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WifiRanger a total disappointment.


fmracerbob

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Well, I've finally ready to start traveling in my Beaver Patriot after finishing all the upgrades and remodeling I wanted. Took longer than expected but wanted it all done before using it. Took the never used older 801.1 model Wifiranger out of the box and was ready to put it to work.

 

What I have discoverd is that all it is good for is grabbing a WiFi signal and then rebroadcasting on it's local network. That is all it will do. After wasting much time with the less that accurate documentation about how to access the control panel I have found the following.

 

1. Panel can only be accessed by WiFi, not a Ethernet cable dispite what the instructions say.

 

2. I can use it as a "connector" for one Ethernet cable to another to access the internet off my home modem, but then I could just buy a simple connector for a lot less money .

 

3. While it acknowledges the Phantom update is available, once the yes to update options is selected it just sits there forever at "initialiing 0%"

 

Failing to get any futher than this I haven't even bothered to try the USB stick.

 

So what I have is a shinny box that doesn't do too much. I realize it isn't the latest spiffy version with more bells and whistles but I had somehow expected it to do the basics which are all I need. I didn't expect to be an early source of funding for them while they learned to make things that actually work.

 

If anyone has any ideas on how to make this thing work I'm interested. But as of now I'm not too inclined to want to give them any more of my money.

 

 

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I'm sorry you're having problems with your WiFiRanger, but if you'd like to work to resolve them problems I'll be glad to assist you. First of all, I'm not sure what a model 801.1 is since we've never used numbers to identify our products. You refer to it as "older"; roughly how old is it and is the case black or beige?

 

Contrary to what you have written the WiFi Ranger Control Panel is readily accessible using an Ethernet cable from your computer. The control panel will be located at 10.1wx.yz.1 where wxyz are the numbers following the "77" in the Ranger's ID number.

 

As for the update, let's see if we can get it going first before you try to update it. If you wish you can PM me your responses through this forum or you can email me at jweiss@wifiranger.com

 

Joel (AKA docj)

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Thanks Joel for the information. It's somewhat dissapointing that from new the unit is considered marginal. But since I don't need all the fancy switching, fallover etc. I can make it work just fine for me.

 

Use it for WiFi only usage attached to the Elite antanna and generate personal network. I'll just put my USB stick in the computer and control what source I want to use from there since I don't make much use of WiFi as I don't stay in campgrounds or parks.

 

Still, seems an awefully short usable life for the product.

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I am very disappointed with our new Ranger also. Only been installed one month ago.

1. It seems that it takes to long to show up when turned off

2. Sometimes it states that I have the wrong PW

3. It drops once on a lot

 

I am going to call them at my next CG as the KOA I am out has the WORST wifi of any park I have been at.

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Took the never used older 801.1 model Wifiranger out of the box and was ready to put it to work.

 

What I have discoverd is that all it is good for is grabbing a WiFi signal and then rebroadcasting on it's local network. That is all it will do.

 

but I had somehow expected it to do the basics which are all I need.

 

racer bob - I'm just curious about the second and third comments. What were you expecting of the WifiRanger that it doesn't do?

 

We have one and our use for it is exactly line 2 - grab a WiFi signal and rebroadcast as our own local network. Typically, the WiFi signal is one of our phones as a hotspot, but if campground WiFi happens to be good, we'll have it use that instead.

 

Michelle

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Thanks Joel for the information. It's somewhat dissapointing that from new the unit is considered marginal. But since I don't need all the fancy switching, fallover etc. I can make it work just fine for me.

 

 

Still, seems an awefully short usable life for the product.

 

Bob:

 

I'm totally confused as to what unit you own. What you described to me in a PM was a black-cased WFR that sounded like one of our old ones. You referred to 4.0 firmware on it which would be consistent with that older model.

 

But you have now referred to the "Elite antenna" which is neither an antenna nor old, it is one of our newest units. Please clarify as best you can what you actually have. If you have an Elite you have no need to use that old black device, if that's what you have. The Elite is not an antenna but, rather, a fully functioning router and can work on its own.

 

Joel

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I am very disappointed with our new Ranger also. Only been installed one month ago.

