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WiFiRanger Sky questions


rynosback

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I'm getting ready to order my unit (DRV 38RSB3) and was going to opt the WiFiRanger Sky. For the people that have it, do your like it? Do you use it? Is it worth the $600 option? From what I understand the router is up in the roof unit, so how good does the signal transfer into the unit? Most info I have seen on the web about this is several years old and nothing real recent.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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I am unsure about the Sky unit, but I have the Mobile unit on top of my coach. I had to run a wire (to provide power to the Mobile) to the device. The Mobile is a WiFi as Wan unit so it can connect wirelessly to a WiFi signal. You can then connect your wireless devices (we have our 2 PCs, 2 phones, and 2 Nook readers that all can connect). The Mobile is a router, but does not have tethering via Ethernet easily. I suspect the Sky might be similar.

 

I also have a WiFi router inside the coach which pairs with the Mobile and does have ports for tethering via Ethernet.

 

The thing to remember about any such device is that it is limited by the bandwidth (allowed speed) and the number of users using that bandwidth. For example during August and Sept. here in Florida I was able to get approx. 8 mbps download speeds. Now I am lucky to get 1 mbps downloads. This snail pace is unacceptable for me. We have complained to the resort and they are checking, but we suspect it will not get a lot better unless they speed additional funds to upgrade their system. Many of us have resorted to our own MiFi devices that work over cellular networks.

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It's good unit, and will do what it say's it will do. Picking up on what Medico said, look at this as just one of your 'internet tools in you toolbox'.

 

-Park, or other source free or sometimes paid for WiFi. The Sky does a good job of bringing in weak signals,and you will find that WiFiRanger product provides a good inside the coach signal source.

 

-MiFi, or phone hot spot, is your other path way to to the internet.

 

For casual internet surfing, mail, etc. We usually determine which signal gets us the fastest pathway to the Internet. We use Speedtnet to determine this. But, we have a Verizon unlimited data plan, so usage is not a concern.

 

If you plan to stream, then 99% of the time you should plan to self support this with a Mifi or Phone Data plan. Maybe 1% of the time will I be in a park with a robust enough WiFi system to support streaming. And I always ask first, as most parks just do not have the infrastructure in place to support streaming. (And I feel it is one of the informal rules of being polite to our fellow campers.)

 

On the MiFi Phone route, we currently have a rooftop antenna, and feed a Wilson Sleek amp. It's doing a pretty good job. I'm waiting for Gord's Maximum Signal new amp to get the go ahead for production,and that will be our next amp. We'll move the Sleek to the toad for while driving in fringe coverage areas.

 

Best of luck to you on your new rig!!

Smitty

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For many people the selection of a Sky vs a MobileTi is more one of convenience of mounting than anything else. The Sky is ideal for flat roof mounting, the MobileTi can be attached to crank-up TV masts, rear ladders, etc. The MobileTi has a bit more power than the Sky and comes with a lifetime warranty. Both will be capable of running the new 7.0 firmware when it is released next month.

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As to if it's worth the $600 price tag... really depends on your intended style of travel. Campground WiFi can be hit or miss.. will you be staying places with reliable WiFi often enough to utilize it?

 

For instance, we do a lot of boondocking and camping in public campgrounds (forrest service, state parks, etc.) where WiFi is generally not accessible. Where we use our WiFiRanger most often is when 'driveway' surfing with friends who have a private network to share with us, or overnighting in parking lots with nearby public hotspots, or doing a Harvest Host stay with a WiFi hotspot in the office. In some rare cases, we get to a RV Park or campground with reliable enough WiFi that we can utilize. But mostly, our mobile internet comes from cellular services via Verizon and AT&T (which we do route through our WiFiRanger Go2).

 

If you're planning to stay places with known good WiFi, the equipment, company, customer service and software is great..

 

- Cherie

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Regardless of whether or not you ever connect to campground wifi, having a network inside your RV is becoming more and more of a necessity for many people. If you have a Jetpack, MiFi or even a phone hotspot any of those can serve that purpose (if you haven't tried it, you can print to a wireless printer just fine with any of these devices.) However, having a WiFi as WAN router as the hub of the network gives you the option of connecting to either your cellular hotspot or park wifi without having to login each device individually. A single keystroke allows you to switch the entire network from one internet source to the other.

 

As for the price, at present with WiFiRanger products you can start with a Go2 for $200 and there's some consideration being give to an even lower-priced "starter" router. The first WiFiRanger device I owned was the old Pro/Home model and the Go2 is a big step up from that. It's quite capable of connecting to most nearby wifi access points even without an external antenna. If you're trying to connect at long range like in some of Cherie's example, higher power and an external antenna are a must, but for many applications the ~200 mW in a Go2 would be just fine. If a starter device is marketed it would be in the ~$100 range with a ~100mW transmitter. That sort of device probably won't connect to the wifi in a park's office, but it probably will do fine at parks with multiple access points. Each person's needs and budget are different and it's important to have a range of options for customers to evaluate for their application.

