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-   -   Wifi / Cell Boosters (http://www.escapeforum.org/forums/f9/wifi-cell-boosters-6749.html)

Porsche Pilot 11-09-2015 02:27 PM

Wifi / Cell Boosters
 
I am working on my build list for my Escape 21. With all the great help on this forum I think I am pretty close to being ready. The biggest question mark are how best to handle internet access. We plan to do a good bit of boondocking in the west so access to internet is going to be a challenge. I have heard bad reviews about Wifi Ranger, it sounds that the technology has not matured enough to be reliable. Any one here had success with the Wifi Ranger Elite or light using a trailer parks free wifi system? Any alternatives out there that I need to research?

As for cell boosters, has anyone used the WeBoost, Drive 4G-X? How about other ideas?

Has anyone had a 1" conduit run from where they want an antenna installed to the location where they plan to install the wifi/ cell boost equipment? With technology changing quickly (especially cell with the new FCC guidelines) this might be a must to keep up with it.

sallemann 11-09-2015 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Porsche Pilot (Post 117643)
I am working on my build list for my Escape 21. With all the great help on this forum I think I am pretty close to being ready. The biggest question mark are how best to handle internet access. We plan to do a good bit of boondocking in the west so access to internet is going to be a challenge. I have heard bad reviews about Wifi Ranger, it sounds that the technology has not matured enough to be reliable. Any one here had success with the Wifi Ranger Elite or light using a trailer parks free wifi system? Any alternatives out there that I need to research?

As for cell boosters, has anyone used the WeBoost, Drive 4G-X? How about other ideas?

Has anyone had a 1" conduit run from where they want an antenna installed to the location where they plan to install the wifi/ cell boost equipment? With technology changing quickly (especially cell with the new FCC guidelines) this might be a must to keep up with it.

Hi...

I'll be working from our Escape for a few months a year, so Internet connectivity is critical for me. I purchased the Wifi Ranger Elite, but unfortunately haven't had a chance to really test it yet. I bought it based on feedback here and other research that convinced me it was the best option.

I also purchased the WeBoost 4GX and have been able to test that. I have been very pleased with its performance. In addition to that, I purchased the marine antenna and an additional interior antenna. I plan to move the WeBoost unit itself to/from the car (I work in the car while my partner drives).

We are getting a solar panel and wanted the flexibility to easily integrate a portable panel if needed... so ETI is moving the solar controller to under the D/S dinette bench and putting a small hatch (same as used for electrical cord hookup access) so we can easily plug a portable solar panel from outside into the controller. The plan is to use this same hatch for feeding either the Wifi Ranger or WeBoost exterior antenna cable to under the D/S bench. We had some additional 12 and 120 volt outlets placed on the D/S bench so we can power the Wifi Ranger or WeBoost.

We purchased an antenna mast (CP-45... got the idea from someone else on this forum) from Ham Radio Outlet. We'll somehow attach the appropriate antenna (WeBoost or Wifi Ranger, depending on what will work best at the campsite) to the mast and feed the cable from that through the hatch, as described previously.

Hopefully this will all work out well... we don't pick up our 19' until January, so haven't had real-life experience with this setup yet.

Good luck!

Porsche Pilot 11-09-2015 03:16 PM

Thanks Dolly,


I had the same idea about the solar, I am adding the Samlex MSK-135 (135 watt portable solar package to the ETI 150w option (mostly for winter use when the sun is lower) and the Samlex DC-BTS-A-C temperature sensor for the battery charging. I am having ETI wire an Anderson connector directly to the batteries that will connect to the outside solar panels.
I am glad to hear that the WeBoost works well. What type of antenna are you looking at? Which mast did you buy?
I would LOVE to hear how the Wifi Ranger Elite works out.
By installing all these units so close together, the solar charger, Wifi Ranger and WeBoost do you think you will get any electrical interference?

sallemann 11-09-2015 03:45 PM

This is the mast: COMET-NCG CP-45 | 14 FT 8 IN MAX ALUM TELESCOPING MAST

For the WeBoost (to use when we're camped, not in transit), we got the marine antenna: WSN311130 - WILSON ELECTRONICS 311130 Dual-Band Marine-Mount Antenna

I won't be powering up both devices at the same time... only the one I need based on the specific campsite. I hope we don't get interference from the solar controller. Hmmm... if so, we'll have to do some finagling! Anyone else here have any thoughts on this?

bdornbush 11-09-2015 06:52 PM

I duct-taped a piece of steel sheeting to my roof just above the driver side dinette. I had Escape put an electrical outlet port that feeds into the driver side dinette seat. When I use my WeBoost, I put the antenna with magnetic mount on the steel sheet and feed the lead through the port. Works fine.

