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If you can afford it (you get what you pay for) take a good look at this. It will be going on my rig soon. Its just down the list right now because of front to back maintenance issues since I just bought the motorhome. This comes from personal experience. I have bought six of these, four sailboats that I have owned and one for a travel trailer and one for a friends boat. This is the cats meow of wifi for the mobile lifestyle.

Rogue Wave WiFi Antenna by Land And Sea

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Maineah   

Nice but I don't need wifi that badly!

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256bit   

That's $150. You can make a far superior setup for pennies with a raspberry pi, a 4W 2.4ghz amplifier, a good antenna, a wifi dongle with a decent chipset (like the ALFA 036NH) and a low power dongle for AP mode. I have mine setup to find and connect to networks automatically, just a few dozen lines of python. It's also a media server. The range is probably 4x that setup, and it costed me about $18.

Edited by 256bit

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256bit   
On 1/22/2017 at 5:04 PM, RedEmerald said:

If you can afford it (you get what you pay for) take a good look at this. It will be going on my rig soon. Its just down the list right now because of front to back maintenance issues since I just bought the motorhome. This comes from personal experience. I have bought six of these, four sailboats that I have owned and one for a travel trailer and one for a friends boat. This is the cats meow of wifi for the mobile lifestyle.

Rogue Wave WiFi Antenna by Land And Sea

Sorry to say but you're way overpaying for what you get. That setup has an ERP of 35dBm (yes 35, they lied, it's not 36, the actual antenna gain is 3.45W not their stated 4W) because it has a run of the mill low dBi dipole omnidirectional antenna and only 800mW of txpower. They say 'marine antenna', there is no such thing. It's a dipole antenna, the exact same kind of omni antenna on any router or wifi card - theirs is just slightly bigger. Funnily enough, they're only that wide when they have an ENORMOUS ground plane to prevent back EMFI, which that setup absolutely does not need at 800mW. You can achieve the same for a total of $30 on Amazon, including mounting hardware and a NEMA shell.

dBm stands for decibel-milliwatts. Every step of 3dBm doubles your power. So 36dBm is 4 watts, 33dBm is 2 watts, 30dBm is 1 watt. For less than $100 on Amazon you can pickup a 4 watt (which is 36dBm) 2.4ghz amplifier, a 24dBi 2.4ghz parabolic antenna, and a wifi card with a very solid chipset (note: avoid Realtek). This places you at a total power of 60dBm, 250x more powerful than the "Rogue Wave". Note that this is completely illegal to use, per FCC regulations in the US. (Not that you'd ever get caught :rolleyes:) I'm just illustrating what a rip off it is.

A directional antenna is essentially a wide-beam attenuator, narrow-beam antenna. Because of the way that RF works, the higher the gain of the directional antenna, the better the signal but the smaller the coverage angle. In the real world, the inverse is true for an omnidirectional antenna - the higher the dBi, the narrower the vertical plane. Omnidirectional antennas are not good for long-distance applications for this reason. At sufficiently high dBi (maybe 16dBi) the antenna will get crap signal with only a 10ft difference in elevation to the access point. The only reason those things work so well - even though they're barely better than a shitty TP Link wifi card - is because you're on the water.

The setup described above would have an effective real-world range of probably 20 times the distance of the Rogue Wave, for 1/4 the cost. Or the former, the same effective range, for 1/10th the cost.

Edited by 256bit

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12 hours ago, 256bit said:

Or the former, the same effective range, for 1/10th the cost.

You should assemble plug & play 'packages' and sell them for half the cost. I know that for me your posts are like Chinese and I'm not about to learn a foreign language in order to check my emails or watch TV. But I'm always interested in saving a buck. :)

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256bit   
On 4/24/2017 at 10:39 AM, Derek up North said:

You should assemble plug & play 'packages' and sell them for half the cost. I know that for me your posts are like Chinese and I'm not about to learn a foreign language in order to check my emails or watch TV. But I'm always interested in saving a buck. :)

Without all of the jargon, it's really simple, no packaging needed.