1. It seems that it takes to long to show up when turned off

2. Sometimes it states that I have the wrong PW

3. It drops once on a lot

 

I am going to call them at my next CG as the KOA I am out has the WORST wifi of any park I have been at.

 

Your Ranger should take a minute or two to boot up when first turned on. There's no particular reason to bother to turn it off, so you could reduce your annoyance at the wait by just leaving it on. If you are experiencing more than 2-3 minutes at boot up I suggest you contact WiFiRanger

 

As for it saying that you have the wrong password, how often does that occur and how do you correct the situation when that happens? Passwords are case sensitive but most Windows computers store them so you shouldn't have to enter the PW after the first time you connect to the router. Please explain the situation.

 

As for "drops" do you have Failover turned on? If you do the Ranger will attempt to reconnect to the access point after the Failover interval you have specified.

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racer bob - I'm just curious about the second and third comments. What were you expecting of the WifiRanger that it doesn't do?

 

We have one and our use for it is exactly line 2 - grab a WiFi signal and rebroadcast as our own local network. Typically, the WiFi signal is one of our phones as a hotspot, but if campground WiFi happens to be good, we'll have it use that instead.

 

Michelle

 

Same here. The WiFI Ranger does a great job of picking up a weak campground signal and rebroadcasting it so we can connect with all our devices. We use it all the time.

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In answer to questions.

 

I have just recently added the Elite antanna in place of the old Bat Wing TV antanna for the eventually of using a local WiFi if desired. It is plugged directly into the Ranger. In view of the following it can do as much as I am able to do with the Ranger.

 

The original appeal of the Ranger was to be able to handle an usb air card along with outside WiFi along with generating a local private network. Plus allowing a hard wire connection to my computer from the Ranger.

 

The problems I have found with the older unit I have :

 

Won't download the newest software. Old slow processor and minimual memory

Won't work with the newer Pantech UML295

The software (firmware) installed is not eaisly understood and in some cases very non-intutive, at least to me with 40 years of computer experience.

It wasn't that easy to know exactly where it was receiving it's connection from, WIFI, Ehternet connection or Cell. Really a software user interface issue

It was very resistant to initially allowing access to the Control Panel by hard wire

The quick setup instructions left out an importing piece of information on how to access the unit.

 

It's isn't that old but the impression I clearly got from Joel, who has been very nice, is that it's too old to bother with putting much time into figuring out. So I came away with the distinct impression that selling them was premature but generated income to continue development into a more reliable and usable unit. Hence my comment about being as much a funding source as a customer. Just my opinion

 

After a lot of time spent trying to figure out what is happening, keep in mind my day job for years has been working with the onboard computer systems on professional race cars, I have been able to get it to work with my computer vie hard wire and receive outside WiFi along with generating a private network.

 

My usb cell stick will work directly into the computer and I since I don't spend much time at places with accessable WiFi the cell is the primary source, especially since I prefer the security it offers over a shared WiFi source. Since I don't need all the auto scanning, switching and idle ready features of the Go I suspect this unit will work for me for now. I can eaisly switch manually to WiFi if I desire. I could even just use the Elite box since effectively it does the same thing as I'm able to do with the Ranger.

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It's isn't that old but the impression I clearly got from Joel, who has been very nice, is that it's too old to bother with putting much time into figuring out. So I came away with the distinct impression that selling them was premature but generated income to continue development into a more reliable and usable unit. Hence my comment about being as much a funding source as a customer. Just my opinion

 

 

 

Bob:

 

From the clues you have left in your last couple of messages I have deduced that what you have is an old WiFiRanger Pro or Home coupled with an Elite which you purchased to replace what was probably a WiFiRanger Boost or Mobile that used to be mounted on your Bat Wing antenna.

 

You appear not to understand that the Elite is NOT an antenna (neither was the Boost/Mobile) it is a completely independent, stand-alone router that is far more capable than the old, black unit you have inside your RV. For many people the Elite is the ONLY WiFiRanger product they need to purchase unless they need access to a USB port for a modem or for tethering a Jetpack. I'm not sure how you came to treat the Elite as only an antenna.

