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Old 12-22-2018, 09:19 AM   #1
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2019 27' Globetrotter
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WiFi/Wi-Fi extender, local area network in trailer

Looking for recommendations on a small router I could add to our Globetrotter to have WiFi permanently.

Use cases:
- If I am at a campsite, connect to their wifi and use the signal, but still use MY internal network (my SSID, not the campground). I need to be able to access login pages.
- If I am away from the campground, I can connect to my iPhone's tethering feature (or whatever).
- If I am completely off the grid, I still need to have my internal network working, in my local network (like my Mac mini or AppleTV physically in the Globetrotter). I had experience (some times ago) that the router would require an external connectivity to be able to act as a mini DHCP server (e.g. if it was not connected to the internet, your local network would be down). Ideally, if it had a small DNS server you could add entries to, it would be awesome).

(not interested in starting a debate on AT&T vs. Verizon )

Any experience? Any product recommendation? For now, I am looking at inside products (I'll do outside later).

Thanks!
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Old 12-22-2018, 09:39 AM   #2
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Hardware and Resources

JG-

First, you should know about rvmobileinternet.com. It's a paid resource but worth every penny. They do lots of hardware reviews and cover everything from very simple things (jetpacks) to the enterprise routers (cradlepoint). But possibly even more important, they watch the offerings of mobile plans. I've learned a tremendous amount from that site including how to get and keep a old-school Verizon unthrottled and unmanaged unlimited plan (gUDP - for grandfathered). I don't generally pay for subscriptions but in this case, I can't recommend them enough.

That said, you're going to want a mobile router. You might want some extra wifi boosting technology (like a Ranger) but I've never bothered. We boondock 90% of the time so I generally have no Wifi to boost. Others here use them but almost always the source wifi is a disaster and more or less useless - unless you are staying at a friend's place or something. But most campgrounds, forget it.

So, back to routers, you'll be looking for something like a Cradlepoint or Pepwave. A good place to start is the rvmobileinternet.com router page. It'll get you off the ground. Given that I know you are a techie and a consultant, you'll be looking at the high-end stuff. I have a Cradlepoint IBR900 router and I love it. It does everything that I want and everything that you mention. All of my devices get to connect to the AS wifi no matter what source I use. If there is a good signal (that requires no boosting), I simply connect the Cradlepoint to that Wifi access point and all of my devices will utilize it via the router. More often than not, the router is pulling from one of two SIM cards installed within it. Thats where the quality unlimited plans become important.

Keep your questions coming, there is so much great info here and people who have been around the block many times!

Adam
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Old 12-22-2018, 09:41 AM   #3
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Most any low cost router should handle that. If you are a costco member they normally have several such as Netgear.
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Old 12-22-2018, 10:10 AM   #4
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I have a router that is powered by 12 volts. Just check any that you want for a 12 volt power block.
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Old 12-22-2018, 10:29 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by afk314 View Post
Cradlepoint IBR900 router
Thanks Adam!

I’ll keep that in mind when I want the pro setup , maybe this summer...

For now, I am looking for something cheap and quickly installed. I thought I had one at home, but probably gone with the donations...
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Old 12-22-2018, 11:20 AM   #6
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WifiRanger works well, designed for mobile use.
I'm using the GoAC and EliteAC routers.
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Old 12-22-2018, 01:24 PM   #7
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One way to create a low-cost DIY system that meets all of your use cases would be to use two low-cost routers. One wireless router to provide a local-area-network for your trailer and another wireless router to connect to the park's WiFi. I've cobbed a system like this together using an Apple Airport Express (although you could use any low-cost router) that I purchased used on Craigslist and another router running DD-WRT firmware running on a Linksys WRT54G router, which again you can find used for between $10 and $25 on Craigslist or eBay. DD-WRT works well on many different platforms, not only the WRT54G.