This would be the simplest possible setup:

https://www.amazon.com/AWUS036H-802-11b-Wireless-network-Adapter/dp/B002WCEWU8/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1493172496&sr=1-1

https://www.amazon.com/Extender-Repeater-Broadband-Amplifiers-Wireless/dp/B01B94U438/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1493172078&sr=1-1

You use the included cable to connect the ALFA wifi adapter to the amplifier (the side that says 'Router' on the sticker), then you screw the amplifiers antenna onto the amplifier. You plug the amplifier in, then you use the USB cable to connect the wifi adapter to your computer. (if your computer isn't ancient, you shouldn't need to install any drivers). Done, 30 seconds, total power of 41dBm, 2x more powerful than the Rogue Wave. And for only $50.

As far as upgrades go, there are two ways you can do it. A directional antenna would be best, but requires you to point the antenna at the AP. The upside is that the range is MUCH higher. You could also mount an omnidirectional antenna (like the one that comes with the Rogue Wave) to your RV. Either way, avoid chinesium (antennas are sensitive and need good QC - that is where you do actually get what you pay for) and just remember that generally the higher the dBi of the antenna, the farther the range.

Three caveats:

  • The cheap 4W amp will flood the licensed spectrum @ 1.7ghz. If you parked right at the end of a runway you would interfere with aircraft navigation systems. So don't do that. Otherwise it's fine.
  • It's illegal. It's regulated this way because if everybody was blasting the air with extremely powerful transmitters/antennas the level of interference would nullify the gains. You won't get caught running anything more powerful. Pretty much the only way you would get caught is if you wrote a letter to the FCC, gave them your social security number, and bragged about how much your setup is over reg, then told them exactly where you will be at a specific date if they want to come check it out.
  • When upgrading the antenna, don't get one of those thin black plastic ones - the back EMFI will destroy the signal. The one that comes with the amplifier is an exception because it has a large ground plane (in laymans terms, this is almost equivalent to electrical ground). It was designed specifically to be used with the amplifier. Any of the large metal antennas (like this Yagi antenna, which I personally recommend) are fine and have a sufficiently large ground plane.
Edited by 256bit

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I'm trying to keep up. Sounds interesting. So could one connect a router to this setup for multiple devices?

I'm researching it. A laptop with a virtual router sounds possible. I have to figure out if it would work with my cheap Chromebook. I do need a better laptop for the road.

Edited by whyverne14
Trying to answer my own question.

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256bit   
On 5/1/2017 at 8:52 PM, whyverne14 said:

I'm trying to keep up. Sounds interesting. So could one connect a router to this setup for multiple devices?

I'm researching it. A laptop with a virtual router sounds possible. I have to figure out if it would work with my cheap Chromebook. I do need a better laptop for the road.

Sorry for the late reply. My 22R is stripped down to the block right now. Sending it off to the machinist then I have to put it back together and fix the total hackjob wiring.

Yes you can, it's close to how mine is setup. If you don't really care about speed beyond 1-2mBps and want to be cheap just use a raspberry pi zero ($0.99 + 2 WiFi adapters) as a router/bridge. You can read about my crazy setup in the other thread.

Edited by 256bit

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Thanks, that'll be my next project.

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Totem   
On 4/23/2017 at 9:50 PM, 256bit said:

That's $150. You can make a far superior setup for pennies with a raspberry pi, a 4W 2.4ghz amplifier, a good antenna, a wifi dongle with a decent chipset (like the ALFA 036NH) and a low power dongle for AP mode. I have mine setup to find and connect to networks automatically, just a few dozen lines of python. It's also a media server. The range is probably 4x that setup, and it costed me about $18.

Ive seen some engineering students make amazing antennaes from Pringles cans, and then go into Home Depot Parking lots and pull full strength from their open wifi non password protected LANs. I was intrigued by this, and tempted to build a pringles antennae myself.

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On 5/19/2017 at 7:05 AM, Totem said:

Ive seen some engineering students make amazing antennaes from Pringles cans, and then go into Home Depot Parking lots and pull full strength from their open wifi non password protected LANs. I was intrigued by this, and tempted to build a pringles antennae myself.

I think it is called "war driving".

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256bit   
On 5/19/2017 at 10:05 AM, Totem said:

Ive seen some engineering students make amazing antennaes from Pringles cans, and then go into Home Depot Parking lots and pull full strength from their open wifi non password protected LANs. I was intrigued by this, and tempted to build a pringles antennae myself.

A pringles can antenna used to be pretty good. Now that their tubes are made out of plastic, you have to find something else. This is a good calculator: http://www.wikarekare.org/Antenna/WaveguideCan.html

All it requires is a little soldering, some copper wire and an SMA connector.

Edited by 256bit

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