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Author Topic: Wifi gear?  (Read 1015 times)

mojospeople

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Wifi gear?
« on: March 12, 2017, 01:12:19 AM »
I know most of you are probably trying to disconnect but I find myself wishing for better wifi when we're on extended trips (more than a weekend). Most of the time we're too far from the campground wifi to get a strong enough signal. I'm wondering if anyone here has experience with booster/repeater/extenders? I don't want the kind that you have to plug into your device. I'm thinking a repeater is what I need but looking for advice.Thanks!

GoElectric

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Re: Wifi gear?
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2017, 09:26:03 PM »
I would use a Cradlepoint IBR600 Router with Verizon Data Service and two high gain 3G/4G roof mounted mobile antennas.  You can connect either over Ethernet or WiFi to the router.  You must have a metal roof for this option and acts as a great ground plane for the antennas.  Ideally space your antennas 3 or 4 feet apart.  The downside is you must drill holes in your roof and run the cables to the router, but the antenna base seals up nice. WPSantennas carries a nice selection.  We use these on our mobile fleet and they work almost everywhere, even sometimes in the white areas on the Verizon map with reliable connections.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  John 10:10

Merlin

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Re: Wifi gear?
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2017, 11:07:25 PM »
I copied below a post I made in the old LL forum last year about our experience with boosting cellular signals for use inside our camper.

I have no experience with wifi signal boosting and would not recommend it in general. Although certainly possible and effective in some locations, in the vast majority of instances, the wifi at campgrounds is hopelessly overloaded with its minimal to non-existence bandwidth (they don't put a lot of money into the equipment or it's maintenance). That means that no matter how much you boost, you still get a slow, noisy signal. If you want to go that route anyway, I suggest going to a reliable source like the repeaterstore.com or the 3gstore.com for help and to get the right equipment ordered. In any event, I still suggest using the cellular network instead of campground wifi for Internet connection from the standpoint of availability and speed.

Here is my post from last year:

A cellular signal booster is an often-needed accessory in a Camplite. The all aluminum exterior creates an effective block to all but the strongest cellular signal and campgrounds are often in areas of weak cell signals to begin with. The basic premise of a booster is to receive the signal with an antenna outside the camper, amplify it, and the re-broadcast it inside the camper for the phone/tablet to pick up. For anyone wanting technical details, practical advice, or the full scoop on equipment, The Mobile Internet Handbook is an excellent reference book that covers both cellular and wifi usage while traveling.

All boosters need to be registered with the carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc.). Improper use of a booster or a defective booster can screw up signals for everyone within range of the tower, so the cell phone carriers care a lot about boosted signals. Mobil boosters are more limited in power than fixed location boosters.

There are many ways to approach the basic issue of cell phone and Internet usage while traveling. A few phone calls/texts once in a while will take less expensive and easy to use boosters. Multiple devices with heavy bandwidth use will take more expensive and carefully installed boosters to get a good signal inside a Camplite.

In our case, we are very heavy Internet and cell phone users for a wide variety of purposes and the set up described below has given us a fast, strong signal on multiple devices at the same time in every campground weíve been to so far. My wife and I donít share well (cue the laugh track). She has an AT&T iPhone and iPad and I have a Verizon iPhone and iPad. We have found that both carriers have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to coverage and speed. Many times we have found a usable signal with one carrier but not the other. With the separate carriers, we are covered pretty much everywhere, if there is even a faint signal available. Controlling data costs is an issue, but having both Verizon and AT&T available is worth it for us.

For the latest booster work in our Camplite, I installed a WeBoost Drive 4G-X in a cabinet over the bed and plugged it into a switched 12VDC outlet on the TV wall. We donít leave it on when we are not using it. The small antennas that come with it are meant more for use in a car, so I purchased and installed better antennas both inside and outside. The booster and the antennas are all multi-band, to cover all possible frequencies used by all cell carriers in all locations.

The outside antenna is a Panorama Multi-Band Low Profile Permanent Mount Antenna. I bolted it to the highest place on the camper, which is the top of the AC housing on the roof. Underneath the antenna is an 18Ē square piece of galvanized sheet metal to serve as the ground plane. The wire runs along the roof in a puddle of self-leveling caulk to a well-sealed hole I drilled in the side of the camper under the awning and goes directly into the booster cabinet. Even though we have an aluminum roof, the sheet steel is a much better ground plane for the antenna.

The indoor antenna is a WeBoost wide band directional panel antenna. I mounted it on the ceiling in a central location in the camper. That wire is fastened with Velcro tabs to the ceiling. By aiming the antenna down, I eliminated interference with the external antenna, which can cause the booster to stop boosting. And, by mounting it centrally on the ceiling, we get good coverage anywhere inside the camper.

Cellular signal boosting is an ever-changing industry that will have new stuff coming out all the time. I have found that a phone call to a specialty store helps a lot to make sure I get the latest info and that all the parts and pieces I buy can plug into one another. The 3GStore.com and the Repeaterstore.com have both been extraordinarily helpful, as has WeBoost.com. The next generation of cell signal enhancing equipment will re-create the signal before re-broadcasting it rather than just amplifying it. That has the potential to be terrific, because the noise will be eliminated and not amplified along with the signal.


As a final note, the Cradlepoint router and antenna setups used by GoElectric is a nice solution too. A separate data plan like the Verizon Data Services may be cheaper than a data plan on a cell phone and is worth looking into that's the case. It wasn't for me with our grandfathered unlimited data plan, but few of those exist now.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 11:10:30 PM by Merlin »
Michigan

mojospeople

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Re: Wifi gear?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2017, 01:06:06 AM »
Thanks for the replies - lots to think about and research.
We have Sprint cell service and their coverage is generally not that of Verizon however we are grandfathered into an unlimited data plan so we have stayed.

pjcd

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Re: Wifi gear?
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 01:44:27 PM »
Never bothered with that stuff, that is, until the kids came along,,,,,  8^)