Extended Wi-Fi - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 07-02-2013, 08:42 PM   #15
Senior Member
 
Briantb's Avatar
 
Name: Brian
Trailer: 2015 Scamp 13 Front Washroom, Little Guy Teardrop
Ontario
Posts: 372
I used a Belkin Wifi extender with mixed results.. sometimes it connects easily with minimal settings.. other times it does take some tweaking with IP addresses and passwords complicate it as well.
The extender has good range so all your neighbours will also be able to piggyback on the otherwise unavailable signal which in turn will degrade your connection.. still better than no connection
__________________

__________________
Briantb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 12:30 AM   #16
Senior Member
 
Night Sailor's Avatar
 
Name: Conrad
Trailer: Bigfoot 3000 & Barth "slide-in" truck camper
Connecticut
Posts: 963
Send a message via Skype™ to Night Sailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuyler1 View Post
Seriously? Have you proven this yourself or is this just internet hype? If it's true that's pretty cool...but how often do you have a line of sight to the nearest starbucks from your campsite?

...Walmart parking lots excluded
I am an electrical engineer with a focus on antenna design, and Ham radio operator who experiments with antennas. Here is what I found out about WiFi antennas.

First the basics: There are two types. Omni Directional and Beam antennas.

Omni antennas perform equally good in all directions. High gain antennas are created by stacking antenna elements vertically which takes the typical donut shaped antenna pattern and flattens it so more of the signal and sensitivity is sent horizontal for greater distances. There is no point in radiating energy going up into the air. Think large thin pancake pattern compared to fat donut for high gain antennas. All the energy is sent along the ground where it is wanted.

While you may want a donut on a sailboat heeling over, for most applications high gain antennas work better than lower gain antennas and require no pointing. I have two of these in a 9db and 11 dB gain versions. Each 3dB gain doubles the signal strength. So 9 dB has eight times more signal strength on transmit and receive. A 12 dB antenna has a 16 times stronger signal.

Beam type antennas, many of which are Yagi-Uda type named after two inventors who developed this antenna type independently, work differently. In this case the elements are mounted at 1/2 wave length spacing on a horizontal bar. The element sizes are also close to 1/2 wavelength where the lengths are slightly smaller and increase from front to back. Imagine all the radiated energy from a simple donut pattern is now pulled and stretched in one direction. These antennas must be pointed at the WiFi source you wish to hook up to. Often these antennas have similar gain values to the omni-directional antennas.

This is the model beam I have:

Cushcraft PC2415NA 2.4 GHz Articulating Directional Yagi Antenna

OK so which is better?

If there is only one WiFi node in your area, then the Omni works easiest as there is no pointing involved. You might find, moving your trailer one or two feet improves your connection to the gateway WiFi, but it is basically plug and play.

However, if you are parked in the street of a residential community with dozens of WiFi emitters and only one is free, an Omni antenna will be picking up all of them and chances are very high that there will be other emitters operating on the same channel as your gateway WiFi. This causes interference and makes it difficult if not impossible to connect unless you are right next to the gateway access point.

Here is where a directional antenna works wonderfully. When pointed towards your gateway access point, it is extremely sensitive in that direction only and other interfering Wifi emitters are received weakly. These beam type antennas allow you to make a connection over a much longer distance in the presence of competing signals. There is a disadvantage. High gain beam type antennas have narrower antenna beams patterns and are harder to point accurately. The higher the gain the harder they are to point accurately but they do work over longer distances. I think 12 dB gain is just right for most purposes.

How long a distance can you make a connection? Using extremely high gain antennas mounted on dishes to further block unwanted signals and increase gain, the record is over 25 miles with an amplified link on both ends and two people working hard to make it happen.

It is quite possible to reach a mile with a beam type antenna but more practically you should be able to reliably achieve distances over 1/4 mile or more with a sensitive, say 12dB gain antenna and a 1 watt amplifier.

Attaching the amplifier to the base of the antenna directly or through a short feedline improves performance, as signal losses in the feedline are very high at these frequencies. Even without an amplifier a directional or beam antenna will give you a stronger, more reliable signal. My amplifier is located 6" from my antenna.

If I were running a campground I'd use an amplified high gain Omni antenna. Or perhaps more than one access points on different channels and locations if I wanted to be known for having great WiFi.

If I were a customer staying at a campground I would use a directional antenna on a mast that I could rotate by hand and lock into position. I would also use a 1 watt amplifier and choose a campsite with line of sight vision to the campsite WiFi access point. Many times the WiFi only works in certain locations. If you don't want to have to move to the WiFi a beam antenna brings it to you.

If I were traveling in a parking lot trying to connect to a free WiFi but not wanting to go into a store to use its hotspot, I would either have my beam antenna in a fixed mount and steer it by turning my vehicle or else park where I wanted and steer the antenna at the hotspot. This works well at night when places are closed but access points are still running. I can keep a low profile and take advantage of the sites full bandwidth as I am the only user.

