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rbmartiniv

What WiFi Setup Is In Your Coach?

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Hello, everyone.

My name is Robert and I am presenting a seminar at our Discovery Owner Organization's national rally in Shawnee, OK in a couple of weeks. The name of the seminar is "How to Improve Poor RV Park Wifi Reception". The slides are mostly all put together now but I would really like to include some real world examples of what some of you have done and how well it worked (or didn't work).

I will be discussing the basics of WiFi, radio waves, frequency, power, antennas, reception, transmission, troubleshooting, etc., etc. I have a lot of info on products available but it is mostly vendor marketing hype. I'm particularly interested in external USB adapters with attached antenna or external antenna, high-power outdoor and indoor repeaters (wired or wireless), amplifiers, cable types, types of antennas (indoor or outdoor), antenna gain, etc. But I would also be really interested in how and where you mounted/situated the devices and what your approximate costs were if possible.

If you would be kind enough to share your insight (and maybe a picture or two if possible) I will be extremely grateful. I will of course give credit where credit is due in my presentation. I would also be glad to send you a copy of the presentation in thanks for your help.

Time is of the essence (wish I had thought of this earlier) so I would appreciate your assistance as soon as you get a chance. Please send to my email address.

Thank your VERY much,

Robert Martin

07 Fleetwood Discovery

08 Saturn Vue

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We now use the Verizon Mi-Fi and find it is a great addition to our internet use. Have not traveled with it yet but hear good things. Prior to that we used a Jefa Tech wireless repeater and that has worked very well for enhancing RV park signals. You can check them out online and also on the IRV2 forum. This is easy to set up indoors or out and will boost Wi-Fi signals from 8-15 DB depending on which antenna you use. The cost is less then $150 and you can get either antenna. I recommend the longer one when you purchase it as it will cost you $100 to add it later. The shorter one is better for use inside Your RV but both should work fine. I put mine on a extendable painters pole & set it up outside, Put the repeater on the dash and run the cable out the side of a slide out. You can attach it to your crank up TV antenna as well or bungy it to your ladder. You do have to have a line of sight to the park antenna to work well.

We are just leaving to travel to the FMCA Rocky Mountain Rally so we will be checking out the Mi-Fi on the road as well.

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We use a Cradlepoint router with an AT&T air card attached to a Wilson cellular antenna. We rarely use RV Park WIFI. You probably don't need this information! :rolleyes:

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Here is my setup:

  • AT&T Lighting USB device
  • Ubiquiti Bullet M2, a/b/g/n, 600mw
  • 8dBI vertical antenna
  • Bullet and antenna are attached to ladder with CAT-5 running inside.
  • Cradlepoint MBR-900 router

All are ran off the 12vdc house batteries

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Verizon-4G-MiFi-1.jpgWe have a Verizon MiFi by Samsung. We pay $50 a month for 5GBs which we use for 3 laptops, one of which is for graphic work I do while on the road. I can also use the MiFi for my Droid Bionic if I want. Secondly, we can use my Bionic as a hotspot. I have yet to work with that as we just bought the phone. We like to use the RV Park's wireless if it's good because that way my 5GBs don't get eaten up too quickly. You can purchase 10GBs on the MiFi for $80 a month from Verizon. The Samsung needs to be kept plugged in via USB as the battery will wear out too quickly.

Hope this helps.

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Guest BillAdams

We have the Wifi Ranger and a Verizon 4G air card. This allows us to set up a network with printer and NAS device which can be used with the air card or local wifi. This is very nice since the cellular is limited to 5GB/month. When we are in a campground with a good connection I can just click one button and the Ranger starts using the wifi saving my cellular usage and keeping my network up and running as well.

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Bill,

The WiFi Ranger looks interesting, but the specs show Wireless Antenna: Integrated MIMO. Is there any way to use an external antenna with the Ranger?

Also, can you program off the "intelligent failover capabilities" to dumb? Meaning non-automatic search and switch?

Thanks,

Chuck

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Robert,

Shortly after we got this coach I removed the crank up Winegard TV antenna on our coach and replaced it with a Winegard omnidirectional amplified UFO style TV antenna. We rarely use it as we usually watch Directv. In fact I installed the omni antenna only to watch local TV station weather reports while traveling in the Great Plains and Midwest.

I mention the removal because I left the base rotator assembly installed to mount a high gain narrow lobe yagi 2.4GHz antenna onto it. I cut off an 8" piece of the original Winegard square tubing and mounted it back onto the swivel base. I then mounted the yagi antenna onto the tubing and brought the coax down through the roof to a Buffalo wireless bridge. The Ethernet output of the bridge goes to a Linksys wireless router that also is used with the Hughes Net service. I'll send some photos in the next couple days.

We really haven't used the WiFi system because we use satellite running 24/7 with either/both our cell phone's 3G Broadband to WiFi capability as a backup. But for most folks who RV your seminar will be great information for them.

Good luck on your project,

Chuck

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Guest BillAdams

Bill,

The WiFi Ranger looks interesting, but the specs show Wireless Antenna: Integrated MIMO. Is there any way to use an external antenna with the Ranger?

Also, can you program off the "intelligent failover capabilities" to dumb? Meaning non-automatic search and switch?

For a cellular connection you would still need a separate cellular antenna for that connection. For Wifi you can add a separate wifi antenna with Ethernet connection or you can buy the Wifi Boost antenna that is also sold by the Ranger folks. We have the Ranger, the Boost and a cell card without an external antenna. However, I must add that I also have satellite internet so if the cellular connection is not good I can always fail-over to satellite (like at this very moment in ABQ, NM).

You can turn off the fail-over and I believe this is the correct thing to do. That's how I have mine setup and I simply click one button to make the connection of my choice.

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Hi Robrert - I also am Robert and have used wifi since first available. Up until recently I have been working a lot on the road when we take our motor home. We have a motosat dish. We have two android phones that we tether sometimes. And when available we us wifi from the RV park. We have added no boosters or antenna of any kind for wifi. I have thought about it, but for the most park the wifi works fine without anything. When it does not I just get closer to the source. Sometimes this means I have to sit in a clubhouse. That is a good thing. I interact with the folks doing the same thing in the club house.

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I use a WIFI Ranger with the external ethernet antenna (Ubiqiti Bullet and 8db antenna) and also have a USB wireless 3G modem with an external antenna.. I can usually get reception from up to 1/2 mile away wifi sites, and if they aren't available, the 3G modem generally works.

Dennis

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I agree with Robert. I use any available wifi access. Where I am presently, there is a nearby unsecured that I am presently using. It is anonymous, so I can't go and thank its owner. I would. When it is down, I have to go to the nearby clubhouse. Not a problem.

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