Sometimes getting reliable internet access on your travels might begin to seem like a dark art, as the signal bar on your smartphone dances from 4G to 3G to a variety of seemingly meaningless letters supposed to represent the signal, or lack thereof, that you have access to at your location. We’ve put this blog post together to look at the options available to remedy this problem, and how they work.
For some this loss of signal and thereby access to everyday life is a blessing, but there’s no denying that no matter where you are, or what you’re doing, working internet access can be a valuable tool.
While you may not be planning on spending much time online while you’re away, the web provides access to an unparalleled amount of information, so it’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Some great reasons to stay connected are:
Whether you’re looking for a petrol station or somewhere good to eat out, the internet is the easiest way to find local amenities. Additionally, access to ratings on Google or TripAdvisor can help you avoid a meal you might regret.
Your smartphone has a built-in GPS that works without internet access, however it’s not much use if you've not downloaded mapping for the area. Save money on local maps and use your phone to get around – though if you’re relying on this heavily, it’s advisable to carry a backup charger/powerbank with you to make sure you don’t run out of battery.
Whether you’re snapping ad-hoc shots on your smartphone on a walk, or taking a fully fledged DSLR camera out looking for beauty spots, internet access provides you with the means to share your pictures while you’re away.
This is one thing many of us don’t mind abandoning for a few days, but unfortunately the world doesn’t stop while you’re away, so for some this can remain a requirement – plus you’d miss out on the Capital Outdoors newsletter!
You don’t go away in your ‘van to watch telly, but many of us have a TV set up to make the best of days when the weather just isn’t interested in what you want to do. With the rise of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, a reliable internet connection and a streaming device can provide you with a wealth of entertainment to help pass the stormy days.
What Do I Need?
Understanding what you need to get online depends on how and when you want access. If you’re staying on sites that already offer WiFi then a booster kit can greatly improve the signal you receive, these kits use an antenna to pick up a stronger signal than you’d receive normally, then provide a hotspot to allow your devices to instead connect to the improved signal. This will work with any WiFi network you have access to, and with a clear line of sight pick up signals up to 1.5km away.
If this sounds like what you’re after, take a look at the Kuma WiFi Hotspot Booster Kit.
If you have no access to WiFi you can still get online via the 4G, 3G or 2G signals your phone normally receives. The Kuma 4G mobile internet kit consists of a pocket-sized router and an antenna that again improves the quality of an available signal – this can make a huge difference in weak signal areas. The kit is not supplied with a SIM card, which must be acquired separately – the benefit of this is that you can choose the mobile service you want to use, so if you’re not planning to use it heavily then a free pay-as-you-go SIM might be plenty.
Find out more about the Kuma 4G Pocket Internet Kit
How Do The Kits Work?
The videos below guide you through the unboxing and set up of both options, supplied by the product manufacturer, Kuma.