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Old 12-14-2017, 02:22 PM   #1
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Do I need two WiFi devices - one for internal devices and one for Camp Ground source?

I'm trying to figure out how to modernize my RV. I have a new TV up front with network connection (built in Netflix and home file sharing an such) and a new TV in the back with similar "smart features".

My coach has no internal network capabilities.

In the front, near the TV is a cabinet that I can easily install a Router (which I already have that has CAT cable inputs and WiFi). It would be easy to hardwire connect the front TV to that.

Since there is no hard-wired network in my coach, I assume I will need to plug in a "wireless WiFi device" into the back bedroom TV and my computer. So I guess I need two more WiFi devices (well one, since my computer/laptop has WiFi already built-in).

That should allow me to stream my movies and music from my computer to either TV.

How do I connect to the Campsite WiFi? Do I need another WiFi device and if so, do I plug that into the Router - or my computer?

Should I be running two separate networks (all different hardware) or can I combine the internal and external networks on the "same router/WiFi device"?
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Old 12-14-2017, 02:37 PM   #2
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Mike, I think all you need is an outside antenna/radio and your existing inside router, connected by an ethernet cable. WiFi Ranger is the high dollar solution, do a search for $100 wifi on this forum as this has been hashed out here many times. Some guys have very complex (I don't understand any of the 'alphabet soup' world of computers) systems as they work remotely.
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Old 12-14-2017, 02:49 PM   #3
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Thanks Bill.
I'm pretty good at figuring out the mechanical stuff. If I can see it working/moving I can figure it out.

But when the moving parts are electrons, I'm totally lost.
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:28 PM   #4
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Make it simple on yourself.....get a hotspot with "unlimited" data plan. I've got AT&T but other providers have a similar deal. Most RV parks discourage or are unable to satisfactorily stream Netflix or Amazon over their network.
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Old 12-14-2017, 03:36 PM   #5
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If you travel in the West, you will not be in range of a cell tower with a strong enough signal for internet. I know, you'll tell me I'm wrong and you get 5 bars in Podunk, but that's not my experience. My experience in the West and western canada is that cell phone internet is gonna cost you min $100/month and that's before roaming. And don't tell me you don't pay roaming, again, that's my experience. So you're only real option is to use campground wifi, but you'll need some kind of external antenna. Or 'free' wifi at McD's or some such.
Or big buck 'unlimited' wifi from one of our trusted partners!
They have you by the short.......
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:18 PM   #6
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I'm not too concerned with internet access yet. I want to start by getting my internal devices to communicate. I have a large movie collection "ripped" to hard drive so I can watch movies anywhere (as long as I can get the movie from my computer to TV).

If the Campsite has WiFi (internet) access, I want to be able to receive it (for free).

But I'm not yet willing to pay a bunch of $ for one of those unlimited cell phone data plans. I'm not a "full timer" and I already pay close to $200/month for two cell phones and home internet service.

So my goal is to first setup some type internal network in the coach to connect two TVs, a computer, and AVR together. and then second, to bring Campsite WiFi (internet) into coach for low data use - like accessing this forum or checking my e-mails.

I know I can use my cell phone as a hot spot for short term internet access if I'm not at a campsite with WiFi or on the road. I did that during my last power outage (due to hurricane Irma or maybe it was Matthew) but I quickly used up my 1GB data allowance over the five day outage.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:18 PM   #7
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My experience in the West and western canada is that cell phone internet is gonna cost you min $100/month and that's before roaming. And don't tell me you don't pay roaming, again, that's my experience.
If you have Verizon's Unlimited Plan, 4G/LTE service in Canada and Mexico is included at no extra cost with no roaming. Data is limited to ~500MB/day. That's not all that great for streaming but it does make for an inexpensive cellular service with a reasonable data allowance.

I know you said "don't tell you" but I wanted others to know that this is available.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:25 PM   #8
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Mike, I think all you need is an outside antenna/radio and your existing inside router, connected by an ethernet cable. WiFi Ranger is the high dollar solution, do a search for $100 wifi on this forum as this has been hashed out here many times.
IMO calling WiFiRanger "the high dollar solution" is an unnecessarily disparaging characterization. WiFiRanger products are designed to be usable "out of the box" by customers who have no technical skills whatsoever. A more sophisticated customer may find lower cost solutions but that approach may not be for everyone.
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:28 PM   #9
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Docj, I respect the knowledge you have on this forum, and I don't doubt your info on 'unlimited plan', but our experience in Canada is that cell service is very limited and likely not Verison (only Vancouver I think). Just looking for a campground while on the road will eat up your minutes quick, then they dive deep into your wallet. There is no such thing as reasonably priced internet on the road. Just ask the OP as he is already paying $200/ month and hasn't left his driveway.

As for the OP's question; for your internal network, it'll look just like the one you use at home.....but, see how much I know, don't you need to be connected to the internet in order to use wifi on your home router? That's how I'm connected at home....?? Better minds than mine out there......
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Old 12-14-2017, 05:05 PM   #10
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If you have Verizon's Unlimited Plan, 4G/LTE service in Canada and Mexico is included at no extra cost with no roaming. Data is limited to ~500MB/day. That's not all that great for streaming but it does make for an inexpensive cellular service with a reasonable data allowance.

I know you said "don't tell you" but I wanted others to know that this is available.


So an unlimited plan that limits you to 500mb/day. So itís an unlimited 15G/mo plan?
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:44 PM   #11
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CountryB,

You have a very simple first goal, internal device connections. Use most any WIFi router device. It does not need any kind of Internet connection to do what you want for the first goal. You can do all of this via WiFi, however wired connections will almost always perform better than WiFi, more so for streaming of videos. However, this may not be easily done in your rig. But I'd use any wired connection possible, leaving WiFi for perhaps the bedroom TV. Just use the LAN connections on the router and some CAT 5 cables. The WiFi will be tied in with the LAN connections in most routers.

