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Old 09-28-2017, 10:14 PM   #1
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Best Product for 2018 IS WiFi Extender?

First thank you to all those that gave me advise on whether to buy a 2017 or 2018 IS. I bit the bullet and not only ordered the 2018 Grand Tour but it has both Air Suspension as well as a Tommy Bahama version. Thank ALL of you.

On to my question. When considering a 2018 IS, with the three solar panels on the roof, what would be the best solution for a REALLY Good WiFi extender. Thanks in advance for your feedback.
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Old 09-29-2017, 08:23 AM   #2
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I have a Pepwave Soho hooked up to a Surecall Omni antenna. Works great, and significantly cheaper than the WifiRanger. Not hard at all to set up. Some folks use a Cradlepoint router instead of the Pepwave Soho with good results.
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Old 09-29-2017, 09:12 AM   #3
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Just like with the question of "what coach should I buy?", you should probably do an analysis of how and where you want to connect to the internet. I went through this a while ago, and decided that a cell booster was a better fit for me and my needs than a WiFi booster. I wanted connectivity so my daughter can stream videos and music while we're on the road, and have a chance at getting a cell signal while we're camped at night in remote places to check email, send/receive texts, etc. I have an unlimited data plan with Verizon (and AT&T, but after our last trip I'm dropping AT&T because their coverage is a lot worse) and together with my WeBoost Drive 4Gx we had access to everything we needed pretty much 24/7. The only place we lost service was on the mountain pass in the NE corner of Yosemite. A WiFi booster would do me no good at all because it doesn't work while moving and there's never a local WiFi signal to boost where we camp.

Just my $.02.....
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:20 AM   #4
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+1 on doing a needs analysis. This is especially important if you ever hope to use your system in Canada.
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Old 09-29-2017, 02:52 PM   #5
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As others have mentioned... WiFi booster will only be 1/2 as good as the WiFi it will boost from...

A MiFi with an external antenna booster would be a better option. We used to have two from Sprint when we traveled (non RV travel)... we no longer have these...

As we get ready to start this RV experience, I have been reading about both aspects of it. MiFi and WiFi... WiFi boosters, two systems came up and both with mixed reviews... on the less expensive side you have to worry about how weatherproof the antenna is... or, if you go with the higher cost marine antenna, you get weather resistant hardware.

1. Alfa WiFi Camp Pro Kit -- long range Wi-Fi repeater kit -- includes Alfa R36/Tube-(U)N/AOA-2409-TF antenna - US$145.00

and

2. Marine grade Bitstorm XTREME MJ (Metal Jacket) - Complete Systems with Unleashed wireless - US$535.00

There are other similar units... these are the ones that I was looking at
So be sure to Google them, read the reviews and then decide... the interesting comment was that while these help boost the signal, the negative aspect is that the throughput suffers. One of the reviews for the first one talks about the owner doing speednet tests, here, let me just quote what he said... you can find the review in Amazon...

Quote:
Ok first the pros.
Pros:
1) It definitely extends the range of detecting wifi networks. Went from about 5 or 6 networks being seen, to like over 20.
2) Having both a DC and AC adapter is GOLDEN for RVs. Granted, if you are at a campground that has wifi, more than likely you will have electric hookups, but I can see boondocking in a Walmart parking lot with a McDonald's/Starbucks across the parking lot and having DC power would be ideal for not having to run the generator
3) Hookup, configuring and connecting was a breeze...I am an IT guy so that might be taken in to consideration
4) The antenna, USB cable, inside booster, etc all seem to be VERY well made.

Cons:
1) This is really my only con, after hooking up the booster and configuring everything, I tested the speeds using the normal SpeedTest app on my phone. Side by side tests without even moving from a chair in the house with the antenna sitting right next to me. Initially, the speed difference was HORRIBLE...went from 15-18Mb down/ 7-10MB down to like 2-3Mb down/ 1-2Mb up. Looked online and saw a firmware upgrade for the unit, so I downloaded the firmware and updated the device. Now its about half of what I got without using the booster (8-9Mb down & 4-6Mb up). Which makes sense because you are basically making a 1 hop into technically 3 hop connection. I am fine with that just because the range and the ability to pick up any signall with in the RV is a God send.
So we have not decided on what to get or if we just get a MiFi and an external antenna for it...
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:09 PM   #6
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I broke and purchased a Wifi Ranger Elite AC. Works well when there is a signal to get.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:17 PM   #7
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Best Product for 2018 IS WiFi Extender?

