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Old 12-25-2019, 12:29 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by fclewis View Post
After traveling across the country extensively and using the Verizon hotspot we had our local AS dealer install the new Airstream Connect with a dedicated internal router and roof mounted antenna. You set up your personal and secure wifi hotspot and the wireless service is through AT&T. You can pay monthly or annually with unlimited data. The signal is strong enough to reach our tow vehicle.

Although we have not used it extensively yet we ran into several AS owners on the road last summer that had it and are etremely happy. I also replaced our two tv's with smart tv's and can log into netflix, amazon prime, etc.
Your not following the Forum closely enough, "grasshopper".. Read the recent "AT&T Ending WiFi Unlimited Plan" posts.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f540...ml#post2318078
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Old 12-26-2019, 09:45 AM   #42
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Technomania on You Tube has an instructional video installing the buster and pole antenna.
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Old 12-27-2019, 11:28 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda71air View Post
Technomania on You Tube has an instructional video installing the buster and pole antenna.
do you have the site?? They have many posts...
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Old 12-29-2019, 11:07 AM   #44
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External antenna your best bet.

Airstreams are essentially Faraday cages, shielding any antenna inside from receiving a strong signal. We mounted an antenna on the roof an ran the cable down the vent and mounted the receiver above the refrigerator. Your next decision is to use your phone as a hot spot vs. a dedicated device like a jetpack. Some plans limit hotspot data usage. We went with a dedicated Verizon device.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:00 PM   #45
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Boosting phone and internet

I have both weBoost and WifiRanger. ElitePro for RVs. Boost for the phone and Ranger for the internet. Ranger provides stronger connection to any wifi available in the campsites or home wifi. Works great. Purchased Ranger on smile.amazon.com
https://wifiranger.com/images/guides...Comparison.pdf
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Old 12-29-2019, 01:58 PM   #46
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When you are in an area with poor cellular reception, then a system that is optimized to pull in that weak signal is worth the initial investment and greater effort to set up. In a lot of RV sites it is unnecessary but when it is needed, your system has to have a few key components.

If you have to pull in a weak cellular signal from a distant tower (or one that you do not have line-of-sight with), then you really want a hotspot that has an external antenna connection. Connecting the hotspot to a directional antenna on a pole that projects above the roofline of your RV will give you access to the weak signals emanating from the distant tower. Once set up I rotate the antenna through all 8 points of the compass and leave it at the direction that gives the highest signal as viewed on the hotspot's display.

Using the existing 75 ohm RG-5 or RG-6 coax cable in the Airstream marked "Cable" or "Satellite" will work. The cable's impedance and internal resistance is not the best but I have not taken the time to run a proper 50 ohm low loss cable.

Any of the cellular providers hotspots that offer that important external antenna connection capability will work. I happen to use the Verizon 4G LTE Broadband Router with Voice hotspot. It costs $20/month as part of our existing cellular plan.

Benefits:
- One plan contains all of our data costs
- Hotspot is used at home for internet when our cable goes down (once or twice a month)
- Devices in the Airstream like the laptop and ipads are not dependent upon a cell phone being around to use as a hotspot
- Cell phones inside the Airstream are wi-fi enabled and use the Verizon hotspot for their phone calls and internet connection. This provides a solid connection that does not fade in and out as we move about the camper.
- The outside elevated directional antenna consistently gets me 1 to 2 extra bars above what what my smartphone shows when I stand outside of the Airstream

Negatives:
- $20/month for the extra device on my cellular plan
- Having to set up/take down the directional antenna

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 12-29-2019, 03:44 PM   #47
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Smooth talker

I have tested the Wilson, Weboost and Smoothtalker all at the same time and location. The antenna was placed in the same place and height, each time.
The Smoothtalker more than double the cell signal strength over the Weboost. The Weboost did better than the Wilson.
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:24 PM   #48
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My setup is not state of the art, but suffices for the time being. I have a cellular antenna mounted on the roof of my AS, just forward of the front Fantastic vent. The AS aluminum roof provides a fantastic ground plane. The co-ax runs down between the inner & outer skins and comes out on the side of the gaucho, where it is plugged into a Wilson amplifier. This is an older unit that I had installed in 2009 in my previous RV (an AS LY diesel pusher). The inside antenna is just beside the gaucho at the edge of the window. I found that in most cases where signal was very weak, the towers involved were not 4G, but 3G (which is what the Wilson amplifier is), so that I was able to get enough of a signal for data. At the time, it was enough to allow me to access servers that I administered.

