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Old 01-11-2010, 07:03 PM   #1
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Need to boost my WI-FI reception at an RV park

By now, I've figured out that I can't get great WiFi reception while fulltiming inside my 2007 International. The RV park that I'm staying at has just updated their WiFi antennae and I get great reception while outside of my Airstream; but I'm not about to do that in 30 degree weather down here in Florida. So, in order to use my inter-web inside my home, I'm trying to figure out the best way to boost my wi-fi signal. I was recommended the C.CRANE "Super USB WiFi Antenna II" (C. Crane Company - Super USB WiFi Antenna II - Toll Free (800) 522-8863) Has anyone had any experience with this particular model or one like it? How does this thing work if my aluminum shell is supposedly blocking my WiFi signal? Please advise.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:11 PM   #2
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Good luck with it...not sure about that particular product booster. For the most part we have found most WiFi set ups at RV parks to be totally inadequate, and often don't work at all inside or outside of the trailer. Theoretically if it's a good system and set up properly (and that's a big IF), you should be able to connect inside your trailer. We have learned not to rely on them.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:22 PM   #3
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My experiences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FishStreamer View Post
How does this thing work if my aluminum shell is supposedly blocking my WiFi signal? Please advise.
Hi, from my experiences, the aluminum shell doesn't really effect the signal. The reason I say this is because we have had really great reception of WIFI at some campgrounds. I spent many hours using my computer either inside of the laundry room or the office of a few campgrounds. At one campground, I was getting all five bars and nothing worked. It was later explained to me that the transponder/relay module, or whatever it is called, was working great, but the main computer wasn't making it to the transponder/relay module. Also if the unit is weak or controlled by the office, you might get a weak signal. [also too many users on line] I went into a few offices and told them my WIFI wasn't working; They said they checked it out and nothing was wrong, but when I went back to my trailer it started working good. I now have decided that my computer is not at fault, the WIFI system is.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBERTSUNRUS View Post
I went into a few offices and told them my WIFI wasn't working; They said they checked it out and nothing was wrong, but when I went back to my trailer it started working good. I now have decided that my computer is not at fault, the WIFI system is.
Had the same experience and we have a fiberglass shell, found if I worked on the bed next to the rear picture window I could get signal after using it in the office game room. Owner claimed his metal building was at fault, but he had an antenna mounted outside. I am glad it is just an optional extra to get wifi, if we depended on it we would have to stay home
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:54 PM   #5
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I bought a WiFire last year and it works great. Even got wifi from the lodge at Canyon Dechelly NP last Spring from about 1000' away.

Pricey, though, mine was $75

mike
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:04 PM   #6
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I guess I've had a different experience with WiFi signals. It seems by the fact that you get a better signal outside, the Airstream's aluminum shell is blocking some of the signal. I have also found that, as with any directional signals, such as WiFi, cellular, etc., the signal can be enhanced by pointing a directional antenna at the source. I have used one of these with success:

WiFi Antennas-Super Cantenna Wireless Booster Antenna

If you don't have a WiFi card with an external antenna connection, there is an adapter for the USB port (option 2):

Cantenna | Connect to Your Laptop


There are other USB options available:

USB WiFi Antenna || - RadioLabs


I haven't used the Crane, but it appears to be omni-dierctional, and 4.5 Db gain isn't that much. But, in most cases, I've found that you can improve a signal just by getting an antenna in, or near, a window. With a 15 ft. cable, the Crane antenna should, at least, do that.

Good luck.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:07 PM   #7
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The problem with WiFi is that the FCC limits the power and antenna combinations that can be sold to reduce interference in urban areas. In a campground it doesn't matter much but you still can't buy the gear pre-assembled. To get anything that will work you have to kit it together yourself. In general an outdoor antenna with 15 db or more of gain is required to make a noticeable improvement.
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:23 PM   #8
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Why does my wireless signal come and go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FishStreamer View Post
By now, I've figured out that I can't get great WiFi reception while fulltiming inside my 2007 International. The RV park that I'm staying at has just updated their WiFi antennae and I get great reception while outside of my Airstream; but I'm not about to do that in 30 degree weather down here in Florida. So, in order to use my inter-web inside my home, I'm trying to figure out the best way to boost my wi-fi signal. I was recommended the C.CRANE "Super USB WiFi Antenna II" (C. Crane Company - Super USB WiFi Antenna II - Toll Free (800) 522-8863) Has anyone had any experience with this particular model or one like it? How does this thing work if my aluminum shell is supposedly blocking my WiFi signal? Please advise.
Hi,

You may find some of the info in the following thread to be of interest:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...-go-54832.html

All of the posts are relevant and provide excellent information. I'm partial to post #14; you'll understand when you see it.

Jim
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:22 PM   #9
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I have had the same problem with wi-fi connections and there are a lot of variables some of which are out of your control. The double aluminum shell of an A/S does affect your ability to access wi-fi. Your internet access is broadcast as a low powered radio signal that goes both ways. From the source network to your computer and from your computer to the source. Radio signals are influenced by line of sight. If there are objects between you and the source your signal will be degraded or in some cases non existant. Through trial and error I found that if my computer was by a window in our rig and if that window had a direct line with the wi-fi antenna source I could easily access the internet. If you closed the blinds or put something else in the way the signal would change. There are many outside antenna's that can be used to improve your reception. Some are USB hook ups, some have adapters that will hook the antenna to your computer if it has an outside antenna jack. I chose a set up that uses a reformated LinkSys router hooked to an 8.5db outside antenna. That way we can use several computers at any place in our rig with out hard wiring. My wife has a lap top and so do I and we use them simultaneously without a problem now that we have the outside antenna and router. The company that made ours is jefatech.com. What you are doing is basically repeating the public network that is available to you in the RV park or any other open network.

