Internet for Truckers

How to stay connected when you’re on the road

  • Best phone plan
    Visible
    • $25.00-$40.00/mo.
    • Unlimited data
    • No contracts
    • Wide coverage
  • Best 4G internet
    UbiFi
    • $129.99/mo.*
    • Wide availability
    • Portability
  • Best hotspot data plan
    t-mobile company logo
    T-Mobile 2GB
    • $10.00/mo.
    • 5G and 4G LTE networks
    • 2 GB data cap
    • Unlimited data for an additional $20
  • Best mobile hotspot
    T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000
    • $336.00
    • 5G Connection
    • Wi-Fi 6
    • Support for up to 30 Wi-Fi Enabled Devices
  • Best Wi-Fi antenna
    Winegard ConnecT 4G1xT (WF-200T) 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Extender for Trucks
    Winegard ConnecT 4G1xT (WF-200T) 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Extender for Trucks
    • $468.97
    • Detachable high-gain antennas
    • Built-in firewall

Truckers have been connecting with each other since the early days of CB radio. And wireless internet makes it easier than ever to stay connected, not just to other truckers, but also to weather, news, traffic, and friends and family back home.

Connecting to the internet from a moving vehicle presents unique challenges. So here are our recommendations for the best ways to stay connected while on the road.

Best products for internet on the road

ProductPriceFeaturesGet it
Best phone planVisible$25.00–$40.00/mo.
  • Unlimited data
  • No contracts
View Plans
Best 4GUbiFi$129.99/mo.*
  • Wide availability
  • Portability
View Plans
Best hotspot data planT-Mobile 2GB$10.00/mo.
  • 5G and 4G LTE networks
  • 2 GB data cap
View Plans
Best mobile hotspotT-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000$336.00
  • 5G Connection
  • Wi-Fii 6
View on Amazon
Best Wi-Fi antennaWinegard ConnecT 4G1xT (WF-200T) 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Extender for Trucks$468.97
  • Detachable high-gain antennas
  • Built-in firewall
View on Amazon

Best phone plan for truckers – Visible

Best phone plan

Price: $25.00-$40.00/mo.

  • Unlimited data
  • No contracts
  • Wide coverage

There are lots of ways to connect to the internet while on the road, most of which require specialized equipment and monthly data plans. If you want to stay connected without the extra hassle, you can stick to browsing the internet on your phone. If you also need to connect a laptop or other device, a quick and easy solution is using your phone as a hotspot.

Just about any modern smartphone can double as a Wi-Fi hotspot. But many phone plans strictly limit hotspot data.  For regular internet use, you want a phone plan like Visible that can handle being your primary connection to the internet.

Visible’s biggest selling point is that you get unlimited data, even when using your phone as a hotspot. That means that you can stay connected on the road without buying additional devices or data plans beyond your existing phone plan. The downside is that your data speeds are capped at 5 Mbps, so you’re not going to be streaming movies over your phone’s data connection, but it will keep you connected to the web and useful apps.

Visible uses Verizon’s nationwide network, but it requires 4G, which means it won’t work in areas that have only 3G coverage. It’s not an ideal solution for those with higher bandwidth needs, but it’s a good fit if you want access to the internet across the country.

 Pros

  • Unlimited data
  • No contracts

 Cons

  • 4G only
  • Very slow speeds

Best 4G internet for truckers – UbiFi

Best 4G internet

Price: $129.99/mo.*

  • 4G connection
  • Speed dependent on location
  • Wide availability
  • No contracts
  • Portability

Like mobile hotspots, UbiFi’s 4G internet service uses cellular signals to keep you connected wherever you are. UbiFi uses AT&T’s 4G network—one of the largest nationwide networks. The difference is that a dedicated 4G internet plan is a lot closer to 4G home internet than it is to smartphone data. And though UbiFi is portable, it’s not for use when you’re moving. You use it to create a Wi-Fi network wherever you stop.

The monthly cost for UbiFi is considerably more than an internet plan for a fixed location or a smartphone hotspot plan like Visible—but you get the best of both worlds with better portability than home internet and better connectivity than a smartphone-tethered hotspot. While this isn’t always a worthwhile trade-off, it’s well worth it for truckers who need a good connection wherever they go.

UbiFi is a bit of an investment. In addition to the monthly costs, you have to buy an LTE gateway upfront, which can cost a few hundred dollars. The equipment doesn’t come with a battery option, so it has to be plugged into an outlet.

 Pros

  • Unlimited data
  • Wide network coverage

 Cons

  • High monthly cost
  • Outlet requirement

Best mobile hotspot for truckers – T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

Best mobile hotspot
T-Mobile Inseego 5G MiFi M2000

Price: $336.00*

  • 5G connection (4G LTE backup)
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • USB-C Port
  • Support for up to 30 Wi-Fi Enabled Devices

The easiest and most reliable way to stay connected to the internet while on the road is a wireless hotspot, and the Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 is the best 5G hotspot available.

Wireless hotspots connect to cellular networks and then broadcast their own local Wi-Fi signal for your devices to connect to. Unlike a standard home 4G or 5G router, mobile hotspots aren’t tied to a specific location, which means you can connect to the internet anywhere you have cellular reception—even when you’re moving.

