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Woman using motorhome WiFi outside

Motorhome WiFi: A guide to retrofitting your campervans

By | Campervans, Sygnal Bites, Technology | One Comment

To say transport has changed dramatically in the past decade would be an understatement. Onboard innovations like GPS, analytics, IoT and onboard WiFi (coupled with the ubiquity of the smartphone) have transformed how we explore the world.

In public transport, these innovations have been spurred on by investment from government bodies. Private hire transport operators, however, have been largely left to their own devices. One sector, in particular, has been consistently overlooked in the push for onboard technologies; the motorhome industry.

The modern motorhome industry

The touring caravan, motorhome and caravan holiday home industry contributes more than £6 billion to the UK economy every year. There are roughly 1.1 million leisure accommodation vehicles in use in the UK.

Despite this, margins in this industry can be razor-thin. Fluctuating seasonal demand and the continued popularity of overseas package holidays have been persistent challenges to the industry. As a result, most motorhome hire firms have tended to resist integrating new technologies. But that’s a huge loss for the industry and for motorhome enthusiasts. With affordable, robust and reliable motorhome WiFi, travellers can explore anywhere and stay connected at all times.

Motorhome with campervan WiFi fitted

How does motorhome WiFi work?

  • Unlike the WiFi in your home, motorhome WiFi must be powered by a data SIM. With no static broadband infrastructure, the WiFi found in road vehicles relies on sending and receiving data via signals transmitted from network towers.
  • The onboard wireless router jumps between different towers based on which has the strongest signal. The strength of a signal depends largely on how close the Server is to the tower, but other factors (such as the surrounding landscape or how many other people take their data from that tower) can also affect coverage.
  • Passengers connect to the onboard wireless router via a device with WiFi capabilities – usually a laptop, tablet or smartphone.
  • In areas with limited data coverage, vehicles can benefit from an additional aerial to increase the units reach.

Why do hire companies need WiFi?

Onboard WiFi is a valuable amenity for a range of reasons. Passengers on public transport expect WiFi as standard, but these same passengers usually have limited alternatives. In private hire transport, however, passengers have a choice about who they travel with. Free WiFi can be a deciding factor in who they choose. Likewise, travellers looking to book a campervan or motorhome will almost certainly include the presence (or lack) of onboard WiFi in their deliberations.

Not only can motorhome WiFi boost sales, but it can also seriously increase the odds of return bookings. In this connected age, travellers expect to be able to share the latest pictures, browse their socials and catch up on work, wherever they are. Campervan companies capable of providing this connectivity have a distinct advantage over their competitors.

Caravan parked on beach using motorhome WiFi

Installation

Installing WiFi in your motorhome should be as simple as adding GPS or a dashcam to your vehicle. Sygnal wireless routers are designed for non-invasive installation, meaning they can be plugged directly into the power on your campervans and moved between vehicles quickly and easily. Every router also comes with a baseplate and screws to secure the unit in place; essential for campers looking to go off the beaten track.

With a range of over 30 metres, you can place the Sygnal wireless router anywhere on your campervan. Provided the unit is secure and has space for ventilation, you’ll be able to enjoy WiFi almost anywhere.

Sygnal offers several options for powering your onboard wireless router. Of course, how you choose to power the unit depends on your vehicle setup. Cigarette lighter adapter cables allow customers to power their unit through their vehicle dashboard. For those looking for a fixed powering solution, Sygnal provides power cables to hardwire units directly into the vehicle wiring harness.

Beyond motorhome WiFi

Onboard campervan WiFi is just one aspect of the retrofitting process. For campers and hire firms alike, there is a range of technologies to further enhance the campervan experience.

Campervans with a Sygnal unit can also be fitted out with GPS, allowing motorhome rental agencies to keep track of their vehicles wherever they are. This is particularly useful for locating vehicles that fail to return at their specified drop-off time.

With access to the Sygnal portal, rental agencies can also verify that passengers are adhering to local speed limits: vital information in the event of a crash. For individual campervan owners, studying GPS routes can also provide valuable insight into the different routes they take.

Every Sygnal wireless router also comes with options for dashcam integration. For rental agencies, this can be an essential resource in the event of a road accident. The in-built G-sensor stores footage in the aftermath of an incident. This footage can be incredibly valuable for campervan hire firms and individual campers alike. With incontestible video evidence, hire firms can avoid paying out for false claims. Dashcams don’t need to capture a crash on film to be useful, however. Even their presence on vehicles can be enough to reduce insurance premiums and deter drivers from exceeding the speed limit.

Sygnal’s onboard campervan WiFi also comes with in-built storage for streaming content. With options for anywhere from 16 to 128GB of internal storage, campers can choose from the latest movies, TV and music; a handy distraction when rain cancels your outdoor plans.

Accessing new revenue channels

For motorhome rental firms, onboard WiFi also represents a unique opportunity to gain additional revenue. That’s because Sygnal onboard WiFi includes options to integrate advertising content from relevant businesses.

Advertising can be particularly relevant to campers travelling in an unfamiliar area. For advertisers, the appeal is obvious; campers seeking a local restaurant, attraction or a place to park for the night might not find their business on Google. With ads pushed direct to campers via the WiFi, however, businesses can be assured that campers know where they are. But beware; even though hosting an advert might not be seen as an endorsement, campers will invariably associate any ads coming through with the WiFi with your campervan hire company. It’s vital you consider each advertising opportunity and the risk involved as it comes.