I had a Wifi ranger in my last trailer bur moved to a pepwave soho router in my trailer and plan to add a surecall antenna up top in the spring. The Pepwave has a much better administration interface IMO and the Wifi Ranger was, well Ďflakyí in that it didnít always behave nicely (for instance you would connect to a 3rd party wi-if network but it would take some time before routing traffic through (minutes), or it would loose contact with Sky remote antenna on startup)

At the end of the day though, LTE / mobile internet (I use a VZ jetpack and ATT iPhone hotspot depending on which carrier has better reception) is almost always faster and more reliable than campground WIFI regardless of how strong the wi-fi signal is.
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:22 PM   #8
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Hi

As many others have mentioned, a WiFi gizmo is only as good as the campground WiFi will let it be. If you camp in the middle of an urban area, there may be other options. Anyplace we spend time, you have pretty limited connectivity via WiFi. You can go over and sit on top of the antenna and still get an awful connection.

If you are in the west, get Verizon. If you are in the east, get AT&T. Cell data is way better everywhere we have been than the WiFi at the campground. In some cases it's been better than what most people have at home ....

Bob
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Old 09-29-2017, 03:23 PM   #9
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Best Product for 2018 IS WiFi Extender?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

As many others have mentioned, a WiFi gizmo is only as good as the campground WiFi will let it be. If you camp in the middle of an urban area, there may be other options. Anyplace we spend time, you have pretty limited connectivity via WiFi. You can go over and sit on top of the antenna and still get an awful connection.

If you are in the west, get Verizon. If you are in the east, get AT&T. Cell data is way better everywhere we have been than the WiFi at the campground. In some cases it's been better than what most people have at home ....

Bob


Totally agree Bob. LTE is the way to go. I carry both ATT and VZ networks with me. And if you have DIRECTV, streaming DTV content over ATT does not count against usage or speed CAPS.

Look at getting a WeBoost 50 or 70db amplifier to pull in stronger mobile signal / coverage to your trailer - that is a better investment IMO then a Wifi repeater with powered antenna.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:42 AM   #10
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Hi

In a typical campground, there is really only *one* WiFi that you want to connect to. There may be 500 signals from people's local networks, but the campground is the only route out. The rest are locked and not useful to you. The campground might have ten antennas around. They still (likely) only have one "pipe" to the outside world. The only one of the campground signals that is worth trying is the strongest of the bunch.

The only place that you will see multiple public WiFi networks is when you are parked in a shopping center parking lot. You might then have each of five or six stores you could pick between. In our experience, shopping centers are generally *not* where we want to spend a lot of time with the trailer

The problem with WiFi is that there are a very small number of channels. The more modern the system, the more channels it uses at one time. Some gear actually uses every channel in an entire band. No matter how fancy your gizmo, congestion still impacts you. You might get a signal. The congestion may take the data rate down to near zero .... Boosting your signal helps you a little. The next guy over then boosts his. The guy four sites boosts his and you are back to zero ...

The bottom line is that WiFi is not well adapted to doing this sort of thing. If you want to cover a large area, it takes careful planning and some level of tweaking. Even in areas like a collage campus, it is rare to see it done really well. In a campground it is even more rare.

Lots of fun !!!

Bob
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Old 09-30-2017, 10:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wulfraat View Post
At the end of the day though, LTE / mobile internet (I use a VZ jetpack and ATT iPhone hotspot depending on which carrier has better reception) is almost always faster and more reliable than campground WIFI regardless of how strong the wi-fi signal is.
Great point Wulf.

In my limited experience of staying in "camping cabins" at various campgrounds prior to getting the Interstate, even when going and standing next to the WiFi antennae and getting "full bars", the throughput was so bad it felt like the old 56k modem days. Just sending/receiving email could take minutes or just timeout and fail, and there's no way you could stream anything, not even music.

I think campgrounds put in a router so they can put "FREE WIFI" on the sign out by the main road, but they typically have no idea how to set one up for a large number of users, and very rarely will you find one that has extenders/range boosters throughout the facility. The problem the latter causes is lots of dropped packets and retries, which kills throughput performance. Even if YOU have a booster, chances are the other 100 campers in the campground do not, so your chance of getting decent performance is pretty slim. Maybe larger CG's like KOA and private ones have better WiFi service, but I've never stayed at those so I can't comment.
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Old 10-01-2017, 07:51 AM   #12
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Hi

To be fair to the campgrounds, the internet provider "out in the sticks" may be the issue. Like it or not, the quality of internet you can get changes as you leave the big urban areas. You go from "would you like 100 MBPS?" to "our super high speed ultra package is 1.5 MBPS". The next lovely detail is that the price of both of those packages may be the same If you have never lived in one of the areas "out there" count yourself lucky. The area does not have to be rural. There are all sorts of strange pockets that don't get covered. Few customers per mile = coverage is unlikely.

