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Author Topic: WiFi connection question  (Read 2887 times)
JackConrad
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« on: June 06, 2010, 06:01:17 AM »

     I decided to start a new thread rather than hijack Jim's thread.  Although we still use our air card through our CTR500 router, we are finding more places that have WiFi avaialble. The WiFi is usually faster, but sometimes we are on the very edge of the WiFi range. Our air card is connected to a roof mounted antenna and feeds through an amplifier to our air card. Here is my questioin, both out laptops have built in WiFi receivers. What can we add to increase the signal strength from the local WiFi router/antenna? Jack
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2010, 06:08:33 AM »

Jack, Here is something that might help http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/productlist.php?CatID=32&FamID=72&ProdID=187

It sure looks like it would work.

Paul
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JackConrad
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2010, 06:26:50 AM »

Paul,
  Unless I mis-understood what I read (happens frequently) that device attaches to the WiFi transmitter. I need something that would install on our coach, at the receiver end, if such a thing exist?  Jack
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2010, 06:38:01 AM »

Jack, depending how old your computer is I have the wireless I think Dell calls a G card and have no need for a booster and will pickup signals better than the wife's card and a lot faster.A plus for me is it doesn't cost me 600 bucks a year like she pays check the new wifi cards out

good luck
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 06:44:07 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2010, 06:40:17 AM »

We have struggled with how to extend a wifi signal too Jack.  I'm too cheap to buy one, but I believe that this type of an adapter will do what you want.  Personally I'm fond of coat hangers out the window (to get a wifi dongle above the roof line) and a very unique folding colander with a wifi dongle mounted in the middle of it such that the colander works as a reflector (in theory anyway).  Marilyn uses painter's tape and tapes hers to the middle of one of the windows.  None of these solutions work particularly well - occasionally they help a bit - usually after trying them for a while we decide we don't need wifi that badly anyway and go to bed with a good book.
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2010, 06:49:11 AM »

Both our laptops, my Toshiba Satellite and Paula's Dell, have built in WiFi receivers and Windows XP. I am looking for something we can plug into our computers or better yet, into out wireless router and receive a stronger WiFi signal.  Jack
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2010, 06:59:16 AM »

Jack, you will find that Windows 7 with the new G wifi cards will reach out pick the siganal up,my Toshiba Xp wifi card sucked so did the HP.The only thing I liked about Vista was the radar feature for the wifi  whats up with the letter G I see in the links those gadets use the letter G wifi.


good luck
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 07:16:44 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2010, 07:04:29 AM »

I believe Bobs gadget will work. This also will work as it can be set up in repeater mode.http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/productlist.php?CatID=32&FamID=113&ProdID=403
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« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2010, 07:06:54 AM »

I have used this with great results
http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/productlist.php?CatID=32&FamID=60&ProdID=308

Actually mine is a few years older than this. I think I paid about $35.00

Kevin
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2010, 07:08:24 AM »

It thing this was hashed in this earlier thread...

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=12178.0

I was looking for the photo of the collapsible colander, but can't find it.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 07:10:52 AM by gumpy » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2010, 07:16:21 AM »

Jack to be honest, I upgraded my verizon air card for the wireless wifi router they have that will let you have up to 5 different items running on it. It was free when I did an upgrade! It's pretty fast and very small. Smaller than a deck of cards. But on the other hand, I am almost ready to do away with my laptop completely. Just yesterday I went and upgraded my blackberry phone because someone dumped a bucket of water on me, and it, during our last outing and caused it to NOT work. Not going to mention any names but she had a cast on her hand if you know who I mean. I went with the NEW "HTC EVO" phone from sprint. It came out on the 4th to the public and It does the same thing as the verizon router and since yesterday I haven't been able to put it down. I think it does everything but go to the bathroom for you and it might even do that. I just haven't found it yet! Smiley

The video recorder is awesome and it has 2 camera's that has top notch resolution. It even let's you edit pics and video's!

It has soo many FREE apps that will do almost anything. I really like the weather. It comes up at any location INSTANTLY which might come in handy while on the road!

It has a GPS as good if not better than my Garmin and it has a 3g and 4g capability. 4g is not in Florida yet, but man the 3g is very fast. Can't imagine what the 4g speeds will be like!

So what I'm saying is, give these new phones a good look. The screen is 4 inches by about 2.5 and you can turn it by simply rotating it in your hand to achieve landscape or portrait!



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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2010, 07:27:55 AM »

For you Wal/Mart campers I found out last week they are hoping to have free Wifi by years end at the supercenters where ever the local government will allow it as some towns have a wifi system for the town pretty common in Texas for a small town to have it's own wifi


good luck


« Last Edit: June 06, 2010, 07:34:40 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2010, 07:30:10 AM »

Jack, Yip you're right, sorry I guess I didn't read it thoroughly, happens a lot! Wink
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2010, 07:33:40 AM »

I was looking for the photo of the collapsible colander, but can't find it.


