I want to take a minute and touch base on the topic of the new data hot spot device we picked up and the hurdles we had to get over before we figured it all out.
For a lot of you who are far more techy than we are this may sound like a simple thing but for those of us that struggle through figuring this stuff out we are hoping this update may be of some help.
And we won’t go into all of the different data plans we have had over the years but those of you that fulltime certainly understand the challenges involved in having enough data while on the road and especially for those that like to stream movies etc. (something we had never done in our lives until just a couple months ago by the way LOL!!)
Ok, last year we switched our data plan to Verizon’s Prepaid Hotspot Data Plan (pUDP) which for $65 per month with the autopay discount gave us unlimited high speed data with no set data caps like you have with most “unlimited” plans. The only possible slowdowns we could encounter would be from what Verizon calls “Network Management” if we happen to be in a heavily congested area which at that time we could have our data slowed. *as a note we have not had any issues with this but we very seldom are in highly populated areas).
The bad news is that as of May 2019 Verizon has retired their prepaid Unlimited Jetpack plan but the good news is that if you had the plan you are now in “grandfathered” status and for now as long as you keep your plan in good status and have no lapses will be able to keep it.
Now for the issue we ran into. When we switched to the Prepaid Unlimited Plan we bought a Ellipsis Hot Spot device that was suggested to us by Verizon and right from the start we had problems with dropped signals. So many that it was not uncommon to have a signal loss 2, 3 or even 4 times in the short period of maybe an hour at times which just frustrated the hell out of me. To be honest it plain pissed me off. And there was no ports on the Ellipsis to even add an external antenna to try and better the problem. It was just a bad devise for us.
The simple fix in my mind was to just buy a new devise and be done with it but when I contacted Verizon they said that we could not buy a new device and have it activated without changing our data plan which meant we would lose our unlimited plan as we knew it and would have to deal with the dreaded data caps again. We were told that Verizon wants to ween everyone off that plan for obvious reasons.
In an effort to get around the situation I called Verizon on the phone and we visited 3 different Verizon store locations just hoping we would get a different answer if we could just find the right person but we had no such luck. Every one of them told us that if we switched devises that we would need to also change our plan.
About this time I decided to ask the question on a couple of the RV forums and see if anyone had any luck switching devices and some of the answers I got were promising and one person recommended that I check the Technomadia website and also the Internet for RVers and Cruisers Facebook page.
Let me tell you, if you have not found the Tchnomadia website or the Rvers and Cruisers Facebook page yet be sure to check them out because they are a world of knowledge wrapped up into in a bow when it comes to data stuff and when a question is asked on the Facebook page you get no nonsense answers in a very timely manner.
And the answer I got was to NOT go to Verizon to buy a new hot spot device but to buy one from a 3rd party of some sort, Amazon, Ebay or go to a bricks & mortar location like Best Buy and once you buy one simply switch the sim card from your current Hot Spot devise to the new devise and BAM, you are in business. (You just have to make sure the new device accepts the same size sim card as your old device and buy it outright with no plan attached).
Once we did this there was no issues at all. You of course have to connect your devises like computers, tablets, TV’s or whatever else you normally hook up to your hot spot and put in the new password that comes with the new hot spot but that’s it, really pretty simple even for a non-techy guy like me.
I opted for the Verizon 8800L hotspot device and at the time of this update we have had it for 2 weeks and have not had one single dropped connection so we are happy campers.
And the 8800L has two external ports so that if we ever feel the need to use an external antenna we can, something we had no way of doing with our Ellipsis. And there is so much more information available on the screen and it’s so easy to navigate that it’s night and day compared to what we have been dealing with over the last year.
There are other options obviously for hot spot devices so don’t just go by what we opted to get, in fact the 7730L was another highly tried & true recommended device and would have been our second choice but you just need to do your own due diligence in deciding which one looks and sounds good to you.
We hope this helps someone not go through the agonizing process we did.