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Old 12-18-2016, 06:04 PM   #1
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Wifi for Wife -it has to be good!

Wife works and needs to be online. I got a Pepwave Peplink Surf SOHO and connect it to our Verizon Jetpack, tha gives us online connectivity but... at a price. 5GB last us less than a week (I need to watch Special Report!). WiFi from RV parks is notoriously lousy. I am thinking getting a WifiRanger. Any likes/dislikes? Also, I understand that will make our Peplink redundant, since per specs on the website, the WifiRanger can also use and distribute the Jetpack cellular signal. BTW, I also put the Weboost 4GX (or something like that), so we get a little better signal on our ATT iPhones.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:14 PM   #2
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I am also interested in the topic here, and will be following as well the posts on the Computers, Internet, and Satellite sub-forum within this forum:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451/

where a number of existing threads cover similar topics FYI.
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Old 12-18-2016, 06:20 PM   #3
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I have found the WIFIRanger nearly useless for a host of reasons and just use my T-Mobile hot spot. Big waste of money. Wish I had bought a cellular booster in stead.


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Old 12-18-2016, 06:46 PM   #4
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You'd have to boondock near a Starbucks to get good Wifi. Cellular boosted, larger data plan are what you need. Supposedly there are people selling their transferable Verizon unlimited data plans for around $1000.



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Old 12-18-2016, 07:21 PM   #5
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T-Mobile vs Verizon vs ATT

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2012FB View Post
I have found the WIFIRanger nearly useless for a host of reasons and just use my T-Mobile hot spot. Big waste of money. Wish I had bought a cellular booster in stead.


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Thank you. How good T-Mobile performs for you (coverage, bars, price, etc.) Anyone knows how they compare?

For us Verizon's coverage and speed are excellent, but at a (high) price. I found that data is becoming more expensive, bucking the trend in technology in general. We got notice from COMCAST (Xfinity) that they are setting a limit on GB at home, probably meaning that they will keep restricting and/or increasing price.
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Old 12-18-2016, 10:22 PM   #6
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T-mobile had the best package. They let you carry over each month up to 10 meg. We don't need it all the time so I have never run out. Signal has always been pretty good. Walk around trailer monitoring signal strength then put it in the closest window usually inside but even better outside depending on weather. Thinking of deinstalling the wifiranger and putting the cellular booster in its place.


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Old 12-19-2016, 12:46 PM   #7
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take a look at the Verizon jet pack monthly plans. I have had one for a year or so and use it both at the house as a back up and on the road in our trailer. I find that Verizon has the best coverage in the rural areas. But for example in Cotopaxi, CO no matter your provider you will have zero cell coverage and you are forced to rely on the throttled public internet which means - no internet and no phone for work. You can adjust the monthly amounts up or down easily online and they send emails telling you when you are getting close to running out so you can up the plan to avoid overage charges. The pay as you go plans tend to be inflexible, expensive and hard to administer online.
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Old 12-19-2016, 01:43 PM   #8
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Last summer, just before leaving Seattle to attend the AS rally in WVA, I bought a cellphone & signed up for a service plan with T-Mobile, thinking that it would be useful on the trip (ultimately 6 weeks & 9K miles).

Truck had an oil leak at the top of the pass between ID & MT. Tried to call AAA on the cellphone. No coverage. Flagged down an 18-wheeler. He connected immediately using his Verizon.

After WVA, we headed north for cooler weather. Spent around a week in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. No coverage.

Trailer lost its brakes, so we headed to Minneapolis & an AS dealer. Thereafter, we spent a week in the Black Hills & then a week around Glacier Park. Spotty coverage. Upon returning home, I canceled my T-Mobile service.

My sweetie recently went back to IA & in the process got an Apple phone with Verizon. She's had no connection problems between IA & WA.

