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Help with RV wifi Setup
Author LMRVer Posted time 2009-11-21 19:02:20
Contents Planning an extended Class A RV Road Trip for the next year+ and working and playing from the road. I will have a couple of Laptops, Desktop PC, Wifi printer, iPhone, Wii/Xbox video game consoles (wifi enabled) and a dish Network box that has internet access. All the necessities for the modern online road warrior to be comfortable. I have been planning this for a while and am in the final stages before departure. I will be having a router with a secure private wifi network for the RV, and an access point to hook to an antenna to pickup the local Wifi signal.

I will be traveling around at least 3-5 times a month and want to make the best antenna choice but am not sure. Range to the local Wifi AP could be anywhere from 125ft to 2 or more miles. I prefer being away from the crowded areas but still want to pick up and transmit a good signal. I understand line of site and all the basic wifi signal and IT stuff but am inexperienced in antenna selection and function. I have been focusing on one of your directional antennas for extended range with one of your amplifiers attached.

I have an neat feature on my RV, it has a build in standard TV antenna on its roof that has a hand crank inside, it pops up with the crank and then you can position it in any direction(pan and tilt). I don't use the standard tv signal, as I have a Dish network dome. So a Wifi antenna can be attached to it, as long as I can get it on so it can fold down with it when driving. Here is the TV antenna I have: http://www.starkelectronic.com/rv7090.htm .

Which antenna you sell would be the most robust and best solution for my situation?

Scenario 1: Comtenna 14 or 16dbi? Can I place the fixed gain power booster inside the Comtenna so it can be close to the antenna or can the power booster be inside the RV? I could also place my AP in there too and use the power over Ethernet to power both the AP and fixed gain power booster. This way the signal loss will be at a minimum and all I have to do is run an ethernet wire to my router (PoE also if used).

Scenario 2: Panel antenna 14,16,18 or 20dbi? External booster or internal power booster? (does it matter if its inside about 5 ft from the antenna)then an antenna wire or no wire right to the Access Point? An Ethernet wire will then be run to the Router.

Scenario 3: Same as 2 but a Yagi 16dbi?

Scenario 4: Same as scenario 2 but with a Grid 16,19 or 24dbi?
I know the grids have some serious range.

I am pretty sure I can jury rig in a good solid way each of the above antennas to my existing movable TV antenna. I am inexperienced with the dbi and signal properties of the antennas and how they will operate in the real world.

Will having too much dbi and being close cause significate problems? If I amplify the signals will I get noise?

Will I get let of a throughput speed (mbps)on my signal?

Can I turn off the Amplifier when close to an AP or do I have to complete disconnect it and route the wire straight to the antenna?If so an internal amplifier would be the better choice.

I currently have a Netgear WG602 AP and a WPN824 Netgear Router. I will update the firmware on the WG602 to with the DD-wrt v24 firmware so I should be able to boost its signal a bunch internally, this should give the amplifier and antenna a little more to work with. If that AP doesn't work I will just but the most cost effective powerful one that people are recommending.

Anyway I need to make the best decision on an antenna / amplifier combo soon! (I need wires and connectors too of course, I can figure those out once I determine the setup) I want to get this right the first time!

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my inquiry.


Reply Thank your for your Reply Time 2009-11-25 17:19:20
Contents Thanks WIFI-LINK for your quick respone. Almost ready pull the trigger and order, just have a few more questions

I completely understand that the RF antenna will not work with an 802.11 wifi signal. I was going to modify it so it could be functional with the Comtenna or whichever antenna I use. This way I could position the Wifi antenna from within the RV. I can then Tilt it up and down and rotate it 360 degrees!

Sounds like a plan using the AP in the Comtenna and running an Ethernet using POE or my 12 power source.

So will it then benefit me if I add in the Comtenna box between the Comtenna connection and the AP board connection your "Fix Gain Booster 1000mW 2.4GHz"?

Since I have 12VDC readily available I should be able to use an adjustable DC to DC converter (very small I have a couple) and put it right in the Comtenna box (right in the ceiling) to power both the router and the Amplifier. I will make sure I verify the correct voltage and amperage for ea device.

My other question was if I use the "Fix Gain Booster 1000mW 2.4GHz" will it cause and signal degradation or problems?

What Kind of improvements will I see with the booster?

Can I just turn the Booster off when in very close proximity (150ft line of sight or less) to a router to improve the signal quality?

I could add a remote switch for the Boosters power connection to switch it off independently of the AP. I would also want to have a switch of the AP power line since it will most likely need to be cycled on occasion and turned off when not in use.

Also what Pigtails would I need between the ComTenna, Booster and the Netgear WG602 AP (standard reverse SMA connector)if I were to setup bot the booster and the AP in the Comtenna?

Then finally What kind of range might I expect for a line of sight connection between the Comtenna and my wifi source with and without the 1000mw booster installed?

(MY WG602 with the DD-WRT firmware installed can safely double the original 100mw max transmit power to 200mw or better for that unit) I will glue on a nice sized heat sync to the AP's Broadcom5354 chip to dissipate additional heat generated just in case. ( I have read that chip can go up to 600mw!)

Please let me know your thoughts.

Thank you again,

Reply WIFI-LINK Reply Time 2009-11-23 05:15:34
Contents At the first the TV antenna has the different frequency from the WIFI antenna, so they can't use together.

We will suggest that you choose the solution 1. with ComTenna to work with you case.
You can use the LAN cable with POE to work with the router board or the AP board then get lower signal loss.

Thank you very much

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