Why is cell service so bad in your RV?

There are a few things they don’t tell you when you first get into RVing. Some of those things are good, like learning how much fun it is to meet new people in new places. On the other hand, no one tells you that cell service in your boat can really stink. Far worse than you’d think, actually. Understanding why means understanding a little bit about cell service, and a lot about what your RV’s made of.

The thing about cell service

Cell phone service is similar to other radio transmissions. It’s a digital broadcast similar to TV, and most cell phone signals are in the range that television used to use. Cell signals start out a lot weaker than television broadcasts. TV signals can go out 75 miles from the broadcast tower. On the other hand, cell signals don’t go much farther than two miles in most cases. A whole network of cell towers are needed to provide good service throughout your local area.

All forms of radio signals will pass through some materials and be blocked by others. They pass through more things than visible light, but not everything. However, radio signals get weaker as they pass through most materials. The amount of weakening depends on the material.

The thing about RVs

RVs are made of a lot of different materials. There’s a metal frame, the fiberglass shell, and glass or acrylic windows. Fiberglass doesn’t block signals as well as metal does, and that would make you think that RVs would have better cell signal inside than cars. Often times that’s not true.

RVs have a lot of wiring in them, plus a lot of plumbing. Those things can block signals very effectively. Believe it or not, the biggest culprit can be the cabinetry in your RV. Dense hardwoods block signals very well, and so do dark stains. Heavy varnish also blocks signals surprisingly well.

In the end, it’s the sheer amount of stuff between you and the outside world that ends up blocking cell signals so effectively. It’s like the worst of building a home with the worst of building a car.

What can you do about bad cell service in your RV?

Bad cell service in your RV means mapping apps stop working, your passengers can’t text or post on social, and no one can stream video even when you’re parked. Just because you get away from home doesn’t mean anyone wants to be disconnected from the world. It’s not the 1970s, after all.

The solution is simple: get a cell phone signal booster for your RV. Cell phone signal boosters are a great investment. Costing less than one cell phone, they boost signal for all the devices in your RV. They install easily and blanket the entire RV with great signal as long as there’s even one bar of signal outside.

There’s an added benefit to cell boosters as well, that most people don’t talk about. Cell carriers work hard to keep enough towers in play for the number of cars on the road. But I hardly need to tell you that traffic increases every year. When that happens, it’s like a game of musical chairs. Most people get good service, but the last vehicle to try to connect to a tower loses.

Using a cell phone signal booster means putting an antenna on the roof of your RV, higher up than most other vehicles ever get. It also means a stronger signal going from the vehicle to the tower. That means you’re usually the first to connect to a distant cell tower. You won’t lose connection when there are a lot of cars on the road. That can mean the difference between your kids happily streaming and them whining how you’re not there yet. Which would you rather have?

Get the answers you need from Solid Signal

Solid Signal has the best selection of cell phone signal boosters for home, vehicles, and offices. But, there are a lot of choices when you browse. Not sure what to buy? You can get all your questions answered by calling us. The number is 888-233-7563 and we are here for you during East Coast business hours. You don’t have to live with bad cell service in your RV. Solid Signal can help!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.