Wi-Fi technology while on the road. - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-20-2007, 01:09 PM   #1
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I am so frustrated. My wife has my old Dell and gets 2 bars on her Wi-Fi signal. My latest & greatest Mac OS 10.4 gets ZERO bars. She gets online and I just get more frustrated.

Turns out Mac have a Titanium case and it blocks part of the signal. So if there is a weak signal, no luck.

We camped next to a couple that have been full-timing for 10 years. I asked him how he gets online. He said, see that antenna next to my A/C on top of my rig? It brings in anything in range and gives me 5 bars. “Also, I have an amplifier” he said.

I didn’t get a chance to pursue it further as he was leaving.

I have been searching for the best solution I can find. I bought a “Wi-Fi D-Link Range Extender” day before yesterday. Didn’t work. After spending several hours and talking to their tech support, it is a Repeater and needs to be married to one router.

I took it back.

I have an appointment Monday with RadioLabs in Fortuna, CA. Monday. They have some awesome claims on their website. They have one antenna they claim picks up a Wi-Fi signal from 4 miles away. (I’ll believe it when I see it. )

I hope we can come up with a GREAT solution.
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:41 PM   #2
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When I was talking to RadioLabs this morning, they recommended http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wireless/waverv.php

We’ll be taking a look.
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Old 07-20-2007, 01:49 PM   #3
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Mike
If you have a G4 Titanium you also have a PC Card slot?
You can install a few different Wi-Fi cards into that slot that will have antenna outside the Ti case area.
You can also use some USB Wi-Fi adapters and get the same or better results as you can put an external antenna on some of those.

I use one program while "Roaming" that helps locate and get into hotspots also. It is called iStumbler.

PM me if you want/need more info.

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Old 07-20-2007, 02:18 PM   #4
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I am so frustrated. My wife has my old Dell and gets 2 bars on her Wi-Fi signal. My latest & greatest Mac OS 10.4 gets ZERO bars. She gets online and I just get more frustrated.

Turns out Mac have a Titanium case and it blocks part of the signal. So if there is a weak signal, no luck.

We camped next to a couple that have been full-timing for 10 years. I asked him how he gets online. He said, see that antenna next to my A/C on top of my rig? It brings in anything in range and gives me 5 bars. “Also, I have an amplifier” he said.

I didn’t get a chance to pursue it further as he was leaving.

I have been searching for the best solution I can find. I bought a “Wi-Fi D-Link Range Extender” day before yesterday. Didn’t work. After spending several hours and talking to their tech support, it is a Repeater and needs to be married to one router.

I took it back.

I have an appointment Monday with [b]RadioLabs in Fortuna, CA. Monday. They have some awesome claims on their website. They have one antenna they claim picks up a Wi-Fi signal from 4 miles away. (I’ll believe it when I see it. )



I hope we can come up with a GREAT solution.

Don't plan on spending a lot on getting a better wifi signal...it's easy to homebrew a antenna that can boost your recieve and transmit signal. I built a reflector that fits around my router antenna that boosted my signal from 5% to 75% using a plastic 2 liter soda bottle, some tinfoil and one page size sheet of thin cardboard. Took all of 10 minutes and a pair of scizzors to make.
Check out this link...it might give you some ideas...
http://www.turnpoint.net/wireless/has.html

Here's a link to the template I used...
http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template/
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Old 07-20-2007, 04:37 PM   #5
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I use NetworkStumbler (free on the internet) to find open access points.

My Dell will connect to any signal that is above -95 dbm.

I just execute NetworkStumbler and pick an un-encrypyed access point and go on line.
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Old 07-20-2007, 05:11 PM   #6
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Mike, it's quite possible that the guy with the active repeater (two antennas with an amplifier in between) wasn't using WiFi but was using cell phone.

Also, bear in mind that 'poaching' on someone else's WiFi and internet connection is less than cool and even illegal in some jurisdictions. Some have likened it to "If they didn't bother to lock the door, it's OK for me to walk inside the house and use the bathroom". Folks are very split on this and can get quite passionate about it.

OTOH, it's not at all unusual to find CGs with WiFi, or with other RVers with an internet connection that they openly share with fellow campers.


Here's another WiFi antenna made from a salvaged sat tv dish.

http://www.geocities.com/ab9il_worldwide/wifi3.html

BTW, there are three good Yahoo groups, Internet by Data Card, Internet by Cell Phone and Internet by WiFi from which to glean lots of info regarding On The Road Internet.

Here's a quote from an Internet by WiFi post:

QUOTE
RE: [IBWiFi] Neighbor's Wifi and YAGI Antenna??


Mike,

That's a good question. You don't mention distances, signal strengths (if
you've measured them), a "nice to know" is where the 15ft high mast will be
(roof, etc.). So, I'll give you a general shot in the dark answer as to
what I'd do in your shoes.

