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Old 03-16-2008, 03:52 PM   #61
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Here's a thread on RV.NET Technology Forum that will be of interest. I copied the starting post:

QUOTE
I have spent many months trying to find the best allround solution for getting WiFi service into the RV including custom routers, bridges etc and I have just come across the best solution bar none!
It's a Long Range USB adaptor ($50) and a Super Cantenna ($40).
We are at 1000 Trails in Las Vegas and anyone who has stayed here knows just how bad the WiFi service is, only available by sitting outside the store with a laptop.
I'm sitting here about 150 yards away from the store with the cantenna sat on the table inside the RV with a signal strength of -51 dBm. I'm seeing a 400kbps download and 250 kbps upload - totally unheard of.
In addition I have an active USB extender if I need it to move the unit outside to get even better signal strength.
The USB Adaptor is a high power 200mW unit from EnGenius and I bought it from www.newegg.com - the Super Cantenna came from Frys Electronics.
END QUOTE


Adapter

High Output Power up to 200mW (23dBm)

Super Cantenna

# 12 dBi gain
# 30-degree beam width (approximate)

BTW, the adapter is USB, so it can be just stuck out the window with its own antenna for simple setup or used with the cantenna or other antenna like the ones previously mentioned here.

The advantage to using a program like Netstumbler over Windows Zero Config is that you can set it up to refresh itself every few seconds while aiming your antenna for best signal. When set, close NS and open Windows.

The thread above mentions WiFi SiStr which shows updated signal strength but is not controlling the adapter. Haven't tried it yet.
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Old 03-16-2008, 04:13 PM   #62
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I use Netstumbler while driving around the local community. After surveying a given area I can select an available open W-Fi access point and connect while sitting inside the Escalade.

When we were in Chief;and, FL we were using McDonalds Wi-Fi. After two days of free access, all of a sudden it switchs you off to a pay-for-access ISP. Needless to say I just moved to another location, the Holliday Inn nearby.
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Old 03-16-2008, 05:39 PM   #63
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The Cantenna concept has been around a long time. You can find complete directions for making one yourself in O'Reilly Media's Wireless Hacks book. A good alternate resource is the How To Build A Tin Can Waveguide WiFi Antenna page online, which gives you exact details for building one.

--Peter
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Old 03-16-2008, 08:12 PM   #64
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Yes -- I put the super cantenna link in there because the two together gives an excellent off-the-shelf package for $100.

I noticed that one of the omni-directional antennas previously discussed (about 11dBi) has a radiation pattern diagram and doesn't appear to be very omni, so that one could probably use some turning to get best results.

I may try one of tin cans myself, plus maybe a Yagi, in or out of a can. The other day, I cut a hole in the bottom of a large coffee can so I could stick my Hawking wifi adapter in it and that greatly improved my signal. I was able to identify 30!!! wifi signals from my balcony in Netstumbler, although most of them are weak.

There are three open wifi's (two cafe's and a city system) within a quarter mile of me, but all are behind buildings and not in my line of sight. If I can set up something directional enough, I may be able to pick up a reflection or knife-edge effect signal.

Hoping to find a used sat-TV dish to mount a wifi antenna at the focus.
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Old 03-17-2008, 12:23 AM   #65
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I'm sitting in a state park on the side of a mountain in northern AZ and caught a signal with the WaveRV

I don't know if it is the best solution out there, but it is simple, compact and has worked very well. I just got out three reports that were due in the morning so it just earned every penny I spent on it....

If this keeps up we can stay out all week...
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:24 PM   #66
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I'm NOT knocking the Wave, but the EnGenius EUB-362 EXT (datasheet PDF)has these specs and costs the same without the $100 part in front:

Available Transmit Power (Typical without antenna):
2.412~2.472GHz (IEEE802.11g)
22 +/- 1dBm @ 6 ~ 24Mbps
21 +/- 1dBm @ 36Mbps
20 +/- 1dBm @ 48Mbps
19 +/- 1dBm @ 54Mbps
2.412~2.472GHz (IEEE802.11b)
22 +/- 1dBm @ 1 ~ 11Mbps
Max is 200mW

Receive Sensitivity (Typical):
2.412~2.472GHz (IEEE802.11g)
-92dBm @ 6Mbps
-76dBm @ 54Mbps
2.412~2.472GHz (IEEE802.11b)
-92dBm @ 11Mbps
-96dBm @ 1Mbps
Antenna (2dBi)


Wave specs are:

Transmit Power (ERP)
802.11b: 200mW (23dBm)
802.11g: 100mW (20dBm)

Receive Sensitivity
802.11b: -91dBm (typical) at 11Mbps
-91dBm (typical) at 6Mbps
802.11g: -76dBm (typical) at 54Mbps
-96dBm (typical) at 1Mbps
Antenna
5dB External Omnidirectional
Wibberduck Antenna

The Wave antenna is better, although both can take external antennas, and Wave's size and clip-on make it more convenient.
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:53 PM   #67
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I've briefly messed with the WiFi SiStr program and find it to fall between netstumbler and zero configuration for usefulness. It puts a little, moveable alway-on-top (optional) window on your screen that numerically and graphically shows signal strength of the site to which you are connected. Updates quickly, less than a second in middle mode.

However, it doesn't seem to show anything UNTIL connected (NS shows them all but never is connected). So, it's good for aiming antenna to maximize signal after connecting, but doesn't help you aim at a signal to find it. Can't gripe about free stuf, with both SiStr (SIte STRength?) and NS both are.
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:33 AM   #68
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Signal Booster

This wi-fi booster will catch signal from 10 miles away : signalbooster.com
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:17 AM   #69
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I carry a Ubiquiti Nanostation combined with their Air Gateway router. With this combination I have successfully connected to a Loves truck stop 1 mile from my trailer. While Ubiquiti has replaced the Air Gateway with their AirCube, by another RVer on setting up a system for under $100.00.

That said, you will still be facing poorly designed and overloaded campground WiFi systems. In most cases even if you have a solid connection, don't expect to be able to do much more than checking email. I only dig out the Ubiquiti system when there is no cell coverage & I can find a WiFi signal, although I have found it useful when in Canada where my cellular data unlimited service becomes very limited.

I travel across the US a couple of times per year, and carry both an AT&T & Verizon cellular modem (Jetpack), combined with an external antenna & Sleek amplifier (now called WeBoost). In the past I often needed the amplifier, however each year the connections for both AT&T & Verizon get better. On the last trip I only found one location where I needed the amplifier. Of course there were locations where neither service provided any signal, but that was rare. On a 162 day trip I only had 9 days without cell coverage, most at Sunny Flats campground, in the mountains of southeast Arizona.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:39 PM   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
In the past I often needed the amplifier, however each year the connections for both AT&T & Verizon get better. On the last trip I only found one location where I needed the amplifier. Of course there were locations where neither service provided any signal, but that was rare. On a 162 day trip I only had 9 days without cell coverage, most at Sunny Flats campground, in the mountains of southeast Arizona.
Thanks for the report Jon. It looks like my cunning plan of looking at cellular boosters and then opting to not make such an expensive investment is working perfectly!
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