When I get another mobile phone service plan, it will be with Verizon. T-Mobile works well locally. My experience is that it's very spotty outside of metropolitan areas, often in areas where I not just want but need coverage.
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:01 PM   #9
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FYI Verizon's Jetpack is discussed in a few threads in the sub-forum linked in Post # 2:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...ck-133997.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...st-156470.html
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f451...rs-127247.html

In research we did a couple of years ago, the Verizon coverage map looked better for our intended routes FWIW. You can zoom in etc. for more detail:

http://vzwmap.verizonwireless.com/do...fault.aspx?zip

FYI
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Old 12-19-2016, 02:24 PM   #10
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Try http://www.technomadia.com for the most current and complete info on connectivity. I joined their forum and read their book. Almost TMI and overwhelming number of possibilities.

Also did an hour long Skype call with them to sort out my specific situation. They are really great folks and well versed in staying connected on the road. I ended up using their suggestions to get a Verizon UDP AOL (assumption of liability) contract through a broker. Expensive and maybe a bit risky proposition but even if Verizon pulls the plug on this deal I feel like I've broken even. If I use about 100-120 Gb per month with it ($45/mo ongoing plan rate), the overall cost for say, two years is reasonable. The initial purchase was ~$1300; 100 Gb would cost about $500 or so just buying it from the carrier.

I highly recommend Cherie and Chris, they're FT RVers that keep on the cutting edge of this technology for a living.
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:16 PM   #11
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Like projects, digital coverage is a triangle; good quality, low cost and wide coverage. you get to pick any 2 sides.
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Old 12-19-2016, 03:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitaver View Post
Wife works and needs to be online. ....
You know the famous line "you had me at hello"? Well, you had me at "wife works and needs to be online" as that also describes me perfectly.

First, for ANYONE considering this issue, I recommend that you spend ten bucks and get a PDF copy of Chris and Cherie's book "The Mobile Internet Handbook", 2016 RVers edition. I predict that you won't be sorry.

Second, for those of us who need to work, and I mean NEED to work for an actual salary as opposed to elective surfing and screwing around online, and need their connectivity to be as foolproof as can be achieved, Chris and Cherie (Technomadia) also do Facetime consultations for a fee. Basically you tell them where you are, where you're going, what you have rig-wise, what your needs are, etc., and they make equipment recommendations based on that hard information.

In the interest of marital harmony, that's the route I chose, and I'm glad I did. We haven't put our system through its paces yet, but at least I was able to gain a high degree of confidence in my purchasing decisions and also get my performance expectations calibrated to where they ought to be. I learned a lot during this process and found it to be worth the investment. I could not have done that kind of research on my own - it simply would have become too large of a time sink and I still would not have had any real-world testing data to back my decisions up (Chris and Cherie have that kind of data).
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Old 12-19-2016, 04:24 PM   #13
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The key to our successful connectivity has been to use a cellular hotspot that has an external antenna connection. That way we could use an outside mounted directional cellular antenna on an extendable mast/flagpole. Our Airstream conveniently had a spare coax connection going from the outside to an overhead cabinet (cable is labeled "Satellite").

The hotspot supports internet connections for our laptops, ipads and iphones. The iPhones on their own will have less than 1 bar inside the Airstream and will drop calls. Connecting them to the hotspot via wifi allows them to have much improved connectivity for both phone calls as well as internet access. With the outside antenna height and directional capability we can usually change a 1 bar area into a solid 3 bar area (as indicated on the hotspot readout).

We went with the Verizon 4G Broadband router.

Here is our equipment list:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00..._detailpages00
Wilson Electronics 700-2700 MHz Wide Band Directional Antenna with F Female Connector $53

http://www.shop.flagpolebuddy.com/16...6016AL-Kit.htm
Flagpole Buddy 16 ft Aluminum Pole & 2.0 Mount Kit $170

http://www.verizonwireless.com/home-...er-with-voice/
Verizon 4G Broadband router with voice + wifi Free with 2 year contract


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
DHT Electronics RF coaxial coax cable assembly SMA male to F female 6''

or

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
DHT Electronics RF coaxial coax adapter RP-SMA male to F female
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Old 12-20-2016, 08:12 AM   #14
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Depending on what kind of work your wife is doing, the jet pack should be considered a tax-deductible work expense. Since that's money that would otherwise go to uncle sam anyway, I tend to be willing to spend a little more in those areas if it's beneficial to me. Consider upgrading to a bigger plan, like the 36GB plan with Verizon.
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Old 12-20-2016, 11:10 AM   #15
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DW also works and needs Internet access when we camp. Given campground wi-fi is an oxymoron, we would not waste any money on a WiFi Ranger or anything like it.

