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RVing message boards => PCs, Communications, Electronics => Topic started by: annie522 on May 28, 2015, 01:44:48 PM

Title: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: annie522 on May 28, 2015, 01:44:48 PM
I've seen other topics on this subject, but I have a bit of a different spin on the question.  Our campground has a weak wifi signal and we need to boost it so DH can do some work while we are there.  However, he does not work on a PC or laptop.  He is doing his work on an Ipad, and they do not have USB ports to connect anything into.  I looked at others' suggestions about the Hawking products, but do not know which we would use to boost the signal without a direct connection into the Ipad.  Is it even possible?
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Jeff on May 28, 2015, 01:57:32 PM
If you put "Boosting WIFI" in the search box at the upper right of this screen you will find several discussions about ways to do this.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: annie522 on May 28, 2015, 02:09:48 PM
Thank you!   
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: annie522 on May 28, 2015, 03:33:32 PM
I've read the other discussions and I'm afraid they have so much info and so many different conversations going on I can't figure anything out!

It seems that a Surf On-the-Go is a good option for us to boost the weak wifi signal in our campground.  But how do I access that signal without a way to hard-connect to it (since my Ipad has no USB port)?  Do I need to connect the Surf to a router to send out a wifi signal to my devices?  Or does the Surf On-the-Go send it out by itself?

And, it seems the Crane antenna might be a good option too.  But it sounds like that definitely needs a wireless router to connect to, and I get my signal from that, right?

Any help is appreciated...thank you!!
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: docj on May 28, 2015, 03:51:28 PM
There are a number of devices that have what is called "WiFi as WAN" capability.  What this means is that they have the capability to receive a wifi signal from a source such as the campground's wifi system and then rebroadcast this signal within your RV as a private network.   Therefore, a device, such as your iPad would connect to this private network using its wifi capability and no physical connection would be required.  Most such devices utilize outdoor antennas and amplifiers so they can connect to wifi access points more reliably than can the transmitters and receivers built into laptops, iPads and other such stuff.

I happen to work for one of the companies that designs and markets such devices, WiFiRanger.com.  Our products are specifically tailored for the RV community.  There are a number of other companies also selling products with similar capabilities.

However, I would like to add a word of caution.  Many RV park wifi systems perform poorly, not because the signals are weak, but because the systems are poorly designed and are overloaded.  No device, regardless of what company sells it, can make an overloaded, poorly performing wifi system act like a good one.  If the system doesn't have adequate bandwidth to handle the data load then nothing you can do can change that. 
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on May 28, 2015, 04:37:17 PM
Be aware that boosting the park wifi signal often doesn't achieve a whole lot. That just gets you to the parks internet access pipe, but if two dozen campers are sharing a slow internet connection, you still end up waiting all the time. Few parks pay for really high speed internet service for their customers.

If you need internet to make a living, you probably want a wireless modem/hotspot that has its own internet path. It's not foolproof, cause you are still sharing the cell phone towers service, but at least it's not everybody in the park.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: grassy on August 05, 2015, 06:47:24 AM
I have also noticed a trend here...the parks are monitoring usage..and will tell you that if you are going to be streaming (like netflix) you will be shut down..e-mail and net searches only...

That probably goes with what docj  said...
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: legrandnormand on August 05, 2015, 07:06:04 AM
The bottom line is that "you get for what you pay for" !

If you do want a reliable service, you'll need your own Internet service from some provider, coupled to a router and then you'll be able to connect securely all of your devices.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: SeilerBird on August 05, 2015, 07:21:58 AM
Annie I actually have an answer for you. I have been using a Netgear Wifi booster for the past year and it works perfectly. Well under $20 and it is easy to set up, very small and doesn't use much power. Basically you plug it in, turn it on and go to the web page specified in the instructions. From there it is almost automatic. The new Wifi signal is easy to spot. If you are using Freds Campground then you will now be using Freds Campground_EXT.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0089E2FZC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: blw2 on August 05, 2015, 08:15:20 AM
Annie I actually have an answer for you. I have been using a Netgear Wifi booster for the past year and it works perfectly. Well under $20 and it is easy to set up, very small and doesn't use much power. Basically you plug it in, turn it on and go to the web page specified in the instructions. From there it is almost automatic. The new Wifi signal is easy to spot. If you are using Freds Campground then you will now be using Freds Campground_EXT.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0089E2FZC?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