Yes indeed, you could put in a dedicated line. Something really big and massive is a choice. For a few thousand dollars a mile you can get a ... wait for it .... 1.5 MBPS dedicated line ...Indeed I've paid the $5,000 a month bills for lines like that "back in the day". Out in the sticks, that's still what the charges look like. In town, yup, I can do *way* better cost wise. Why? The little rural telecom outfit simply does not have much of a pipe into their office ..

Lots of issues ....

Bob
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:02 PM   #13
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We typically use our WiFi repeater when we're house-sitting or moochdocking and there is a private wifi signal to connect to. Our lifestyle has us on private property more often than in campgrounds.

Leanne and I both work remotely, so we have to have connectivity wherever we are.

In our limited experience with campground wifi, it hasn't been worth the trouble to connect to. Even if you can get a reliable signal, it's bad form to suck up all the bandwidth. Forget streaming video. We'll tether our phones, use the jetpack, or go into town and do our high data work at a library or coffee shop. Netflix lets you download shows to your phone to watch later.

It's nice, but not critical, to be able to broadcast our jetpack signal outside the Airstream through our router. If you need the jetpack to be sitting in front of the weboost antenna but you want to be work outside, you can hook them together. Then again, in most cases you could just take the jetpack outside with you.

If you're full-timing and working on the road, a wifi repeater probably makes sense. If you're on vacation or retired, a jetpack or similar device plus a WeBoost might be all you need.
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Old 10-01-2017, 02:41 PM   #14
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I had great wifi last week in a city-owned RV park in Glen Rose, TX. This rarely happens.

The first good fortune was that the park antenna was mounted on a picnic shelter, about 15' away from my laptop with nothing but glass between.

The second good fortune is that the city had apparently paid to put in adequate electronics. Response was as good as it is here at home on my upgraded cable.

Service like this is rare, but since I do not need wifi for any commercial reason, I can live with pretty much what Comes along. Worst case, I just tote the laptop to in or near the office and I have always had enough thruput to meet my needs.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:43 AM   #15
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There's money in them thar hills.

(Translation: Glen Rose is fairly well-to-do).
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:19 AM   #16
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I have the Alpha Camp Pro deal and it works just fine provided you can get a good signal to start with. The thing I like about it is that with the Alpha I have my own little local network and my wife and I can have two computers, or tablets, or phones on wifi and the campground sees only one connection. No need for each device to connect to the campground wifi.
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Old 08-28-2018, 09:29 AM   #17
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Ive been using wifiranger since their beginning. Endured growing pains, and now its great.
GoAc, paired with Elite AC work really well.
I upgraded the stock external antenna to a better Alfa, and get crazy good reception.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:38 PM   #18
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I was initially leaning to WeBoost for my needs. After following this thread, you folks convinced me to go this route. Thank you! Also, our Sprint signal is just not good outside of city, so the recommendation to Verizon west is one I am strongly considering after seeing how WeBoost works on a few trips.

I will probably buy the Drive 4G-X RV (50db omnidirectional) coz their Connect RV 65 (65db directional) is made for stationary only.

JOHN - funny you mentioned your Glen Rose campground. We now have a few campgrounds (private/state parks) in NV & UT that we frequent. Since we already know the lay of the park, I made note of the antenna locations and often successfully request those sites, it helps a bit being close
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Old 08-29-2018, 05:11 AM   #19
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SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 was released around March 2018 is the direct competitor to the weBoost 4Gx.

We have the latter and itís impressive what it can accomplish, but the SureCall may actually eclipse it (itís discussed on other threads). SureCall is also about a hundred bucks cheaper.
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Old 08-29-2018, 11:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
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SureCall Fusion2Go 3.0 was released around March 2018 is the direct competitor to the weBoost 4Gx.

We have the latter and itís impressive what it can accomplish, but the SureCall may actually eclipse it (itís discussed on other threads). SureCall is also about a hundred bucks cheaper.
INTERBLOG - Thats impressive, the test, side-side comparison. Worth looking into with price much cheaper. Wonder if 2nd hi-tech product named Fusion in AI may be tempting fate too much?
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