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Old 03-25-2010, 10:42 AM   #1
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WiFi inside Airstream

Need help with feedback for a marketing presentation regarding WiFi inside your Airstream. New features of electronics are wi-fi enabled or wi-fi ready so customers can download music and movies, my question is "do you have any trouble with wifi working inside your Airstream?" Your feedback is greatly appreciate!!
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:56 AM   #2
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We use a Verizon card in our Mac computers. It works extremely well anywhere we can get a decent Verizon signal. However, we do seem to notice a significant signal loss inside the AS.
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Old 03-25-2010, 10:59 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by abecknell View Post
Need help with feedback for a marketing presentation regarding WiFi inside your Airstream. New features of electronics are wi-fi enabled or wi-fi ready so customers can download music and movies, my question is "do you have any trouble with wifi working inside your Airstream?" Your feedback is greatly appreciate!!
If you want reliable reception, you are going to need an external (to the trailer) antenna. The Airstream's all aluminum body is a very effective shield. Therefore reception inside is highly dependent on your location within the trailer and the direction of the wireless access point. It is not very predicable and signals coming in through the windows will reflect off the interior walls and combine at the receiving antenna to either enhance or derogate the signal received at the wireless device. At times movement of the wireless device by inches will make the difference between good and no reception. My previous trailer had a fiberglass body that the signal could travel through, and my laptop would operate with wifi signals equally well anywhere in the trailer.

hope this helps some.

Ken
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:02 AM   #4
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Welcome to the forums!

Hi abecknell, If you take a look at this section Computers, Internet & Satellite - Airstream Forums you will find a few threads discussing the interference that the aluminum tube provides. Nomally you will get better reception on the outside of the Airstream.

This is a good section to review too. Airstream Forums - Airstream Owners Community- Community Rules
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:13 PM   #5
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I think the primary determining factor on Wi-Fi in the Airstream will be proximity to the Wi-Fi antennae and signal strength. I have used my laptop inside my Airstream parked in the driveway using my original wireless router inside the house with no problems. I recently replaced the router with the same brand and sometimes have trouble with signal strength inside the house!
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:17 PM   #6
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As noted by w7ts, the signal strength will improve by getting an antenna outside the trailer. Realizing that most of the newer devices have built in wifi antennas, my solution for my first laptop was to buy a PCMCIA wifi card with an external antenna jack. (This card interface has pretty much been replaced by the ExpressCard slot). This enabled me to add either an omni-directional, or a directional antenna (such as a Cantenna). The external antenna helped a great deal.

I found that Cantenna also sells a device that enables it to be hooked up to a USB port.

Cantenna | Connect to Your Laptop

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:39 PM   #7
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My MacBook works great without externals. In some RV parks, I've had to move the coach to avoid "bounce back" reflections.
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Old 03-25-2010, 03:16 PM   #8
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Are you looking to due some testing? I am in Elkhart, if the timing is right I may even bring the unit over to your place.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:17 PM   #9
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This would be a option if one really had wi-fi problems.
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Old 03-25-2010, 04:54 PM   #10
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This is what you need:
SOHO All-in-One Wireless Repeater Kit for RV [SOHO-KIT-RVPANEL] - $641.84 : 3Gstore.com, Mobile Broadband Made Easy. CradlePoint Routers, MiFi, Antennas, Amplifiers and Verizon & Sprint EVDO Modems.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:40 PM   #11
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I am the WiFi guru at our RV park. We have an excellent wifi system after fiddling with the antenna and replacing just about everything from the incoming DSL line to all the hardware. The wifi signal is pretty much uniform through out the park except one area where we will have to install a repeater. The signal inside our A/S is spotty. The problem is the double wall aluminum construction. I installed an outside antenna and solved the problem. After much research looking at bridges, cantenna's, sophisticated and expensive amplifiers. We went with a JefaTech repeater www.jefatech.com. It uses a reprogrammed Linksys router with an omnidirectional 8.5db antenna. You can build one yourself and the software can be downloaded at www.dd-wrt.com. However we bought the whole setup from from JefaTech for about $150.00 which included the router, antenna cable, antenna and mount with the software already installed. If you bought those items separately it would cost about the same and you would have the hassle of finding the pieces and modifying it. Whats nice is you get a very strong signal and with the router in the A/S and both my wife and I can use our laptops anywhere in and around the trailer with out wires. Two other people in our park saw our setup and have also gotten the Jefatech units. Whatever you do I would recommend having an external antenna that is omnidirectional rather than directional like a cantenna because the directional antenna's are limited by direct line of sight which can be problematic. 8.5db is more than enough. Your wifi signal is a two way street, often times you can find and sign on to a wifi source but will be unable to download anything. The problem is the incoming signal and download speed is strong and fast from the source because of a powerful antenna but the upload is weak coming from your laptop because it has a small transmitter and the emitting antenna is small enough to be buried in your machine. You can hear them but they can't hear you. An external antenna mitigates this problem.
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Old 03-25-2010, 06:46 PM   #12
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We use Verizon prepaid wireless at $50 per month without a contract, so we can discontinue when we return home to the U.K. Remarkably, we have never had a failure to connect in the 4 months we have used the system, at about 20 different locations in FL, all inside the trailer. If we put our heat reflecting metallic sunshields over all the windows, the system slows down, but it has never failed.
Nick.
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:12 AM   #13
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Ahzmyrah, good comments!

WiFi at marinas shares similar distance issues. This is a huge discussion thread over at our sister site, CruisersForum -- Long-Distance WiFi Device - Cruisers & Sailing Forums
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Old 03-26-2010, 09:21 AM   #14
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Aha -- I knew Terry had enhanced the location of his cantenna. Other good posts from experience. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...-go-54832.html
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