I'm curious.... without an external antenna, does this really help if you are on the fringes of Fred's signal?
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: SeilerBird on August 05, 2015, 08:28:23 AM
I'm curious.... without an external antenna, does this really help if you are on the fringes of Fred's signal?
The signal goes from one bar and unusable to five bars and coming in like gangbusters. It is one of these things that sound too good to be true but it is in fact true.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Larry N. on August 05, 2015, 10:46:10 AM
I'm curious.... without an external antenna, does this really help if you are on the fringes of Fred's signal?

Although it's not an external antenna, it's a considerably better antenna than what is built in to most phones and tablets and, often, even to laptops. You also can position it better for reception than you can a device you're browsing on.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: blw2 on August 05, 2015, 11:02:32 AM
interesting.
SeilerBird, so do you have to reconfigure the range extender when you move from one campground to the next, or is it just a one time setup for your passwords or whatever config you want, then it simply mirrors whatever it picks up?

I think I'll pick one up and try it.  Can hardly go wrong at $17
I was thinking of one of those external antenna boosters, but we use CG's wifi so infrequently that I can't justify it.
Ditto one of those cell repeater things.... just can't justify it in my case....

Thanks for the tip!
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Jeff on August 05, 2015, 12:12:02 PM
I have been using the Netgear 2000 Extender for about two years for the convenience of hard wiring devices to it or at least having to log on only once and it does the job it is sold for.


I can't say I have had the range boost Tom is getting but that may be location in the motorhome.  We show strong signals on our IPads but that is the signal from the Netgear, not the park.


Also logging the Netgear on to local park WIFI is rather clunky so I find myself leaving it logged onto my phone hotspot most of the time.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: SeilerBird on August 05, 2015, 12:15:58 PM
interesting.
SeilerBird, so do you have to reconfigure the range extender when you move from one campground to the next, or is it just a one time setup for your passwords or whatever config you want, then it simply mirrors whatever it picks up?

I think I'll pick one up and try it.  Can hardly go wrong at $17
I was thinking of one of those external antenna boosters, but we use CG's wifi so infrequently that I can't justify it.
Ditto one of those cell repeater things.... just can't justify it in my case....

Thanks for the tip!
Yep you must reconfigure it every time there is a new Wifi signal you want to boost. It offers to reuse the password for the Wifi you are mirroring or you can dream up your own password. It is definitely worth the $17.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: John From Detroit on August 05, 2015, 12:19:41 PM
I am reminded of some conservations I've heard on ham radio repeaters "You are comming in here 20 over S-9".. Uh, he's not even listening to the other ham's transmitter, He is listening to the repeater which is 20 over S-9 (That by the way is a very strong signal).

Same with the "It went from x bars to 5 bars" no it did not,  The repeater is 5 bars, the park's signal is not.

I have two range extenders, One (in use here) is 2 parts,, "Modem" on the roof (Wi-Fi Game Adapter) Feeds a router inside the house.. So my computers connect to the router and see a strong (100%) signal

The modem which is on my roof OUTSIDE the motor home just now, with a directional device to increase directional range and reject some interference sees the park at about 70%  Inside I see the park at about 20% here.

in some cases it's like 50 percent from the flag pole (The modem has multiple mounting options) and zero percent from inside.

The other one is a TP-link I picked up out of the clearance room at Wal*mart.. I kind of like this little square box.

It can accpt a USB dongele and use it for Internet access, then Route and allow multiple devices to connect

It can act as a Wireless (WI-FI) router  (Cat 5 in)

A Wi-Fi Adapter (Cat-5 OUT) (Access point)  You use this mode to set it up.

Or a Wi-Fi Range extender (WI-Fi in and out) (repeater)

I have it at the store I hang out at.. I hope to use it and one of my spare routers to "Extend" to the storage barn once things cool down a bit on Saturdays when I pass out food.  Give a Wi-Fi connection I can stay there all day.

Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: SeilerBird on August 05, 2015, 12:29:58 PM
never mind, not worth arguing with Paul 
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on August 05, 2015, 04:03:33 PM
A better quality antenna and wifi radio receiver/transmitter will do the same job without the need to set up for each new location.