I had originally started out with AT&T, but they (in their lack of wisdom) decided to terminate my cell phone claiming I made too many calls off of their network (my domicile is in Canada) and I had then a grandfathered unlimited data plan. I switched over to Verizon in 2008 and have never looked back. AT&T even tried to bill me for service that I never had; I asked for a letter so I could pursue it in small claims court and they folded.
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Old 12-29-2019, 05:31 PM   #49
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We've had good luck with Plumb Cases:

This is the low cost one:

https://plumcases.com/products/plum-star
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Old 12-29-2019, 08:15 PM   #50
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Take a look at wifi ranger new product on the market I am going to the Tampa rv show and talk to co rep they said they would be there
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Old 12-29-2019, 10:32 PM   #51
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I’m not claiming to be an expert but this is what I believe to be true:

It will be quite a while before we see the benefit of 5G in a campground or boon docking. It is extremely unlikely the signal will penetrate an Airstream.

What is nice about 4GLTE is that the signal is at a lower frequency better able to penetrate buildings and deal with hills and valleys. The 5G Verizon and AT&T are using is at a very high frequency making it very directional, working over a short distance and unable to penetrate buildings. Sprint and T-Mobile have a lower frequency/slower 5G but probably don’t have the resources to build a network that will benefit people who aren’t in a major city.

I agree the best signal you will get is with a jetpack physically connected to an outside antenna. I also agree that Wilson makes good stuff.

Next would be the amplified repeater connected to an outside antenna, the Weboost. They don’t sell 4G phones anymore that physically connect to an outside antenna. Thus if you want to boost the signal on a phone while in the camper you’re only choice is an amplified repeater.

5G and 4G are at different frequencies thus requiring different length antennas so if you invest in any of these products they ain’t gonna work for 5G but who cares because unless your camping in a city like Las Vegas you’re not getting 5G anytime soon.

A major problem with the jetpack is that Verizon, at least the last time I checked, doesn’t offer an unlimited data plan. On the phone they do but after a certain point will throttle your speed till the end of the billing cycle. Yes there are some hacks for Android to try and get around this.

So what do I actually do? When traveling I log into my Verizon bump myself and my wife up to the highest Unlimited family share plan. When I want to stream and the signal is weak I turn on the phones hotspot and stick the phone in the skylight. If the signal is really bad I open the door and put the phone on the roof, the awning where ever signal is strongest. The phones WiFi is strong enough to send a strong signal into the airstream while capturing as much of the 4GLTE as possible. if Verizon throttles down data speed on one phone on the plan I use the other phone. When we get home I lower the plan on the next billing cycle because Verizon prorates data.
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Old 12-30-2019, 07:45 AM   #52
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Boosting phone and internet

As at least one other has suggested, the first thing you need is an antenna outside your camper. The second is altitude for that antenna. The third optional thing is a directional antenna you can rotate to aim at a cell tower. Once you’ve achieved two or three of these, you decide how to bring that signal into the trailer where you can use it.

We mounted an omnidirectional antenna on the roof and also attached a directional antenna to our crank-up TV antenna. We brought those signals into the trailer via high quality low-loss cables. Yes, we drilled holes, used cable glands, and Sikaflex 221. Inside, we have both a We Boost and an LTE router with dual sims.

We sometimes connect our omni antenna to the booster so our cell phones can get a signal inside. Sometimes we connect the router to the directional antenna so everything can share the resulting wifi signal once we find a cell tower that works for us. In poor signal conditions, we have been known to connect the directional antenna to the booster to get a usable cell signal since nothing else worked. In extreme poor signal conditions, now that we’re retired we give up and roast marshmallows over the campfire. Before retirement, we moved to a campground with better signals.

That reminds me, we sometimes check intended campsites against the coverage maps for our providers, Verizon & ATT, to see whether we have any hope of a signal. We also check for reported signal strength info from campground review websites.

How do we find a tower for the directional antenna? If the signal is strong enough with the omnidirectional antenna, we don’t care where the tower is. If not, we start with the open signal app. If we can get any signal on our cell phone, that app will eventually tell us roughly where that tower is. Then we crank up the TV antenna and aim the directional antenna at the suspected tower. Failing that, we use empirical methods, as at least one other has suggested, using 8 points of the compass and then observing signal strength as we rotate the antenna. Our LTE router reports signal strength to our laptop while logged into it as admin. The process, while time-consuming, is pretty straightforward.

