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Old 10-22-2015, 04:54 PM   #1
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1998 34' Excella 1000
Atwood , Illinois
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Installing Ethernet cables

Hello,
I'm a newbie. I just bought my first camper/Airstream in 2013. I'm young but pretty handy and been doing small repairs since I bought it but I don't know much about campers and how to run new wires behind the walls. It is a 1998 34' Excella. I see an existing phone line in it. There is a phone jack in the front of the trailer on the the road side. It goes down the wall under the floor over to the ditch side. I'm not sure where it goes from there. Then there is a phone jack on the outside of the trailer that is right inside of the compartment for the electrical hook ups (I have 2 ac units so I have 2 cords in it). This is also on the road side, at the back. I can open the storage compartment and then there is another little door to get to a couple of other electrical connections but I can't see or seem to get to the phone wire.
I would like to remove this phone cord and put Ethernet cable in its place. Then run it near both of my TVs so I can get internet. Does anyone have any helpful info or suggestions to do this? Am I not seeing a compartment to get to these connections? Any help would be greatly appreciated! It seems like I need to drill out some rivets on the outside of the trailer to get to it but I'm not sure and I really don't want to drill out rivets if I don't have to. I can send pictures, if needed. Just please let me know. Thank you very much!
-Alex


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Old 10-22-2015, 05:17 PM   #2
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Howdy! I own a 34', 1999.. I should NOT 'run' that wire. I would make entry to the AS, then place a wireless router...

All the external (most) should be 'buck riveted' from the factory. I would not 'remove' those rivets, personally..except to fix something.

So, give some info.. why do you want/need to run the Enet wire? Where do you plan to 'enter' the AS ? Street Stern by Power inlet, Water hatch?...
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Old 10-22-2015, 05:47 PM   #3
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1998 34' Excella 1000
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Thank you very much for your quick reply!
I agree, I don't think I should remove those rivets either.
All I'm trying to do is get internet inside the trailer. I think the router is a very good idea!
I'm going to use boat terms so we are all on the same page. All of my connections (water, which also has a coax connection in it and electrical plug ins which has the phone line connection in it) are on the port side (left), near the stern (back). So I was planning on entering there.
So you don't think I should remove the phone wire? I was just hoping I could hook the Ethernet cable on to the phone wire and pull the phone line out while I'm pulling the Ethernet cable in....but I can't even find the phone line, directly inside the trailer from the outside connection point. I found the phone line inside of the bow (front) of the trailer but I'm basically 34' from the outside connection. It has to get up there some how but I'm not sure how it does.
How do you suggest I go from the outside into the trailer? Of course, I want to make as little modification to the trailer as possible. I would like to enter the trailer by all the other connections (port/stern) area and then get the router close to the center of the trailer but I'm not sure how to run wires though the walls or if it is even possible.
Please let me know if you have any more questions. I'm out of town taking a a code update class but I will be home tomorrow and can take any pictures, if you need them. I've been looking online for info regarding installing Ethernet cables but I can't find anything at all.
Thanks again,
Alex
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Old 10-22-2015, 06:27 PM   #4
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I'm no expert on 34' rs but can you run the wire on the inside of the trailer hidden in the back of closets and cabinets or anything. When I bought my trailer the solar was run that way. To run it inside the walls is major work, you can't simply run it/fish it forward because you'll run into ribs. To do that you'd need to remove panels and thus everything in front of them. You could put it inside of the molding they use to put wires in offices.
There's no way that connecting the Ethernet cable to the phone line and pulling it all that way will work.
I'd get an external Ethernet jack, decide where you want it. Drill a small hole to make sure there's nothing in there then drill hole through external and internal walls to feed wire through and then install the external jack, then run the wire interior.
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Old 10-22-2015, 07:04 PM   #5
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I ran mine through the fridge access door and then through the bulkhead between the fridge and the entertainment system. You can hide the pigtail in the compartment when you don't need it. You can then put in a router or switch to distribute the Ethernet to the rest of the trailer. When I am home, I connect to my existing LAN where I have access to my server and other computers. I can stream movies over the network. I use a laptop with windows media center to watch TV over the air or watch stuff on the server. I have an external monitor to hook the laptop to. When we want to watch TV in the bed room we just move the laptop in there.