This one?

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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2010, 07:43:26 AM »

The problem is that the metal shell of the bus blocks the wifi signal from outside, and in many places, the signal is not great to start with.  You may need to get your laptop closer to a window, use an external antenna, or use a repeater. I don't think you'll find anything to plug into your current router.  

Here are some suggestions.  If you are a computer geek, you can set up a wireless repeater - Instructions are here:  http://www.dd-wrt.com/wiki/index.php/Universal_Wireless_Repeater   I used an older Linksys wireless router that had detachable antennas.  I left one on for inside the bus and bought a magnet mount antenna.  Most times I am able to connect by just putting the magnet mount antenna in the window, but sometimes it needs to go outside.  I was considering putting in a permanent external antenna, but really haven't needed it yet.  This is fairly inexpensive and works well.  I have seen some of these on Ebay already configured.  Once it is set up, both laptops can connect, and the signal inside the bus is enough to be used from front to back.

There are some commercial implementations of this - not sure how well they work or if they have a detachable antenna to enable you to move the antenna outside if you need it.

http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-F5D7132-Wireless-G-Universal-Extender/dp/B000FTLOL0
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DMEYCY
http://www.amazon.com/Cisco-Linksys-Wireless-G-Range-Expander-WRE54G/dp/B00021XIJW

Another way you can go is to get a USB wireless adapter.  It puts out more power than the built in laptop adapter and it has an external antenna that you could locate in the window.  However, it requires one for each computer and you are tethered to the adapter with a USB cable.  I't's not weatherproof so it can't go outside, but you can attach a cable and an antenna to get outside.  Here's one:

http://www.amazon.com/AWUS036H-Wireless-Adapter-Network-Antenna/dp/B000QYGNKQ

Steve
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« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2010, 08:19:08 AM »

You can search on Cantenna or Wifi booster and find some ideas to build your own or commercial built units.

Mike
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« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2010, 08:34:30 AM »

Jack, thanks for starting a separate thread.  Depending on what comes out of this, I might try to incorporate it into a "Computers on the Road - version 2".

One of the main points of focus of the article was the rather large threats that have developed on public WiFi systems (obviously includes campground WiFi).  I can picture hackers setting up what is termed "Evil Twin" networks close to Wal Marts.

If you have do do some financial work on the Internet use your aircard.  For just playing, the campground network is probably OK. 

Having said that, the bad guys are going to get more aggressive as time goes on.  Yes, I know that sounds paranoid, but there is quite a bit of evidence to support being concerned.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2010, 08:45:53 AM »

Make no difference what you use you put your personal info on a air card or wifi you are asking for problems.We have one phone in the house we order from it has a cord we never order from a cordless or cell phone only problem is you never know what they are using on the other end so we ask if it goes by air some one is smart enough to intercept


good luck
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« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2010, 09:46:26 AM »

Clifford, the prevailing thinking that I have encountered is that aircard is much safer than a public network.

As you point out, no system is perfect.  The research I have done suggests that the most critical part of the transmission is how you get your data into the "pipeline".  Once in the pipeline most folks feel it is secure if you are careful to make sure the site is secure.   

As far as the site being secure, all of the credit card companies DEMAND that your site be audited by a commercial audit company that looks for "backdoor" entry faults.  On the previous version of my site, I had to pay to have that done and it was a major pain.  We use satellite technology and that technology looks like it has lots of open ports.  I now use a different processing system and don't have to bend over each month.

As noted in the other thread, I hope that folks with more insight will jump in. 

Jim

 
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« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2010, 10:01:50 AM »

http://www.wlanparts.com/product/EUB-362-EXT/High-Power-USB-WiFi-EUB-362-EXT.html


This would do the job...

You guys need to look at the stuff at wlanparts.com instead of trying to reinvent everything. They even have high power repeaters and stuff that really do work great.
I have one that shoots a solid signal 3,000 feet. For less that $100

Dave...
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« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2010, 11:53:24 AM »

... Here is my questioin, both out laptops have built in WiFi receivers. What can we add to increase the signal strength from the local WiFi router/antenna?


Jack, lots of good answers here, and I think Steve has the most complete:
http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=16252.msg174703#msg174703

However, there are a couple of things that are assumed there and I would like to make them explicit, for anyone following along.  These are things I cover in my seminar on mobile Internet access.

