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Old 12-28-2016, 05:57 PM   #15
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Sorry for reviving this old thread. There's some good info here though.

If unw1red or anyone else that's done this can tell me about stock Mikrotik router os/firmware features vs what wifiranger adds to their firmware that would be helpful.

I mostly use cellular data because even at 40 ft away from the router in someones driveway I still don't get a great signal. I'm usually out in the forest or on the road where there is no wifi so I'd rather not spend an extra ~$400 for the wifiranger firmware if there aren't significant differences.
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:37 PM   #16
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I've been wanting to improve connectivity in my coach too but had a couple hangups. First, there didn't seem to be any specific off-the-shelf product that was tailored exactly to what I want. Second, it's a little hard for me to justify the $$$ combined expense for what I'm looking for.

We prefer to boondock if at all possible so wifi reception (WAN) isn't really what we need. What we do want however is the more robust LAN functionalities offered by products like Pepwave Soho and Wifi Ranger.

While we don't feel the need to boost wifi reception we would like to be able to boost cellular reception. And yes, there are excellent products that provide mobile cellular boosting. But unless I'm not understanding the marketing info, there isn't any product package that offers both cellular boosting (with an external antenna, internal amp) and a wifi router with capabilities comparable to Wifi Ranger's newly realeased GoAC.

Going with the current top name-brand products would mean pairing something like the Weboost 4G-M ($440) with the Wifi Ranger GoAC ($350). It's great to learn that Microtik actually sells essentially the same product for about a third of the cost. All I need now is a more economical option on the cellular booster.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:46 PM   #17
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I to thought the WiFiRanger was overpriced until I got one. The custom firmware is what makes the product so great. I use the Safe Surf feature which 256 bit encrypts you data end to end. I also love the usage data. The firmware is very user friendly and is always supported my the manufacture. You have any problems and you get excellent customer support. It is not always the hardware which makes it great but is the software.
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:46 PM   #18
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Ron - I agree that good software can make a big difference but...$225 worth? Essentially tripling the cost of the product? Even if I end up caving and buying the WFR product I suspect I'm still going to feel that $350 is steep for a router.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:31 PM   #19
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A barebones but very functional solution can be had for less than $100 in the form of one of the outdoor bridge units from Ubiquiti or EnGenious (an example being the
ENS202 model, $55 on Amazon) and any inexpensive indoor WAP. The outdoor unit is built into a 8 dB gain panel antenna (or an omni if you prefer) and will provide very good range, and then simply connect this to any indoor WAP, preferably on the 5 GHz band. You will then have a high gain link to the remote WAP and no co-channel issues, again at under 100 bucks (or less if you have an extra WAP lying around.) It does take some knowledge to set up but not much. This is what I do and personally I can't see spending several times more to do the same thing, unless you really need turnkey.
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Old 12-29-2016, 05:59 PM   #20
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A barebones but very functional solution can be had for less than $100 in the form of one of the outdoor bridge units from Ubiquiti or EnGenious (an example being the
ENS202 model, $55 on Amazon) and any inexpensive indoor WAP. The outdoor unit is built into a 8 dB gain panel antenna (or an omni if you prefer) and will provide very good range, and then simply connect this to any indoor WAP, preferably on the 5 GHz band. You will then have a high gain link to the remote WAP and no co-channel issues, again at under 100 bucks (or less if you have an extra WAP lying around.) It does take some knowledge to set up but not much. This is what I do and personally I can't see spending several times more to do the same thing, unless you really need turnkey.
This gives me a great idea... We never use our TV antenna on the top of our RV, so maybe I'll turn it into a mount for an external long range A/P, using POE (Power Over Ethernet) from inside.

I've used both Engenius and Ubiquiti in business applications and like them both.

Thanks for triggering an idea here!
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Old 12-30-2016, 05:41 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHO Continen View Post
Sorry for reviving this old thread. There's some good info here though.



If unw1red or anyone else that's done this can tell me about stock Mikrotik router os/firmware features vs what wifiranger adds to their firmware that would be helpful.



I mostly use cellular data because even at 40 ft away from the router in someones driveway I still don't get a great signal. I'm usually out in the forest or on the road where there is no wifi so I'd rather not spend an extra ~$400 for the wifiranger firmware if there aren't significant differences.

Happy to help in anyway I can, but keep in mind that I am a WLAN network engineer with years of experience. A do-it-yourself approach is not for the faint of heart. There is something to be said for buying a "canned" system that has been simplified for your viewing experience.

I bought the Mikrotik Metal 2SHPN (MikroTik - RBMETAL2SHPN - RouterBOARD Metal2SHPn, RouterOS License Level 4, CPU 400MHz, 64MB RAM, TX power 32 dBm, Wireless Standards 802.11b/g/n https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AY7U5YK..._mnLzybJBKXN7R) at Amazon and mounted it on my crank-up TV antenna. I then ran the Ethernet cable into my electronics cabinet where I plugged it into a Mikrotik RB951Ui-2HnD (MikroTik RB951Ui-2HnD 5-Port Wireless AP 1000mW https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JO48OP6..._ppLzybJY339CV).

This serves multiple purposes for me. It allows me to have a consistent SSID inside my coach whether I am using the campground WiFi (through the externally mounted Metal2SHPn) or my Verizon MiFi (either tethered through USB into the RB951 or using a feature called WLAN as WAN). Even if I have no Internet connectivity, I can still have my intranet to allow me to AirPlay or Chromecast from a phone/tablet to the TV in my coach.

