We tried Nomad Internet in our RV and came to really appreciate the fact that it is unlimited and unthrottled data.
We tested Nomad Internet last summer and came away impressed by the service.
The company has specialized in providing reliable, high-speed cellular Internet service to rural areas all across America.
Our experience was it was reliable and it truly high speed.
The company has been expanding rapidly over the past year or so, going after the RV market.
For RVers who sign up for their service, they send a Nighthawk router/modem/slash Internet hotspot, and provide unlimited and unthrottled 4G LTE Internet access to RVers.
Those two words are what impressed us the most: Unlimited and Unthrottled.
Nomad has several different membership plans, depending on how much bandwidth you need. and what network you are on, either the Sprint/T-Mobile cellular network or the AT&T network. Verizon and the others are apparently not available at the present time through Nomad.
The unit we tried out was on the AT&T cellular network.
Verizon (and other carriers) Dirty Little Secret about “unlimited Internet”
Let me start by saying our favorite network is Verizon and that we have been using it as our primary cellular carrier in the RV for years.
We use a Winegard ConnecT 2.0 Wi-Fi extender and a 4G LTE cellular antenna mounted on the roof of our RV. It was installed by the manufacturer of our RV and I have a Verizon SIM card in it for our Internet connection.
But there's an annoying little catch, that isn't really so little.
While the Verizon plan we are on says we get unlimited data, they do throttle (slow) my speeds when I exceed 15 GB every month.
All of the carriers do this, though their cap limits may vary and change.
Data is unlimited but if you read the fine print, you’ll see “high speed” data is capped. In other words, after you reach a limit, the high speed may not be so high speed.
That data for me can be gobbled up pretty fast. My video, audio, and photo posting uploading and downloading needs, coupled with data-intensive livestreaming like we do every Sunday night on our YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel, has to be carefully planned around that cap and the speed throttling that happens when I reach it.
It can be a real pain sometimes when we are on extended trips.
Technically, Verizon (and other carriers) can get away saying unlimited because if you exceed the cap, you won’t pay overages, and you’ll still have access, but your data will slow to a crawl if you go over your limit.
The bottom line for me is that with Verizon, as great as their network is – I still think it has the best nationwide coverage – I don’t have truly unlimited high-speed Internet, at least unlimited high speed for my needs.
Nomad Internet offers unlimited Internet, with no throttling
Nomad Internet is specifically designed to provide unlimited high-speed cellular Internet via Wi-Fi for EVERY connected device in your RV including laptops, smart TVs, gaming consoles, and other Wi-Fi connected devices like your smartwatches.
By unlimited they mean there is no cap, though I suppose if you played online video games 20 hours a day or used BitTorrent to distribute data and electronic files all day and night you would be considered a problem user and either be kicked off or throttled.
But watching a couple of online movies a day, live streaming a couple of times a week, and uploading my YouTube Videos and my Podcasts is not a problem, says Nomad Internet, and I should have no worries.
The plan I tried is called the Very Blue plan, named I supposed for the blue that seems to be AT&T’s color. It cost $129 a month when we got our trial unit in early August, 2020.
But on Sept 1, 2020 the company raised that rate $50 a month to $179.
That’s for accessing the AT&T Network and unlimited bandwidth with no throttling. You can upload and download all day long, steam Netflix, do live streams, whatever.
And as noted, in my tests, I used it to do very bandwidth-heavy video livestreaming, which demands high speed and stable connection to transmit audio and video.
At $129 a month we thought it expensive but acceptable. The new $179 a month fee, though, may be a bit high for occasional RVers. Fulltimers and those who use a lot of bandwidth as remote workers may be just fine with the cost.
Nomad Internet uses the Nighthawk Router
Now to use the service, you also need the Nighthawk Modem. You pay a one-time fee of $349 for it.
But you DO NOT own it with Nomad, even though you can buy the unit for the exact price on Amazon.
That's something we didn't like.
Nomad essentially “rents” you the Nighthawk for that amount. When you end your service, the fine print says you have to return the Nighthawk.
The one-time Nighthawk “rental” fee covers the entire period of your subscription to their service.
Let me be clear about this: The service is what they advertise. Unlimited and unthrottled. And the Nighthawk is a solid and reliable piece of equipment.
But not to own the Nighthawk after paying Nomad a fee for what would be full retail if you bought it elsewhere seems a bit much to me. Nomad expects you to return it when you end the service.
Again, we did find their service to be reliable, as it should be at that cost.
If you do have a sticks and bricks house, you could conceivably cut that service and use your Nomad service and the Nighthawk router.
You’d take it in the RV when you travel and bring it into your house when you are home.
My biggest concern: Arbitrary carrier changes
There's one more caveat I want to pass along. And it's not aimed particularly at Nomad.
Nomad is a reseller of AT&T service.
And that could be a cause of concern for me.
Late in 2019, I had a bad experience with AT&T changing rates when I was using another reseller service called Togo.
That's the problem with buying cellular data from a reseller.
The carriers can impose changes, add restrictions and increase the rates whenever they want and the reseller has no choice but to go along or have their plans pulled out from them by the carriers
To their credit, Nomad is a month to month service – there are no long-term contracts or commitments with Nomad – you can pull out whenever you want.
But, again, according to the existing terms of the agreement, remember that if you do cancel the Nighthawk router has to be returned.
In all, I used the Nomad service for about a month in our RV and did find the service to be very fast.
I uploaded videos, photos, podcasts and streamed movies and experienced no slowdowns. The service was solid and reliably performed as advertised.
Bottom line, though, if Nomad is the way you choose to go, realize it is costly and you don't get to own the Nighthawk,
I'll admit, there are times I miss the Nomad service and the Nighthawk router. When we're on the road, it seems like towards the end of every month I'm forced to really be careful about my data usage as I approach that 15 GM cap.
Having unlimited and unthrottled data would be very nice.
Who knows, maybe I'll just have to bite the bullet when the 2021 RV travel season really gets underway and sign up for my own Nomad service.
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