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Cellular Internet: How To Get A Better Signal

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For those of us who use cellular broadband for Internet access, I thought I'd pass along a method I've recently added to our motorhome to give us better signal quality, for both broadband and voice cell phone service.

In many places we've been while traveling, especially in the west we had a lot of trouble getting good cell signals. My first method was to add an external Wilson Trucker antenna. In some places this is all that was needed. In others it made little difference. In one location where we spend a lot of our winters, we had extremely poor coverage, even with the Wilson antenna. So I purchased a Wilson Dual Amplifier Kit that came with an indoor and an outdoor antenna along with coax cable to connect things together. This particular amplifier is a two-way amp that picks up the outdoor signals thru the external antenna and re-amplifies the weaker signal inside the motorhome.

Likewise, the indoor antenna picks up the signal inside the motorhome from the cell phone and/or broadband modem card and the amplifier re-transmits it at a stronger signal to the outside antenna. Another advantage is it also works with any cell phone so you don't need an external antenna connector on your phone in order to connect it to an external antenna.

I've been able to boost the signal strength from having no signal to barely one bar to three and even four bars. It even works well outside the motorhome while sitting on the patio.

The internal antenna is a flat square panel antenna about 7-inches square and 2-inches thick. It's designed to be mounted on a wall or ceiling, i.e, flat surface. It has a coax connector on one side. The external antenna is your choice of Wilson RV Antenna, Wilson Trucker Antenna or a high gain directional yagi antenna. The antenna's need to be mounted at least 20 feet apart so they won't interfere with each other, which can cause the amp to shut itself down. But at the same time you can't add to long of a coax run because of the loss of signal inherent at these super high frequencies. I actually did add a 10-foot extension cable to mine so I could get the separation necessary. The most difficult part of the installation is routing the cable so it's not just laying along the floor of the coach. I routed mine down through the floor and inside the basement area from one end of the coach to the other.

The cost of the kit I purchased was $389. There is a different kit for a smaller environment that costs about $299. I didn't feel the smaller environment kit would work well enough for me.

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Thank you for posting this. We've been in Apache Junction, AZ and have had the worst signal we've ever had even with our Wilson outside antenna and have been thinking about the Wilson dual amplifier. Glad to hear that it works well.

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When an antenna isn't quite enough, an amplifier can definitely be a valuable signal boosting tool. Another benefit to using a WIRELESS amplifier (AKA "repeater") is that you can wirelessly boost the signal to multiple cellular devices (cell phone, aircards, etc) at once without having to directly connect to any of the devices!

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I have been using VZW for over 5 yrs now for data. Recently I added the Wilson Electronics Yagi antenna. WOW am I impressed. I did not purchase a booster, just the antenna. I mounted atop my Uncommon USA telescoping 25' flag pole. What a difference this made. I now really zip around the internet. The yagi antenna in a 90 degree directional antenna, so my wife watches the signal strength indicator on the laptop while we use our 2-way radios. The antenna was $50 and the cable $75. Really has made a difference.

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I use a Yagi USB antenna(17dBi), mounted on my Winegard TV antenna, so I have directional tuning from inside my coach. Routing the USB cable was the only challenge. Built in USB connection eliminates signal loss that coax connections experience. I have received FREE unsecured wifi signal from as far away as 4 miles (clear line of sight), so far!

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I installed the same Wilson 3G Booster on my motorcoach last October. It works great! Have the Trucker omni directional antenna mounted on the ladder and the amplifier in the rear closed and the directional antenna mounted mid coach so the full front area is a 3G hotspot.

I have been a FMCA member for 26 years, so I don't think I qualify as a newbie. I have owned 7 motorhomes including 3 diesels.

JDW

F78957

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