This isn't a new topic, and plenty of folks out there cover this in much greater detail (Technomadia being the best we've found, bar none), but it's something we're asked a lot. After all, we do have to have internet for our business! Though a good bulk of our days are devoted to the renovation work itself, there are many facets of our business that are done on the laptop, and most of it is done online: marketing, social media, client contact, booking, scheduling, blogging...the list goes on.
We may be the worst people to be talking about anything technology related. In fact, talk to our eight-year-old, she just taught me how to use a function on my iPhone the other day. I didn't even know it was there. Yet we do manage, and we have a philosophy that we find translates well for our lives, on the road and off: "live with what you need and nothing more". It's the reason we don't drive a bigger truck than what we need to safely haul, why our builds are simple and straightforward and packed with function but not excess (and no TV's!), and why we have one laptop, one iPad, and two phones in our household (minus our daughter's "Daddy-phone", which she uses to communicate with my ex-husband, Brian). We practice this simple philosophy and find it serves us well. It helps us live with less and if we need to upgrade or add on, we'll know it. We start with little and then fill in the gaps.
For internet, we got a family phone plan through AT&T. Ellen and I were not on the same phone plan but both used AT&T as our carrier, and wanted to keep the phone numbers we've had since high school (which is longer than you'd think, we're no spring chickens) until we got back on the road last year. We combined our phones into one plan and then added two more lines: one for our daughter, and one for our hotspot. It took a long-ass time at the AT&T store, though they got us all squared away and we've not had a single issue since.
Though our phones also act as hotspots, we don't prefer to use them. The connection between the laptop/iPad and the phone drops if not in use, and it can be really aggravating to be writing an email or building a webpage to look away for thirty seconds and have lost the connection. A lost connection often means an unsaved bulk of work, which as we all know, is stressful and annoying, especially when you're busy as hell, which is my daily burden.
Our MiFi device was one cent when we bought it, so that was a no brainer, and we keep it plugged in always so we don't lose internet. It really does act the same as a wireless router in a house that way, and we can hop on and hop off the web as we need. We do pay for unlimited data, and though there is the caution of a slow-down when you've reached 22 GB before the end of the monthly billing cycle, we've not really noticed much of a difference, and that's with me being online at least eight hours a day working and then falling asleep to Netflix every night (The Office, usually...I've lost count of how many times I've rewatched the best show in the world).
As far as coverage goes, we don't really have anything to compare it to, though we've heard Verizon has more coverage, we've never had an issue with AT&T, even when traveling consistently (i.e., not parked in one location for a five month renovation job). If we don't have internet, we see it as a nice reminder to not work 'round the clock, read a book, play a little music, get outside. Oh, darn.