Having to reprogram AppleTVs or Smart TVs to a new SSID every time you are camping becomes quite cumbersome. It is also problematic connecting your laptop and other wireless devices to a network outside of your coach since the attenuation of the signal is constant battle.

An external wireless bridge is the best way to go. This will also allow you to connect to free WiFi at retailers you may frequent while in your RV. (Please do not connect to free WiFi that is intended for the convenience of a company's customers if you are NOT one.)

I will tell you that most of the Big Box retailers have begun to not broadcast their guest network on their external access points. This is not because of the RV/Trucker community, but rather as a precaution to limit neighbors from using their "free" access unfettered and without patronizing the store.
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Old 12-30-2016, 08:51 AM   #22
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I use a Linksys WGA54G "Wireless Game Adapter" as the Wi-Fi MODEM.. the major difference is this unit needs it's own power feed, can't feed it via Cat-5 (Well I could but.....) It is currently in my main bathroom but it is flex mounted.. I can put it in the bath, On a flag pole, A ladder, The Bicycle carrier, in front, in back, off to the side, wherever it needs to be to see the Park Router.

It is also modified (Well, not modified exactly) by goting to ameteurlogic.tv and downloading episode 3.. I DID not modify the antenna as George did, Just installed the can to make it directional.

In a recent episode George made it even better using a satellite TV dish.

now this cat-5's to a Belkin router in the RV.. I'll never use Belkin again but I have a vintage LINKSYS ready to replace it

The belking feeds
A switch which feeds this computer and a DVR,, optionally it can feed a Printer (8 ports auto-config)
A Desktop.. Acts as servers for the DVRs
Another DVR
Another laptop (Not currently eating off Cat-5, adapter issues).
Via Cat-5 and via Wi-Fi
The other laptop, a Chrome book, A Smart phone ('Droid) and tabliet (Droid)

Fun fact: at one campground there are a few other campeers who feed off my router.. WHY, well, here is the layout

Router----------A B C D
I'm usually parked in C or D
They can't see the park router..... I can
Right over the tops of their RV's

That's how effective just the can is.. now if I ever add a DISH.. WOW.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:12 AM   #23
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Don't really know if the WifiRanger is worth ALL that money but man it makes it so much easier AND functional AND support AND secure browsing.
I am a computer geek too but I know some good software when I see it
Happy with my WifiRanger EliteAC purchase.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:32 AM   #24
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Xtreme-8 WiFi Repeater System > WiFi & Internet | C. Crane


this one works very very well and a lot cheaper than the rangers systems
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Old 12-30-2016, 11:11 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by RCCFleetwood View Post
This gives me a great idea... We never use our TV antenna on the top of our RV, so maybe I'll turn it into a mount for an external long range A/P, using POE (Power Over Ethernet) from inside.

I've used both Engenius and Ubiquiti in business applications and like them both.

Thanks for triggering an idea here!
Something like this? The round antenna is a Rayzer tv antenna and the wifi antenna is mounted on the right side of the old crank up mount. When the mount is cranked down the wifi antenna lays on the roof. Both work very well.
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Old 12-31-2016, 09:23 PM   #26
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Something like this? The round antenna is a Rayzer tv antenna and the wifi antenna is mounted on the right side of the old crank up mount. When the mount is cranked down the wifi antenna lays on the roof. Both work very well.
Yes, what I was thinking... I guess I'm not the first to consider using our TV antenna as a mast, eh?

We don't need the TV antenna though. When spring comes, I'll have to go up and see what kind of cable is attached to the TV antenna. Maybe I can re-purpose it to connect to a WIFI antenna, and since it's already routed into the front of our RV, I could just connect it to an access point down there, and be done!
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Old 01-01-2017, 02:52 AM   #27
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Yes, what I was thinking... I guess I'm not the first to consider using our TV antenna as a mast, eh?

We don't need the TV antenna though. When spring comes, I'll have to go up and see what kind of cable is attached to the TV antenna. Maybe I can re-purpose it to connect to a WIFI antenna, and since it's already routed into the front of our RV, I could just connect it to an access point down there, and be done!
You won't be able to repurpose the antenna cable as it the wrong type needed. Most of the systems you'd want to put on the roof use a cat 5 or higher UV resistant cable and it normally comes with the equipment.
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Old 01-01-2017, 03:22 AM   #28
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I bought the Mikrotik Metal 2SHPN (MikroTik - RBMETAL2SHPN - RouterBOARD Metal2SHPn, RouterOS License Level 4, CPU 400MHz, 64MB RAM, TX power 32 dBm, Wireless Standards 802.11b/g/n https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AY7U5YK..._mnLzybJBKXN7R) at Amazon and mounted it on my crank-up TV antenna. I then ran the Ethernet cable into my electronics cabinet where I plugged it into a Mikrotik RB951Ui-2HnD (MikroTik RB951Ui-2HnD 5-Port Wireless AP 1000mW https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JO48OP6..._ppLzybJY339CV).
Basically the same hardware that WiFi Ranger uses along with their custom firmware. For those that understand setting up routers it's a lot less expensive solution.

About the only thing I'd change is to use the versions that support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Since all of my equipment supports 5GHz I wouldn't even turn on the 2.4GHz band in the coach so I don't add to all of the other 2.4GHz spectrum pollution. With the ability to also do 5GHz on the roof I might be able to hit the distribution network some parks are starting to use.
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