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Old 05-28-2017, 02:29 PM   #1
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CradlePoint vs Weboost and Surf N Go

So I'm putting this out there for the group to weigh in based on collective experiences.

Wife and I both work quite a bit from our campers, so that means we're usually bringing out the Verizon MiFi. I've had limited success using a Yagi by itself with the MiFi, so I'm looking for a solution to solve 2 problems:
#1 - signal booster for Verizon using the Yagi
#2 - Strong WiFi inside and in the "porch" area of the 30' AS

Solution 1:
- Cradlepoint IBR900. This is the expensive option, $850 just for the router without any antennas. But if I'm reading the specs correctly I can come directly into the Cradlepoint with my external Yagi; and then have a WiFi antenna on the Cradlepoint for interior WiFi and maybe run an external WiFi antenna mounted to the side of the AS for porch if it wasn't strong enough already. Easily $1000 by the time you figure antennas, etc.

- Weboost RV and Pepwave Surf On the Go. $450 for the Weboost and $120 for the Surf On The Go. Weboost would use my existing Yagi. MiFi would connect to the boosted signal, USB to the Surf On the Go. Surf On the Go would provide high power WiFi. So $600 all in. And there's probably an alternative tot he Surf On the Go that would work just as well and be cheaper.
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Old 05-28-2017, 03:05 PM   #2
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Cradlepoint for sure. For many reasons.

Cradlepoint has a built-in cellular 4g data modem. It just needs a SIM card from your favorite carrier. USB modems are nowhere near as reliable as the Cradlepoint is. A MiFi needs manual powering up, CP is always on. The CP is designed to work with high-gain external antennas and will not suffer from overload in high strength mixed RF environments. (Do use proper feedline on that yagi or high gain omnidirectional antenna, that's not RG174U mini cable, you'll lose more than you gain with that cable.) You have two cellular antenna ports and two Wi-Fi antenna ports on the CP. Use one on the yagi for cell, you can use other cellular antennas simultaneously too and the CP will dynamically select the best cellular antenna signal, same for Wi-Fi. Your one Wi-Fi antenna inside the trailer and one on the skin would work beautifully with the CP for Wi-Fi. The CP has a sophisticated internal router that is very configurable. You'll appreciate that.

With a booster you'll get a cone of death where the over the air the air cellular signal and the boosted cellular signal approximate each other's signal strength. This is because they are out of phase with each other. They will interfere with each other. So you'll have dead spots. That can't happen with the CP. Not to mention any cellular booster that's decent will approach the cost of the CP with none of the advantages.

Also, the CP has an Ethernet port available, so you can feed an Ethernet switch in the trailer and hard wire anything that might need it using standard network cabling.

CP hands down.
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Old 05-28-2017, 04:08 PM   #3
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Old 05-29-2017, 03:32 PM   #4
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I used the pepwave for a bit, it's fine but part of their business model is subscription and paying for extra functionality. I like cradlepoint but you have to get an extra module for a second sim card, it gets expensive. As well I'm concerned that a couple years down the road I'll want some new lte capability and that may not be possible with cradlepoint.

I also needed multiple inputs since we spend time between Canada and US. I ended up using a Draytek Vigor 2925ac. It has 4 USB ports and supports two wan via ethernet + two via USB. I'm able to hook up a backup drive, a couple hotspots (verizon+att&t or tmobile), a bullet wifi booster and a Rogers hotspot that only connects via ethernet. It is quite complex to configure, but you can literally do about anything you can imagine. Not for the non-technically inclined.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:35 AM   #5
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The Cradlepoint does LTE and Band 12 (T-Mobile 700 MHz) too.
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Old 05-30-2017, 06:55 AM   #6
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Lot's of good thoughts here so far - want to comment on a few things.

Cradlepoint - if I went this route I would just pull the SIM out of my MiFi and put it in the Cradlepoint as I wouldn't use both simultaneously.

Pepwave - It's my understanding they are no longer charging for the cloud services. The website says 100% free remote management, etc.