A few final thoughts:

if you don't have line of sight you can sometimes bounce a signal off another RV or a building. So the best signal may not come from pointing your antenna directly at the emitter. Most software will show the signal strength and allow you to steer your antenna for maximum signal.

Directional antennas also have nulls where they don't receive anything on the back side. If there is an interfering signal, twisting your antenna to 'null' them out will allow you to pull in a weak WiFi emitter that is farther away. While you might not have maximum signal strength pointed at your access point, eliminating the other interfering signal provides a reliable connection.

Finally, I have a free wifi service that comes with my broadband cable service. Mostly this consists of access points along the coast of Connecticut. Using a high gain antenna will not work unless I provide the MAC address of the device I am connecting with, to the cable company. If you chose to use a paid wifi service, along with a complicated antenna and amplifier, be sure to test out your configuration prior to traveling as you may find the set up and configuration to be more difficult than it should be.
__________________

__________________
Night Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 05:27 AM   #17
Senior Member
 
Trailer: Bigfoot
Manitoba
Posts: 604
Thanks a lot for the education, this finally makes some sense,
__________________
Cam A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 09:47 AM   #18
Senior Member
 
fusedlight's Avatar
 
Name: gary
Trailer: 16' 1998 Scamp
Minnesota
Posts: 672
Registry
Excellent description!
__________________
fusedlight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 10:16 AM   #19
Senior Member
 
Name: asdf
Trailer: asdf
Alabama
Posts: 346
So you are saying that all things being equal, an omni and a directional will be able to get the same gain? I was under the impression that the design of directional antennas gave them a gain advantage in a specific direction (ignoring "lobes"). And yes, they do have to be pointed.

I was a ham enthusiast in my youth but my knowledge is now 35 years old and fading rapidly.
__________________
jwcolby54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 12:19 PM   #20
Moderator
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Alberta
Posts: 4,727
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by Night Sailor View Post
Attaching the amplifier to the base of the antenna directly or through a short feedline improves performance, as signal losses in the feedline are very high at these frequencies. Even without an amplifier a directional or beam antenna will give you a stronger, more reliable signal. My amplifier is located 6" from my antenna.
Thanks for that input, Conrad. It explains a lot.

You mention an amplifier would improve the performance, is it or anything else other than the antenna needed? Or, does your devices wifi connection just pick up off the antenna itself?
__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (January 26)
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 12:52 PM   #21
Senior Member
 
cpaharley2008's Avatar
 
Name: jim
Trailer: 2016 2ndGen Escape19 Prairie Schooner pulled by 2014 Dodge Ram Hemi Sport
Pennsylvania
Posts: 6,398
Registry
The problem with all these gadgets that increase your reception and speed is that they also take away bandwidth from everyone else's enjoyment. At a recent stay at a cg with free internet and numerous repeaters the ability to use the internet was greatly diminished as a result of one person who had set up some sort of amateur radio antenna. In addition there were several other electrical gadgets on this person's roof. Due to the complaints by the other campers, the management asked this person to either leave or stop using up all the bandwidth. The next day, after departure, the cg internet was back to normal.
__________________
Jim
Never in doubt, often wrong
cpaharley2008 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 01:01 PM   #22
Moderator
 
Jim Bennett's Avatar
 
Name: Jim
Trailer: 2017 Escape 5.0 TA
Alberta
Posts: 4,727
Registry
It is rare for me to be in a campground with wifi, but if I am I do like to take advantage of it, mostly for trip planning and catching up on stuff without using up the data package on my phone. It seems often that the short time I want to be online, that the wifi reception is really crappy.
__________________
2017 Escape 5.0 TA (January 26)
2015 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5L EcoBoost
2009 Escape 19 (previous)
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” — Abraham Lincoln
Jim Bennett is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 01:57 PM   #23
Senior Member
 
honda03842's Avatar
 
Name: Norm and Ginny
Trailer: Scamp 16
Florida
Posts: 7,300
For us electronic communication is absolutely mandatory, for banking if nothing else.

Usually the biggest load is during the evening is people using movie services like Netflix.



Campground wi-fi varies widely in quality. Only one campground did not have wi-fi during our trip to and in Newfoundland. it's rare to have full campground coverage though a few did. In the Provincial parks it was only available around the offices.

In the states we have a wi-fi hot spot so that really covers our needs. Remarkeably the Verizon data coverage is almost everywhere. While in Canada I read that Verizon may buy a Canadian cell company which would be great.

We stayed a couple of Texas state parks last year with whole park coverage. I thought that was pretty impressive for a state park.

