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Author Topic: Setting up RV park wifi with Belkin router: how to extend/strengthen signal  (Read 5572 times)

Pat

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I'm trying to set up wifi in a park where I'm workamping.  The Belkin N router has two antennae.  I assume they can be removed and replaced with wiring to some kind of roof antenna to strengthen and extend our wifi signal to the park. 

I'd say the park is about 3 1/2 acres, half on a hill.  There's a building in about the center that can be used for antenna.  There's another building at the top of the hill, if it makes more sense to direct the signal downhill.  The predominant users will be at the bottom of the hill.

If it matters, the connection is from the local cable TV company, so the router is connected to a cable modem.

I'm interested in what workampers have seen that looks practical.  Budget is, naturally, small.  Maybe a few hundred $.

--pat
--pat
2001 Chinook Destiny

John Canfield

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Here's a small sample of antennas.  Don't assume every wireless router or access point has detachable antennas.
--John
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Jeff

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For 3 1/2 acres I am pretty sure you are going to need more than one router for coverage.

Pat

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The problem we have with multiple routers is that we have one cable modem.  Not sure we can set up another cable modem and avoid a second subscription charge.

The one router is not doing well.  It's way in the middle of a small building, in a storage closet.  Just to get out of there the signal loses a bar or two. 

--pat
--pat
2001 Chinook Destiny

Ned

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You'll need one or more repeaters, not more routers.  Search on wifi repeater for some products.  Stick with Belkin if you can to ensure compatibility with the existing router/access point.  Another possibility is an amplified antenna on a small tower on the roof but they aren't cheap.  If the Belkin doesn't have removable antennas, then you would need a different router.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Marc L

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while you won't need more than one router, you can still use more than one.  At home, I have two.  My original wireless, which I only used wired for the various network jacks in the house and that is plugged into my DSL modem.  Then my 2nd wireless router, that I use solely for wireless is plugged into my 1st router.

I end up with two different IP subnets.  Still works seamlessly.  When I jump on the wifi, I connect to the 2nd router, the 2nd router has it's IP address dynamically assigned from the 1st (I could have hard coded it too), but I did not have a need for a static, and the 1st router routes the traffic to the modem.

A downside of using two or more routers is that you will need to a different Wifi network id (SSID) for each router.  So the network name will be different depending on which area of the park you will be.  It's more management for you.

Like others said, stick with same brand for compatibility.

You will need two routers if you have more than 253 computers connecting to it, but the modem probably could not handle that load anyway.

Marc...
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 05:51:27 AM by 56kz2slow »
Marc...

Ned

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But more routers won't solve the problem of getting the signal out.  Only a better antenna with or without repeaters will solve that.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Marc L

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True, because wireless routers can only be connected together with wires, which would be hard to run.
Marc...

Ned

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The bottom line is to offer adequate WiFi coverage over a large area requires commercial grade equipment.  Consumer grade hardware just isn't designed for that purpose.
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

Marc L

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Agreed, but you would not believe the number of small businesses that try to get setup with whatever is the cheapest in their weekly flyers.
Marc...

Ned

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Oh, I do believe.  I've seen a lot of those.  A WRT54G just won't cover 40 acres from the supply cabinet :D
-- Ned -- Fulltimer 1997-2013
1997 Holiday Rambler Endeavor LE
2007 GMC Canyon

Want to know what we're doing? http://blog.usabyrv.us

John From Detroit

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My Home is where I park it.

Jeff

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When I said additional routers I guess I did mean repeaters. I am using a WRT54G with DD-WRT firmware as a repeater that works great!

Will

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Amen to the DD-WRT.

Have been using it for years and it works great. Using a router/repeater setup I was able to extend coverage to about 2 acres at my place.

The Belkin router is a low end device, which just wont cover your needs.  eBay is probably the best place for it, to add to your budget.

Setting up a Buffalo WHR-HP-G54 will probably get you the best range out of the box.  It has a Pre-amp for better receive sensitivity (very beneficial) and an amplifier for better broadcast.  It works great out of the box but can be loaded with DD-WRT with a little technical knowhow and a visit to the DD-WRT wiki.  My recommendation, set this up as your primary router as-is.

$48 at Newegg (w/ free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833162134
In case you feel like loading dd--wrt (requires command-line Fu):
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/WHR-HP-G54



For a repeater, a Linksys WRT54GL is a great choice.  It isnt as powerful as the Buffalo is out of the box, but loading DD-WRT is an EASY process on this particular device and requires no command line diddling whatsoever.  Both of the antennas are external and detachable, so you can hook up one monodirectional antenna and aim it right at the building housing the router, and leave an omnidirectional plugged into the other port.

$50 at Newegg (w/ free shipping)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833124190&Tpk=wrt54gl
DD-WRT instructions:
http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Linksys_WRT54G/GL/GS/GX#WRT54GL

So you can add Both of these devices and still stay under your $100 budget.  Or you can keep the Belkin and buy two Linksys WRT54GLs to serve as dual repeaters.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 03:05:06 PM by Will »
Will - KD5CZF
1980 Champion Transtar Class C on Dodge van chassis