I use the SuperUSB Wifi device but there are several similar ones. Just plug it into a USB port on the computer and forget it - it handles everything else. Costs more than $17, though.

http://www.rvledbulbs.com/category-s/52.htm (http://www.rvledbulbs.com/category-s/52.htm)

I use this device to replace a repeater type range extender and have never regretted it.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Ned on August 05, 2015, 04:42:08 PM
The USB devices are fine for a single computer but if you have multiple computers, tablets, etc. then a WiFi repeater works much better.  It really doesn't amplify the WiFi signal but receives it and then retransmits it from its builtin WiFi radio.  The reason it works as well as it does is it will generally have a better antenna than the builtin adapters in computers and tablets.  For those, like me, that have a LAN on board, devices like the Peplink Surf devices receive the WiFi signal and output an Ethernet connection to plug into your router.  The advantage is no reconfiguration of the local devices is needed when changing WiFi networks.  I use ours with campgrounds as well as my smartphone hotspot.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: docj on August 05, 2015, 04:53:33 PM
Or you can use something like a WiFiRanger which combines the wifi repeater amplifier function with a router that creates a private network inside your RV.  It has all the advantages listed by Ned in one easy to use device.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Ned on August 05, 2015, 05:03:07 PM
Or you can use something like a WiFiRanger which combines the wifi repeater amplifier function with a router that creates a private network inside your RV.  It has all the advantages listed by Ned in one easy to use device.

The Peplink Surf devices can be set up the same way, offering multiple configurations depending on your needs.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on August 05, 2015, 08:56:30 PM
Quote
The USB devices are fine for a single computer but if you have multiple computers, tablets, etc. then a WiFi repeater works much better.

Yeap. That's the key difference.

I see the original question was about an Ipad, so my suggestion won't help anyway (no USB ports to use).
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: regval on August 05, 2015, 10:15:36 PM
http://ipod.about.com/od/ipadhowtos/f/connect-usb-to-ipad.htm

Search Internet for IPAD to USB for adapters, there are several that serve the purpose to connect to the router or repeater.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: mikef on August 05, 2015, 10:53:27 PM
I just purchased this unit and it's worth the price, for me. It is a wifi repeater and connects to the park's signal. Like others have said, it gives to a great signal inside the coach, but is limited to the quality of the park's system. In any event, it does what I want. I have my laptop, my tablet, and my phone running off my "network". Easy to setup. A bit more than $17, but I'm fine with it.

http://www.jefatech.com/product/RV-KIT-REPEATER
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: legrandnormand on August 06, 2015, 06:25:43 AM
I just purchased this unit and it's worth the price, for me. It is a wifi repeater and connects to the park's signal. Like others have said, it gives to a great signal inside the coach, but is limited to the quality of the park's system. In any event, it does what I want. I have my laptop, my tablet, and my phone running off my "network". Easy to setup. A bit more than $17, but I'm fine with it.

http://www.jefatech.com/product/RV-KIT-REPEATER (http://www.jefatech.com/product/RV-KIT-REPEATER)


I have a very similar setup as yours, my antenna or "large white stick" is mounted inside my mh, screwed on the windshield's colom, on the passenger's side and it picks up the signals very storngly since it is mounted at 10 ft of the ground. It could also be mounted on my TV antenna to capture even more WI-FI signals... ;) [size=78%]  [/size]
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Ned on August 06, 2015, 07:43:49 AM
WiFi is just another radio and like any radio, the better the antenna the better it works.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: SeilerBird on August 06, 2015, 12:58:09 PM
Only about 15 times more expensive than the one I posted.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: Tinmania on August 06, 2015, 03:17:05 PM
I think I'll pick one up and try it.  Can hardly go wrong at $17
I was thinking of one of those external antenna boosters, but we use CG's wifi so infrequently that I can't justify it.
Ditto one of those cell repeater things.... just can't justify it in my case....

Thanks for the tip!
Same here. So I just ordered the Netgear WN2000RPT too. I figure I can always plug it in outside if campground signal is really bad.

And I realize it will not help when there is simply crappy Internet provided at a campground, no matter how good a wifi signal there is. No biggie--I get that.