 

That black indoor unit of yours is 4-5 years old which is an eternity in today's electronics world. It has very limited RAM (8 MB I believe) and a processor from that period. It wasn't released prematurely, it was released with hardware that was what was available 4-5 years ago and with firmware that has evolved over time (WiFiRanger doesn't make the hardware). Virtually every piece of consumer electronics on the market has evolved as the hardware on which it is based has improved as has the software resident on it.

 

The behaviors you observe on your old Ranger are consistent with the old 4.0 version firmware installed on it. Your choice now is to try to update your old indoor unit with the current software (while making sure that you update the Elite at the same time) or to operate with just the Elite. You will not be able to operate well if the Elite and the indoor unit do not have the same version firmware. At present I'm pretty sure that this is the case since I don't think the Elite was ever distributed with the 4.0 firmware. Since your Elite is a far better device I would normally suggest you use it by itself. However, since you wish to operate a USB modem you could purchase a "mini WiFiRanger" which functionally does everything your old device does in a newer, more sophisticated package.

 

Joel

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Your Ranger should take a minute or two to boot up when first turned on. There's no particular reason to bother to turn it off, so you could reduce your annoyance at the wait by just leaving it on. If you are experiencing more than 2-3 minutes at boot up I suggest you contact WiFiRanger

 

As for it saying that you have the wrong password, how often does that occur and how do you correct the situation when that happens? Passwords are case sensitive but most Windows computers store them so you shouldn't have to enter the PW after the first time you connect to the router. Please explain the situation.

 

As for "drops" do you have Failover turned on? If you do the Ranger will attempt to reconnect to the access point after the Failover interval you have specified.

A couple of minutes is about right for start up. But when I go into the control panel it drops me a lot while attempting to log onto the net work I selected.

That is the funny thing. It has my PW in memory but does not log on automatically when I connect to it. And even after trying to log on 3-4 times and getting a wrong PW responded. I stop trying and sometimes it just connects. REALLY strange.

 

Not sure what settings are on or off. All of the settings are still what ever the factory set it at. I just renamed the network and PW.

 

Another strange thing is that once I filled out the registration it stated that it would change the settings. So I did not submit it as I was not sure what settings it was going to change.

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I have only owned one WifiRanger product, that being a Go. From the get go, it was a slug compared to all the other router products I've owned over the years.

 

It takes over a minute to do a scan, while my two tablets, my laptops, my phone, and any desktops I've ever used scan for networks in a matter of a couple of seconds.

 

Connecting to a wifi network also takes from 1 1/2 minutes to 2 minutes. In fact, I find every action it takes is slow to give feedback. I've gone through registration several times, yet it still says I need to register. The last time I tried to update the firmware, it froze in the middle of it and I had to send it in to get the firmware installed.

 

All that said, once I get it up and working, it works pretty well. It will drop the network from time to time, but that's not atypical of such devices. Overall, it is what it is and I use it when I need it.

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A couple of minutes is about right for start up. But when I go into the control panel it drops me a lot while attempting to log onto the net work I selected.

That is the funny thing. It has my PW in memory but does not log on automatically when I connect to it. And even after trying to log on 3-4 times and getting a wrong PW responded. I stop trying and sometimes it just connects. REALLY strange.

 

Not sure what settings are on or off. All of the settings are still what ever the factory set it at. I just renamed the network and PW.

 

Another strange thing is that once I filled out the registration it stated that it would change the settings. So I did not submit it as I was not sure what settings it was going to change.

 

It sounds as if the password you entered into memory is incorrect so what is happening is that the router is trying to connect to the wifi but fails and eventually asks you for the password. Try deleting the network from the list (you will have to go to the WiFi tab of the Control Panel) then go back to the main control panel screen and try to connect to it again. It will ask you for the password and you can (carefully) reenter it then.

 

I suggest that you go to the Setup page of the control panel and turn Failover ON. Then use the dropdown box to set the failover interval to 5 minutes. That will cause the Ranger to to reconnect to the network you want if it were to drop the connection.

 

When you make any changes on the different Control Panel screens there is a popup message to warn you that you are making changes to the devices configuration. The changes are the ones you made; the device doesn't make any changes on its own. When you fill out the registration form you are making a change; therefore, you get the warning message. If you click on SAVE then the registration will be submitted and your name and other information will be displayed on the appropriate control panel screens. That is all that happens.

