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Old 05-20-2020, 01:12 PM   #1
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WIFI in the Southeast

Opinions on the best WiFi set ups for receiving internet signals. The most reviews I’ve seen are for wifi Ranger & Weboost. We are full time and spent most of our time in the Southeast. (Florida, Georgia & South Carolina) I recently read about Alfa WiFi Camp Pro 2 it’s much less expensive, but that might equal poor quality or a great buy. Anyone tried it?
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Old 05-20-2020, 01:23 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CarpeDiem View Post
Opinions on the best WiFi set ups for receiving internet signals. The most reviews I’ve seen are for wifi Ranger & Weboost. We are full time and spent most of our time in the Southeast. (Florida, Georgia & South Carolina) I recently read about Alfa WiFi Camp Pro 2 it’s much less expensive, but that might equal poor quality or a great buy. Anyone tried it?
I used an Alfa Wifi Camp before I bought my Winnebago. The Winnebago had a Wifi Ranger installed. Both systems work reasonably well. I still have the Alfa Wifi in case I need it as a backup.
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Old 05-20-2020, 02:03 PM   #3
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Perhaps you need a better understanding of what these two devices do?

WiFi Ranger is made of of two main functions. One is to put an antenna on your roof with a built in router. The second main function is an indoor router. The outdoor component "Pairs" with an indoor router that provides access for all of your network devices. It's like your router at home. You creat a network name and password and then all of your devices - phones, tablets, streaming TV services and MiFis connect via this router.

Both outdoor and indoor routers offer "WiFi as WAN." Which is a techy way of saying it's able to pick up other WiFi signals and then connect to them the way a home or business router connects to a cable internet, DSL internet or Fiber Internet source.

So, the campground WiFi is picked up by the WiFi Ranger and turned into a usable wide area network (WAN) connection. Where you may have a cable or wire at your home providing the WAN connection the WiFi Ranger picks up some outside WiFi connection and treats it like it was that home wired connection.

Because the vast majority of Campgrounds have lousy WiFi Internet it's not often your best choice for internet access. The reason it's bad is not because the signal is weak and needs boosting or something. It's because the CG hasn't purchased enough bandwidth to serve all the people using it at the same time.

What is more consistent is to use Cellular Broadband. This is what your phone offers. It's connects to the internet via your cell service carrier.

You can use your phone as a WiFi Hotspot and let your other devices connect to the internet through the phone. But it's not the best way to establish WiFi for your RV. Most folks get a "MiFi" device (sometimes called a Hotspot, or Jetpack or even a Datacard).

You access the internet through one of these devices and it uses the cell signal just like a campground wifi connection. You are providing the internet access through a cellular data connection.

The WeBoost booster is used for this kind of connection. It's a special amplifier that picks up all the nearby cell signals and amplifies the strength of the signal. It can't make a signal where there is none - but it can take a weak signal and make it more usable. It puts an antenna on your roof that connects to the indoor amplifier and that connects to an indoor antenna. The outside antenna picks up the cell signal, feeds it to the amplifier which boosts it and then passes this new stronger signal to the indoor antenna. Your devices then connect through the indoor antenna using the boosted cell signal.

The WiFi Ranger product works WITH your cellular data Jetpack/MiFi/Hotspot. It uses that WiFi as WAN feature to share one outside internet source - in this case your Mifi - with all the other devices on your RV that use wifi to connect to the internet.

Wifi Rangers new products, most introduced in the past 6 months, are a mixture of different features. Some are just indoor and outdoor routers. Some have built in SIM slots to accept a cellular SIM card and act as a Mifi/Jetpack on your roof. These versions of the product combine the two separate function into one device.

We have a WiFi Ranger setup AND and WeBoost as well. The indoor router from the WiFi Ranger is the most useful. We use it 100% of the time. It picks up either campground wifi and or Jetpack/MiFi wifi and connects all of our TVs, our ipads, iphones and laptop computer. So, all these devices connect with one network name and one password. Again, just like at home.