Does our method work? Before retirement, this investment allowed us to camp and work in places we could not otherwise have stayed. Sometimes while happily working or streaming video from Netflix or Amazon, we see someone walking around the campground with their cell phone held high, prospecting for a signal. Fort Stevens State Park, near Astoria, OR, is a perfect example of such a location. Nowadays, when there’s no signal to be had no matter what, we’re roasting marshmallows, just like everyone else. 🤣
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Old 12-31-2019, 08:26 AM   #53
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Hi

Never / ever *depend* on coverage at a given location. We have gone to a number of campsites that the coverage maps claimed this or that about. At our campsite the maps often were wrong (in either direction).

We have even seen the same thing with campsite reviews. In that case, it is more common to get a "no service here" review and find that there is service than the opposite. It can happen the other way.

The local tower at one place we stayed would drop out on a daily basis. Apparently all the carriers were on the same tower, everybody was down when anybody was down. (You could just about hit the tower with a rock from the campsite). No booster made will help you when the only tower around dies ...

Counting on the campground WiFi to act as a backup? Well, just how does it connect? In the case of the "dying tower" campground, their WiFi went out at least as often as the cell tower and it was down whenever the cell tower was down ....

So, expectations do matter a lot here. We do not *plan* on connectivity. Everybody is expected to have enough "entertainment" along with them to make it through the likely rainy days. Just what that is varies, some people read books .... yikes ....

Bob
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Old 12-31-2019, 11:25 AM   #54
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Great comments, uncle_bob, agreed.

We have also found that when you're out in the boonies and there's only one tower, then during high season that tower sometimes becomes totally overloaded and bandwidth slows to a trickle even with 4 bars of LTE. We've seen this at both Glacier NP (Fish Creek CG) and at Acadia NP (Seawall CG).

Oh, and CG wifi is generally a complete waste of time and effort. We rarely even try it anymore.

So, if you must have connectivity, be prepared to move to where you can get what you need.
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Old 12-31-2019, 12:19 PM   #55
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You don't have to. Just raise it above your vehicle (I use a flagpole extender) it finds the signal. Think 360 degrees. It works well with AT&T on both my Android and my wife's iPhone.
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Old 12-31-2019, 02:15 PM   #56
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Exactly - no need to get fancy like we did. Start with a fiberglass flagpole extender with an antenna on it and see how you like the configuration you're working on before deciding whether to drill any holes in the trailer, etc. You may not need to do any of that stuff.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:34 PM   #57
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Any one seen this device add?

Just saw this add today on FB...anyone have experience on how it works or comments?

https://iconvenientshop.com/products...YThSvMHiUGwiUE
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Old 01-02-2020, 02:25 PM   #58
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Gypsydad

That is a jetpack meaning for it to work you must sign up for a cellular plan. Chances are to purchase it for that price you are signing a contract and it doesn’t say which carrier you are being put on. Note the ad say’s its German and probably is but uses “Qualcomm” components. Qualcomm is very much an American company.

Most cellular carriers will give you a jetpack free when you sign up for service.

Think I should now say that I was a Verizon Wireless Premium Agent for 22 years till another bought me out. Not claiming to be an expert.

(Contel to NYNEX to Bell Atlantic to Verizon)
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Old 01-03-2020, 09:18 AM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven62 View Post
Gypsydad

That is a jetpack meaning for it to work you must sign up for a cellular plan. Chances are to purchase it for that price you are signing a contract and it doesn’t say which carrier you are being put on. Note the ad say’s its German and probably is but uses “Qualcomm” components. Qualcomm is very much an American company.

Most cellular carriers will give you a jetpack free when you sign up for service.

Think I should now say that I was a Verizon Wireless Premium Agent for 22 years till another bought me out. Not claiming to be an expert.

(Contel to NYNEX to Bell Atlantic to Verizon)
Not sure that is accurate about a specific carrier plan needed...says its a "router" and touts just connect to wifi and go...supports up to 10 users...thats what is puzzling...if this is your primary source, what is the value of connecting multiple devices if there is wifi unless it improves coverage from say 1 bar to 3 or 4...if so, could be great for camping/streaming...but without an antenna?

(By the way, I am very familiar with Qualcomm...closed a multimillion $$ software design tool contract with them for Snapdragon chipset development and was moved to San Diego for 3 years to manage the account....boy, do I miss San Diego!)
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Old 01-03-2020, 05:08 PM   #60
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Gypsydad

If you look at the pictures one is of the MEID that is a cellphone serial number, the Mobile Equipmeint Identifier. If you have a 4G smartphone and go to about phone In settings will see each 4G device has one. A jetpack in addition to receiving the internet from the wireless carrier acts as a router allowing more then one device to share the internet access from the wireless carrier. You can connect a laptop, Apple TV or a printer to a jetpack it acts as a wireless router. I could be wrong happens all the time!

Love San Diego and sold a lot of smartphones with SnapDragon processors.
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