The M2000 exclusively uses T-Mobile’s nationwide network. Like cell phones, mobile hotspots need a SIM card and a data plan, and there’s no unlocked version of the M2000 for those who want to use a different provider. Fortunately, the T-Mobile plan that comes with the M2000 gives you 100 GB of data for $50 per month—which is one of the best deals you’ll find outside of an unlimited plan.

The Inseego 5G MiFi M2000 also boasts Wi-Fi 6, the latest Wi-Fi standard. This means that it can handle a lot of devices on its network without slowing down. You probably won’t have dozens of connected devices in the cab of your truck, but this can be a handy feature when you’re on vacation or even for home use in rural areas.

 Pros

  • 5G connection
  • Multiple device support

 Cons

  • T-Mobile exclusivity
  • Limited 5G availability

Pro tip: Mobile hotspots have a number of advantages over cell phones, though not all of them are as important when you’re on the road. Faster speeds than cell phones is great, but the ability to connect dozens of Wi-Fi devices may not be a big selling point if it’s going to live in the cab of your truck.

Best hotspot data plan for truckers – T-Mobile 2GB

Best hotspot data plan

Price: $10.00/mo.*

  • 5G and 4G LTE networks
  • 2 GB data cap
  • Unlimited data for an additional $10
  • Additional data starting at $20

Mobile hotspots require a data plan, and your choice of plan often makes a bigger difference to your connection than the hotspot itself. If you already have a device—like the Inseego 5G MiFi M2000—but are looking for a good data plan, T-Mobile’s 2GB plan is a good starting point.

At just $10 a month, this plan is about as cheap as any you’re going to find. If 2 GB isn’t enough for you, T-Mobile makes it easy to purchase additional data.

 Pros

  • Low price
  • Multiple options for additional data

 Cons

  • Plans differ between devices

Pro tip: Mobile plans usually have limits on the amount of data you can use in a given month. Most make it easy for you to purchase additional data, but it’s important to factor that cost into your budget.

Best Wi-Fi antenna for truckers—Winegard ConnecT 4G1xT (WF-200T) 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Extender for Trucks

Best Wi-Fi antenna
Winegard ConnecT 4G1xT (WF-200T) 4G LTE and Wi-Fi Extender for Trucks

Price: $468.97*

  • Detachable high-gain antennas
  • Built-in firewall
  • Included roof mount
  • Optional rear cab mount (not included)

It’s nice to take a load off and binge watch Netflix after a long day on the road, but streaming video can eat through your entire monthly data limit in a matter of hours. Fortunately, truck stops and many other locations offer public Wi-Fi networks you can use to conserve your data, and the Winegard ConnecT 4G1xT makes connecting easy and secure.

As you’ve probably noticed, it’s not always easy to connect your laptop to nearby Wi-Fi networks from inside your truck. A long-range antenna like the Winegard ConnecT 4G1xT allows you to pick up weak or distant wireless signals. This antenna can be mounted to the outside of your truck, and a second antenna inside the cab rebroadcasts a strong signal to all of your devices.

Although this kind of antenna is primarily designed to keep you connected to stationary wireless networks when you’re at a stop, the Winegard ConnecT 4G1xT also doubles as a hotspot with the addition of a data plan. The SIM card is swappable (though it doesn’t currently support T-Mobile). This makes it a versatile option for those who need a lot out of their internet connection.

 Pros

  • Long range
  • Secure connection

 Cons

  • Expensive add-ons
  • No T-Mobile support

Pro tip: Although these long range antennas are often labeled as Wi-Fi Extenders, don’t confuse them with long-range routers or Wi-Fi extenders meant to extend the range of a home Wi-Fi network. Be sure to look for an antenna that picks up signals from far away and not one that broadcasts its own signal farther.

Satellite internet for truckers

If you often find yourself in areas with poor cellular service, a direct satellite connection can often provide more consistent internet than a 4G wireless plan.

Satellite internet is provided through a partnership between trucking companies and satellite internet providers like Viasat and HughesNet. Satellite internet is available in even the most remote areas in the US, though it requires specialized equipment to maintain a connection on a moving vehicle.

Low-Earth orbit satellite internet

Low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations like Starlink are shaking up the world of wireless internet, potentially making it possible to have high-speed satellite connections that surpass many wired connections like DSL.

These connections currently require a fixed satellite dish in order to use these satellites, but SpaceX, which operates Starlink, has applied for regulatory permission to create broadband equipment for ships, planes, and trucks.1 The FCC updated their rules on mobile satellite stations in July of 2021, so we might be seeing ultrafast internet on trucks in the near future.2

Internet for truckers FAQ

Can truckers get internet?

Yes, truckers can get wireless internet using a smartphone, mobile hotspot, or through a direct satellite connection.

Can you get Wi-Fi in a semi truck?

Truck stops often have a Wi-Fi network that truckers can connect to in their down time. Truckers can also create their own Wi-Fi networks using a mobile hotspot or cell phone.

Sources

  1. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, “SpaceX Plans Starlink Broadband for Trucks, Ships, and Planes,” March 8, 2021. Accessed January 10, 2022.
  2. Federal Communications Commission, Federal Register, “Earth Stations in Motion,” July 24, 2021. Accessed January 10, 2022.

Disclaimer

Author -

Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for HighSpeedInternet.com. Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.

Editor - Rebecca Lee Armstrong

Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.