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Old 02-22-2020, 05:43 PM   #1
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Looking for best WIFI extender

Greetings all...looking for a great WIFI extender for our 2016 VENTANA...any input and experience welcomed...thx as always.
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:07 PM   #2
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I have this one. It worked ok after I spent hours finding and installing the drivers for the RealTek chip set. Not my favorite, my favorite is Ralink as Linux has all their drivers built in, but not Realtek, oh no, can't be having their's work easily in Linux. They seem to fight against linux for some weird reason. If you have windows, should be no problem.

It finds 2.4 & 5 GHz signals fine, and I've not had much trouble with it EXCEPT the connections for the tiny booster that they supply with the antenna. I've learned to recognize the symptoms and how to deal with the connection problems fine though. The looooong cable is necessary to be able to move the antenna all around the RV to take advantage of 'Line-of-sight' in crowded RV parks. I will eventually switch to an outside antenna but until then, this one is fine for the job.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:08 PM   #3
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There is no such thing as a single best purchase.

WiFi is an electromagnetic radio wave that requires line of site.

You will need an antenna that can see the source antenna without any obstruction.

Once you get signal, the next challenge is going to be fighting others for bandwidth. There is no solution for this.

Many of us have switched to cellular network service for internet.
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:46 PM   #4
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What redbarron says used to be true about fighting for bandwidth, but these days, I am finding more and more RV parks in my full time travels with FREE wifi with 2 Mbps per RV or better...that's HD speed. 1 Mbps gives a good SD picture. I'm in a RV park in Mazatlan Mexico right now, watching TV from the US, and streaming it on free wifi. Mexico! So even here it's better than in the past.

He's also right about the Line of sight. Except the technology keeps improving and there are wifi modems and receiver systems with schemes these days that astound this old electronics guy. Wifi that can bend around obstructions, ignore all the tree trunks it runs into, ignore interfering RF signals from other sources. It's pretty cool and getting better.

Someday, in the US, like all of Asia and nearly all of Europe, I hope to find free wifi everywhere that we don't have to pay $70/month for. It's freakin' ridiculous how we are gouged by suppliers here. In most countries, it's now considered a utility, like water or electric, and as such is supported by the governments and tends to be very inexpensive...not in the US tho.
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Old 02-22-2020, 06:57 PM   #5
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Radio waves, as a matter of physics, go in straight lines.

They can bounce off objects and bend (called diffraction), but this sporadic signal is less reliable. The reception of the radio signal is one thing, but your broadcast signal must accomplish the same feat.

The amount of radiation that is wasted in trying to get thru trees, buildings, rv's, etc is what gives you latency and slow internet.

Turning up the power is not a solution, as that causes more noise, causing others to have problems.

The only right answer is line of site without obstruction. Without direct line of site, you are getting a compromised signal. Will it matter? Depends.

Bottom line, each location will present unique challenges. Having a router or antenna that you can move around is the best option.
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Old 02-23-2020, 12:16 PM   #6
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thanks all....

appreciate all the feedback so far....
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Old 02-23-2020, 12:42 PM   #7
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As redbaron said, boost the signal and you boost the good and the bad (noise). Take a look at This Thread. It's what I'm using and it has worked well so far even for picking up wifi.
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Old 02-23-2020, 01:27 PM   #8
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Redbaron is spot on. What is "best" all depends on where your are, exactly, and what you expect from WiFi. In many cases even if you have a strong WiFi signal does not mean you will have good bandwidth for your intended purpose. Many RV parks simply do not have and for now can not even buy enough bandwidth.

In a few cases simple cheap WiFi boosters may be enough, likely not. Yes there has been advances in beam forming antennas and such, but I think its unclear how well they perform across many typical RV parks. So many variables. Either way radio waves travel in straight lines.

If you want to improve your WiFi signal strength you need to get an outside antenna as high as possible within reason. An omni antenna works in a 360 area and is easiest to use. A directional antenna will perform better, but has to be aimed towards the fixed antenna. Many people will not want to do this, a PIA. Next you want to avoid running coax cable from outside to inside, instead the antenna needs to include a direct attached WiFi radio and feeds the interior with an outdoor rated CAT5 cable. Then you probably want to attach that to another indoor WiFi router/access point for you private devices. You can do it other ways, but with increased signal loss.

