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Old 03-04-2021, 06:30 PM   #1
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Hillsborough , North Carolina
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Internet with no holes in Airstream

Here is one easy way to get good internet inside the Airstream and No Holes.

A flagpole
A pair of directional antenna
A MiFi
An outdoor enclosure.

Yes, there have been a zillion threads on various ways to mount antenna, etc... But with all the New Airstreams owners this past year, I thought this topic worth revisiting. I suspect many of those new owners are wondering how to get good internet without drilling holes.

For the MiFi that have the TS-9 connectors for external antenna connections this works well. Verizon 8800L and ATT Netgear 4G.

Be Careful, the new 5G MiFi (T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T) do not have the external antenna connections. But this solution works great for those 5G MiFi as well. In that case, I mount the Altelix Enclosure at the top of the pole and ignore the directional antenna. Getting the MiFi Hotspot up in the air and outside the Airstream has a great improvement on signal.

Here are a few details:
The Altelix enclosure has a weather seal and is made of a plastic that allows WIFI to pass.
I use a pair of pole clamps to hold the Altelix enclosure to the flagpole.
This lets the Altelix mount near the ground for easy access when using the directional antenna, or easy enough to mount the Altelix enclosure at the top of the pole for 5G connectivity hotspots. The flagpole goes up and down so easy the 5G method is not a problem for when I want to turn on and off the Hotspot.

I have an drop cord going into the enclosure through one of the sealed grommets. The AC power cord stays with the Altelix enclosure for storage. I plug the drop cord into the outdoor outlet. I used the small power adapter that came with the hotspot inside the enclosure. I have measured the temperature rise inside the enclosure with the power supply and MiFi running. So far so good on temperature.

We tried the antenna base under a tire, but that turned out to be too much of a hassle when backing into a campsite, trying to level the trailer, and remembering to put the base in the right place before the final backup stopping point. Much easier under the tongue jack.




For what it is worth: I also have the WeBoost Drive 4G-X but I find the 2x2 MIMO antenna beats the weboost amplifier in terms of actual data throughput most of the time.
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:39 PM   #2
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2021 23' International
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeSag View Post
Here is one easy way to get good internet inside the Airstream and No Holes.

A flagpole
A pair of directional antenna
A MiFi
An outdoor enclosure.

Yes, there have been a zillion threads on various ways to mount antenna, etc... But with all the New Airstreams owners this past year, I thought this topic worth revisiting. I suspect many of those new owners are wondering how to get good internet without drilling holes.

For the MiFi that have the TS-9 connectors for external antenna connections this works well. Verizon 8800L and ATT Netgear 4G.

Be Careful, the new 5G MiFi (T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T) do not have the external antenna connections. But this solution works great for those 5G MiFi as well. In that case, I mount the Altelix Enclosure at the top of the pole and ignore the directional antenna. Getting the MiFi Hotspot up in the air and outside the Airstream has a great improvement on signal.

Here are a few details:
The Altelix enclosure has a weather seal and is made of a plastic that allows WIFI to pass.
I use a pair of pole clamps to hold the Altelix enclosure to the flagpole.
This lets the Altelix mount near the ground for easy access when using the directional antenna, or easy enough to mount the Altelix enclosure at the top of the pole for 5G connectivity hotspots. The flagpole goes up and down so easy the 5G method is not a problem for when I want to turn on and off the Hotspot.

I have an drop cord going into the enclosure through one of the sealed grommets. The AC power cord stays with the Altelix enclosure for storage. I plug the drop cord into the outdoor outlet. I used the small power adapter that came with the hotspot inside the enclosure. I have measured the temperature rise inside the enclosure with the power supply and MiFi running. So far so good on temperature.

We tried the antenna base under a tire, but that turned out to be too much of a hassle when backing into a campsite, trying to level the trailer, and remembering to put the base in the right place before the final backup stopping point. Much easier under the tongue jack.




For what it is worth: I also have the WeBoost Drive 4G-X but I find the 2x2 MIMO antenna beats the weboost amplifier in terms of actual data throughput most of the time.
Brilliant!
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:42 PM   #3
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Question

Why "no holes?"

Aren't the doors and windows holes in the trailer?

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Old 03-04-2021, 07:21 PM   #4
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Straight out the Window

Thanks OTRAA15.

Today is a great example.

When I stand the MiFi on the table and aim it out the window
It is pointing directly into the back and the side of the RV parked in the spot directly behind me.

Actually, I can aim the T-Mobile hotspot towards it's tower and it works on the table out the window.

But for the AT&T Tower, I am in direct line of sight of the back of that RV.

