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DKRITTER

WiFi Boosting vs Bandwidth

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I am at bit of a crossroads on getting a booster, it seems even with spending a good bit of money and getting a great booster I'm still completely limited by the band width of the source.

 

Kinda like buying a Rolls Royce and only having access to old washed out roads. or Trying to drain a large lake with a garden hose.

 

 

Bottom line is with all the limitations from the source what is the real advantage of a booster?

 

 

 

We use our RV a good bit for business and I need fairly large amounts of data so usually we will setup in a nice RV park in the town I am working (Texas and Oklahoma) and base out of there for a week or two. For pleasure we usually travel from park to park until our destination.

 

 

The reason for the question is over the years we have found that cellular data is far more reliable but sadly it tends to get to be expensive. So I'm trying to weigh the benefits of the expense of a booster or cell charges for data.

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...Bottom line is with all the limitations from the source what is the real advantage of a booster?...

As you already know, a Wifi booster will not increase the speed of the campground/source. In my experience, what it might do is let you connect to source that you may not be able to without one. This could be a campground AP that is closer to the source and not repeated as many times, a campground AP using a source with less competing users, or a source outside the campground that has an open signal. If you have Xfinity or Verizon internet, you may be eligible to use their wireless networks. Xfinity piggybacks their system on residential and commercial customer installations. Verizon generally uses commercial locations.

 

Just as repeating the signal from AP to AP in a campground reduces speed, using a repeater in your system (including a wireless booster) will result in some reduction in speed. If you only need to use one device at a time, using a Wifi booster connected directly to the device by Ethernet cable will result in the fastest speed possible with the given equipment.

 

In my experience, campground Wifi is usually sufficient for email, general web surfing and bill paying. Consistent speeds over 2MBS are rare. Speeds with the Xfinity hotspots can be better, but since they are often in a residence or business with no external AP, actually finding one that you can connect to from inside a campground is not all that common.

 

I use a Ubiquiti NanoStation that can be used connected directly to a computer or connected to a wireless router.

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First you have to get a signal. Then, you find out if there is enough bandwidth. :)

 

Newt

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Altho the booster is a one time charge. cell data $$ is always at your door. As stated a booster just boost , In any RV park which most have is dsl. once ppl start logging on it;'s just slows down. Another option is perhaps depending on Signal strenth, grab a phone from something like metro pcs an use as a hotspot.

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In my experience, what it might do is let you connect to source that you may not be able to without one..

 

Quite often your connection problem is not receiving the signal from the access point (AP), but, rather, getting a strong enough signal back to the AP. Remember, the transmitter in your laptop was designed to be low power, primarily to maximize battery life. The transmitter in most router/amplifiers can be 10-100x larger.

 

I find that the real convenience of using a router/amplifier, regardless of brand, is that all the devices on my network stay connected to my router and, with a single keystroke, I can switch everything on the network to the park wifi or to my phone's hotspot. So if the park wifi is good I can easily connect everything to it without having to enter passwords on each of them. Furthermore, if the park is one of those that limits the number of devices that can connect everything in my network looks like a single device to the park's network.

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..Quite often your connection problem is not receiving the signal from the access point (AP), but, rather, getting a strong enough signal back to the AP. Remember, the transmitter in your laptop was designed to be low power, primarily to maximize battery life. The transmitter in most router/amplifiers can be 10-100x larger... Furthermore, if the park is one of those that limits the number of devices that can connect everything in my network looks like a single device to the park's network...

In my way of thinking, a working connection requires both receiving and transmitting a viable signal. Guess I needed to be more technically specific to satisfy some. Many Wifi boosters/external Wifi adapters, such as the NanoStation I mentioned and many others, have Wifi receivers that are considerably more sensitive and transmitters that are considerably more powerful than the Wifi adapter in many computers.

 

There are ways for systems to detect devices that retransmit the signal allowing the connection of multiple devices. I have had many times that I have been unable to connect my Wifi Ranger (WFR) devices to park Wifi when I could connect the devices individually. I have discussed this numerous times with the WFR technical experts and they have confirmed that there are means of identifying and blocking repeating hotspots/amplifiers/routers. So, I would not count on being able to retransmit a signal to multiple devices.

Edited by TCW

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The benefit is that when campground wifi is a decent source using it can help with limited cellular data.

Getting a ubiquiti bullet and a router (like the Rogue wave). Setting it up yourself reduces the cost but you will have to figure out how to connect it. IT is not that hard but it does take a little know how and some help from those who have done it before.