Weboost - the only added benefit here would be we could use it with our phones too. The CP would be an internet-only solution.

rskunath - in your experience does the CP need a porch WiFi antenna or was the WiFi radio strong enough to cover the whole AS?
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:43 AM   #7
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Yes, you would use your existing SIM in the Cradlepoint. You don't need the MiFi. As to Cradlepoint and cellphones, remember that any modern cellphone can use HD voice and IP calling with Verizon now. You just need to activate this and the cellphones will use your data connection to make voice calls when the cell tower is too weak to use. Works seamless with cell tower coverage but with much better sound quality. So you can use the stronger wireless signal on the Wi-Fi side of the Cradlepoint for phone coverage voice and data. As to coverage in and around the trailer, I didn't need an outside antenna. But whether you would depends on how much outside range you need. It's a bit hard to predict. I'd try it. If you need more just add a weatherproof blister antenna outside or for even more range a high gain omnidirectional antenna. Best part is that it's there if you need it with two wireless antenna ports and two cellular antenna ports.

I've setup a CP and an 18 DB gain omnidirectional antenna and seen coverage over about 8000 square feet. That's likely a lot more than you're needing.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:48 AM   #8
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On another note - I've got LMR200 for my Yagi. You think something else would do better?
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:35 AM   #9
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What is the gain on that yagi, I need to know if it's specified in dBi or dBd? And, how long would the entire cable run be between the antenna and the cellular device?
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:41 AM   #10
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This is the kit: Novatel Wireless Verizon Jetpack MiFi 6620L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot External wide band Log Periodic yagi antenna kit highest gain 11DB w/ 30ft cable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00P7Z9338..._wrylzb76513S7

States 11Dbi with the 30' cable. Based on what I've seen so far the 30' should be plenty
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Old 05-30-2017, 10:08 AM   #11
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11 dB so I'll assume worst case, i.e. high but not real world numbers. That'll be 8x gain over a typical short antenna. You're going to lose 5.5 dB of that gain in the coaxial feedline assuming LMR200. Add a dB for connectors and you have real world gain of under 2x over a shorter whip.

There are some 18 dBi gain yagi antennas available. These, like yours, are log-periodic type wide bandwidth antennas, and are actually twin side by side 15 dBi antennas in a combined array. About $150 or so. And pretty small. That's a real power gain of 63x over isotopic. Switch to LMR400 cable and your cable loss drops to 2 dB add to that the connector loss and you still have impressive gain.

All of the antennas discussed cover all of the cellular bands, including Band 12, that's 700 MHz LTE and will give the best range if your carrier uses it.
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Old 05-30-2017, 03:56 PM   #12
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You have been extremely helpful as this is my next project to delve into before the AS arrives. I will be working from my AS full time but lack the IT background to be very helpful to myself. I can build a house from the foundation up but God forbid I have a problem with my computer. The Amazon link was very helpful and I looked up each item in your discussion (watched the sales videos if available). However I got lost in the end regarding how many different antennas needed.
18dbi yagi, proper cable, CP (sim from my Verizon WiFi). Would I be absurd to think I can work on a CAD program live (go to meeting or whatever program of the day) with someone else while speaking to them on the phone?
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:09 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyet View Post
You have been extremely helpful as this is my next project to delve into before the AS arrives. I will be working from my AS full time but lack the IT background to be very helpful to myself. I can build a house from the foundation up but God forbid I have a problem with my computer. The Amazon link was very helpful and I looked up each item in your discussion (watched the sales videos if available). However I got lost in the end regarding how many different antennas needed.
18dbi yagi, proper cable, CP (sim from my Verizon WiFi). Would I be absurd to think I can work on a CAD program live (go to meeting or whatever program of the day) with someone else while speaking to them on the phone?
Good questions - and don't feel bad. I have a heavy IT, network background and it all goes out the window when you start talking about portable, mobile solutions and integrating into an RV.

So - if you current phone (and carrier) supports "calling over WiFi", then you should be able to work on your laptop doing anything over WiFi while making a simultaneous call. The limiting factor will be network strength, but as we've established the CP is probably a better cell radio than the Weboost boosted solution - and DEFINITELY a better radio than the 6620 MiFi.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:10 PM   #14
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My biggest concern is running the cables, etc. It doesn't seem like there's good access to the cable runs - and the AS was my wife's birthday present, so she's very particular about everything that gets done to it.