I tested both: The Table and the directional antenna. Dramatic improvement being able to get around that RV.

But in all seriousness:
OTRA15: I do not need the Doors or Windows. I shape shift to get inside and out. But I need the Good Internet for that. Beam Me Up!
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:25 PM   #5
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My future plan calls for this MIMO antenna mounted inside the window. It connects to a "Jet Pack" with the TS-9 connectors.
https://www.amazon.com/Netgear-60004...4910315&sr=8-1
As far as poles, I've had good results with painter poles, BUT not the twist lock, but rather the hexagonal button lock. More expensive but very sturdy and don't rotate. Made by Wooster Brush. There's a 8-16' pole, but I'd want to think about how to store it! Might fit diagonally in 6.5' bed.
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:36 PM   #6
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Great Data Point

Here is a great example:
First picture is the MiFi on the table looking out the window aimed at the AT&T tower.
Second Picture is using the same MiFi going to a directional 2x2 MIMO antenna on a pole.

The download of 58 versus 44 is actually what I consider close enough to be effectively equal for most data.

The difference of 11 versus 2 for the upload means a real noticeable difference to the user.

These data numbers also show how effective 4x4 MIMO on the downlink can really be with 44 meg when bouncing around the RV to get to the MiFi.
The real important part is that the uplink does not work so well when trying to blast through a big RV structure.
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:41 PM   #7
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NetGear 2x2 MIMO on window

Mollysdad:
FYI
I did also test using that Netgear 2x2 against the window.
see photo for it's results.

Normally that Neatgear 2X2 is my first "Go To" antenna for improvement.
So much easier than setting up the outside pole.

But look at the result shown in this picture and compare it with the previous two photos.
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeSag View Post
Normally that Neatgear 2X2 is my first "Go To" antenna for improvement.
So much easier than setting up the outside pole.

But look at the result shown in this picture and compare it with the previous two photos.
I get it. But I'm not a power user. I want one step above a phone's hotspot. At a reasonable cost. Check a few e-mails and surf the web. Not full time, so I won't be paying $100/mo. for the time I'll use it.

BTW, with the outside pole, how do you attach it? I see the flagpole base, but then what?
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Old 03-05-2021, 03:23 AM   #9
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeSag View Post
. . .
. . . I do not need the Doors or Windows. I shape shift to get inside and out. But I need the Good Internet for that. Beam Me Up!
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:29 AM   #10
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Antenna Base

Mollysdad:
In general the metal base that came with the antenna is sufficient with no additional bracing. The brace is made of heavy steel. It works fairly well.

This is of course dependent upon what I put up on the flagpole, how high I raise the pole, and how much wind is expected.

Right now I am directly under a tree canopy that is protecting the dual antenna from the wind, so no worries running the pole up to the 20 foot max.
Other times, I might stop at the 12 foot height. That clears the problems of getting over the top of RVs.

The beauty of this flagpole with the base under the tongue jack is the super easy set up and tear down.

When loading the flagpole with multiple antenna, plus height, plus wind, I use guy ropes to brace the flagpole. Works great. Three guy ropes tied to tent stakes.

This thread is about how to get good internet without drilling holes in the airstream.
So the main takeaway is what you are thinking: This is the normal process:
(1) MiFi on table looking out window.
(2) MiFi plus Netgear 2x2 MIMO out the window.
then after those do not provide good results, then
(3) Bother with the flagpole.


Everyone with the MiFi that have the TS-9 connectors should get the Netgear 2x2 MIMO. It works great. And So Easy......that is the ultimate end goal.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:53 AM   #11
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Poynting 2x2 MIMO

For what it is worth, there is another 2x2 MIMO.

The Poynting X-POL2 antenna.
See the bottom part of the first photo.
It is a "Holes Drilled" external Antenna.
I drilled two small holes in the TV/Satellite access port.
See Photo 2
I use SMA bulkhead cables mounted in that Furion access port.
The SMA go to TS-9 connectors inside.
The Poynting comes with a long cable with SMA.

Since the Furion is not near the Tongue jack, I use a simple tripod.
See Photo 3

And for those that are curious.
The other device in the first photo is the ToGo hotspot.
It has the $360 per year ($30 per month) AT&T Connect Truly UnLimited Data plan. But that plan expires later this year and no renewal available. Everyone with the Airstream Connected that had that $360 per year plan knows all about the cancelling of that plan.

That ToGo hotspot points to the importance: "Drill No Holes for Electronics!"
Electronics change too fast to risk drilling holes in the airstream.