Also the addition of smart phones and their data packages almost negates the need for a computer and in a sense wi-fi. Really the phone does as much if not more than the computer.
__________________
Norm and Ginny

2014 Honda Odyssey
1991 Scamp 16
honda03842 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 02:22 PM   #24
Senior Member
 
fusedlight's Avatar
 
Name: gary
Trailer: 16' 1998 Scamp
Minnesota
Posts: 672
Registry
If I'm going to be doing something like remote desktop access, I'll find a coffee shop or something with a GOOD solid connection. CG stuff seems fine for "casual" browsing and emails, not so much for bandwidth intensive interaction.
__________________
fusedlight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 07:34 PM   #25
Senior Member
 
Night Sailor's Avatar
 
Name: Conrad
Trailer: Bigfoot 3000 & Barth "slide-in" truck camper
Connecticut
Posts: 963
Send a message via Skype™ to Night Sailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwcolby54 View Post
So you are saying that all things being equal, an omni and a directional will be able to get the same gain? I was under the impression that the design of directional antennas gave them a gain advantage in a specific direction (ignoring "lobes").
If the gain number is the same, the performance should be the same if there are no interfering signals. However manufacturer lie about gain. Some measure if from a theoretical point source which does not exist. Others measure it from a 1/2 wave length dipole --the simplest antenna.

dBi means measured from the theoretical point source. Actual gain compared to a dipole would be less. dBi is an inflated number. I forgot how much. Perhaps 1 dB.
__________________
Night Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 07:45 PM   #26
Senior Member
 
Night Sailor's Avatar
 
Name: Conrad
Trailer: Bigfoot 3000 & Barth "slide-in" truck camper
Connecticut
Posts: 963
Send a message via Skype™ to Night Sailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post

Thanks for that input, Conrad. It explains a lot.

You mention an amplifier would improve the performance, is it or anything else other than the antenna needed? Or, does your devices wifi connection just pick up off the antenna itself?
You can get by without an amplifier but you would then need RF cable to connect to an access point.

I use an Ubiquity Bullet. It combines the access point with a 1 watt amplifier. I am not sure if they sell these any more. It is an access point with Ethernet wired connection for your computer and an N connector (low loss connector) used for this antennas frequency band. Power is supplied over the Ethernet wires. It can use AC power with its included power supply or it can run on anything between 9 and 24v. I cut the adapter off and use 12V. It also has LED lights to show connectivity and signal strength and can be used outdoors.

I connect it to my laptop but it could also be connected to a WiFi hub such that you could create your own hotspot to the campground or other link. This is what I plan to do at some point ,but since it is just me, I just use the Ethernet connection on my MacBook Pro which means I can't move around with my laptop.

The Bullet is programmed with HTML just like most routers.
__________________
Night Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 07:46 PM   #27
Senior Member
 
Night Sailor's Avatar
 
Name: Conrad
Trailer: Bigfoot 3000 & Barth "slide-in" truck camper
Connecticut
Posts: 963
Send a message via Skype™ to Night Sailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
The problem with all these gadgets that increase your reception and speed is that they also take away bandwidth from everyone else's enjoyment. At a recent stay at a cg with free internet and numerous repeaters the ability to use the internet was greatly diminished as a result of one person who had set up some sort of amateur radio antenna. In addition there were several other electrical gadgets on this person's roof. Due to the complaints by the other campers, the management asked this person to either leave or stop using up all the bandwidth. The next day, after departure, the cg internet was back to normal.
He was probably down loading movies or something. I expect his signal was so strong it overwhelmed the other users like shouting in a library.
__________________
Night Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013, 07:49 PM   #28
Senior Member
 
Night Sailor's Avatar
 
Name: Conrad
Trailer: Bigfoot 3000 & Barth "slide-in" truck camper
Connecticut
Posts: 963
Send a message via Skype™ to Night Sailor
Quote:
Originally Posted by honda03842 View Post
For us electronic communication is absolutely mandatory, for banking if nothing else.

In the states we have a wi-fi hot spot so that really covers our needs. Remarkeably the Verizon data coverage is almost everywhere.

Also the addition of smart phones and their data packages almost negates the need for a computer and in a sense wi-fi. Really the phone does as much if not more than the computer.
I agree. I have unlimited data with Verizon and now that in have an iPhone 5 it works really well.

I still like the WiFi option as two sources are better than one.
__________________

__________________
Night Sailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thoughts on Fulltiming (Extended Travel) honda03842 Fulltiming in a Molded Fiberglass Trailer 20 10-23-2012 05:23 AM
Camped for extended periods camper1887 Towing, Hitching, Axles and Running Gear 5 07-07-2012 06:26 PM
Extended frame for scooter Barrie Bochoff Modifications, Alterations and Updates 44 07-19-2011 04:58 PM
Design Concept for Extended Living Patrick M. General Chat 4 12-21-2006 11:44 AM
parked unlevel for extended time--is it ok? VickiC Care and Feeding of Molded Fiberglass Trailers 13 01-08-2006 06:41 PM

» Upcoming Events
No events scheduled in
the next 465 days.
» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:04 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.