of signal, unlike 4G, which has less of a bottleneck effect. Once again, the Weboost was the better option.
Here is where the company made me even more of a devout fan. While driving in Florida, the antenna cover (the white cap) flew off. The antenna was exposed. I called Wilson about getting a new one sent to us in Oregon for when we got back. Before I could say anything, they wanted to send a new housing to me immediately. They covered it free of charge. We couldn’t live without our Weboost from Florida to Oregon so I made a substitute duct tape cover to protect it from rain and so that we could still use it. It worked great.
The Weboost 4G-X RV is by far the best product anyone traveling in an RV or Van should buy. You can find it here. They provide a quality product and warranty that makes staying connected so easy. A WIFI booster is less useful when traveling then a Weboost. We’ve tested WIFI across the country and it’s mediocre at the top places. Unlike WIFI boosters, the Weboost provides a solid signal boost throughout the country. This product should be the first piece of equipment you add to an RV, Van, Car, etc. Solar and other additions are secondary. To find out more about the Weboost 4G-X RV and their other products, click here.