But I have had many cases where the Internet at a campground, though not great, was acceptable for basics such as email, facebook posting, etc. However, it was too weak at my campsite or inside the RV to work at all. This can be exacerbated when there is marginal cell coverage as well--where I would take slow internet over no internet. This happened to me last weekend though in that case the Internet itself was quite good when I had signal (as in driving out of the campground and stopping right by the wifi antenna mast). I had no signal inside the 5th wheel but could access wifi--barely--while outside. I think the Netgear WN2000RPT would have been perfect for that situation. We shall see...



Mike
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: RV Triking on September 28, 2015, 09:40:05 PM
I was having the same connection problems. I thought it would be better to get an antenna outside my RV. So, I did just that. It works great! Of course, you are still limited by the campgrounds wifi, but this really boosted the signal. I shot a video of what I did and then one of testing it out. You can see it here:
https://youtu.be/V8Vx4Fi5L5s (https://youtu.be/V8Vx4Fi5L5s)
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: jyro on September 28, 2015, 10:37:00 PM
use the mobile hotspot on your cell phone
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: inscop on October 06, 2015, 04:45:10 PM
Okay, so I have been looking for a while for a WIFI hotspot that does not require a monthly plan and one that your data does not expire every month.  I finally found it, bought the unit and I got it a few days ago.  So far, I am well pleased.  I prepurchased 10 gigs of data and it is just sitting there waiting for me to use it.  It does not go away like my old Verizon plan.  This is perfect for folks like us who only need the data when WE need it, not when THEY want us to use it or lose it.  This thing works on the Sprint network and I live in Alpine, CA and have a great signal for being kind of in the boonies.  Ease of operation, setup and everything else, all are very easy.  Here is a coverage map: https://yourkarma.com/coverage (https://yourkarma.com/coverage)

I have found it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, so, moderators, if this is not allowed, please feel free to nuke the post.

The web site for the KarmaGo hotspot is www.YourKarma.com (http://www.YourKarma.com).  If you decide to purchase using my referral code, then you get ten bucks to apply to the purchase of your KarmaGo and I get ten bucks for more data.  This is the web site if you wish to check it out.  If you decide to buy one, use my code ray82532 or go to https://yourkarma.com/invite/ray82532 (https://yourkarma.com/invite/ray82532).
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: John From Detroit on October 06, 2015, 05:01:10 PM
Easiest way is to put a repeater in a can and aim it at the wi-fi.

Ideally a Welches Grape Juice can.. But I used a modern 3-pound (2.5) COffee can, all metal.

I'd use one of the smaller repeaters (TP Link made one that's very small) and basically mount it in foam rubber inside the can.. Feed it five volts from a charger adapter and once it's set up.. Should be good.. aim it at the target.

NOTE: aiming can be a bit fun.

What I use:

Linksys WGA 54G (Antenna sticks up into the can.. Oh, you mount the link... well I'll send you a URL on that)

It feeds a standard home router

Wi-Fi or Lan to this computer. and to another computer (Depending on where they are at) Lan only to another computer and two single function computer devices, WI-FI only to two androids.  All work happily.

It is a bit.. Rube Goldburg. but when I set it up it was all stuff I had in stock and it works fairly well.


How to position the antenna (or Repeater device) in the grape juice/coffee cal

www.amateurlogic.tv  episode 3
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: thedrake123 on July 02, 2017, 06:52:15 AM
I've found Wifi on Steroids gives me full bars at any campground with a weak signal. It can be connected easily to the free wifi hotspot inside the campground. You can use your laptop, ipad or iphone to connect.
Title: Re: Campground Wifi - Boosting a Weak Signal
Post by: John From Detroit on July 02, 2017, 07:38:31 AM
I have upgraded my System.. The LInksys died (Turns out it was something very simple) so I got an Umbuquitte (UBNT) Nanostgation M-2 to replace it.. MAJOR upgrade, far more range, lots stronger signals and connects to Wi-Fi hosts the Linksys would not connect to.. Even my Cell phone's hot spot which the Linksys would not connect the router to..  Had a problem there however after I messed up a setting, Reset and that's how I'm Posting this

The nano station is designed to be pole mounted with zip ties, I'll use something other than a Zip Tie to do it when I put it on the flagpole but.. Man does it work.