Where's Frankie?

Internet Access, Telephone and TV

We’re using a couple of different methods to get connected to the internet using whichever is the easiest / cheapest at the time. In no particular order thy are as follows:-

iBoost Wifi Box: We have a directional wifi aerial mounted on top of the TV aerial in the roof. This allows us to rotate the aerial and direct it to the strongest signal. Inside the van is the iBoost router itself which receives the aerial signal and transmits that as a wifi signal inside the van allowing upto 5 items to log into the internet at a time. We bought ours from Adam and Sophie at www.motorhomewifi.co.uk. I did had a couple of problems setting it all up at the beginning but Adam and Sophie have been very helpful and cheerful whenever I have phoned them.
In addition to this we have bought a Fonera box which allows us to log into any of the BTFon network. I’ve since found out that the Fon box is no longer available and the boxes can not be transferred.

Huawei E5776 4G SIM Free Mobile WiFi UK: This connects through the mobile phone network and also transmits a wifi hotspot within the van. For when we are abroad we are using a Europasim (also available from Adam and Sophie). We get 500mb data allowance for €3 and that lasts until midnight of the day you start using it. Also included in the €3 is 50 text messages and 25 minutes international phone calls. When we are in the UK we are using a GiffGaff PAYG data sim card which works out at £5 for 500mb but that lasts a month. When we are in any country for longer than a couple of weeks we intend to search out the cheapest local operator data sims. Contains a rechargeable battery which seems to last ages.

Toggle Mobile: The Toggle Mobile sim card allows us to phone from 11 different countries back to the UK for 3p a minute. It also means you can phone us at the same rate as a local call and we don’t pay to receive the call. Again contact Adam and Sophie.

Tivizen TV: We have a small Tivizen box which is plugged into the TV aerial on the roof. It transmits a wifi signal to one device at a time (tablet, laptop or smartphone) and allows you to watch any local TV stations. Rechargeable battery.

7 thoughts on “Internet Access, Telephone and TV

  1. Chris Freeman

    Hi Guys. We are planning for Spain & France in April to June/July 2015. I am currently “suffering” the complexities of 3G/Wifi in van……so your tech write-up is fabulous and timely for us. My only question would be…..are you over-connected? You have covered all eventualities. The iboost may be a little expensive for us but the Huawei is what I was looking at. Also making use of a cheaper Rocket booster aerial (usb) for campsite/nearby shops & cafes. Intend to use a Three 3G data SIM in Huawei as now under their feel at home deal you can use them in France, using your UK allowance. Going to look up the Tivizen now, a new one to me. We have a free standing Sat dish but impractical on Aires.
    Looking forward to your blog and more advise.

    1. Mark Post author

      Thanks Chris, I got most of my info from the http://www.motorhomewifi.co.uk website. You could be right about me being over connected but I thought it was safer to cover all of the bases. I see wifi as being free or almost free internet access and the rocket aeriel will work just fine, I just wanted something a bit more permanent.
      The 3 offer only includes France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria as far as I can see. I guess it all depends who you are using at the moment and how comfortable you are changing.
      Don’t forget that the Tivizen will only pick up local TV stations.
      May be we’ll see you one day, our two dates are 19th October for the ferry and June for the Lemans 24 hour, nothing else is planned yet.

  2. Chris Clements

    Hi Mark and Lucy, So pleased you have finally taken the plunge. You won’t regret it even if it does seem a bit scary at first. We love our life travelling now. We have the mifi and Europa sim from Adam & Sophie although been having a few problems with it this month and wondering if they have changed it to 100mb a day now instead of 500mb without informing us as my credit had gone down really quickly and after only using it about 7 days this month I’ve had a text to say I’ve used all this months data allowance. I’ve got campsite wifi at the moment but will try and sort it out in a few days. We are in Penscola at the moment working our way down to Benidorm for 8th November when they have the Spansh fiestas and fireworks then on the Thursday the British expats all dress up for their fiesta and fireworks. Our friends told us about it and said it was fantastic. Might bump into you at some point if you are coming to Southern Spain. Enjoy – This is the life.

  3. Trish

    Thats a good idea about the booster on the status aerial and I would like to do this. How does the cable enter the van please?

    1. Mark Post author

      It wasn’t as easy as I had hoped for but not impossible. The cable runs inside the tube alongside the TV aerial cable. What I had to do was remove the TV aerial connection and pull out the cable. At the top I had to carve out some plastic so that I could thread the iboost cable through and then rethread the TV aerial cable.
      Remove the handle and plastic cap at the bottom end of the tube before threading the cables through.
      I did need some sikaflex to seal up the hole I made in the plastic (and I do need to improve the seal a bit more).
      If you need any photos email me at mark@wheresfrankie.co.uk and I’ll send a couple through.

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