Anyone who's been in the planning stage of a big lap is likely to have spent a lot of time sifting through mountains of information (and misinformation) about what's the best way to get reliable internet access for a caravan.
If you want to get really confused, then I dare you to type the word 'internet' or 'wifi' in one of the many caravan and camping groups on Facebook. There, you'll find hundreds of posts giving all sorts of recommendations and advice on "The best internet setup for travelling Australia".
Of course, the well-meaning advice givers all swear by the system they're using. "Never had a problem! I take it everywhere" Helen harps on about her $45 Telstra dongle. While Bob, who declares himself to be an expert, chimes in with a bunch of over-complicated jargon about MIMO, gain and megahertz.
"Well, I'm even more confused now" says Barbara, who just wants to be able to sit down with a glass of red in her hand and watch an ep of Downton Abbey before bed every night.
You see, until recently, caravan internet choices sucked. I mean, they really sucked. And, it seems that the recent developments in the field have left some peoples heads spinning.
Nobody wants to waste money, so of course, if you can get away with spending a couple of hundred dollars, why would you spend a couple of thousand?
The answer is, because Australians' know better than anyone, that you get what you pay for. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys, right? Right.
Caravan internet is no different. You buy something cheap, be prepared to make many sacrifices about what you can do with it and where.
So what is good caravan internet advice and what isn't?
When it comes to bad advice, here are a few of the doozies we've been rolling our eyes at.
Doozie #1 - Just get a Dongle
Dongles are for cities. If you're serious about getting internet to your caravan, and you want to actually make it all the way round Australia, keep clear of this recommendation. Dongles were never meant for remote internet. They were meant for people who travel from Melbourne to Sydney via plane, not those who travel from Perth to the Pilbara via the Great Northern.
Doozie #2 - Just use your phone and hotspot at your campsite
Sure. Use your phone to make phone calls when you can. But when your phone cuts out half way down the aisle at your local Coles supermarket, how you do expect to be able to make phone calls at a free camp along the Nullarbor? Plus, using your phone as a hotspot is okay if you're just one person and you like having your phone glued to you, but move just a few metres from your phone and you've just turned your hotspot in a blackspot.
Doozie #3 - Don't bother with anything other than Telstra
Why oh why do people believe this? Contrary to popular and uneducated opinions, Telstra isn't the only provider you need to connect with if you want connectivity throughout Australia. Did you know that Optus has over 2500 of its mobile phone towers located in regional and remote areas? So, if you don't carry both Optus and Telstra SIMS, you'll simply miss out.
Doozie #4 - Just get Starlink
Its power hungry, can't be used under trees and costs 174 bucks a month to run. Also, if you haven't been following the news, its controversial maker is likely to be the match that lit the next world war. Think carefully before you put your hard earned pennies into this billionaires pockets.
Doozie #5 - Cel-Fi is the best booster.
Wrong. Cel-Fi is the only booster. Every other booster is illegal in Australia. It's also locked to one network (usually Telstra), has no Wi-Fi and can only be used within a short range, often no further than your car or caravan.
Doozie #6 - Drill a hole in the roof of your caravan and whack an omnidirectional antenna on top.
Omnidirectional antennas are kind of like a Grey Nurse Shark. They look like they've got what it takes to do the job, but when you put them to the test, they don't make a dent.
Luckily, if you ask the right people, you'll see that good advice isn't that hard to come by.
Here's some now;
Good Advice #1 - Make sure you have an Optus and a Telstra SIM with you.
Not only should you have a 4G device that can take both Optus and Telstra SIMS, but if you're travelling in a couple, you should switch your phone plans so that one of you has Telstra and one of you has Optus. Makes sense? Out There Internet is a dual SIM system, so you can carry both SIMS and get the best of both worlds.
Good Advice #2 - Get a system that gives you the furthest possible Wi-Fi range.
What's the point of having fast internet in your caravan if you're restricted to only using it in your caravan? Don't you want to be able to connect freely? Imagine how sweet it would be to take your morning zoom session sipping a cup of coffee by the river? Or by the campfire? Out There Internet comes with the worlds best Wi-Fi device, which allows you to connect hundreds of devices all at once, and 50 metres around your caravan.
Good Advice #3 - Get a system that will give you support when you're travelling.
We can't stress this point enough. Unless you're a tech guru, it's inevitable that you're going to need external support at one time or another. The last thing you want is to have to wait a week for some offshore call centre schmuck to respond to your support ticket, just to tell you to 'turn it off and on again', as if you haven't done that a hundred times already. If staying connected is important to you, then choose a product that gives you the kind of service you'd get at your grandmas house. At Out There Internet, all our support is taken care of by the business owners, so when you need help, you know you're already at the top of the ladder.