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Joel has pretty much covered the issues. But let me present an independent opinion to Racerbob.

 

You need to ditch the interior unit in favor of 1) a new unit - either the Mini or a new Go2 or, 2) JUST using the Elite, if you don't need to physically connect an Ethernet line to the device.

 

As Joel said, mismatched firmware is very bad - I'm actually shocked that it even works. Your router is very old. Time to replace it or not use it in conjunction with an Elite. It will work fine by itself, but probably will not meet your capture needs.

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I have only owned one WifiRanger product, that being a Go. From the get go, it was a slug compared to all the other router products I've owned over the years.

 

It takes over a minute to do a scan, while my two tablets, my laptops, my phone, and any desktops I've ever used scan for networks in a matter of a couple of seconds.

 

Connecting to a wifi network also takes from 1 1/2 minutes to 2 minutes. In fact, I find every action it takes is slow to give feedback. I've gone through registration several times, yet it still says I need to register. The last time I tried to update the firmware, it froze in the middle of it and I had to send it in to get the firmware installed.

 

All that said, once I get it up and working, it works pretty well. It will drop the network from time to time, but that's not atypical of such devices. Overall, it is what it is and I use it when I need it.

 

From your description of the issues you are having I suspect you haven't upgraded your Ranger to the latest firmware. What firmware version are you using; the "7" series firmware scans very quickly.

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From your description of the issues you are having I suspect you haven't upgraded your Ranger to the latest firmware. What firmware version are you using; the "7" series firmware scans very quickly.

 

My firmware version is 7.0.1 When I sent it back to get this version installed, I told them about the sluggish performance. They said they checked it out before sending it back and everything was normal.

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My firmware version is 7.0.1 When I sent it back to get this version installed, I told them about the sluggish performance. They said they checked it out before sending it back and everything was normal.

 

I believe the current released version is 7.0.2; I can't promise that it will change anything, but you should update if you can

 

I just verified that my Ranger scans available networks in ~15 seconds. However, I have a Go2 which does have a faster processor than the Go, so it's possible that yours is performing to the limit of its hardware.

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Just for clarification purposes. I never had any outside antennas, just the older Home ranger. Just recently I got the Elite and mounted it on the arm that normally has the typical "bat wing" TV antenna on it. I removed that and mounted the Elite. The Elite will work with the older Home unit if I power it with the provided box and then run an Ethernet cable from the LAN port to the external source port on the Home. Does mean one more thing to be power by AC rather then DC.

 

All well and good but the issue then becomes the Home doesn't know how to work with the Pantech UML295 cell stick, it's one version too new. That means running the stick directly off the computer. This in terms prevents access to the local private network from the Home because connecting the mac to the Home with an ethernet cable for whatever reason doesn't work, only WiFi access from the computer works. Wasted enough time on trying to figure that out.

 

This then blocks the cell access so to use the cell source I have to shut off the WiFi on the computer which means no local private network thusly no printer. It's one of those "you can't get there from here" things. Line of least resistance, I ordered a GO2

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Just for clarification purposes. I never had any outside antennas, just the older Home ranger. Just recently I got the Elite and mounted it on the arm that normally has the typical "bat wing" TV antenna on it. I removed that and mounted the Elite. The Elite will work with the older Home unit if I power it with the provided box and then run an Ethernet cable from the LAN port to the external source port on the Home. Does mean one more thing to be power by AC rather then DC.

 

All well and good but the issue then becomes the Home doesn't know how to work with the Pantech UML295 cell stick, it's one version too new. That means running the stick directly off the computer. This in terms prevents access to the local private network from the Home because connecting the mac to the Home with an ethernet cable for whatever reason doesn't work, only WiFi access from the computer works. Wasted enough time on trying to figure that out.

 

This then blocks the cell access so to use the cell source I have to shut off the WiFi on the computer which means no local private network thusly no printer. It's one of those "you can't get there from here" things. Line of least resistance, I ordered a GO2

 

If you can manage to get the firmware on your Home updated I think it will work with your modem; it will be running the same firmware that any of the newer units have so there's no reason why it shouldn't work. Your problem at the moment is that the 4.0 firmware on your Home is several iterations behind.

