WiFi experiences

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Tom

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Has anyone used Hotspotzz at a campground? KOA has them at a number of their CGs, but I've had very poor luck. I'd be interested in hearing other folks' experience with Hotspotzz or any other WiFi service. This might be useful for others who are looking for ways to get online.
 

Ned

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Many of the campgrounds that have installed WiFi have not done a very good job.  They stick a wireless access point somewhere and think they're done.  This may allow access from a few nearby campsites, but rarely gives good coverage of the whole park.

One park that has done it right is Buckhorn Lake RV Resort, Kerrville, TX.  They have mounted an omnidirectional antenna on a tower above the office to cover the immediate campsites and a remote antenna for a more distant part of the park.  I believe every campsite can get WiFi access to the internet.

I helped install a WiFi access point at Pueblo del Sol RV Resort in Sierra Vista, AZ, last fall but it isn't intended to cover the camp sites.  It offers good access from within the clubhouse and probably the pool area, and maybe a few close sites, but it's working as designed.  They know if they want to give coverage for the whole park they will need external antenna(s) and possibly an amplified access point.

As in most endeavors, you get what you pay for and the proper equipment isn't bought at WalMart :)
 

Tom

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I've seen/heard the term WiFi in a box being used in cinnection with HS & KOA. Is this a one size fits all approach that HS is using? If enough folks complain, I wonder if they'll do something about those inadequate anetnnae.
 

BernieD

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We've stayed at 2 parks where we used, or tried to use, wi-fi service; Blackwell Island (free wi-fi in park) in Couer d'Alene, ID and Outdoor Resorts in Newport, OR. We were on the fringe of acceptable reception at Blackwell and found our cell phone access to be better. The provider at OR was also the provider at FMCA-Albuquerque and was to provide service at Redmond where we were heading, so I signed up for a month. Unfortunately, the provider was having installation problems and was never able to provide reliable, consistent service. The provider did refund my money and left my one month subscription stay open as a beta tester. Russ Mahoney was at the same park at the same time so we were able to hook up over his access point.

We have stayed at other parks that offered wi-fi at a fee but have found that we get as good service off our cell phone when we have digital service available and haven't had the need to sign up at these other locations.
 

Ned

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Since each campground is unique, I doubt there will ever be a one-size-fits-all solution.  Each system has to be tailored to the topography of the park, and this will make it more expensive than any WiFi in a Box type solution.

If enough people find the access unusable, the service will either be improved or left unused.  The future is up to the campground owners and the competition in the market.
 

rhmahoney

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Most of the time I use satellite internet and am the WiFi source. Last summer I was in the NW and out of the Satmex footprint. Thus I was delighted to find excellent access at Blackwell Island in Couer d'Aline. Most of my stay was in the center of the park with excellent view of the campground's rooftop antenna. On the last day I moved to a site in the corner and had to carry my laptop over to my RV window to see the CG antenna.

Blackwell Island started out unencrypted, but freeloading students from the university across the river soon forced them to start using a password encryption. The service is free and I think that has helped their business a lot.
 

Ron

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Tom said:
Has anyone used Hotspotzz at a campground? KOA has them at a number of their CGs, but I've had very poor luck. I'd be interested in hearing other folks' experience with Hotspotzz or any other WiFi service. This might be useful for others who are looking for ways to get online.

We haven't really tried a campground WIFI set up.  We did have a guy ask if I had wifi and would I let him connect since the campground wifi wasn't working.

Coyote Ranch has a wifi set up with an omni directional ant near the center over the office and antennas in two corners of the park.  Guess it works but I prefer our Satellite connection. ;D
 

BernieD

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I don't have satellite internet service so am restricted to cell phone (high speed), wi-fi or laundry room internet service.

I have been very satisfied with my cell phone service finding coverage in most places to which we travel. Moab is one exception and I rely on the kindliness of our framily with satellite service providing wi-fi access. However, I find that, due to the latency of satellite transmission, there is little difference in speed between my cell phone and satellite/wi-f for most of my usesi. At QZ, I normally use the cell phone and only tie into wi-fi if I will be doing extensive web surfing or downloading in order to free up my phone. Since Sprint doesn't charge me by the minute or kb I do have the opportunity to stay on it all day if needed. It will be interesting to see how our new forum site works with satellite/wi-fi at Moab and whether it will overcome some of the latency problem.

In campgrounds, I have found wi-fi reception variable and iffy. It is also somewhat dependant upon the service the campground is using to access the internet; DSL, cable or T-1. When parked in a good reception area, faster broadband service such as cable or T-1 gives a much more satisfying experience.
 

blueblood

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You asked about Hotspotzz experience. I've used them at KOA's for about a year sparingly because of cost. I've used them twice on this trip and am replying with them at present. They have three plans - one I use is 12 hours for $5.95. This is 12 continuous hours from time of first use not 12 hours of air time per se. ( The monthly plan would be a lot more cost effective if I found it necessary to rely on Hotspotzz locations. However, as noted below I find free access is very available) Hotspotzz performs well. It's the installations using their hotspot in a box at KOA's that is the weak link. The speed will be 11Mbps but signal strength is usually rated Low and thus it is slow even if not encumbered by the layout or blocking rigs, etc.  However, it works well enough and I am able to perform all necessary tasks such as financial/business transactions on web sites and e-mail. I used free access at the ABC Memphis RV Park on this trip as well with good results.  I work as a team member for Tom Gonser's rversonline.org and report on wireless parks that provide free access. I found that last year I was able to obtain adequate free wi-fi at most of my stops across the US with service about equivalent or much better (there does not seem to be a middle ground) . 

Leo Everitt
Mt Pleasant, SC KOA on Hotspotzz
 

thedollyllama

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The campground that I work in Lone Oak Campsites in East Canann, Ct. installed WiFi this past fall. I believe we put in 7 stations. It is supposed to be able to gotten to by all 500 sites we have. It hasn't been used yet by everyone (and won't until we open next month), but because the owner is very into it, I'm sure it will work fine.
 

Ron

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I just got to thinking about Moab.  We will have 7 or more Satellite systems plus the park wireless to provide wireless internet connections at Portal RV park while we are there.  Bet there aren't many parks that have theat kind of coverage. ;D Even the boondocking area will be covered by Tom. ;D
 

Ron

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Tom said:
Not me, I thought it was Phil? :)

OK I may have gotten wrong.  I thought it was determined Whom ever is in site 14  is responsible to make sure the boondocking area has internet via wireless to their Satellite.  Isn't that your understanding Phil? ;D ;D ??? ::) ;D
 

Tom

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I thought Phil agreed to give up his site and camp in the field  ???
 
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