And I'm saying that as someone who's done a number of car radio and car mod installations, home audio wiring, and home/business network wiring.
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Old 05-30-2017, 04:21 PM   #15
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Remember that the CP is outdoor rated. Not the enclosure, but temperature wise. So you could install it in the rear compartment, add a weatherproof type N coaxial bulkhead connector, and then an antenna mast mount either to the bumper or on an on-ground mount with a mast holding the yagi. The wireless antenna could easily be routed into the trailer interior from there. There are a lot of ways to get your project done.

LTE is pretty fast. I've often done a Go to Meeting live and an HD voice call using LTE. Cell data loading depends on the tower user count and how many time slots are available at the time you're online. And some of that depends on where the tower is. Boondocks towers would typically have less time slots available.
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rskunath View Post
Remember that the CP is outdoor rated. Not the enclosure, but temperature wise. So you could install it in the rear compartment, add a weatherproof type N coaxial bulkhead connector, and then an antenna mast mount either to the bumper or on an on-ground mount with a mast holding the yagi. The wireless antenna could easily be routed into the trailer interior from there. There are a lot of ways to get your project done.
Good call! I'm leaning towards installation under the front sofa next to where the battery cables come in. Yagi cabling will be routed to battery compartment and stored coiled up when not in use. I've got a flag pole holder I throw under the front jack for my portable mast.

But your comments have me thinking - maybe my external wifi Omni could mount inside the propane holder since it's plastic...
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:24 PM   #17
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I've been using the existing coax cabling in the Airstream to allow me to place my Verizon Broadband Hotspot/router in the overhead bin that holds the DVD player. The "satellite" coax was already there along with a 12 VDC power line that I use to drive a DC/DC Converter to power the hotspot/router. The Airstream coax cabling presents more line loss than I would like but I'll tackle running the right cable some other day!

I hook up the cellular directional antenna to the satellite port on the side of the Airstream and I also took advantage of the "Cable TV" port to hook up a bowtie antenna for my weather radio. Here is a list of the parts as well as a photo of the antenna.

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
6Gb Data Plan + Access for 1 device = $80/month

Router is powered by a CUI, Inc. PYB20-T & PYB20-U 12 volt DC to 5 volt DC Inverter:
http://www.cui.com/product/power/dc-...pyb20-t-series

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

http://www.amazon.com/Reecom-RA-1601...ilpage_o01_s00
Unique Reecom RA-1601 Weather Alert Radio External Antenna $42

The Verizon hotspot allows me to connect my cellphones, ipads and work laptop to the wifi both inside the Airstream and outside under the awning. I've had 0 to 1/2 bar showing on my iPhone and will get 3 bars on the hotspot with the 16' antenna in some cases. Very happy with this setup while I am still employed and having to work remotely occasionally. The monthly fees may be a bit much once I retire...
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:12 PM   #18
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Thanks Bosco! I wonder if you could just yank the satellite coax out, pulling through the cable you want...

I thought about the Verizon home router as I put one in at the family farm and it does very well. However I don't want to add another line to my plan, and I think the CP is probably going to do better with low signal than a home product.
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Old 05-30-2017, 08:52 PM   #19
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Proper 50 ohm coaxial cable will be a larger diameter than RG-59 coax. Pulling with RG-6 might work, but that'd be LMR200 and for a 30 foot run or more, mast included, you'll want LMR400 coaxial cable and type N connectors (except for the end feeding the SMA connectors on the CP. Saved cable loss is essentially free gain.
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:02 PM   #20
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Another "Yes" vote for Cradlepoint. We have the previous model, the IBR1100. We have three antennae on the roof. One is the Wilson Yagi, which we strapped onto the crank-up TV antenna, and the other two are SureCall Omni antennas. All three antennas come into the trailer via white flexy LMR400.

Most often, I route the Yagi antenna to the Cradlepoint and re-broadcast WiFi inside or outside the trailer to create a LAN. If i want WiFi outside, I use one of the SureCall antennas for that.

The other SureCall antenna is often fed into a WeBoost 4GX that has a Wilson panel antenna inside the trailer. This enables our phones to pull in a decent cell signal while inside the trailer.

Also, if we simply cannot get an un-boosted signal via the Yagi, I will allow the CP to pick up the boosted 4GX signal, attaching the booster to either the Yagi or the SureCall antenna - whatever gets a signal.

Lots of flexibility, sometimes a bit of fiddling to get the best configuration running but hey, that's most of the fun.

Oh, and yes, we drilled holes in the trailer to get the LMR400 inside.
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