(Note - Any CAPITALIZATION is intended for those readers that might require
some additional emphasis on a particular point, prior to their sending an
e-mail with a contrary position.)

1) Measure the signal strength of your neighbors' signal in different areas
in which you could mount the antenna. Remember, there are things in your
home that can affect the reception - passively (i.e. water) and actively
(i.e. microwave oven; cordless phone). I'd be sure to have the active
devices in use when doing this.

2) It would be ideal if you were able to minimize the length of antenna
coax. You'll get significant loss there, certainly more than with USB. If
necessary, you could use an adapter to make the USB signal an Ethernet
signal, insert WiFi repeater or an Ethernet duplex switch (not a hub) and
run the CAT5 to your router, if that makes sense. Then you can situate the
LAN (as opposed to your YAGI WAN) antenna at the best location. ALL THINGS
BEING EQUAL, I'd run the CAT5 (depending upon the switch, you might have to
use a crossover configuration - the Auto MDIX - feature would eliminate this
concern). I think (I haven't had an opportunity to compare) you'll get less
noise and higher overall performance, assuming the switch is ok).

3) You might need to put a similar antenna etc. at your neighbors' house as
well. Since the signal is TYPICALLY good for @300 feet, don't be surprised
if you need something in addition to the Yagi. You might find a need to
place a repeater in the signal path. If that's impractical, another option
is to add signal amplifiers on both ends of the WAN.

4) At some point you'll need a router, even if you have a repeater
someplace in between you and your neighbors' antenna. I suggest a router,
as opposed to a bridge, because:
a) Some routers can be configured as bridges
They're often less expensive than bridges by the same
manufacturer (economies of scale)
c) Router allows you to configure settings for your own LAN

5) So you can take advantage of whatever proprietary "turbo, extended
range, etc.", purchase the same brand (AND SERIES - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!)
The same brand, but different series, could have features that are
incompatible) features available in your neighbors' router. If unavailable,
even on eBay, etc. you may need to buy a matching router for the other end
THIS IS ESSENTIAL IF IT IS A RANGE EXTENDING FEATURE.

6) When choosing routers, switches, etc., it's important to pay attention
to the specs. How much buffer memory (You'll see specs with bit and with
bytes. There are 8 bits to a byte). Additionally, often (but not always),
you can use the number of ports AND the number VPN tunnels (realistically)
supported simultaneously to help you choose. Remember, if both your
daughters are running significant bandwidth, this can cause major
degradation of your LAN. So, IF you have a choice, don't cut corners.

Best of luck.

JR



-----Original Message-----
From: InternetByWiFi@yahoogroups.com [mailto:InternetByWiFi@yahoogroups.com]
On Behalf Of Michael West
Sent: Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:11 PM
To: InternetByWiFi@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [IBWiFi] Neighbor's Wifi and YAGI Antenna??

Hi new to the group and here is my question, my neighbor and I are good
friends and he said my wife and I are more than welcome to use his wifi
which he has with this setup. He gets internet by using wild blue dish
service then from his modem he goes into a basic Netgear router which
sends signal to another room for his wife's computer. We are about 1000
feet apart and have clear line of site to each other. I just bought a
20 element 20dbi gain yagi which I will put up on a mast about 15 feet
high, come into our house with LMR400 coax, then have a pigtail which
goes from N connector to mc and or rpsma connector. Ok what hardware do
I need on my end to hook the coax to so as to create a wireless
enviroment so my girls can get wifi with their laptops? A bridge,
router, repeater, access point or a combination of something? Hey
thanks for all responses and help. Mike

END QUOTE
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Old 07-20-2007, 05:44 PM   #7
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I can't believe a company as smart as Apple doesn't have a fix for this.
Imagine encasing an antenna inside a metal box, what were they thinking?
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Old 07-20-2007, 06:49 PM   #8
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How To Build A Tin Can Waveguide WiFi Antenna

Quote:
Got no dough for a commercial WiFi antenna? Looking for an inexpensive way to increase the range of your wireless network? A tin can waveguide antenna, or Cantenna, may be just the ticket. This design can be built for under $5 U.S. and reuses a food, juice, or other tin can.
Or buy something similar here for about $40: http://www.cantenna.com/

From what I've read, Pringles cans work well if you're making your own.
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Old 07-20-2007, 08:16 PM   #9
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Oh groan. I'm just so far behind youse guys on this techno stuff. Just got my first laptop with all the gizmos my geek son insisted on. At home it runs wireless, and the bluetooth mouse is chirping away, but sooner or later I'll have to connect while on the road. Point in favor: the laptop was made in China, so the case is not metallic, just melamine. I believe it can be wiped down with ethylene glycol if the reception is not up to snuff. I'm getting cluster headaches already.
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Old 07-21-2007, 02:51 PM   #10
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Also, bear in mind that 'poaching' on someone else's WiFi and internet connection is less than cool and even illegal in some jurisdictions. Some have likened it to "If they didn't bother to lock the door, it's OK for me to walk inside the house and use the bathroom". Folks are very split on this and can get quite passionate about it.

