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Author Topic: WiFi boosters for RVing  (Read 2871 times)

Norm-n-Mary

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WiFi boosters for RVing
« on: February 25, 2016, 10:54:33 AM »
Hello all, before we set out I'm wondering if we need to invest into a wifi booster system for our RV? We plan on staying at state parks and need to stay in contact with our home family, any ideas?
Thanks
Norm & Mary
Tampa, Florida
2006 25' "Terry" by Fleetwood-TT
2012 Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD 4WD
5.8L V8

JudyJB

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2016, 02:57:15 PM »
A WiFi booster will only help if there is a free signal you can access, such as the ones from McDonalds and other places.  State parks seldom offer free WiFi.  They also help in commercial campgrounds that provide WiFi access.  I bought this one--no installation and it just plugs into your laptop with a USB plug:

http://www.campingworld.com/browse/skus/index.cfm?skunum=76530&rewrote&affiliateid=5193&gclid=Cj0KEQiA6bq2BRC6ppf0_83Z1YIBEiQAgPYNvYQqi0A-F0t91l4WYB_qpm_LjNWciu09wZQpIB_wNhUaAjWQ8P8HAQ

It takes me from 0-1 bars to 4-5 bars.  Instead of going into a store to access WiFi, this lets me sit in the parking lot and still getting a usable signal.
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SeilerBird

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2016, 03:12:30 PM »
IMHO your best bet is to get a cell phone plan that includes using your cell phone as a hot spot. I have MetroPCS for $30 a month and it includes a free hot spot.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2016, 03:33:12 PM »
Before signing up for MetroPCS, make sure T-Mobile has coverage where you'll be using it. Also note that T-Mobile direct customers have priority over Metro customers on busy towers. They do have some attractive plans though...
Dutch
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8Muddypaws

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2016, 05:49:20 PM »
We had T-Mobile for about a year but found too many places where it didn't work but ATT and Verizon did.  Verizon costs more but it's worth it to us.

A wifi booster will only amplify the signal.  If the problem is bandwidth (I.e a slow connection or too many users) it will not make a difference.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 05:54:23 PM by 8Muddypaws »
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HueyPilotVN

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2016, 06:00:52 PM »
I need reliable Internet service.  I have a Verizon plan and have not yet had any problems getting online all over the country.  I am sure that there are dead spots but since I am usually near an Interstate highway I have not had any issues getting a connection.

The downside is that Verizon is not inexpensive.  I have three cell phones, an Ipad Pro, and a MiFi data device.  My plan is unlimited voice and text and 32 Gigabytes of data and I pay around $400 a month.

I am on my way to a rural part of South Carolina so I may find those dead spots.
Bill Waugh
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RVRAC

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 10:02:33 PM »
I have not found state parks with either cable or Wi-Fi.  Even private ones is a guess, some better than others.  I use a booster from Crane and like it very much.  It allows setting a hot spot.  However, they don't work if you do not have signal.
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John From Detroit

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 07:51:08 AM »
I always like threads where they ask about Wi-Fi  And then start talking about Wireless,, They are not the same thing at all.

However it is true that boosters do amplify the signal, if any, and thus give you more range, No matter which band you are using.

(Wi-Fi or Wireless).    Also, with Wireless "height is might" (not so much on Wi-Fi but even there it can make a difference)

I have proven the Height is Might with personal testing....   

IN both cases more height means less "Stuff" (Other RV's for example) between you and the router or tower, this means a stronger signal.   With Wireless, where you can not always physically see the tower It can be a BIG difference.. I'm 3 miles from the nearest wireless tower and alas, can not see it well enough to use it (plus it is a low speed tower)  Wi-Fi I'm only about 1oo yards from the park office, STRONG signal.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 08:07:29 AM »
Uh, John, WIFI is an acronym for "Wireless Fidelity, wireless internet". Wireless cell service is also "wireless" of course, but the word is not unique to either one.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 08:24:36 AM by NY_Dutch »
Dutch
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 08:13:14 AM »
So, Pyett, let's hear more about what you are trying to achieve with this "wifi booster". As others have said, it is probably not going to be very helpful in a typical state park, since many of those have no wifi available anyway. But if the state parks you plan to use do have wifi, then maybe it's a good idea. But even then, that just gets you connected to the park or nearby public wifi network. It does not guarantee a reliable or fast internet connection between that local network and "the internet".
Gary
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legrandnormand

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2016, 08:37:08 AM »
Hello all, before we set out I'm wondering if we need to invest into a wifi booster system for our RV? We plan on staying at state parks and need to stay in contact with our home family, any ideas?
Thanks


