That last bit can be a bit tricky — a laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi antenna is relatively small and campsites can be large, which can mean that only a select group of pitches get a strong enough signal for surfing. So, if you’ve had to sit on the steps of the toilet block with your laptop just to check your email before now, then Solwise may just have the answer.
It’s called the NET-WL-USB-ROCKET-B/G (er, we’ll stick with ‘Rocket’, if it’s all the same to you, Solwise…) and it consists of an external Wi-Fi antenna that mounts to the outside of your van and a USB Wi-Fi adapter that plugs into your laptop.
An external antenna mounted high on the van is much more likely to latch onto a weak Wi-Fi signal than a laptop’s puny built-in one and, with a line-of-sight range of 500m, the Rocket should make picking a pitch much less of a chore. A mounting bracket is included, but an optional suction cup kit makes for more flexible fixing. A 3m cable is also supplied and you can buy a 5m extension lead if that isn’t enough to stretch from one end of your van to the other.
The Rocket’s antenna connects to the supplied Wi-Fi adapter that plugs into your laptop’s USB port and supplants its built-in Wi-Fi. The adapter supports 802.11b/g Wi-Fi networks and you can just unplug it when you’re back at home or in range of a strong signal.
At just under £20, the Solwise Rocket looks like a solid option for caravan and motorhome owners who want a more solid Wi-Fi connection — and on-site Wi-Fi is a much cheaper option than using a 3G modem when you’re abroad, of course.