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Old 11-13-2020, 10:15 PM   #1
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My solution for internet. (For the technically inclined).

I just wrote a blog post about my possible solution for internet connectivity in the RV.

https://databurst.medium.com/running...4-3804a2bc9447

It's conceptually similar to the $40 (or $25) per month thread on this forum using Visible but more flexible in terms of what plans it can use and it really is a bit of a geeky project.
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Old 11-13-2020, 11:56 PM   #2
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Wow what a great write up!! My kid has a Pi laying around and we have plenty of phones, this looks like a great little project!
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Old 11-14-2020, 12:41 PM   #3
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this is great stuff, thanks for sharing. One thing I'm not sure of is the unlimited data that you speak of being common. Many plans have "unlimited data" but almost all will throttle you at a certain point. Does your setup get around that somehow? Thanks again for the write up.
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Old 11-14-2020, 01:26 PM   #4
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this is great stuff, thanks for sharing. One thing I'm not sure of is the unlimited data that you speak of being common. Many plans have "unlimited data" but almost all will throttle you at a certain point. Does your setup get around that somehow? Thanks again for the write up.
For most plans, throttling only happens when using the phone as a hotspot either via WiFi or USB, not for apps running on the phone itself. The EasyTether app that I'm using here gets around that. Even though it's "tethering" via USB in the practical sense, it's not using the official tethering feature of the phone. It's just an app on the phone that happens to use the USB port.

Data on the phone itself, like this is using, will still slow down but it's usually only de-prioritized after a certain amount, not throttled. That means it will slow down when the network is congested but usually nothing like the nearly unusable speeds that hotspot data gets throttled to and it's back to full speed when the network as not congested.

I have two plans. T-Mobile Magenta which is de-prioritized after 50 GB and a Cricket plan which is de-prioritized after zero, i.e., it's always de-prioritized but they both work well most of the time.

I don't think the carriers can detect what this is doing but that doesn't mean we should abuse it. I don't know how much I can realistically use in a month before it raises a "you can't possibly be using all that data just on a phone" kind of flag somewhere. But even so, for all they know, I could be watching streaming TV on the phone all day.
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Old 11-14-2020, 01:34 PM   #5
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Interesting... What is the point of the Pi? Is it mostly to function as a standalone VPN? If pushing a lot of data I suppose it is possible a router like the GLi 750 might get overwhelmed but more than likely the phone as a hot spot would be struggling too.
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Old 11-14-2020, 01:46 PM   #6
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Interesting... What is the point of the Pi? Is it mostly to function as a standalone VPN? If pushing a lot of data I suppose it is possible a router like the GLi 750 might get overwhelmed but more than likely the phone as a hot spot would be struggling too.
Yeah, you're probably right. You can probably do this with an out of the box router. I mostly did it as a fun project and learning exercise.

I must admit that this almost amounts to the same thing if you can install EasyTether and WireGuard on OpenWRT which I think you can.

https://www.amazon.com/GL-iNET-GL-MT.../dp/B073TSK26W
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Old 11-14-2020, 01:53 PM   #7
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I've thought a bit about trying to setup a Pi with 2 phones and try to bond the connections for extra speed. But have had the need.

If starlink ends up being half as good as the hype all this might be moot. That would be awesome.
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Old 11-14-2020, 02:04 PM   #8
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I've thought a bit about trying to setup a Pi with 2 phones and try to bond the connections for extra speed. But have had the need.

If starlink ends up being half as good as the hype all this might be moot. That would be awesome.
True. Starlink might change everything.

If you really mean "bonding" to give you a single fast connection then you'll need some sort of server which combines the connections into one IP address. You could probably do load balancing with a Pi and 2 phones but not real bonding.
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Old 11-16-2020, 08:52 AM   #9
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Great write-up. My experience with Visable is that most of the time there does not seem to be a speed cap on tethering but occasionally I notice that the speedtest curiously tops out at 5mb exactly which makes me think that perhaps they still cap it in some areas. This is a neat workaround.
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Old 11-16-2020, 02:51 PM   #10
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I am going to follow this because I think I now understand the concept. I hope someone reports back on actual results.

I have looked at Visible as an alternative to my 3 hotspots but never pulled the trigger. If this really works and there is no throttling, I would move forward with Visible.
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:27 PM   #11
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I noticed that you mentioned not being able to connect an external antenna to the phone. Do you have a cellular booster? Does/ would that make any difference to what you are trying to do with the anetenna?
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:41 PM   #12
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I have looked at Visible as an alternative to my 3 hotspots but never pulled the trigger. If this really works and there is no throttling, I would move forward with Visible.
Visible is very much a mixed bag. I won't repeat it but here's my experience from a few weeks ago. https://www.irv2.com/forums/f53/visi...ml#post5503842
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Old 11-16-2020, 03:50 PM   #13
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I noticed that you mentioned not being able to connect an external antenna to the phone. Do you have a cellular booster? Does/ would that make any difference to what you are trying to do with the anetenna?
Sure, a booster is a possibility. I mention that in the article but they come with their own limitations and problems.
  • They need to be installed carefully so you don't get feedback between the outside and inside antenna.
  • Different models vary on what frequency bands they do. I think the better models do a collection of the most common bands.
  • They're less than ideal for data because they don't do MIMO.
  • The better models are quite expensive and things are changing with 5G etc so a new one could become obsolete fairly soon.
  • From a technical point of view, they're kind of a kluge or hack as we'd say in the software world.
All that said, I've been clarifying my thoughts in what we really need for the RV. I probably am going to do some research and try to pick up a used booster on eBay. I don't really care much about use while moving so a yagi antenna on a pole while parked for camping could be a nice solution and wouldn't really need much installation. I'm pretty sure it would have helped at our last camping situation where I could get a weak but usable AT&T signal outside with the phone but not inside the coach.

They're the sort of things people try and for various reasons are not successful so there seems to be a supply of more reasonably priced used and open box deals on eBay etc.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:09 PM   #14
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Visible is very much a mixed bag. I won't repeat it but here's my experience from a few weeks ago. https://www.irv2.com/forums/f53/visi...ml#post5503842
Are you going to try the OP's method to see if there is improvement? I have held off on going to Visible because of what you and others have found.
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