I got a CCrane Versa Wifi USB adapter and put its megnetic mount antenna on the roof if needed. I also got a CCrane 14dbi directional antenna which I mounted to a piece of 1" PVC pipe. If I need it, I have a long strip of velcro that goes vertically just in front of the driver side dinette window with a matching strip on the PVC pipe, so I can quickly mount it if needed. So far, I have used the WeBoost and it has worked well. The CCrane omni antenna hasn't worked too well, and I was too lazy last trip to put up the mast and directional antenna. The WeBoost worked on that trip so I justified my laziness as I had a working solution.

I am thinking of continuing the WeBoost approach, and replacing the CCrane with their Super Wifi Repeater Kit so I don't have to get out the laptop for the Versa WiFi setup.

EDIT: After putting all of this stuff in and out, I appreciate a permanent mounted antenna. But I like not having the extra hardware while traveling and the versatility of being able to change the setup as needed.

Rossue 11-09-2015 10:16 PM

This is not a one-size-fits all thing. First of all, anyone who wants to boondock shouldn't expect to get a 4G signal in most places.

Second- do you want voice primarily(including SMS text messaging) or data? The mini mag-mount works better for data than voice for example.

The We Boost Drive 4G-X comes with a mini mag-mount antenna, which is better for data than their mag-mount coil antenna or trucker antenna. Inside the vehicle is a "low profile" antenna, which is 2/3 size of a Hershey bar attached to a cable that goes to the amp. Need to be within a foot of it when signal is low. The gain for the mini vs. coil is 2.3 vs. 5.12, however that is for 3G reception, which is what at this time one is lucky to get when boondocking. The Trucker antenna is 4.1 db gain.

I have an older Wilson 3 Watt booster(801210) and it reaches farther to the cell site than any of the newer amps as the FCC made the booster industry go to 1 Watt a few years ago. The Drive 4G-X supposedly reaches further than the 4G-M, but that is relative. When you read the reviews carefully it is mostly people who live in a generally urban area that have difficulty with signal- not people out in the country.

For the mast, I have 3 sections of 1" pvc pipe that I section together and use the awning bottom hinge as an anchor. I got an 8" round from a welding shop that I drilled a hole in and put a screw into a drywall anchor in a cap that I fitted onto the shortest piece of pipe. I put the mag-mount coil antenna on it and swing it up & over the awning then attach the legs. Works great.

The best advice is to call We Boost and ask to talk with a Senior Technician to discuss your particular needs.

sallemann 11-10-2015 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rossue (Post 117685)
The best advice is to call We Boost and ask to talk with a Senior Technician to discuss your particular needs.

Ditto. WeBoost tech support (phone or email) has been invaluable... very knowledgeable and very responsive. I've spoken/emailed with them multiple times while working through the various options and scenarios.

Porsche Pilot 11-10-2015 03:38 PM

Thanks Rossue, What is the cable type that the Drive 4G-X uses?

Rossue 11-10-2015 03:44 PM

Not sure- both antenna wires are fairly thin; have a home unit I don't use anymore and it used coax- and somewhere seem to remember that the trucker/RV one does as well. Best to call them: 866 294-1660.

I do recall that ETI would not install conduit for antenna cable when I inquired.

Porsche Pilot 11-10-2015 03:56 PM

No problem, I think I am going the route that Dolly is by installing an access port right by the awning post so I can put the WeBoost and the WiFi Ranger under the dinette. Your idea for the PVC for the pole is what I was planning on. I am still a bit concerned about the electronics so close to the solar charge controller, any thoughts on that?


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