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Old 10-22-2015, 07:07 PM   #6
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There is little possibility you can 'pull' any wiring in your AS... the phone cable and wiring runs thru 'chases'/holes in the ribs. Not likely

Some questions...
- Where will you get the 'ethernet FEED' from?
- Are you trying to connect to an existing 'network' or will you have incoming telephone and internet on same 'cable'?
- If you are getting your 'internet' thru the phone, I don't know if the 'internal' phone wiring is up to carrying sufficient 'signal' to give you reliable connectivity.
- and, for now, the last question... what experience do you have with 'networking'?
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Old 10-23-2015, 12:24 PM   #7
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1998 34' Excella 1000
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I'm currently trying to network it in with my house. I'm running a cat6 cable from the router in my house, thru the attic, down the wall and I will have a female connector either on the inside of my garage or the outside (just close as possible to the trailer). Then I will run a short cat6 cable from the female connector I install on the side of the camper to the female connector I install on the side of the house.
I don't have much experience networking but I'm pretty handy and feel like I can figure anything out...
It would be nice if I could just out cat6 connectors on the existing phone wire in the trailer but I'm sure the phone wire doesn't have enough wires.
I hope I answered all of your questions. Please let me know if you have any others.
Thanks again for everyone's help! I REALLY appreciate it! Your help is much needed!
-Alex


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Old 10-23-2015, 01:17 PM   #8
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If you have a wifi router in your house its way easier to do it wirelessly.
I bought the pepwave Surf On THe GO Router. It will take internet from a wifi connection, a hardwire lan or a usb rocket stick and creates a local wifi hotspot in your airstream. When you are at your house it will automatically connect to your home wifi. It has a wifi booster so will do the same with campground wifi. Its abou $100 US. Mine is stuck to the window with suction cups provided.
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Old 10-23-2015, 01:46 PM   #9
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1998 34' Excella 1000
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Really?!?! That's awesome! I'm going to check into that. I do have a wireless wifi router but it isn't strong enough to get wifi in the camper.
I just looked up the Pepwave Surf On THe GO Router. So I will buy this and put it in the camper? And it will boost my existing router so I can actually get wifi in the camper? Like I said, my existing wireless router just isn't strong enough. It is sitting in the living room of my house, there is probably only 75' between the camper and router but there are 6 walls.
Please let me know. This would be a lot better then running off of this cat6 cable but I'm just worried I wouldn't be able to pickup the wifi connection.
I tried using my phone as a hotspot but I burned up the data SUPER fast.
Thanks again for all your help! It is much appreciated!
-Alex


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Old 10-23-2015, 01:56 PM   #10
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I have signal in my AS thru two walls and a brick wall from my "wireless router". If you have 2 external "antenna" on the router perhaps you could use a "directional" antenna on ONE of the antenna ports? I have had good success with that approach...

If you are serious about hardwire, where do you want the "Ethernet outlet to be INSIDE" the AS?

If near bow of AS is closer, you could run up inside from bow where the "umbilical" cord for connecting the signals, brakes come in the bottom of the AS. That will be behind the Gaucho, by bow. You could coil up the extra wire and drop behind the Gaucho then pull out/deploy when needed.
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Old 10-23-2015, 02:38 PM   #11
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Or a wifi range extender in the end of the house closer to the trailer.
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Old 10-24-2015, 10:22 AM   #12
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My Airstream is pretty close to the house and i have not yet tried the OTG with campground wifi. I would think it would work though especially if you can get it Ina window facing the house. I am pretty sure you can also extend the antenna or add an external one. Search the web for more info.
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Old 10-24-2015, 10:59 AM   #13
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Installing Ethernet cables

I put a wireless access router in my trailer and I drop an ethernet cable from this to my home or work internet.

In other words I have a "hotspot" in the trailer that I hardwire the same as the shore power. The shell of an Airstream doesn't help much when trying to get wifi from another structure.

When I built my trailer I ran ethernet cable to a few different spots, but I never use the cables, it is just easier to run my "hotspot".

If I had it to do over I would not run the cables to jacks.


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Old 10-30-2015, 10:32 PM   #14
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You may consider using a Cradlepoint router which will allow you to plug in a USB aircard for WAN while your AS becomes a complete wireless network (including printer, tablets, etc). I have an older one, but the new models seem to be quite good.
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