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Old 07-20-2011, 02:19 PM   #15
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From an old U.S. Army commo sgt - the trailer shell can't be used as an antenna (it resonates at the wrong frequency for starters), but would probably make a good ground plane for an antenna mounted on it. I personally think that the least expense solution would be to just walk down to the campground office or drive to the nearest Starbucks with your iPad or laptop once or twice a day.
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:24 PM   #16
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There seems to be a lot of cell phone solutions to WiFi, but we donít have data included on our plan, and we donít want to add another $35-50 to our monthly cell bill. We are full timing and we tend to look for RV parks that have electric and Internet available.

Since 2008 I have tried several WiFi solutions, and bought and ultimately sold several hundred dollars of equipment, antennas, and coax lead-in cables. All portable WiFi solutions have advantages and their disadvantages, and you may make a poor investment on your way to the best solution.

For us the USB powered external WiFi antenna device worked very good for us, but the 15 feet of USB cable wasnít long enough for our trailer, and I had to add a USB extender cable, with a USB connection outside. The USB connection outside went bad in just a few months of use in Arizona, even though it wasnít in the direct weather. If you can avoid the outside USB connection, this should work for anyone as a long-term solution.

The system that we are now using is a power over Ethernet WiFi antenna. On the down side, it has to be pole mounted, or held by something outside of the trailer, it has bulk and weight, and needs to be stowed away for travel, we stow it in the trailer for travel. On the plus side, we have the flexibility of placing the antenna post anywhere within a few hundred feet of the trailer, as power over Ethernet has 300-foot limit vs. 15-foot for USB cable. There is an outside network connection, and it does occasionally get corrosion growing inside it, but I have a supply of connectors and a crimping tool. The antenna is a WiFi receiver, and a router, and it is another firewall device, and it is cabled to a small hub, and cabled to each laptop in the trailer.

Connecting our antenna to a network did have a small learning curve, but once this was sorted out it is now quite easy. The range is incredible, line of sight it will do 1Ĺ mile to a home network, and 5 miles to an outside network. In some urban areas a site survey has found 60 wireless networks.

Only one night last summer in a very rural area, we had no WiFi signal and no internet, every where else a WiFi signal could be found.

Radiolabs.com has many RV and Marine WiFi solutions, and very good tech support.

Steve
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:14 AM   #17
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I have to admin Darlingbooks, that's a pretty spectacular setup. We've taken a pretty similar approach, but made it a bit more compact and automated.

Thanks for the continued discussion, it's very interesting to see how many different ways people are solving their internet problems. We do think there is some value to having a compact, and automatic solution to do the things most of you are doing, and being able to do Cellular and WiFi is a must.

We feel like if you can get WiFi, you should use it, if you can't, then a pre-paid month of 3G/4G cellular is never a bad option.
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Old 07-22-2011, 07:55 PM   #18
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I bought the Bear Extender for my PC laptop and it really enhances the WiFi signal. For $50, it works and does the job. I bought mine online at: BearExtender n3 - Long Range Mac USB Wifi Adapter - Home.
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Old 07-27-2011, 01:38 PM   #19
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Thanks for everyone's feedback on this, it helps us hone and figure out what customers are faced with, and the ways we can help solve some problems.
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:45 PM   #20
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That pole mount looks very interesting.What model is it.I looked at Radiolabs.com but I did not see the one you are using.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:47 AM   #21
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Moflash, the pole mount is my solution to setup and aiming of the antenna. I used the real thick gray plastic pipe, PVC schedule 80, and there are two sections of pipe shown, and I have another five-foot section in a storage tube. Sometimes the extra height is necessary to reach over the top of taller RVs. I use two Velcro straps to hold the pole to the awning bracket, and if we have the awning down, I move the antenna to the other side of the trailer.

The antenna is still carried by Radio Labs and other WiFi equipment suppliers

http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wireless/GS2400.php

Steve
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Old 08-01-2011, 07:39 PM   #22
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Well, an Airstream is essentially a Faraday Cage:

Faraday cage - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Note the part that says:
"The reception of external radio signals, a form of electromagnetic radiation, through an antenna within a cage can be greatly attenuated or even completely blocked by the cage itself."

That's why we don't get very good reception of anything inside an airstream without some form of trickery.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:30 PM   #23
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Look what UPS just dropped off!

A Wifi Ranger Pro. I've been using a Linksys+Ubiquiti radio setup with pretty good results. But the old Linksys has had it and we want to be able to use a USB cell modem when we need to. I'll report back after some real world use.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:19 AM   #24
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Be sure to upgrade your UBNT radio to latest firmware via Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. and when you connect the POE's LAN connection to the WiFIRanger Pro, you may need a cross-over cable from the POE to the WFR WAN port, depending on the era of UBNT radio you have.

Other than that, once the UBNT product is up and running, hit the WFRBoost section on the Control Panel, and configure. You should be GTG. A bullet and a 8db antenna should reach out 1-2 miles LOS on wifi no problem.

I mount my bullet on the back of the roof, and allow the big aluminum roof to act as a great ground plane. Don't make the mistake of hanging it out there with no ground plane. There are some good article on Jack Mayers blog regarding that for any CPE use that has a high gain antenna.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:02 AM   #25
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Thanks kshogan! I found Jack's website a while back, he does have a lot of good info.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:31 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshogan View Post
Be sure to upgrade your UBNT radio to latest firmware via Ubiquiti Networks, Inc. and when you connect the POE's LAN connection to the WiFIRanger Pro, you may need a cross-over cable from the POE to the WFR WAN port, depending on the era of UBNT radio you have.

Other than that, once the UBNT product is up and running, hit the WFRBoost section on the Control Panel, and configure. You should be GTG. A bullet and a 8db antenna should reach out 1-2 miles LOS on wifi no problem.

I mount my bullet on the back of the roof, and allow the big aluminum roof to act as a great ground plane. Don't make the mistake of hanging it out there with no ground plane. There are some good article on Jack Mayers blog regarding that for any CPE use that has a high gain antenna.
What language is that?

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Old 01-10-2012, 05:12 PM   #27
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Old 02-08-2012, 02:01 AM   #28
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I had a cellular antenna mounted on the roof of the trailer and it is connected to a Wilson amplifier. I use a Virgin aircard plugged into a Cradlepoint CTR350 router (which is 6-inches away from the Wilson internal pickup antenna). It works really well, particularly in areas where the signal strength is low. As well, the Cradlepoint router sets up a complete wireless network in the trailer. An added advantage is that I can use a linux-based notebook without having to worry about getting drivers for the aircard.
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