The next big change will be all those TS-9 MiFI's are getting ready to expire.
The 5G MiFi appear to no longer allow have external connections. So No Drilling holes for any TS-9 MiFi!
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:11 AM   #12
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I guess the older AS with the fridge vent on the roof and the Bat Wing Antenna made it easy. No holes and away we go ...........
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeeSag View Post
Mollysdad:

This thread is about how to get good internet without drilling holes in the airstream.
So the main takeaway is what you are thinking: This is the normal process:
(1) MiFi on table looking out window.
(2) MiFi plus Netgear 2x2 MIMO out the window.
then after those do not provide good results, then
(3) Bother with the flagpole.

Everyone with the MiFi that have the TS-9 connectors should get the Netgear 2x2 MIMO. It works great. And So Easy......that is the ultimate end goal.
GeeSag,
This is excellent information and I appreciate the work you put into sharing this with us all. How about voice quality? Do you use your MiFi and Voice Over WiFi? Or do you normally use separate, direct cellular connections for calls?

Personally, I share my screen often, use voice cellular (not WiFi Calling) and don't have need for fast downloads, but do have needs for faster uploads (i.e. screen sharing). I don't usually have good results with WiFi Calling.

I am looking for the "ultimate" solution to give me stronger voice connections while travelling (in my truck on the road) as well as when camped, working from the Airstream. I am considering the WeBoost Drive X OTR or RV, but struggle with the best solution for getting the external antenna into the Airstream. If an external MiFi could work well with voice...

Your thoughts? Anyone?
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:29 AM   #14
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Newbie and just starting this quest. Trying to parse my way through best option to get wifi on laptop while traveling and boon docking - assume that means boosting cell and getting a hot spot.


First limitation is we have US Cellular (because had best reception in NH White Mountains) and generally not a fan of Verison and changing carriers is a hassle. I plan on working while traveling so mostly need wifi for email, uploading docs and web browsing.



Anyone have experience with setting up hot spots or boosting signal for US Cellular.

How does the wifi boosting work compared to cell signal boosting options? Assume this is for while in rv parks and boosting their offered wifi vs boondocking and boosting cell signal.



We're in area eligible for Starlink (Space X's option) and looked at that, but it is tied to psychical address. If they made it portable, would sign up in a second, the download/upload rates are extremely fast.


Bob
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Old 03-05-2021, 09:48 AM   #15
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I have basically the same setup and it works great. Antenna pole is an anodized metal closet pole in a stand that is held down by the trailer jack. Antenna wire enters trailer through battery cable opening in trailer floor.
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:05 AM   #16
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As a brand new member, we just purchased our 2021 Bambi 16RB in December, I'm wondering is anyone has had experience with the new Airstream, pre-wired, Airstream Connect system? Uses the 'hole' w/ a cap on the roof, matched with a Pepwave router. Cost seems to be around $1k, plus and hour for install. Anyone go this route, and have any experience with performance? We're planning on heading cross country in about a month and we both will be working from the road, boondocking when we can, so reliable cell service will be important.
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:11 AM   #17
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Welcome to the forum . . . FYI there is a recent thread on the AirConn pre-wire:

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f24...re-216948.html

Good luck.
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Old 03-05-2021, 10:31 AM   #18
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This is great information. I'm trying to figure it all out. I'm sorry that I have a couple of very basic "dunno nothing" questions.

I assume this is getting internet access through your data plan from your cell providers (Verizon, TMobile, ATT) nearest cell tower. Is that right?

Do you have a special type of "data only" plan/account with your cell provider?

I sortof understand the hardware described, but at some point you have logon to your cell providers network. How do you connect & authenticate to their network?

Thanks for explaining all this.
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Old 03-05-2021, 11:33 AM   #19
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I got this idea from another RVer - works well on my 27FB - I put my extension pole into these Command clips. I ran wire through the length of trailer inside, comes out inside front storage where I attached it to the Weboost antenna. Now I just take antenna with attached wire out of storage (the door closes nicely on the wire, just enough space to not hurt it), and clip onto the pole.

The wire runs from the front compartment under nightstand, along bedroom baseboard (I put some stick-on molding to cover it), under shower, wardrobe, etc., following heat ducts, came up to booster on the television wall at end of lounge.

I've gotten a signal boost even with the antenna stored in the front compartment, but obviously works better if I take the 60 seconds to put up the pole. Been through wind, rain, freezes, still good.
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Old 03-05-2021, 11:37 AM   #20
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Another way to brace antenna pole.

In my case, I use two sections of electrical conduit with a unidirectional antenna on top.

Only works if you have a curbside awning. I replaced the bolt attaching the awning arm to the trailer with a stainless eyebolt. Place the pole against the eyebolt and secure with a large Velcro strap.

Greg


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