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tireman9

Better WiFi reception in RV

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I have been reviewing a number of videos and blog posts (not FMCA forum posts) touting various hardware to improve WiFi reception when at a campground or other locations where WiFi is "available" in the area but reception is poor. This might even include a Pilot fuel stop, McDonald's parking lot or similar location. 

Various combinations of external directional antenna wired to a router you would mount inside the RV are suggested.  I note that "system" costs run $13 to $300 but I don't see any reliable data on the signal improvements achieved or "bang for the buck"

I know there are apps that can report on signal strength so data strength with and without a system, should not be that difficult to learn and report but I haven't found independent reports.

Where are the Tech geeks with hard data or even amateurs who have taken the plunge with A vs B data?  We should be able to "crowdsource" some meaningful data.

I would think that some "Best in Class" suggestions for various systems  <$50,  $100 - $150, and $300+ might be a good start.

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The experts on connectivity and equipment are our friends at MobileInternetInfo.com. They cover both cellular and wifi and do extensive testing with published results. We trust their info.

The bottom line is that boosters and antennas do improve signal. You can buy turn-key solutions or build your own.

 

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I did the external antenna, one that is widely published to be one of the best, I installed on an extendable flag pole, booster and all, it did not improve the signal strength enough to justify the cost. I now carry a couple of wifi extenders, and talk to other campers about placing them between the best signal found in the park and where I am parked, about me placing the extenders outside their RV, 90% of them will give their approval because it helps them also. Anyway, that's how I do it and has worked very well for me. Of course, I'm sure that there are some disappointed campers after I leave, because I always retrieve them to take with me.:rolleyes: Oh one thing that I did not add earlier, those 5 gallon buckets with a light inside hanging upside down, is where I place the extenders inside the bucket. Throw a rope over a tree limb and hoist it up, takes 5 minutes to put up and two to take back down, this protects the extender from any rainfall that might occur, and improves strength because of the extra height.

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My advice to you is to concentrate on using your own cellular based hotspot.  WiFi is insecure and cannot be trusted.  Many of the sites you mention are routinely spoofed by hackers so they can steal you login credentials and ID information.  You risk identity theft.  It's just too risky to use someone else's WiFi network these days.

My advice - don't do it.  Save yourself the aggravation and heartache.  The days of safety getting by squatting on a free WiFi network are gone.

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If you are going to use free WiFi, be sure that you turn off network sharing, use good approved passwords, and do not visit any site that requires that you pass any personal data. I have even used my personal hotspot in the manner that I mentioned above, just don't tell others, sometimes you cant get a site where your hotspot will work well, for that reason, there are work arounds.

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Thanks for the feedback.  Am checking out the MobileInternetInfo.com  link and info.  I am thinking that my normal usage would be in campgrounds or similar where there is WiFi but the signal is weak.  Last week at Perry I was not able to connect to the offered WiFi just using my laptop. I do have one of those inexpensive USB "antenna" things similar to THIS one, mine was even less expensive but it does work. I could point it out my window and I could then connect most of the time but the signal would occasionally drop.

Been thinking of attaching a directional antenna on my TV antenna post. I could then raise it and rotate the antenna to get the strongest signal. Drop the wire into the RV and have a small router in the RV, I have a Class-C and the TV connection and power is in the overhead area so that would be a good location for the low power router.

 

We never watch TV. Would the coax that I currently have on the external TV antenna be OK to connect an external WiFi antenna to a router in the coach? This would avoid having to run another cable. I know that sometimes this stuff requires specific cabling so just asking.

 

I do understand the security concerns but WiFi in the RV is not something I use for critical or sensitive stuff. My passwords are over 8 characters, letter, number and special characters included and my routers require password too.

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Tireman9, The coax to the antenna should work fine. I think that it is 75 ohm impedance for the router antenna.

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