Iflyfish

WiFi on the Road? It's 2017, whats your plan?

7 posts in this topic

What is your favorite plan? I plan to travel the country and want access to unlimited WiFi.

Thanks,

Iflyfishwhiletextingonmyiphone

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Good luck with that one I tried 2 different wifi hot spot plans and was in many areas where neither worked.  One was Verizon based and I can't remember the other.  Also in lots of areas with no cell phone coverage.  I had Tmobile and Smart talk.  I found parking at places that have free wifi much more dependable. 

 

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If you can afford it, just go with Verizon unlimited, I have a dumb phone and unlimited internet (36GB actually) for $149 per month. I have always had internet except for 2 places in the last 5,000 miles including NM, OK, TX, AZ, CA, and NV

They started throttling me at 36GB which is a lot of data and 11 movies.

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23 hours ago, moses195 said:

If you can afford it, just go with Verizon unlimited, I have a dumb phone and unlimited internet (36GB actually) for $149 per month. I have always had internet except for 2 places in the last 5,000 miles including NM, OK, TX, AZ, CA, and NV

They started throttling me at 36GB which is a lot of data and 11 movies.

Check out T-Mobile. We recently came into the 21st Century and got smart phones. With T-mobile we are getting two lines with unlimited everything (even data) for $100. We supplied our own phones, an iPhone 6 and and iPhone 5 a friend gave us for free. We are using wi-fi calling at home, where our cell signal is poor, and it's working great. Not sure how things will be on the road. We haven't started the season yet. First trip coming up in April

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Thanks for the feedback, very helpful..... Iflyfishwith1/0s

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Posted (edited)

Verizon 4G LTE Jet Pac.

There has been a few places without a signal but I find that refreshing.

If you want absolute coverage (no dark spots).  Get a roof bird.

This one needs a home if you feel you MUST have total coverage, everywhere.

motosat2.jpg

Edited by turtle

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Free wifi everywhere. My system has a total power of 63dBm. Under impossibly perfect conditions (except maybe the low desert), factoring some obstacles/the fresnel effect this means I could hit a McDonalds from 3 miles away and still have a SAD factor of 30%, a margin of 18dBm.

A 2.4ghz 27dBi parabolic antenna (satellite dish, basically) connected to a tiny 6rpm 12v DC high torque motor, mounted to the roof with a weatherproof project box, connected to an L298N motor controller, connected to a raspberry pi. The raspberry pi has two wifi cards. One with a 4 watt amplifier, the other is a low power (100mW) card in AP mode. So the raspberry pi creates the local wifi network (with the SSID 'pi'). The L298N has a regulated 5V output pin so everything can be powered on a single 12V 2A DC supply.

I am fully aware of the fact that a 27dBi antenna w/ a 4 watt amplifier is not legal, so I don't need to be reminded anybody. The amplifier itself isn't legal anyway, it's some cheapo made in china piece of crap that floods the licensed spectrum @ ~1.7ghz (meaning that if I parked at the end of a runway, or if it was quite a bit more powerful, it would be interfering with aircraft navigation systems). But it surprisingly (being Chinese and all) actually does amplify it's transmission circuit to 36dBm on 2.4ghz, which is all I want it to do.

Then, this is where my programming skills came in handy.

The raspberry pi programmatically controls the rotation of the parabola through the motor controller with two GPIO pins and pulse-width modulation. As the antenna rotates, - being a directional antenna - it picks up different wifi networks. It programmatically sorts them by highest dBm, completing two full rotations of the antenna - about 2 minutes, then connects to the best available network by rotating the parabola to it's dBm peak. Since it's not a servo it does this by finding the peak then reversing the polarity of the motor. Activating an LED on the pi's GPIO pins to indicate that it's connected.I connect to my local 'pi' network, which forwards all traffic to the second chipset/amplifier/antenna combo.

The raspberry pi also runs a media server, torrenting stuff as needed automatically from tracker RSS feeds.

It might sound complicated but it's not. Programming aside, the physical hardware takes an hour to setup if you have no idea what you're doing. It's really simple. The GPIO pins on the raspberry pi switch current from software. The L298N:

51E1FfDgELL._SX466_.jpg

is a glorified current control circuit. It receives 12V DC power and supplies it to the motor output pins based on the pi's input. The output pins on the L298N connect to the motor. The antenna is mounted to the motor. The input on the L298N is PWM from the Pi - pulse-width modulation is just switching the power on and off really, really fast, to achieve the same effect as having lower current. All part of the Pi's standard python GPIO library.

I'd encourage anyone who is moderately tech literate to give this a try. Code available if anyone wants it. Cost is relatively inexpensive. With some basic math, tools and understanding of RF you can build the antenna for about $15. You could run it from a Raspberry Pi Zero, which is $0.99. It needs an SD card, 8GB can be had for $5. You need a couple of diodes because the L298N is very vulnerable to back EMF, maybe $2. You can get a DC motor just about anywhere for free, find a kids toy or something. Or you can buy one for about $10. All in all it shouldn't cost more than $35, but if you were buying all the shit you need on Amazon it would quickly exceed $100.

Edited by 256bit

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