OTOH, it's not at all unusual to find CGs with WiFi, or with other RVers with an internet connection that they openly share with fellow campers.
I totally agree and am NOT interested in poaching. I went into a CG advertising FREE Wi-Fi and was bitterly disappointed. While my wife and others were getting online I could not.

My personal goal is to be able get the available offered signal from any campground I am in (and paying for) and get maximum performance from it.
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Old 07-21-2007, 03:02 PM   #11
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Per, at the root of it, antennas are simple -- They just radiate the energy produced by the whatever. Antennas alone don't actually amplify, but they can be built so that they radiate and receive in a particular direction, like TV antennas you see on a roof with a motor to point them in the right direction, and since all the energy is sent or received from just one direction, the energies involved are more efficient.

There are all kinds of technical numbers to describe this, but the key one is dBi; the higher the number in front of dBi, the more efficient the antenna, with perhaps the more need for proper aim. (dBi is a theoretical isotropic radiation pattern, a globe).

Laptops are built with internal antennas that are not generally directional, so they are less efficient but don't need to be pointed (like a hand grenade, bursts in all directions, but doesn't burst far); better antennas are more efficient but may have to be carefully aimed (like a rifle, much longer range, but useless if not pointed properly).

Antennas come generally in three basic radiation patterns; a ball or globe, a doughnut or concentrated. Laptops and WiFi cards with no external antenna are generally the first kind, Pringles can antennas are the last kind.

To go really long distances, two Pringles cans can be carefully aimed at each other, but usually the WiFi access point has one of the first two antennas.
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Old 07-21-2007, 03:20 PM   #12
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I can't believe a company as smart as Apple doesn't have a fix for this.
Imagine encasing an antenna inside a metal box, what were they thinking?
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Old 07-21-2007, 08:56 PM   #13
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It is very common for antenna's to offer some "Gain" over merely receiving some baseline signal. The more directional the higher the gain in that direction. It is very common to get positive gain from an antenna if it is designed to resonate at the frequencies you are trying to receive. The various antenna types and designs offered here all have the potential to amplify your Wi-Fi signal were it not for one limiting factor. The airport card built-in to your Powerbook does not allow for an external antenna connection.

As I offered earlier there are options for the Powerbook that use either the PC Card slot or the USB slot.
Either of these offer an antenna outside the shielded area of the Powerbook case.

I have used some PC Cards with success on a TiBook but the USB option allows for actually placing the antenna and adapter away from the computer or other sources of interference and can have the most dramatic result.

It is odd maybe but the best success for the least cost that I have had with this was a USB Wi-Fi adapter that is available from Home Depot of all places.

The Belkin USB Wi-Fi adapter does have Mac drivers available and I use one with my Titanium G4 with great results.

The device you found that is geared for RV use seems to be both an adapter and a high-gain omni-directional Wi-Fi antenna in one package.

It may seem pricey but it is an interesting and I bet good performing solution too.




Quote:
Per, at the root of it, antennas are simple -- They just radiate the energy produced by the whatever. Antennas alone don't actually amplify, but they can be built so that they radiate and receive in a particular direction, like TV antennas you see on a roof with a motor to point them in the right direction, and since all the energy is sent or received from just one direction, the energies involved are more efficient.

There are all kinds of technical numbers to describe this, but the key one is dBi; the higher the number in front of dBi, the more efficient the antenna, with perhaps the more need for proper aim. (dBi is a theoretical isotropic radiation pattern, a globe).

Laptops are built with internal antennas that are not generally directional, so they are less efficient but don't need to be pointed (like a hand grenade, bursts in all directions, but doesn't burst far); better antennas are more efficient but may have to be carefully aimed (like a rifle, much longer range, but useless if not pointed properly).

Antennas come generally in three basic radiation patterns; a ball or globe, a doughnut or concentrated. Laptops and WiFi cards with no external antenna are generally the first kind, Pringles can antennas are the last kind.

To go really long distances, two Pringles cans can be carefully aimed at each other, but usually the WiFi access point has one of the first two antennas.
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Old 07-21-2007, 10:02 PM   #14
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I can't believe a company as smart as Apple doesn't have a fix for this.
Imagine encasing an antenna inside a metal box, what were they thinking?
The MacBookPro is an improvement over my last Powerbook, but the iBook with a plastic case gets far better Wifi reception. I may try one of the USB devices.

Bobbie
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