RVmobileinternet and Jack Mayer can help with that set up. (Jack writes to help Chris and Cherie at RVmobileinternet)

 

Another benefit is that when cell signal is not good there is another possible option.

 

Internet access for RVers is partly about knowing and having options, especially if you need it for work.

Edited by TreyandSusan

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There are ways for systems to detect devices that retransmit the signal allowing the connection of multiple devices. I have had many times that I have been unable to connect my Wifi Ranger (WFR) devices to park Wifi when I could connect the devices individually. I have discussed this numerous times with the WFR technical experts and they have confirmed that there are means of identifying and blocking repeating hotspots/amplifiers/routers. So, I would not count on being able to retransmit a signal to multiple devices.

 

I've heard this argument multiple times but the actual methods for detecting extra "hops" or similar ways of detecting the presence of routers are rather esoteric and are not something most average park owners are capable of implementing themselves. I've never been unable to connect to a park wifi with my WiFiRanger and have ALWAYS been able to distribute the signal to other devices on my network.

 

Yes, it is theoretically possible to determine if routers are in use, but, in my experience, most users who get "discovered" have simply been foolish enough to leave their SSID's as the default which clearly identify them as coming from a WiFiRanger.

 

As for your occasional inability to connect your Ranger to a park wifi, I would first ask as to whether or not it's on the latest firmware update. The next question would be "how old is the device?" The older WiFiRanger Pro, Home and Go units have pretty much reached "end of service life" and are less reliable with the new software than are the newer models. In fact, as has been previously noted, these older units will no longer be included in future firmware updates.

Edited by docj

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...I've heard this argument multiple times but the actual methods for detecting extra "hops" or similar ways of detecting the presence of routers are rather esoteric and are not something most average park owners are capable of implementing themselves. I've never been unable to connect to a park wifi with my WiFiRanger and have ALWAYS been able to distribute the signal to other devices on my network...

Well you are lucky than I. I was not arguing with anyone merely stating my experience. I suggest that you discuss this with Evan of WFR as that is who I have talked to about the issue on a number of occasions. I have no idea how many different parks you have visited. We have been to more than 300 in the past 10 years. Many use third parties to install and manage their Wifi systems that have considerable knowledge and skill in system management.

 

As for your questions about what my WFR equipment is and what version of firmware, this issue has been occurring just about since my first purchase of a Pro when their products came on the market and continued through the Go2 as recently as a couple of weeks ago. I am running the latest firmware. My SSID is not the WFR default. If I can connect with the Wifi Ranger, I can distribute the signal, which I never said that I could not. The problem has been with the connection, usually by being denied an IP address despite trying all the suggestions that Evan and other WFR staff have provided.

 

...The older WiFiRanger Pro, Home and Go units have pretty much reached "end of service life" and are less reliable with the new software than are the newer models. In fact, as has been previously noted, these older units will no longer be included in future firmware updates...

I find it interesting that folk's recommend and successfully use refurbished older computers. Some have upgraded from Windows 7 to windows 10 and still use their old computer. My old Link System and CTR 500 routers still work as they always have yet WFR products have reached the "end of their service life" after a few years. I think the salesman's (Ambassador) lips are moving!

Edited by TCW

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I find it interesting that folk's recommend and successfully use refurbished older computers. Some have upgraded from Windows 7 to windows 10 and still use their old computer. My old Link System and CTR 500 routers still work as they always have yet WFR products have reached the "end of their service life" after a few years. I think the salesman's (Ambassador) lips are moving!

 

The older routers have very limited memory and processors that are up to five years out of date. They can run the current WiFiRanger 7.0.5 firmware but there are some stability problems. Recognizing that, we have decided not to attempt to tailor the "8" series firmware to operate on them rather than experience further performance degradation.

 

Unlike computers, most consumer-level routers don't have the ability for adding memory or replacing processors. We have supported the current line of WiFiRanger routers for nearly 6 years since the sales of the original Home models. We have invested a lot of effort in doing that rather than simply having abandoned earlier models after only a year or two of support as is common in this business. We feel that our early customers have been well treated and we are coupling the decision to no longer provide support for these older models, to a 25% customer appreciation sale. We think we have supported our customers far better than many companies do in similar situations.

Edited by docj

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First, it is very true that the old Home and original routers are challenged with the current level of firmware. It is not marketing to get people to buy new equipment. It has to do with how much code there is, and the processor performance available. It is simply a fact of life if you want continual improvements and features.

 

To answer the original question.....I'll not repeat what has been said, but simply answer the question I pose in the presentations I do on this topic....The question is "This is all so complicated...What do I do?" And the answer (my answer) is:

 

Put your money into the best cellular solution you can FIRST. Only then should you do more than the basics of enhancing wifi signal.