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I have the beta X Router paired to my Mobile. I would have preferred the Go2, so cannot comment on the Go2 stability/reliability/speed considerations. However all these systems are dependent on the WiFi network they connect to. For those sitting in place for an extended period, look for a park with a good WiFi network. These WIFi Ranger devices will really help in those instances.

 

Speaking of the new firmware for the WiFi Ranger devices, the new firmware seems much more stable than what we started with.

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...If a starter device is marketed it would be in the ~$100 range with a ~100mW transmitter. That sort of device probably won't connect to the wifi in a park's office, but it probably will do fine at parks with multiple access points...

Sounds like WFR is considering going back to offering something like the original WFR/Pro/Home. If I remember correctly one of the major criticisms of that device (aside from the firmware issues) was that it was touted as being able to pickup signals and connect to sources the wifi of a computer could not while in actual field use, many computers could connect to sources the WFR router could not. Sensativity of the receiver was likely as much of an issue as the power of the transmitter. I would suggest being very cautious about creating great expectations from a low power/low sensativity device.

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Sounds like WFR is considering going back to offering something like the original WFR/Pro/Home. If I remember correctly one of the major criticisms of that device (aside from the firmware issues) was that it was touted as being able to pickup signals and connect to sources the wifi of a computer could not while in actual field use, many computers could connect to sources the WFR router could not. Sensativity of the receiver was likely as much of an issue as the power of the transmitter. I would suggest being very cautious about creating great expectations from a low power/low sensativity device.

 

I can assure you that the device being considered has no relationship to the older Home/Pro units and probably will have an option for an external antenna. Any observations about the older system would be irrelevant.

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I can assure you that the device being considered has no relationship to the older Home/Pro units and probably will have an option for an external antenna. Any observations about the older system would be irrelevant.

Well excuse me!

 

You asked for comments about the proposed new product in another post, but it seems you have all the answers already. I take it you have solved the problem of signal loss in the antenna cable? WFR has had a significant number of problems compared to pepwave and cradlepoint with developing their products and caused a lot of aggravation for some of their customers in the process. Time will tell whether history repeats itself or you have really learned from your mistakes. Good luck with your new product!

 

Just curious are you now a principle in the company that you can make unilateral decisions about the firmware as you stated that you would by removing/changing the wording in the on screen tabs.

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Well excuse me!

 

You asked for comments about the proposed new product in another post, but it seems you have all the answers already. I take it you have solved the problem of signal loss in the antenna cable? WFR has had a significant number of problems compared to pepwave and cradlepoint with developing their products and caused a lot of aggravation for some of their customers in the process. Time will tell whether history repeats itself or you have really learned from your mistakes. Good luck with your new product!

 

Just curious are you now a principle in the company that you can make unilateral decisions about the firmware as you stated that you would by removing/changing the wording in the on screen tabs.

 

I never said I had all the answers, I was simply pointing out that the platform being considered is entirely different from the old one you referred to. I agree the old Home/Pro left a lot to be desired. We recognize its shortcomings and there would be little interest in resurrecting it.

 

As for being a principal in the company, I'm just part-time hired help. If you know how I can get a promotion, let me know. ;) I spend a lot of time in discussion with the developers trying to assist by giving a real-world RVer "spin" to software being developed by "kids" who have never owned an RV.

 

As for my saying that I would get the wording for the "Boost" changed so that references to CPE hardware are removed, I sent that request to the development team immediately after I made that post. I trust it will get acted upon but I'll have to follow up to see if it is. I don't have the "authority" to demand changes, but when my suggestions are reasonable they usually are acted upon.

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Speaking of the new firmware for the WiFi Ranger devices, the new firmware seems much more stable than what we started with.

 

Speaking of stability, I'm currently running the "release candidate" for the 7.0 firmware release. Although we're still fixing a few bugs those are primarily associated with the rather lengthy list of new features. I can finally say that platform stability has now gotten to the point where I don't even know when I last rebooted my system. (I just looked--the control panel says 13 days and that was associated with a power outage).

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I also have the RC installed, but do not use the set up often because the Park WiFi is not that great. It's OK (4 to 5 mbps) during off hours but slows down quite a bit as everyone starts surfing. The other problem is so many people are streaming Netflix, etc., that the available bandwidth is used up quickly. I find myself, during the busy season here in Florida, using out Verizon Jetpack. We have a 20 GB plan so do not have a problem with data.

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