 

If you end up running the USB stick on your computer there's a very simple fix to getting the signal to your network. Just download a copy of Connectify software. I think there's a free version and the paid one is <$50. Connectify will turn your computer into a hotspot which you can either have the Ranger connect to or you can let other devices in your network connect to it directly.

 

If you use the Elite by itself you can power it EITHER with AC or 12V DC. I believe it came with an AC Power Over Ethernet adapter. You can get a DC one from WiFiRanger for ~$25.

 

As for using the Home with its current firmware with the Elite that is not a configuration that anyone can promise you will work. As Jack noted, it's amazing that it works at all.

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As I mentioned initially, the current firmware will not download the update. While it correctly identifies the update version available, it does not download it. I can leave it on for over an hour and still nothing ever gets downloaded. So dead issue.

 

Connectify is for PC only, no version for Mac. And I don't need or want another piece of software added in which will bring it's own issues and complications. Actually OSX has it's own inbuilt ability to create a shareable network. However that would mean the Elite could sign on to the network but that doesn't provide a way for the computer to use it as a WiFi source. And as I noted, the Elite box doesn't want to connect by Ethernet cable to the computer for whatever reason.

 

It all gets more and more complicated and when dealing with computer software that is the best way to have problems. If I'm going to spend more money it's to get a fully integrated system from one source so when problems are encountered there is no pointing the problem at the other guy's part. I want a tool, not a hobby. I'm taking Jack's solution. I can use the Ranger at home to connect a couple of special purpose computers to my network on the odd occasions they need internet access and at least get some value out of it.

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A If I'm going to spend more money it's to get a fully integrated system from one source so when problems are encountered there is no pointing the problem at the other guy's part. I want a tool, not a hobby. I'm taking Jack's solution. I can use the Ranger at home to connect a couple of special purpose computers to my network on the odd occasions they need internet access and at least get some value out of it.

 

Had you replaced your WFR Home with a Go2 or mini at the time you purchased your Elite you would have been shipped a completely integrated and functioning system. If you wanted to purchase either one of those now and were willing to send the Elite back I'm sure WFR would be glad to get everything set up before sending it back to you.

 

The issue of the Elite not wanting to connect via Ethernet I think is probably something that could be resolved with a phone call to WFR Technical Support if you chose to make the call.

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For others reading this.....not the OP who has "resolved" his issue....

 

Mixing systems of different ages and firmware's is always a bad idea. It may or may not work. And as Joel has pointed out, the firmware has come a long way in the past few years. As a user you do not benefit from using the older firmware. I can tell you from experience that the latest firmware is far more responsive, resilient, and stable than even 2-year old stuff.

 

Your needs are going to dictate the solution, but for most people just getting started I recommend evaluating a min-pack; which is a Sky2 with a Mini router. For most situations I really like that solution. But it obviously does not meet everyone's needs. Cons: only one LAN port on the router (although a switch is easily added), less antenna gain on the SKY than on the Elite (but sufficient for almost all RV Park capture situations). Pro: is not subject to damage as much as a flat mount Elite. Many new RVs do not have a batwing antenna. If you are in that category I strongly recommend the Minipack

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For others reading this.....not the OP who has "resolved" his issue....

 

Mixing systems of different ages and firmware's is always a bad idea. It may or may not work. And as Joel has pointed out, the firmware has come a long way in the past few years. As a user you do not benefit from using the older firmware. I can tell you from experience that the latest firmware is far more responsive, resilient, and stable than even 2-year old stuff.

 

Your needs are going to dictate the solution, but for most people just getting started I recommend evaluating a min-pack; which is a Sky2 with a Mini router. For most situations I really like that solution. But it obviously does not meet everyone's needs. Cons: only one LAN port on the router (although a switch is easily added), less antenna gain on the SKY than on the Elite (but sufficient for almost all RV Park capture situations). Pro: is not subject to damage as much as a flat mount Elite. Many new RVs do not have a batwing antenna. If you are in that category I strongly recommend the Minipack

 

Thanks Jack for the excellent summary.

 

As Jack has said, the new firmware is lightyears ahead of what was offered 5 years ago when I first purchased a WiFiRanger. I can go for weeks at a time without rebooting the router and with Failover operational I always have a connection available when I need it.

 

Joel

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