We use Verizon for cellular data because it has, by far, the best overall coverage. Also, they now roll over data which helps. Even so, Verizon does not make unlimited data plans easily available, so we don't have one. See Technomadia for ideas on how to look for and maybe find one. The process seems a bit sketchy, but some folks report success.

We have Verizon's 16GB plan, so with rollover that is enough for us. Beyond that much data, prices are too high to be worth paying. With that plan we do not stream video - we use the cell data for work, email and web surfing. While camping we also update our IOS apps only if we're in a location with good free wi-fi, such as a coffee shop.

Good hunting to you!
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Old 12-21-2016, 07:49 AM   #16
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SureCall Repeater, Amp, Omni Ant + Verizon 4G LTE Mifi

When in the road, I work and need reliable connectivity. The setup we use is:

SureCall Fusion4Home 3G/4G Repeater Kit - Omni/Whip + Verizon 4G LTE Mifi hotspot.

The SureCall setup is designed to use typical cable TV RG6U cable with normal type F connectors. Very simple - same cables as in your home for a set top cable or sat TV. I liked this unit b/c it's a low amp draw and is designed to run on 5-15v DC (and comes with a separate 110v AC adapt). I run it on 12v since that's always on, but can be switched over to the AC adapter if needed.

The system uses an external Omni directional antenna (also in marine applications) and brings the signal inside the airstream, amplifies it and then re-distributes it throughout the airstream. Then each device or mobile hotspot uses the strengthened signal to operate.

We've hade good experience with this set up. However, you need to have at least a very weak signal to connect to and then amplify. If you're off the grid and have absolutely no cell signal, this system will not help you. If that's your requirement, you will need to step up to a satellite transceiver system and data plan (but that's a whole different solution and cost structure).

Reach out to the very helpful people at the 3G store.com and they will find the best system for you.
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Old 12-21-2016, 08:00 AM   #17
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Thanks Debit, and welcome to the forum! Not exactly cheap at $457.45, but maybe cost-effective?

https://www.amazon.com/SureCall-Fusi.../dp/B01AWGY57U

Where and how do you mount the external antenna, and is that a permanent installation? Also, do you have to "aim" the antenna to get the best signal?

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon....526984647_.png

Thanks,

Peter
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Old 12-21-2016, 09:37 AM   #18
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Peter. So we thought the price for the SureCall was not unreasonable since it is a complete kit, including the antenna, mount. amplifier, cabling and power adapter. We wanted a unit that would run on 12vdc as primary power source. The antenna is omni directional so doesn't need to be "aimed." I understand you can get this same kit with a directional antenna if that is better for you. I believe the directional antenna can be superior when you're trying to pull in a very weak/distant cell signal (you'd aim to the closest tower). We just chose the easier omni directional route for simplicity.

I routed the cable through the aluminum skin (yes I drilled a hole) directly above and behind the rear center marker light. I used a pass through water proof marine clam shell seal for the cable, like the one below. Works great and we've been pleased with the solution.
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Old 12-21-2016, 10:41 AM   #19
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Thanks so do you deploy the antenna only when you are set up for camping, and take it in for traveling? Is is up on a pole/mast of some kind?

Thanks
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Old 12-21-2016, 12:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OTRA15 View Post
Thanks so do you deploy the antenna only when you are set up for camping, and take it in for traveling? Is is up on a pole/mast of some kind?

Thanks
So, I wish I had a picture of the install but I don't. It is a permanent installation behind the rear A/C. It's mounted to the roof (and well sealed). I fashioned two "L" brackets into one to make a "C" shaped bracket to then attach and mount the antenna to the roof. It adds amount 6" of additional roof hieght clearance since it extends about 6" above the top of the A/C enclosure. It sits about a foot behind the rear A/C in the center of the roof. Hope this helps!
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