06 December 2017

Get Affordable Internet in your Tiny House



How do I get internet in my mobile tiny house? Most tiny houses are designed to be mobile and quite often located a distance from house services. So plugging your house into a high speed fibre connection is going to be unlikely. If your tiny house to close to a WiFi signal from say a house you might be able to tap into this signal. Most likely this will not be the case so another solution is needed.



Rural wireless broadband or rural broadband initiative (RBI) has been running in New Zealand for a few years now and suits the tiny house living well. This solution can be suited to more permanent situations and highly mobile also. Instead of using fixed phone or fibre lines to access the network, wireless broadband uses radio waves from the existing cellular network. A pretty standard looking modem is used to receive 3G/4G signals with a sim card in its belly. This network is currently getting updated and expanded as the government is supporting this technology to get good connections to rural NZ.

Typical RBI modem or router

Sound good? The first thing to do is check you can get this service at your location. Enter your address at any providers website. This service works best when you are located closer to cell phone towers which is depicted on the providers maps somewhat. It pays to check different providers maps to compare. If you are behind a hill or your modem is in a concrete box you may need an extra antenna which is connected to your modem and attached at height to increase signal strength. Speak with providers before committing to ensure signal strength is going to be reasonable.

Our Experience


We have been running wireless broadband from Wireless Nation for 2 years. We are lucky to be within sight of two cell phone towers so don't need an antenna. We tried placing the modem in different locations with only one device on the network and running an internet speed test. Results did vary so its worth finding the faster spots if you have options. We have around 6 devices on the network and stream videos pretty hard and speed is not an issue. Doing a speed test at 9:30pm while streaming music and all devices on the network we get the following speeds using speedtest:



Broadband compare says we should be getting 36 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up which we are, wow! Over the 2 years we have had drop outs which seems to happen with poor weather visibility. Worst case it was out for hours, but sometimes just a few minutes and a modem reset sometimes helped. The dropping has decreased over this period and is now pretty rare now which I guess is down provider system upgrades.

Our two year contract with Wireless Nation has ended its time to check the market. As with most decisions there are pros and cons with different providers and plans. We are looking at whats called naked plans which means there is no phone connection but internet connection only. broadbandcompare is a good place to start by entering your address which brings up a list of available providers. This provides a good summary of information regarding each plan that you can compare. For us high speed is a priority and only three provides support higher speed. We summarise these three in the table below.

Compare Internet Service providers  - check as this information changers regularly, edited 6/12/17



A important point to note is Spark and Vodafone locks you to an address that means you are unable to move around. Wireless Nation and Skinny lets you move around freely which could be a deal breaker if you are mobile. As we have been good customers with Wireless Nation for a couple of years they have come to the party with a good package for us. Their customer service is excellent and reliability seems to be improving as mentioned above so we are very happy to be customers. As with anything it pays to shop around and do the research.

Hope this helps to get internet in your tiny house or anywhere for that matter. Let us know what you think and your experiences in the comments below.



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