Even with a WI-FI booster in a state park won't give you anything more to stay in contact with family; you'd be better off buying one of these MIFI kits and pay $50/month for 5 GIG of data.
https://www.google.com/#newwindow=1&q=mifi+services
Normand
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Norm-n-Mary

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2016, 10:24:46 AM »
Thank all of you for the great feedback, I'm mostly interested in connecting my laptop periodically to pay bill or check in at home. We don't plan on any boondocking.
Best Regards
Norm & Mary
Tampa, Florida
2006 25' "Terry" by Fleetwood-TT
2012 Toyota Tundra SR5 TRD 4WD
5.8L V8

Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #12 on: February 26, 2016, 11:15:20 AM »
It's not really a "boondocking" question, though. Wifi is a very short range wireless network connection, so the "booster" helps extend the range by improving it with a more powerful radio. That may get you connected to any nearby wifi network, whether the campsite has electric & water hook-ups or not. 

Given that it is only occasional use, a monthly subscription for cellular data (wireless modem or "mifi") is perhaps not economical. That leaves free wifi as the basic access.  You can get a pretty decent high power wifi device in the Crane Super-USB wifi antenna and it works with any Windows or Ios PC that has a USB port. It is a range extender and costs about $70. If there is a usable wifi signals, it will probably pull it in. If not, nothing is going to help without paying for your own internet access.

http://www.amazon.com/Crane-Super-USB-Wifi-Antenna/dp/B004UR72IM

Or this somewhat more expensive one: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GYV46VI?psc=1

There are other wifi booster devices that re-broadcast (repeat) the captured wifi signal so that your phones, ereader and tablets can access it, but you seem to be focused on laptop usage. Laptops usually have USB ports, so the simple USB lug-in solution works fine and is not expensive.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 11:18:29 AM by Gary RV Roamer »
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RVRAC

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #13 on: February 26, 2016, 12:20:59 PM »
As Gary said, Crane offers a good system.  They also provide a way to use the repeater with a hot spot little machine they sell.  I have both and works very well.  However, a repeater is a "multiplier" of the original existing signal. If there is no signal, there is nothing to be multiplied or amplified.  As Gary said, this has nothing to do with "boondocking", most state camps I have visited to do not have wifi signal.  In addition, even in some private camps do not have it either or a very weak one.  In either case, a repeater does not work.  It is frustrating but it is the reality.  In those cases, the only hope is to have good cell reception and use the cell phone as a hot spot.
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MN Blue Skies

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #14 on: February 26, 2016, 01:13:16 PM »
I just here to follow the thread for information.
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JerArdra

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2016, 04:09:20 PM »
I use a Cradlepoint router and a Verizon modem but I have always wondered, does a Verizon MiFi device require a password even to configure the features of the MiFi 

Next, for security, does the MiFi require each user to know the encryption key in order to connect their PC to the internet.

And last for more security, can the MiFi be configured so each user's PC MAC CODE (so called serial number) must be pre-installed by the MiFi owner before they can use the network connection.  This, too, is for more security.

JerryF
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NY_Dutch

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2016, 04:16:47 PM »
The answer to all of your questions for our Verizon 6620L Jetpack is yes, and most of the security settings are configurable with admin access.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

HueyPilotVN

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2016, 04:19:40 PM »
Hey Jerry,

I can answer at least half of that question.

I have a MiFi.  The password displays on the MIFi by scrolling so setting up a new user is pretty simple and you do not have to remember the password, just read it off the display on the MiFi as you set up the new device.

The answer to the trird question is no.....I think
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
34' Stacker Trailer, Trailer Toad
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35 years on the road

NY_Dutch

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2016, 04:26:27 PM »
Bill, I know the 6620L has the password display by default, but I'd hope most users would turn that "feature" off as a deterrent in case the unit is stolen.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

HueyPilotVN

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2016, 04:31:02 PM »
Jerry,

You are in much more capable hands with NY_Dutch than with my half advice
Bill Waugh
40' Country Coach DP
34' Stacker Trailer, Trailer Toad
Jeep Commander
Mustang Bracket Race Car
35 years on the road

JerArdra

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Re: WiFi boosters for RVing
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2016, 05:14:05 PM »
Thanks Guys.

The third item is important to me just in case I allow a friend to connect using my router and modem and, what if, they decide to further share that password with someone else.  If they did do that, the person using the shared password cannot get into my network connection because their device's MAC Code is not preinstalled in my router. 

Also, if someone that I allow to use my system decides to download a movie or two I can shut 'em down with out immediately changing the password by removing their MAC code from my router.  BTW, if that did happen I ultimately would change the password too.

One final thought, because this system works so well we never use free campground WiFi.  Haven't used it in years!

JerryF
JerryF  ;D  ;D

 

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