Product Review | Mobile Internet Solution from Solwise

Blimey, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! Many thanks to Solwise for once again sending over some kit, not only for review but also to help me solve a problem that has come more apparent over the last year or so - namely on-site WiFi.

You may recall that I reviewed the Solwise Mobile WiFi kit back in 2017 - and have been using that on almost every caravan trip since. I’ve often stayed on CAMC sites and happily bought their annual pass for their WiFi offering on site. Yes it had it’s restrictions but by and large it allowed me to do what I wanted - namely keeping in touch on social media and uploading photos and blog posts. If I needed to upload a video or download some TV I’d do it overnight in order to minimise the impact to other users on site.

However in the last year I have found that it has become frequently unusable. Despite getting a good signal through the WiFi aerial, photo’s were taking an age to upload and even keeping in touch on social media became problematic. I initially put this down to being in more rural locations in the summer where the signal to the site was understandably not as good as somewhere more urban. That and sites being so busy with seemingly everyone taking up caravanning. However on a visit to Crystal Palace in October - a site in which the signal has normally been very good - I finally admitted defeat - even getting a refund for my recently renewed annual subscription.

At times I was able to use my phone - activating the hotspot feature when needed - but quite often a decent signal could only be obtained outside the ‘van and once inside, at night and with the blinds down, I was effectively offline.

Getting online via a mobile signal - rather than relying on site WiFi - seemed to be the way to go - and the only option on many CL’s and CS’s. So, Solwise stepped in again and I have been using their kit over the winter break having initially tried it out at home. Here it is:


The kit comprises of the antenna or ‘Puck’ which sits outside of your unit, and the router which sits inside and distributes it’s own WiFi signal to your devices in much the same was as the original Solwise WiFi kit did. However this time it’s using a mobile signal rather than picking up any available WiFi on site.

First up, the antenna:


Various different mounting options are available: spigot, pole, magnetic, surface and wall. Spigot mount requires a hole to be drilled in your unit with the cables fed directly in. The neatest and ideal for a permanent installation. It is supplied with 2m of cable but it is is possible to purchase a 5m extension.

Next, the router:


A compact unit that houses the SIM card from your chosen network provider. Powered by the included mains adaptor (not pictured) but a 12v adaptor is also available for those going off-grid. It can be used alone with the supplied mobile antennae or connected to an external antenna as I was doing. A WiFi antenna transmits the signal and there are two ethernet ports as well. It can accommodate standard, micro and nano SIM’s thanks to the supplied adaptors.

Set Up

My first thought was to use the magnetic mount option for the puck and feed the wires in through the dinette window as I have always done, not considering that Patsy’s roof was aluminium! However the puck stayed in place just resting on the roof and was brought in whilst travelling.


The two antenna cables are plugged into the router - they’re standard SMA connectors, the SIM card was inserted and the router was switched on.

The default SSID and password of the router is printed on the underside and the first thing to do is to fire up your laptop/tablet/phone and connect to it.


Next, open a browser and log into the router using the IP address and password printed on the top.


Here you are prompted to change the default password - for obvious security reasons - and you can also change the SSID and password of the router. If you do this - and it is wise to - you will then need to search for and connect using the new SSID and password. If your SIM has already been activated you are then ready to go. Even I found the process simple enough and it’s no harder than connecting a new device to your router at home. it was very straightforward to do.


First we need to talk about networks. All claim to be marvellous, have the best coverage etc, however real world use often says otherwise. For many years I have been with 3, more recently using Smarty who piggyback 3. It’s served me well enough and I like that there is no contract and you can change plans according to expected usage. A key thing for me was being able to have an additional SIM that you can effectively turn on and off by halting recurring payments. I can load up the additional SIM prior to a trip based on exceptional usage. There are plenty of other options out there of course but I didn’t want to be paying for data when I wasn't using it.

Initial performance of the new kit at home wasn’t mind blowing. It would only match download and upload speeds obtained by my phone and to be honest I was a little disappointed. However I live in an area with a strong signal and it’s probably no surprise that a phone backed by billions of pounds of investment performed at least as well compared to a much more niche product.

My trip away in the caravan  involved three stops - on the outskirts of the city of Cambridge, in the rural Cambridgeshire Fens, and also just outside Colchester in Essex.

The kit matched the download performance of my phone in Cambridge but easily exceeded it at the other two locations - sometimes by as much as a factor of three. The site in the Fens was very rural and I’ve always struggled with a decent signal on what was my third stop - namely my Cousin’s driveway. I was able to stream content from iPlayer, ITV Hub, YouTube and Amazon without any buffering. The contrast was more stark at night when the signal always seems to degrade, particularly once the blinds in the ‘van are closed. The key thing here is that the receiving bit is outside and the signal is not hampered by the walls of your unit, whatever they may be made of. Whilst a phone may employ all sorts of tech to boost the signal, sometimes simple physics and location gets in the way.


It ain’t cheap - you are looking at 60 quid for the antenna and 140 quid for the router. There is the option of using the router on it’s own with it’s supplied antennae, but for me - as with the WiFi kit - its having the antennae outside your unit that makes the difference. The more rural the site and/or the weaker the mobile signal and this will come into it’s own even more. As someone who is looking to spend more time on CL’s this year - not least because of cost - I feel sure this kit will prove it’s worth even more. I will be looking to install it permanently, saving yet more time when setting up on site and possibly even carrying an additional SIM card to swap with the Smarty one when if and when the need arises. I just need to take the plunge and utilise the Black & Decker and a tube of sealant!

Products supplied by Solwise, 17 Priory Tec Park, Saxon Way, Hessle, HU13 9PB, 01462 672872.

The puck:

The router: