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Old 10-02-2015, 04:59 PM   #1
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Like WiFiRanger, but less expensive

I decided to investigate how the WifiRanger product worked and after doing some research, I found that it is nothing more than a Mikrotik product. Since I am a network engineer, I decided to order the Mikrotik parts and build my own.

In addition to the Wifi gear, I had to order some outdoor, shielded cable. That was the only extra part I had to get.

Here is a picture of it installed on my 2016 Newmar Ventana LE. The Ethernet cable easily went down the conduit for the coax runs. The AP and power supply are mounted in my electronics cabinet above the driver's seat.

I am sitting in my driveway, connected to an AP in my house, and typing this post without issue.

Of course, I don't have the slick interface and Web UI, but I am working on it. I won't quote prices, but I'll say my solution was hundreds of dollars less expensive.

Let me know if you have any questions.
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:37 AM   #2
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Do you have to block the wheels to keep it from rolling backwards?

What Mikrotik parts did you use?
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:43 AM   #3
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My image is correctly positioned. I don't know why it is turned sideways.

The unit on top is a Mikrotik Metal 2SHPn which comes with the antenna (no Ethernet cable). Inside I have a Mikrotik RB951Ui which is an access point/switch that allows for USB connected MiFi or adapter.

Unless you are network/router savvy, it is not for the faint of heart.
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Old 10-03-2015, 08:53 AM   #4
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Good for you! Electronic Hobbyist are a dying breed. Too much TV today. It's not necessarily about the money, it's the challenge. Have fun.
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:04 AM   #5
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Wow unw1red!! It always amazes me when people get blasted for doing some sort of fun little project.

Being a "computer guy", I applaud your efforts! It really doesn't matter if you saved money or not - we all need things that we enjoy doing. Well done!

I also think the Ventana in launch position looks great!

I use cellular data much more than Wifi (open AP's are just not available like they used to be) so I've spent more time on that (outdoor antennas and such). However; I was sitting at a state park last week with a McDonalds about 1/4 mile away. I use a BearExtender for Wifi that is "near" but couldn't reach that McDonalds, so I decided to order a yagi directional antenna to see what I could achieve. I don't have it yet but am hopeful.
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Old 10-03-2015, 09:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unw1red View Post
My image is correctly positioned. I don't know why it is turned sideways.
Using an iPhone? Most forums can't/don't implement Apple's camera's positioning information. So, to get your pictures in a format that is compatible, it is always Home button on the bottom for portrait orientation, and Home button at 3 o'clock for landscape orientation.
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:44 AM   #7
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Hi unw1red,

Will you be posting anymore information about this? I have a background in networking and sys-ad, my sons is a coder and computer engineer, so we should be able to follow your work.
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:47 AM   #8
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I would be happy to share my configurations from both the outdoor and the indoor unit. When you want to connect, you simply point your browser to http://192.168.88.1 and select the external SSID you wish to connect to. I also have a MiFi connected to the USB port for failover/primary connectivity.

Interested?
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:50 AM   #9
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Here are the links to the two devices on Amazon

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..._zQ8hwbWB6FX12

MikroTik RB951Ui-2HnD 5-Port Wireless AP 1000mW https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JO48OP6..._eS8hwb1X05R35

These include antennas and power supplies, but not the outdoor Cat5. You will need to buy this separately.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:26 PM   #10
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Very cool, I like projects like this.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:30 PM   #11
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Wifi Ranger and similar devices has destroyed the campground wifi signal at many campgrounds I have stayed at. They are not very "smart" about choosing their WiFi channels and transmit right over the top of the campground wifi channel in many cases.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:04 PM   #12
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Wifi Ranger and similar devices has destroyed the campground wifi signal at many campgrounds I have stayed at. They are not very "smart" about choosing their WiFi channels and transmit right over the top of the campground wifi channel in many cases.

That is why I would not recommend just the outdoor unit using WDS to act as a CPE and AP. You are broadcasting on the same channel you are receiving. Bad idea.

I have the indoor unit as my AP with the power turned down so as not to interfere with the camp WiFi or my neighbors.

I usually use channel 11 since most camps are on 6 by default. Some camps I've been to have their camp access points set on 3, 8, 10, etc. This is also a bad idea.

I would like to offer the camp owners free help to get them back to 1, 6 and 11, but I know it isn't my place.
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Old 10-15-2015, 08:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
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That is why I would not recommend just the outdoor unit using WDS to act as a CPE and AP. You are broadcasting on the same channel you are receiving. Bad idea.

I have the indoor unit as my AP with the power turned down so as not to interfere with the camp WiFi or my neighbors.

I usually use channel 11 since most camps are on 6 by default. Some camps I've been to have their camp access points set on 3, 8, 10, etc. This is also a bad idea.

I would like to offer the camp owners free help to get them back to 1, 6 and 11, but I know it isn't my place.
Parks should be using 120 degree antennas so each group of 3 APs covers a third of the area around it. If you need more then one cell for a large park you use more cells. Cells should be interconnected using either wired Ethernet or WiFi on the 5 or 3 Ghz bands. Yes there is a 3 Ghz band which is used for links.

That's about all the park can do. If guests use a inside Routers at full power on fixed channels the park is using there will be issues. One good thing is that most RVers don't know about these systems hopefully the ones that do won't use fixed channels.
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:59 PM   #14
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Let put my 2 cents in also. Yes there are products that have been created to allow the novice user to easily get wifi in a camp. Much of the technical no how is not needed. However there are some technical no no with theses products. An omni antenna and power. A 3 db or 8 db gain antenna is over kill. Also the omni is blasting everyone. I am not sure if the power is automatically turned down based upon the receiving signal. I really doubt it. I would rather use an directional antenna. But we in society are all not engineers. WISP know that it is bad to use omni antennas and frown upon others who use them. It just sends unneeded RF in all directions which causes the noise floor to increase on the channels. One of the design factors for these system is a challenge to turn a directional antenna. The wineguard antenna is being replaced by the razar on newer rigs. I have yet to see a small rotor that could turn a directional antenna on the market yet.

Going with the Omni I would select a low gain antenna but have a higher gain antenna just in case its need to get a fringe signal. You can use mikrotik or ubiquiti on the outside with POE. For the inside I need both bands but 5 ghz is what I use that frequency band in my home. Too many Dsl routers and other access points in the neighborhood on 2.4 Ideally in my next rig I will hard wire most of the fixed devices. I have a saying "In God we trust but all others we monitor" So all my TV!s and fixed computers will have cat 6 wired. IPads/laptops and other portable devices will have use 2.4 or 5 ghz band with 5 ghz my preference.
Also you do need a little networking experience to set up the inside router to talk to the router or AP/CPE on the roof. Most of the time your in CPE mode. AP mode can be used to broadcast out to another RV further away. So many possibilities for the advanced users.
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