 

That is not to say that the wifi signals are not useful in some instances - they are, and the equipment discussed here will help a lot. But mainly you will be on cellular.

 

Now I'll wait to hear about the person that has been using JUST wifi for years.....(yes, they are out there, but they will have had limited success travelling, and certainly not for business.)

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...First, it is very true that the old Home and original routers are challenged with the current level of firmware. It is not marketing to get people to buy new equipment. It has to do with how much code there is, and the processor performance available. It is simply a fact of life if you want continual improvements and features

"End of service life" and planned obsolescence (which in my opinion is a marketing tool) are two different things. Many tube TVs, flip phones and other older electronic devices still function just as well as they did the day they were manufactured, but are considered obsolete by many.

 

In my way of thinking, the "end of service life" for WFR products is a self fulfilling event. All of the WFR products that I am familiar with are based on commercially available products to which they add ("cobble together") their proprietary firmware to add functions and features not provided in the original device. Each update adds more features that require more and more memory, processing speed or other capacity. Eventually the hardware can not perform all these additional tasks that it was not intended to perform in the first place and predictably another hardware platform must be used.

 

Kind of like buying a half ton pickup to pull a popup and then switching to a heavy 5th wheel that exceeds the capabilities of the truck. The truck has not necessarily reached the "end of service life". It was never intended to pull a heavy 5th wheel in the first place.

 

Not everyone needs, wants or can afford keeping up with the latest and greatest. There are a number of Wifi devices that will improve connectivity (reception and transmission) at a wide range of prices with a variety of features.

 

 

...We have supported the current line of WiFiRanger routers for nearly 6 years since the sales of the original Home models. We have invested a lot of effort in doing that rather than simply having abandoned earlier models after only a year or two of support as is common in this business. We feel that our early customers have been well treated and we are coupling the decision to no longer provide support for these older models, to a 25% customer appreciation sale. We think we have supported our customers far better than many companies do in similar situations...

I did not intend and do not think I criticized the level of WFR support. It has been very good. I have no problem with them ending support of older products when they choose. But for me, that is not a reason to replace equipment that still works and meets my needs. Just as I do not buy a new car, truck or RV just because the warranty runs out or OEM parts are no longer available.

Edited by TCW

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You mean my sack phone should still work?

That is not what I said or at least meant to say or think that I actually said. I don't believe that I said that all older technologies should, must or will work. What I said was that if a product still works, there is not necessarily a need to replace it, just because there is something newer, if it still meets the needs of the user. Marketing constantly encourages producing new products to encourage more purchases in what has become an increasing disposable product economy/market place.

 

You might actually be surprised. If the frequencies and protocols are the same/compatible it might actually work. I have CB, marine, weather and Ham radios that are over 20 years old and still work as they did when they were new. Cell phones are nothing more than radios.

 

It works both ways. I have been in multiple locations where my latest and greatest smart phone will not recognize a 1x connection as an internet connection and allow me to access email or the web. My older Mifi, likely obsolete by the standards of you and others, will connect and allow access.

Edited by TCW

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That is not what I said or at least meant to say or think that I actually said. I don't believe that I said that all older technologies should, must or will work. What I said was that if a product still works, there is not necessarily a need to replace it, just because there is something newer, if it still meets the needs of the user. Marketing constantly encourages producing new products to encourage more purchases in what has become an increasing disposable product economy/market place.

 

 

 

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. The older units have been updated through the current 7.0.5 firmware. They do work acceptably given the limitations of their processors and memory. It's not a matter of getting them to work better with it; they simply can't. A lot of time was spent making sure that all of the features of 7.0.5 could be implemented on the older hardware.

 

With respect to the announcement that these units won't be supported on the, as yet unwritten, 8.0 firmware, this is a situation in which additional features are planned for which there simply isn't enough RAM in the boxes to make it possible to implement. I'm not sure how you'd like to handle a physical impossibility, but you're welcome to provide input to our technical staff if you have a creative way to resolve the problem. Nothing prevents owners of the older routers from using them indefinitely into the future with the 7.0.5 firmware. It is the best firmware we have ever produced.