We are spending the winter as work campers and I have been involved in setting up and fine tuning the wi-fi network in our rv resort. The problems with access out of your control is BandWidth. Even though we have a very strong wi-fi signal available because of usage and the types of usage there sometimes isn't enough bandwidth available to support the network. The number of people using the Network and the types of usages like Internet TV, web cams and on line computer games with a lot of grahics soak up bandwidth basically hogging the system in detriment to others on the network. It is like you are on an open party line if someone else is talking you can't make a phone call. Since I am a network administrater and when I know there are people taking advantage I solve the problem by unplugging the modem for about 15 minutes causing the those watching Miami CSI while I'm trying send email or sign on the A/S Forums to miss that much of their episode and then I wait for the phone call complaining about it so I know who they are.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:27 PM   #10
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I will echo SilverRangers message - get or build a CanTenna. Lots of gain and simple to use.
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:33 AM   #11
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The aluminum skin will weaken the signal. Your trailer is essentially a Faraday Shield.

An external antenna is the only way to go. Best one is the "Cantenna" which you can make easily enough using a Pringles can for under $10.00 if you are so inclined. Eat the chips first ;~). Here are the plans and list of parts needed. WARNING: Plenty of "Geek-Speak" and real techhie stuff......

Antenna on the Cheap (er, Chip)

The problem lies in getting the signal from the antenna to your computer's wireless adapter. The cable you use to connect the antenna to the computer must be designed to work at microwave frequencies because there is signal loss (attenuation) in the cable and the incorrect cable will exhibit greater loss than cable designed for those frequencies. Also there;s the issue of the connector. You may need to get a PCMCIA (PC Card) wireless adapter that has an external antenna connector. Most do not. The only one I can think of is the ORiNOCO card designed by Lucent Technologies (formerly Bell Labs) several years ago. These are available on eBay but are still very pricey because they offer this feature. The ORiNOCO also has other features as as well that drives up the demand and thus the cost. This card does not require any special drivers in Windows XP and higher so it works simply by plugging it in. This is an excellent feature for technicians.

Notwithstanding,since most laptops and notebooks do not have a connector for an external antenna the best way to go is to use one that has the wireless adapter built inside antenna housing. This will connect to your computer via the USB port.

Hawking Technology makes a very nice unit that meets these parameters. The antenna is a parabolic dish that looks like a miniature satellite TV antenna that offers some gain and amplifies the signal. The dish is movable so you can point it right at the wireless router at the campground which helps even more. This antenna has a narrow beamwidth which helps it amplify the signal even more.

Hawking Technologies

Amazon sells them for under $60.00 including shipping.

Amazon.com: Hawking HWU8DD Hi-Gain USB Wireless-G Dish Adapter: Electronics

I have one of these and it works very well. Of course the antenna/adapter cannot compensate for a poor quality connection even if the signal is strong.
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Old 01-12-2010, 09:57 AM   #12
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Question Reflections on Radio Signals

Hi,
There have been a few of these discussions lately concerning cell phones and Wi-Fi in Airstreams. They are essentially the same thing. Both WIFI and cell phone signals are complex digital radio signals. It is not only necessary to receive a strong enough signal, it is necessary to receive the signal with very little distortion. Aluminum or any metal for that matter, does not just stop a signal, it reflects it off in some other direction, exactly as a mirror reflects light. Just like light in a mirror, if the surface of the metal reflecting the radio signal is irregular, it will reflect a distorted signal. If a cell phone or Wi-Fi card receives reflected signals, the signals will combine and cause distortion when they are received. Even if the phone or card is receiving a good signal directly from the Wi-Fi or cell tower, a reflection from another metal object can distort the signal. Because of all these variables the best solution is a directional antenna placed in a location where it can "see" the source of the Wi-Fi or cell signal and not close to any reflecting objects (like an Airstream ). The directional antenna will minimize the effect of reflected signals. However, since the cell tower antenna or Wi-Fi source are most likely omni directional, the signal can still be distorted by objects near them. In most cases, your cell phone or Wi-Fi card will be receiving multiple reflected signals. The resulting signal will be determined by how the reflecting signals combine. This varies as the phone or card is moved, sometimes just inches.
As mentioned in a prior post the signal can leave the Wi-Fi antenna already distorted. This can be caused by a number of things at the source.
So, if you think about it, it is amazing it ever works.
Regards,
Ken
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Old 01-12-2010, 10:07 AM   #13
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RadioLabs

We purchased signal-boosting equipment from RadioLabs here at the park. This was to boost our signal from the park to the RVs, but I've also read good reviews of the equipment that they sell to RVers. Here's a link to their site; just give them a call, as they seem to be pretty knowledgeable:

RadioLabs - Radio, Wireless and Beyond -


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Old 01-12-2010, 10:12 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FishStreamer View Post
By now, I've figured out that I can't get great WiFi reception while fulltiming inside my 2007 International. The RV park that I'm staying at has just updated their WiFi antennae and I get great reception while outside of my Airstream; but I'm not about to do that in 30 degree weather down here in Florida. So, in order to use my inter-web inside my home, I'm trying to figure out the best way to boost my wi-fi signal. I was recommended the C.CRANE "Super USB WiFi Antenna II" (C. Crane Company - Super USB WiFi Antenna II - Toll Free (800) 522-8863) Has anyone had any experience with this particular model or one like it? How does this thing work if my aluminum shell is supposedly blocking my WiFi signal? Please advise.
Have you tried different places in your trailer? You could be too close to the antenna, under the radar so to speak. I have found Wi-FI is hit or miss at most RV Parks. It all depends on where you are and where the parks antennas are located.
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