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Rogue Wave, Wifi Ranger Elite, or ?


Kevin H

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I am planning on getting a wifi booster. Over the years I've heard many references to the WifiRanger. The Elite sounds like a great system. Yesterday I heard about the RogueWave. From what I can tell, and I am an average Joe consumer, it looks like the two systems are pretty close.


So, techno-experts, what are your thoughts on the two? Here is my info:


We are average wifi users: Surfing, youtube, occasional movies and music, lots of facebook, emails and online banking. That's pretty well it. We do not run a business or anything life dependent.


Our equipment is: Montana 5th wheel, 2 laptops, 1 desktop, Brother wireless laser printer.

There is no need to hard wire anything but if it would increase performance I would hard wire the desktop.

We use a Jetpack when there is no reliable wifi, which is most of the time it seems.


Having said all that, I am willing to spend some money to get set up. The WifiRanger Elite Pack is $600 - big bucks but if it works, well....


What are your thoughts and suggestions between the Elite and the Wave? I am open to other systems as well, but I want the most efficient and easy to manage system I can get.


If you need more info from my end, let me know.

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Here is my review of the Rouge Wave. I just got a new version of the firmware to review, and will have that out in the New Year.

Thanks Jack. Great article. I'll certainly use it in my decision process. Have you had an opportunity to look at the new firmware, and if so, what are your initial thoughts for an average user audience?

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I ordered a WiFiRanger 11-Mini Pack the other day. It is $360 and may work for you.

It only has one hardware output. But that output can be used with a switch.

 

That is the way I am going to use it hardwired. For my Genie, Smart TV, Blue Ray DVD and one laptop.

As my Karma Hot Spot can only feed 3 devices. WiFiRanger, Desktop and iPad

 

Mine is on the way and I won't get it until 1/5/16

It's WiFi antenna range is only up to 1/2 mile unlike the higher price units.

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If you are interested in the WifiRanger note the WifiRanger Elite Pack is two components... You may not need the Go2 component - this gives you a soso router that is really only of use if you want to tether a cellular connection thru the USB port...

 

So you could just buy the Elite stand alone for $359 https://wifiranger.com/shop/product/50-elite

 

It has its own wifi or you can plug any basic router you choose into it

 

I personally would just go for their basic Sky2 system for $199... You have dig down into their website to find and buy it...

https://wifiranger.com/shop/product/55-sky2

This will give you 90% of the capabilities of any system with a minimum of tech to wire and maintain - just mount it on your roof, power it up and go to its webpage to find wifi... It's specs say it will pull in signal from 1/2 mile vs the Elite's 2 miles (which has a big astrex after that claim)

My thought is that any wifi over 1/2 a mile away isn't worth using - definalely not for Netflix streaming...

 

If you a bit of a DIY check out this YouTube video... I would only make one change to a omni antenna...

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KRum's advice is about the same as mine. For MOST people the Minipack (a Sky2 with a mini router) is sufficient. It will not have the range that an Elite has but the range is sufficient for every RV park situation I have seen. For long distance capture it will not be the choice, though (for long distance I'm talking more than a half mile - which is not something most people need).

 

The new firmware for the Rogue Wave is simply an enhancement of the current one. The firmware alone would not make the buying decision for me on the RW.

 

I'll have an updated review of the RW on the RVMobileInternet.com website of Chris and Cherie shortly after the new year. I'll also have an upgraded CPE build article on there if you choose to build your own. It will cover Ubiquity hardware and a couple of routers. All my review content and DIY articles are now published primarily on their membership site. It is well worth the nominal membership fee if you are interested in Mobile Internet. I get nothing from the site or articles...but there is nothing even close as an information source on mobile connectivity. While I do still put some articles in the communications section of my website, most of the stuuff goes on their site first.

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I found very few instances where my WFR got signal that my latop did not. I sold the WFR with the motor home and now have purchased a Surf On The Go that does wifi as wan and paid $99.

If you are referring to just the WFR routers, i.e. Home, Pro, Go or Go2 then I would agree that none of them used alone were/are much if any better at capturing Wifi than many computers, tablets and cellphones. However, when paired with a device like a Bullet, Boost, Mobile or Elite; there is a huge difference in capture and connectivity ability.

 

As usual, Jack's product review provides lots of great information. He makes reference to the fact that just being able to get a good connection to a Wifi source does not mean that you will get a fast or even usable internet connect. As he mentions, the backhaul of the Wifi system is a major factor in this. In addition, the number of users and what they may be trying to do such as steam video will affect the quality of the internet connection. In my experience, much of the dissatisfaction with the performance of Wifi capture devices is not as much the fault of the equipment, but a misunderstanding of what it can and can not do to improve RV park Wifi. If the park system throttles users or prevents streaming, then no Wifi capture device is going to change that. If the Wifi system uses repeaters to create multiple Acess Points (APs) around the campground, there can be significant speed loss with multiple hops from the primary source. In my experience, one of the big advantages of having a good Wifi capture device is being able to connect to more APs and find the one with the fastest internet connection. Many times, I have found that the AP that produces the fastest speed is not the strongest signal. Two of the reasons for this are being able to connect to an AP where the signal is not repeated as many times or connection to an AP that is not serving as many users or high volume users.

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You could replace the Jetpack with a Pepwave BR-1 giving you a better cell connection along with a strong wifi repeater/router. Or for wifi only, a Pepwave Surf will do fine. You can of course add external antennas to either of these although usually the Surf will work in a window.

 

The wifi problem, though, probably isn't the connection you have to the AP; it's that _everyone_ is on the CG net and is overloading the net. When available bandwidth runs out, nothing moves. Your stated usage, "youtube, occasional movies and music, lots of facebook" is what the problem is _when everyone in the CG is doing it_ at the same time. If everyone was simply checking email or reading this forum there wouldn't be a problem.