As for goal 2, this is a bit different. It sounds as if all you want is to check email and perhaps light duty web surfing? WiFi in many RV parks is poor to bad. There are some that have very good WiFi. Keep in mind that a park's WiFi feed from their ISP maybe very limited due to their address and what's is even possible. Next is how WiFI was installed at the park and the size of the park in terms of both physical area and number of RVs. This includes the number, distribution and quality of their WiFi radios and antennas. Some RV parks also impose some "quality of service", streaming and number of connections that may origination from a given RV. Next is to keep in mind that Wifi is strictly line of sight from the park's antenna(s) to your antenna. If there are other RVs, trees or other objects in your path then signal quality will decrease. One key is to get your antenna as high as you can, best if its on the roof of your RV. However, that means running a cable inside your rig, may not be something you want to do. If so then get your antenna as high inside as you can.

Physical length of your antenna is significant. Antennas built inside of USB devices and other computer equipment are short and will not perform as well as a full length WiFI antenna. Some WiFi USB devices include an extension cable that allows you to move the antenna portion higher or to a better location. Keep in mind a "good" location for an internal WiFi antenna in one RV park may or may not be a good location in another park. This is due to the signal path between your and the park's antennas. A full length WiFi antenna in the 2.4GHz range is about 50 inches long. What you find in most product is half or quarter wave length antenna. So they will fit into product designs.

There are several reasonable WiFi boosters or repeaters marketed for RVs that do a "decent" job, depending. You would want a model that can connect to the WAN (usually yellow) port of your WiFi router. Keep in mind that if you are located in a WiFi fringe area the booster is still getting a weak signal just like the antenna built into your laptop. Only real hope for improvement is if the booster has a larger antenna and/or is located higher and perhaps next to a window that has line of sight to the park's antenna.

With all os this said, I know folks have many different experiences and preferences for solutions. What works well in one area and one RV may or may not work equally well elsewhere.

I have 35 years of IT networking experience and design and install large WiFi systems and face the issue of providing high quality solutions that really work.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:33 PM   #12
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Docj, I respect the knowledge you have on this forum, and I don't doubt your info on 'unlimited plan', but our experience in Canada is that cell service is very limited and likely not Verison (only Vancouver I think). Just looking for a campground while on the road will eat up your minutes quick, then they dive deep into your wallet. There is no such thing as reasonably priced internet on the road. Just ask the OP as he is already paying $200/ month and hasn't left his driveway.

As for the OP's question; for your internal network, it'll look just like the one you use at home.....but, see how much I know, don't you need to be connected to the internet in order to use wifi on your home router? That's how I'm connected at home....?? Better minds than mine out there......
Bill, We just came through Canada from Alaska with our Verizon Unlimited Plan 2months ago, we also have a Weboost Cellular Booster. We had internet and phone service free with our plan everyday of our travels from the Yukon to Alberta (7 days). Our Verizon plan provided free roaming on the Bell Carrier which is a well saturated carrier in Canada. It was true our daily allowance for hotspot usage was 512MB while in Canada and a believe there was some throttling on Bell's part as the connection was usable but slow even with 5 bars.
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Old 12-15-2017, 05:34 PM   #13
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So an unlimited plan that limits you to 500mb/day. So itís an unlimited 15G/mo plan?
No, Verizon never called this an unlimited plan in Canada or Mexico, nor did I. What I said is that IF you have the Unlimited Plan you can get unlimited voice calls and text plus ~500MB/day at no additional cost. For service in a foreign country I consider this a pretty good deal. JMO
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Old 12-16-2017, 10:49 AM   #14
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OP - I agree with trying to CAT5/6 cable connect wherever possible. One time PITA to fish the cables to the device needing, from a combo router/wifi device.

I do like the WiFiRanger products, having had multiple generations and combo's of devices as technology has changed over the years. One thing I like about WiFiRanger, is they offer SafeSurf, which I use while doing more sensitive transactions. (Banking, stock trading, etc.). As Joel mentioned, it's pretty much a plug & play device. Take a few days to get familiar with how it operates, and from then on it's a less then 5 minute amount of work each time you go to a new location/source of WiFi.

You might try the GOac Router/WiFi unit first. It's internal antenna is stronger then say a laptop, or Smart TV's antennas, and will do a better job of pulling in signals. Have all of your wifi internal devices not 'Cat5/6 connected' to the router, point at the GOac. Then when you get the GOac connected to say a new park WiFi - everything else is up and running.

If you find you would still like more coverage range for the GOac, you can later add an external rooftop antenna. The EliteAC antennas do a real good job on pulling in park signals.

Another unit besides WiFiRanger that is popular, is the Pepwave. So worth comparing this to the Ranger. That I'm aware of, no equivalent to SafeSurf (Like a VPN in behavior.), which was my deciding point to go with the WiFiRanger.

Both WiFiRanger and Pepwave (And others, Craddlepoint is also used too.) have the ability to either WiFi connect, or USB Tether, to a phone and or hotspot - if you decide to add one down the road. This added feature, will sort of help you 'future proof' moving forward.

Whatever device you choose, be sure it is at a minimum 802.11AC capable. While many devices ares still 801.11N, and that is very common on the 2.4 range, most newer pieces of equipment and laptop and tablets, etc. - are 802.11AC. And that can really make a differences on potential Download/Upload speeds.

Best of luck to you,
Smitty
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