Generally speaking, laptops with internal WiFi cards do not have any way to affix an external antenna.  In other words, the range of the internal card and its built-in antenna is what it is, and can not be improved.  That leaves you with two options: one is to get an external WiFi adapter, which can be a PC-Card device if you have a slot for one, or more commonly a USB-2.0 device.  By itself, this will do little, if anything, to improve range, but you can choose one with an input for an external antenna, and then a whole range of antenna options opens up to you, as others, including Steve, have already discussed.

One problem with this option is that you have two laptops, so for both of them to use this method simultaneously, you will need two external WiFi adapter, two antennas, two cables, etc. etc.

The other method is to use a "repeater" device, and I put that in quotes because some WiFi repeaters are actually routers, which in IP-speak is a different animal.  With this method you are not really extending the range of the internal cards, but rather taking a WiFi signal from outside on one channel, and creating a different WiFi signal inside on a different channel.  Your laptops connect to the inside signal, and the device "repeats" the information in both directions to the outside signal.  This method allows you to use any number of devices inside with only a single repeater device, which usually has two antennas (an inside one, and an outside one, either of which might be built into the device itself).

Again, others have described this method well and I will not, umm, repeat it here.  Just wanted to clarify the distinction.

... I have the wireless I think Dell calls a G card and have no need for a booster and will pickup signals better than the wife's card and a lot faster. ...

and
Jack, you will find that Windows 7 with the new G wifi cards will reach out pick the siganal up ... whats up with the letter G I see in the links those gadets use the letter G wifi.

Wireless-G is a transmission standard that uses different radios than older WiFi standards.  While it is true that the -G standard is faster, many if not most public WiFi hotspots are still using the older Wireless-B standard.  (Newer -G cards are backwards-compatible.)  So it is not necessarily the case that a -G card will either get you faster access or better signal strength at any give location -- a lot depends on the hot spot itself.  If you are at a location with a Wireless-B hot spot, upgrading to a -G card will not help.

The good news here is that almost everything made today supports both -B and -G, so as hot spots are installed or upgraded, they will support the faster standard.

Make no difference what you use you put your personal info on a air card or wifi you are asking for problems.We have one phone in the house we order from it has a cord we never order from a cordless or cell phone only problem is you never know what they are using on the other end so we ask if it goes by air some one is smart enough to intercept

and
Clifford, the prevailing thinking that I have encountered is that aircard is much safer than a public network.

As you point out, no system is perfect.  The research I have done suggests that the most critical part of the transmission is how you get your data into the "pipeline".  Once in the pipeline most folks feel it is secure if you are careful to make sure the site is secure.   
...


Open WiFi networks are dangerous, there is no doubt about this.  However, this principally relates to email passwords and file server credentials that are sent in clear text.  My advice here is to either use IMAP or HTTPS to access your email on public WiFi networks, and secure your home network if you use file service.

"Closed" WiFi networks are not much better.  I can crack into any WEP network in a matter of seconds; WPA takes minutes or maybe hours but it is trivial.

But as you note, once it leaves your end, you don't know how it will travel to the other end.  For this reason, you should make sure that all transactions you conduct on the Internet with sensitive data such as credit card numbers, passwords, SSNs, etc. are using secure protocol, HTTPS.  All browsers have easy-to-recognize iconography to tell you when you are on a secure connection.

Bottom line:  you should never rely on the supposed security of the local network to protect you.  And remember, the good 'ol US government is watching everything you say and do in clear text on the Internet.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2010, 05:03:19 PM »

HELLO EVERYONE! I'm a HUGE fan of Directional wifi units when camping due to the lack of good coverage in smaller campgrounds! I point people to one of the many Hawking dish units. However.... if your going to be sitting in one place long periods of time (LIKE ME) I've setup a "wireless bridge". Should anyone be interested i'd be glad to point them in the right direction. Just remember if your pockets are deep enough opt for wireless "N" gear it has a much better range then 802.11/b/g .  again hashed this over once before :

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=12178.0

I've been doing KOA wifi networks for 4.5 years now LITERALLY just finished the new one in Grand Island NE today! be happy to help anyone. I run with Hawking tech because they generally will fix or replace anything even shortly after warranty without raising to much heck!
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« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2010, 07:51:53 PM »

I was looking for the photo of the collapsible colander, but can't find it.


This one?




Yeah. That one. That's so cool!
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« Reply #23 on: June 07, 2010, 05:13:44 AM »

I was happy when they came out with the usb wifi for the lap-top. Then, Nick told us about the cradlepoint.  When I found out about the cradlepoint mobil router, I was really happy. But, it does cost monthly. We have our service through Verizon. Instead of putting the usb device in the lap top, it plugs into the cradlepoint. We have internet most everywhere. And we can all be on the computer, or devices at the same time, even going down the highway. Good luck Jack.
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