 

The issue of newer software packages requiring more RAM is not, as you are well aware, limited to routers and similar stuff. Most of us owned desktops and laptops over the past two decades many of which were initially equipped with <1GB of RAM. Fortunately, many of those were able to handle some additional RAM as the demands of the operating system increased. But some were not and, even today, many people are using 32-bit systems that can't access more than ~4GB of RAM which is on the low end of what Windows 10 requires. Yes, you can get away with that but it's not an optimal situation. But I sure wouldn't want to run Windows 10 on an old computer with a single processor core and <2GB of memory. You'd be waiting so long for memory swaps that you'd grow old and die before each new webpage was loaded. Hardware does become obsolete long before it physically reaches "end of service life". Yes, you can be one of those people who insists on holding onto his old Pentium-based system, but that's not my cup of tea. To each his own.

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Well you are lucky than I. I was not arguing with anyone merely stating my experience. I suggest that you discuss this with Evan of WFR as that is who I have talked to about the issue on a number of occasions. I have no idea how many different parks you have visited. We have been to more than 300 in the past 10 years. Many use third parties to install and manage their Wifi systems that have considerable knowledge and skill in system management.

 

 

 

As a matter of fact I have spoken with Evan about this (that's why there's been a delay in my responding to you). Evan feels that you may have misunderstood what he was telling you.

 

We are well aware that it is possible to monitor for unauthorized NAT devices on a network (full article on the topic can be found here: http://www.sflow.org/detectNAT/ )

 

However, we are not currently aware of any significant effort by parks to actually implement this or similar detections schemes. Even TengoInternet, which outfits many RV parks with wifi access points and other hardware, does not offer NAT detection as even an optional feature. Many park owners are "technically challenged" and have enough on their plates just keeping their wifi system running that they are unlikely to want to take on such a sophisticated network analysis operation.

 

Like yourselves we have traveled extensively over the past 6 years and have only encountered one park with an aggressively enforced "no router" policy, but even there we had no way of knowing if they could detect routers or simply were threatening to cut users off if they discovered one in use.

 

Here's a summary of Evan's comments to me on the topic:

 

I agree with you though, that auto-detection / blocking of routers is not a probable cause of being unable to connect to a WiFi network. Instead, the more likely causes would be low / fluctuating signal strength, DHCP issues with AP, lack of internet with AP, or incorrect WPA key for AP.

Edited by docj

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...a probable cause of being unable to connect to a WiFi network. Instead, the more likely causes would be low / fluctuating signal strength, DHCP issues with AP, lack of internet with AP, or incorrect WPA key for AP....

This is not my recollection of my correspondences with Evan and other WFR staff. I seem to remember the mention of blocking MAC addresses, but since these text conversations were more than a year ago, they have long since been deleted. Since in the cases I am referring to, I was able to connect from basically the same location inside the RV with just the Toshiba laptop that has a much less robust Wifi adapter than the receivers and transmitters in the WFR products. I seriously doubt that signal strength was the issue. Entry of wrong passwords are usually met with a message. Since I was able to connect with the laptop, I obviously had the correct password.

 

You win Docj, every one needs to spend $300+ dollars for wifi equipment that will get you connected to campground wifi that may not even be usable for their needs and certainly need to upgrade that equipment every time a new model is introduced.

 

I apologize to the OP for the high jacking of this thread. I'm out of here.

Edited by TCW

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Thank you for the answer to my question some of y'all

 

 

and 2 of you thanks for comundering the thread and driving it off a cliff.

 

 

It was a fairly simple question and it never needed you 2 getting into a pissn match.

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Thank you for the answer to my question some of y'all

 

 

and 2 of you thanks for comundering the thread and driving it off a cliff.

 

 

It was a fairly simple question and it never needed you 2 getting into a pissn match.

 

Ha . Maybe you're 'country folks' and not use to the likes of the 'big city' folks who have nothing better to do . :rolleyes:

 

Still , that doesn't excuse the 'indecent exposure' . ;)

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On 1/20/2017 at 0:39 PM, DKRITTER said:

Bottom line is with all the limitations from the source what is the real advantage of a booster?

 

Mainly for when you are boondocking. I have not yet hit the road but I don't see me staying at RV Parks (I am amazingly cheap!) other than when I have no other option for a dump spot. SO to be parked at teh side of a river in North Carolina somewhere, and MAYBE be close enough to the world to snag a wifi signal, that's when it would come into play, And if I happen to be stealing wifi from someone so cheap they only have 1.5mb DSL, so be it., It's free. The value judgement comes into play where I have to decide if $500 or more is worth it to me (again, amazingly cheap!) to snag slow wifi.

In my case, my first lap around the country will take me to cities I have never been to, and most of those cities will have a Walmart where I can park, see the town, and retire to the RV at night on their free wifi. That plan may not apply to you if you are more into nature and will be away from cities.

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