 

In the CG where we are the wifi works pretty well most of the week. We're actually tuned to a CG repeater rather than an AP because the repeater antenna "hears" our piddly little connection much better than the AP antenna. On weekend mornings and evenings, though, it all comes to a halt when oodles of people turn on their devices to do Facebook and stream stuff at the same time. There's simply insufficient bandwidth available and the fact that I have a -50dB signal level is irrelevent. Actually the ISP refused to sell us a hardwire connection stating that there wasn't sufficient bandwidth available in our area.

 

What we've learned over the years is that we have to bring our own internet (Pepwave BR-1 now) and if we can get a usable wifi connection, well great, but to never expect CG wifi to be usable or to put lots of money or effort into trying to make it so.

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If you are referring to just the WFR routers, i.e. Home, Pro, Go or Go2 then I would agree that none of them used alone were/are much if any better at capturing Wifi than many computers, tablets and cellphones. However, when paired with a device like a Bullet, Boost, Mobile or Elite; there is a huge difference in capture and connectivity ability.

 

 

My WFR was connected to a Bullet, and yes it did find more signals than my laptop, but the CGs' were open or I had the password and the more distant ones I could capture were password protected, so effectively I was limited to the CG wifi and in many a case the Surf On The Go will work just fine (also reviewed on Jack's site).

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My WFR was connected to a Bullet, and yes it did find more signals than my laptop, but the CGs' were open or I had the password and the more distant ones I could capture were password protected, so effectively I was limited to the CG wifi and in many a case the Surf On The Go will work just fine (also reviewed on Jack's site).

 

Quite often at a park with multiple AP's a Ranger or a Rogue Wave will enable you to connect to a more distant tower which may provide a faster connection speed than the one nearest to you. you. I'm not sure what else you would expect it to do. Yes, many of the other AP's are PW-protected but I don't know why you portray that as a deficiency. I don't think anyone is saying that devices like these provide you with lots of new choices to connect to; what they do is make it possible to easily connect throughout a typical RV park so you can maximize the performance you get from its wifi.

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I bought my WFR back in 2011. I thought there would be more open wifis than there proved to be, but I was very happy with its wifi as wan capability. But now that there are other wifi as wan devices such as surf on the go, I simply feel there are better value for money choices. The OP wanted to know what else might be out there and that was all I was trying to inform on. I liked my WFR when I had it. I now like my surf on the go. Sorry for trying to respond to the question.

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I wasn't criticizing your post, I simply didn't understand your point.

 

There was a time a number of years ago when there were lots of stories about locking onto distant open wifi signals and using them. Most of those stories were anecdotal and probably never happened, but that sort of thing really stopped as more and more people became educated about encrypting their wifi signals and, also, as more and more people became aware that unauthorized use of a wifi is defined as theft. These days I don't market WiFiRangers on the basis of being able to capture distant networks, but on their ability to reliably lock onto the wifi signal in an RV park or outside a McDonalds, etc.

 

If you bought your Ranger thinking it would enable you to use lots of open networks, I can see why you were disappointed.

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There was a time a number of years ago when there were lots of stories about locking onto distant open wifi signals and using them. Most of those stories were anecdotal and probably never happened, but that sort of thing really stopped as more and more people became educated about encrypting their wifi signals and, also, as more and more people became aware that unauthorized use of a wifi is defined as theft. These days I don't market WiFiRangers on the basis of being able to capture distant networks, but on their ability to reliably lock onto the wifi signal in an RV park or outside a McDonalds, etc.

 

This scenario is exactly the reason I say that a Mini-pack is sufficient for most RVers. The technology used is sufficient within almost any RV park scenario. And long distance capture - while possible with other technology - has NEVER BEEN a common occurrence/requirement for RVers. Yes, some do/have done it. I have done it many times. But it is not something that the "normal" RV marketplace requires. That is why products like the Surf do well....because they meet the primary needs of many people.

 

The value of the WiFiRanger is not just in distance capture of wifi, but in providing many advanced features to manage "Mobile Internet" needs. That is not just distance capture. Although for some people just park capture is all they use on the WFR.

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If you bought your Ranger thinking it would enable you to use lots of open networks, I can see why you were disappointed.

I did not say I was disappointed -- quite the contrary. I think the Company was more than fair to us early adopters. Was simply noting that with today's product offerings and open wifi realities there is for me and there possibly are for others cheaper and perhaps better value-for-money propositions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hmmm all this is food for thought, but help me out here.

 

Being we are giving up the S&B and going fulltime we have a perfectly good (new as of 2015) Apple Airport Extreme wireless router. What I am hearing is we can buy the flat mount antenna and plug the cable into our Airport and have the same functionality as the Go2?

 

The Airport has 4 USB ports + Ethernet in (for the antenna) so I could plug in a Jetpack (if I wanted to) in one of the USB Ports.

 

If the above is true, all I really need is the antenna, flat mount hardware and cabling.

 

Another Issue:

 

We have the Winegard Traveler Satellite Dish. Would there be some way I could mount the WiFi antenna to the top of the satellite dish so that I could get maximum height for the WiFi antenna when I deploy the Sat Dish? (or would this cause cross-interference?)

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From what I can understand about the Airport Extreme, it does have the ability to act as a wifi repeater/range extender. If this is the case, it would have the necessary functionality. Most home routers do not have the ability to receive wifi and redistribute it, but this one does appear to be able to do that.

 

As for the Trav'ler, I wouldn't attach things to mine, for fear of things getting caught when it stowed and opened. Why not use the crank up TV antenna if you have one? That's where lots of WiFiRangers are mounted.

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