I used to design and install campus wide WiFi systems. For our own RV WiFi needs, I just use a cell phone hot spot and have a high end cell booster. KISS
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:25 AM   #9
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I have the Winegard ConnecT RV WiFi Signal Extender. I have had it for over 2 years and I like it a lot. They sell 2 versions, one with cellular and one without, I got the one without.

This unit works because the antenna is outside, 13 feet in the air vs your computer which is inside and only 5 or 6 feet in the air.

Before I leave my home base (where I have Comcast), I connect all of my computers, printers, cameras, etc to the router that comes with it. When you login to the router, you can search for a signal. It will give you a list by strength order.



While traveling, I connect the router to my hotspot. When I get to my spot, I search to see what's available and connect to the highest signal free wifi. If not are available, I stay connected to my hotspot. This saves me from having to reconfigure all of my devices as I go from place to place.


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Old 02-25-2020, 11:35 AM   #10
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Thanks for this info. As I understand it, however, my Verizon GoUnlimited plan will not give me what I need to stream YouTube TV on the televisions as I travel. The "unlimited" data will drop to 600 kbps or less after a while, which - as I understand it - will not be enough to stream on my televisions. Comments?...
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:50 AM   #11
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Correct, 600 kbps is not enough for streaming video. I used to have an unlimited Verizon plan. When I use my phone for tethering it restricts speed to 600 kbps, it's annoying slow just loading some websites, streaming is a non-starter.
Streaming just audio will sometimes break up and have to buffer and catch up.
However, if I streamed to my phone and physically connected it to a TV I could stream that way. On my plan it's just the tethering that's restricted, not all streaming.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:32 PM   #12
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So you just connect the phone to your TV at the USB port and that works?
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyHarris View Post
Thanks for this info. As I understand it, however, my Verizon GoUnlimited plan will not give me what I need to stream YouTube TV on the televisions as I travel. The "unlimited" data will drop to 600 kbps or less after a while, which - as I understand it - will not be enough to stream on my televisions. Comments?...
It will be fast enough to stream...I run PLEX TV off the server up in Walla Walla Washington set at 0.3Mbps and watch streaming video, live TV and movies, down here in Mexico on a RV park wifi. If conditions are right, I can bump that up faster. 600Kbps is fine for most programs.

FYI, 1Mbps = SD; 2Mbps = HD. That's my opinion of the picture quality and the speeds I look for when evaluating. Many times in RV parks I can actually get those speeds these days - free.

So running at the 300Kbps isn't the best picture, it blooms, pixelates, and doesn't look crystal clear and sharp, but it's usable at 300Kbps. I set it that way because it hardly ever stalls at that speed. Audio is always good too.

I'm watching the news live right now from Portland, OR at 700Mbps and it's fine. I can connect it to my big TV using HDMI cable. I would call the picture, adequate. Sound, excellent.
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:00 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mikecav View Post
Greetings all...looking for a great WIFI extender for our 2016 VENTANA...any input and experience welcomed...thx as always.
I researched this about 2 months ago. Very please with what we have. As some one said, it is no such thing as the best WiFi extender, but let me try to simplify my learning.

You need to decide which of the two you want?


Option 1. Ease of use setup, simplicity and powerful boosted signal. Assumption: You can use your phone and barely see a weak signal you wish to connect to.

I bought the Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2200 WiFi Range Extender (EX7300); found it for about $70 bucks on ebay.

https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/netgea...xtender-ex7300


It works very well. No cables, no wires and it is inside a cabinet in the RV. I guess if desperate; I could temporarily mount it outside with extension cord.

Option 2 Not so easy to setup, but some simplicity and powerful boosted signal. Assumption: You can use your phone and barely see a weak signal you wish to connect to.

Alfa Camp Pro 2

https://www.amazon.com/Alfa-range-re.../dp/B07C8915BV

I didn't buy this one although I wanted too. Mainly because it cost twice as much, and there was nothing documented to say it would pick up any long range signal further than my Nighthawk. The Mfg says you must be able to see a weak wifi on your phone to be sure to get boosted signal. My Nighthawk has never failed to perform on any signal that my phone or laptop sees.

With all of the above said, there has only been one time while camping with Nighthawk that I could not reach a signal I wanted. It was 600 ft away. However there, were 3 other spots available within same park that wanted $5/day (RV CampLink). I was too cheap to pay, after all I was roughing it

If I could find something that would pick up 600 feet in good conditions; I may consider but 90% of the time the Nighthawk is all we need. We stream everything.
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