We have a WeBoost Drive 4G-X that we use 10% of the time. We only use it when we're somewhere with weak cell service. That's pretty rare these days near any town of any size. When we need it, it makes all the difference. When we don't we don't even plug it in.

The Outdoor Antenna/Router part of the WiFi ranger we use even less. Probably 3% of the time at most. Since we get the majority of our internet from Mifi/Jetpack devices that are inside the RV, the outdoor antenna doesn't do much for us. Once we spent the night at Walmart and the Wifi Ranger's outdoor antenna was able to pick up the Walmart wifi and let us use it in our RV. Without that outdoor antenna the signal was too weak to use.

We carry both an ATT MiFi and a Verizon Jetpack. We have unlimited internet on both and we use whichever provides that best internet speeds.

Confusing all this further will be the next step in this process - figuring out what Data Plan you want to use with a Mifi or Jetpack. There are very many "gotchas" in that process.

The short answer to this now - is you probably don't absolutely need either a WiFi Ranger or Weboost product until you choose how you plan to connect to the internet, what kind of device you want to use and how remotely you plan to travel.

For instance if you purchased an ATT Nighthawk MiFi and unlimited data plan you'd have a super capable device to pick up cell signals and provide internet via it's own built in router to 15 devices inside your RV. Would you need a Booster? Depends on how far off the beaten track you go. Would a WiFi Ranger help you? We prefer it but it's not absolutely necessary.

This is a huge subject and I've only touched on a tiny bit of it.
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:41 PM   #4
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Creativepart did an excellent job of imparting background information.


However, the Technology: Internet, TV, Satellite, Cell Phones, etc.board at sister forum iRV2.com has a much more active "internet" set of threads.You might check in over there. Your email and password here should get you in there, I think.


https://www.irv2.com/forums/f53/
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:48 PM   #5
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I agree it’s a well discussed topic at www.irv2.com.

Much better though is www.RVMobileInternet.com. There is massive amounts of info and knowledge there. You can see some of it for free, about 1/3rd. You have to be a paying member to get the most benefit.

The biggest problem is that this stuff changes constantly. You really have to work to keep up with it all. That’s what the site above does and how it earns its annual membership fees.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:37 AM   #6
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I didn’t phrase my question well enough. We primarily camp in state parks. As you know, the campground reception is spotty at best. We were recently at Aiken State Park in SC where there is zero reception for Internet or phone. We drove five miles each day to do whatever business needed to be done. BTW the park was very nice. In the Southeast does one brand or particular unit offer better results than others. In your opinion.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:01 AM   #7
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In a remote place without cell coverage a WeBoost or other brand of booster “may” make a difference or it may not. And there is really no way to tell without direct experience.

If you know someone with a booster that’s had success in that park it would help. Otherwise you’d need to buy and install a booster and try it your self.

IF the park has WiFi available and it has plenty of bandwidth but it’s too weak in the campground then “maybe” a WiFi Ranger product would help. But that’s a bigger maybe than a cell booster.

For years Verizon ruled all parts of the country for best service. But in the past couple of years ATT has equaled or bettered Verizon in most places. T-Mobile was a distant third and Sprint in last place everywhere except bigger cities. Those two have merged which will no doubt help but how much remains to be seen.

We have ATT and Verizon both. ATT has worked the best for us in the past 18-months.

By the way, we have a remote State Park we visit a lot. There is zero phone service there. The nearest town is small and 7-mi away. With our WeBoost we get decent ATT service in the park, but still no Verizon service. The park has WiFI at the HQ building. With the WiFi Ranger we can access the Park WiFi but it’s so poor that it’s not usable. Hopefully this gives you an idea of how things sometimes work. You just don’t know until you try it.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:20 PM   #8
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It is good to here AT&T is getting better. For various reasons I don’t want to switch from them. After I make a decision and have had some experience with it I will post a review.
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