The Airport provides WiFi internally to clients inside the trailer, creating your own LAN. DD-WRT allows you to point this secondary router to either your phone in tethering mode when there's no park WiFi or to the park's Wifi system. It's a bit clumsy compared to a pro system but it's something you can put together for $50 or less if you're not frightened by flashing and configuring a router.
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Old 12-22-2018, 03:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by kenfconnor View Post
Most any low cost router should handle that. If you are a costco member they normally have several such as Netgear.
Thanks to the link from Adam, I now that the feature I was looking for has a name, it’s called “WiFi as WAN” (maybe other names too) but most routers DO NOT seem to have this feature. Looks like some ASUS have this feature, but not even all...
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Old 12-22-2018, 03:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by alano View Post
One way to create a low-cost DIY system that meets all of your use cases would be to use two low-cost routers. One wireless router to provide a local-area-network for your trailer and another wireless router to connect to the park's WiFi. I've cobbed a system like this together using an Apple Airport Express (although you could use any low-cost router) that I purchased used on Craigslist and another router running DD-WRT firmware running on a Linksys WRT54G router, which again you can find used for between $10 and $25 on Craigslist or eBay. DD-WRT works well on many different platforms, not only the WRT54G.

The Airport provides WiFi internally to clients inside the trailer, creating your own LAN. DD-WRT allows you to point this secondary router to either your phone in tethering mode when there's no park WiFi or to the park's Wifi system. It's a bit clumsy compared to a pro system but it's something you can put together for $50 or less if you're not frightened by flashing and configuring a router.
I came to the same conclusion, but I am not sure I want to do too much DIY and deal with network issues . But it’s definitely a good plan. Thanks.
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Old 12-23-2018, 11:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgperrin View Post
Any experience? Any product recommendation? For now, I am looking at inside products (I'll do outside later). I want the pro setup , maybe this summer...
Antennas are key, and the cheaper LTE routers with internal antennas will likely perform poorly when outside a metro area. We've found our mobile router works reasonably well inside with the trailer using the 5 dB paddle LTE antennas. We are installing an good external antenna, but will keep the WiFi on internal antennas.

If you get a cheaper mobile router, like the ZTE MF279, get one that has two SMA external LTE antenna connectors. For best performance, get one with multiple WiFi antennas.

For your pro setup, we can highly recommend the Sierra Wireless MP-70 or LX-60 mobile gateway. We've used the MP-70 for several years in our AS, with both Verizon and AT&T. It offers all the services your describe.

The MP-70 gateway has two SIM card slots, and we have two AT&T SIMs. When we reach the usage limit on one, using the gateway's web interface, we switch SIMs. The MP-70 will email us when we approach the usage limits.

MP70 is a high-quality, enterprise grade mobile router. We chose that as our professional engineering company depends on solid Internet connection when traveling. We compared these to Cradlepoint, Pepwave, etc. We found the Sierra Wireless was the one for our needs - now and in the future.

We also like the Sierra Wireless AirVantage device management web service. With that we can securely track our trailer, do firmware upgrades, read trailer voltages, and even change configuration.

For your DNS service, recommend using Cisco's UMBRELLA DNS service, also called OpenDNS at 208.67.222.222. This provides considerable security services as well. You can also use the Google DNBS service at 8.8.8.8.

73/gus
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Old 12-23-2018, 12:05 PM   #11
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I need to be able to access login pages.
How do you enter credentials in the splash page? It's the page that opens and asks you to accept the terms and conditions. If someone has a way to do this, please share. TIA, Dave
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Old 12-23-2018, 12:26 PM   #12
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Had an interesting conversation with DISH a few weeks ago. Turns out they are reallocating band width on their satellites to accommodate WiFi. Should be available next spring. Will necessitate a satellite dish and probably a new version of the Wally.

I Boondock most of the year and can’t wait...
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Old 12-23-2018, 12:41 PM   #13
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+1 on the WiFiRanger. These routers are designed to march down a priority list of internet sources—tethered, hotspots, park WiFi, etc and connect to the best one. That way you keep one SSID for your trailer and let the router figure out the best way to get that to you.

I just have the cheapest one but they have some pretty fancy systems.

Park WiFi isn’t worth spending a lot of money on your hardware on unless you go to the same place all the time and you know it works. Usually is marginal at best.
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Old 12-23-2018, 01:40 PM   #14
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WiFi ranger works very well and it comes with interior router
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