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Author Topic: Looking to install a WIFI system on one of our buses!  (Read 6973 times)
Busted Knuckle
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« on: December 17, 2010, 07:40:40 PM »

Hello ya'll!
Those of you that know me know I'm technology challenged!

Well today I put a bid in on some sport team travel at a local university.
And they want the bus to be WIFI equipped so the students can study while traveling.
I know little to nothing about things like this and really get confused easily when people who do know it start talking about funny stuff involving it !

SO I'm looking to see f we have anyone here that has any knowledge of a system that won't break the bank or drive me nuts tying to figure it out!

Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2010, 08:14:10 PM »

WiFi is coming from the factory.

Greyhound has it in the Prevost XL II

MegaBus has it in the double deck Van Hools.

My guess is REI has something "coach priced"....?

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2010, 08:16:22 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/education/12bus.html

Will this help ?
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2010, 08:25:49 PM »

Hi Bryce,

Simple.. If you have an air card, a wireless air card router will be the most cost effective way

to supply your customers with on the road wireless.

Check this one out on the bay.. Simular to what I have..
http://cgi.ebay.com/CradlePoint-MBR1000-N-band-Air-Card-Router-MBR-1000_W0QQitemZ290506416775QQcategoryZ170600QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp4340.m444QQ_trkparmsZalgo%3DCRX%26its%3DC%252BS%26itu%3DSI%252BUA%252BLM%252BLA%26otn%3D10%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D5727286755650154060

I have been using this brand on the road for 4 years now and never had any problems.. It will work

on 12v dc too.

Good Luck
Nick-
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2010, 08:41:10 PM »

I presume the objective is to have all the students using the same connection on the bus, not each student connected individually outside the bus (if the students typically had personal WiFi or 3G coverage, the school wouldn't be asking you to provide a system on the bus).

Setting up a 'private' WiFi hotspot on the bus which each student could log-in to would be relatively straightforward - the difficulty I think would be getting an industrial-scale connection to the bus from outside. Worse case scenario - imagine 50 kids all surfing YouTube - that's a lot of bandwidth. No doubt there are commercial packages available for the kind of connection you would need, but it's likely to be in a different league to anything which any of us uses personally.

Jeremy
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Sean
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2010, 08:53:41 PM »

... some sport team travel at a local university ... want the bus to be WIFI equipped so the students can study while traveling.
...
 a system that won't break the bank ...


Sorry, but no, there is no such system that will not "break the bank."  The hardware itself is not expensive; I would figure less than a thousand bucks for the router, antennas, cabling, and installation.  However you should figure to spend several hundred per month on the service.

You can "roll your own" or buy the system from Autonet that is mentioned in the article linked by pipes.  The Autonet system has the advantage of one-stop support.

...
Simple.. If you have an air card, a wireless air card router will be the most cost effective way to supply your customers with on the road wireless.


Well, it's not actually that simple for Bryce's application.  For one thing, a simple wireless aircard comes with a contract that explicitly prohibits using it for this kind of application.  Same goes for "MiFi," Overdrive, and similar solutions, which are essentially what the Cradlepoint is but with the aircard built in.

In practice the hardware will be very similar.  Autonet's system is little more than a more robust and higher-end version of Cradlepoint's unit.  However the service contract will be very different, and Bryce will likely need more than one cellular modem active at a time.

A Cradlepoint, MiFi, OverDrive, or what have you will support perhaps 5-7 users "comfortably."  More than that, maybe, if they are just doing Facebook on their iPods.  But even two or three users with laptops downloading videos will bring a single 3G device to its knees, and you know if these kids are not paying for the service themselves and have no restrictions that's exactly what they are going to do.

Lastly, even if Bryce could somehow squeak in on a personal or family contract (as opposed to the commercial multi-user one he needs) and make it all work on a single 3G modem, the monthly usage is limited to 5GB.  A busload of college kids can use that amount of bandwidth in a matter of a few days.  after 5GB you are charged by the MB -- the second 5GB ends up costing $200, whereas the first only cost $60.  Depending on how many days per month he would be operating this service his bill could easily rise to well over $500, and that's if he stays in "home" coverage.  If he roams at all onto another network it can be an order of magnitude higher, and the news is rife with reports of people getting surprised by multi-thousand dollar data bills.  Note that on a moving coach, it is almost a certainty that the service will be roaming some of the time.

Your solution probably works well for you precisely because you use it only to support one or two people and you are within the terms and limits of a personal plan.  That's not the situation Bryce is facing.  He needs a commercial account, higher-bandwidth hardware, and some kind of access and usage control system to ensure that his customers don't drive him into overage charges and that random folks who happen to be near the bus when its parked can't pirate his service.

FWIW.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com


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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2010, 10:28:43 PM »

WiFi is coming from the factory.
Greyhound has it in the Prevost XL II
MegaBus has it in the double deck Van Hools.
My guess is REI has something "coach priced"....?
happy coaching!
buswarrior

Yes it may be coming as a factory option. But I don't like the idea of buying a new bus just to get WIFI! And my fleet is SETRA not PRAVOST or VAN DROOL. Wink

Pipes I've sent the company in your link an email asking for info.

Nick while I like your idea, I'm really afraid that Sean is right on the $ about the amount of band width and the commercial use!

Jeremy you hit my fears on the nose! But in reality it'll be 20-25 girls max (at least on this first venture!)
The bid we submitted is for the girls softball team.

Sean you hit my fears on the nose too! I don't need or want any hassles for try'n to do something "illegal" or against the rules. Just looking for a straight forward  solution that won't be too outrageous on the wallet!

While I have sent request to about 4 different companies asking for info, I thought some of our techno friendly members might be able to steer me in the right direction. (also once I start getting answers I'm sure some of it will sound like "Swahili" or something of that nature to my techno challenged mind!)

Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
Huntingdon, TN 12 minutes N of I-40 @ exit 108
www.kylakesidetravel.net

Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
robertglines1
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2010, 12:38:00 AM »

are you looking to supply a whole separate system or just boost the capability of receiving a signal from the one they already have? I have a booster on bus that lets my Verizon internet connection work going down road and in remote areas. really boost speed also. Again Greek to me.I'm totally challenged here.  Bob
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« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2010, 05:07:29 AM »

Brice,

Check with Tom. He's a member & advertises here too!

http://www.manasst.com/

TOM
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« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2010, 06:19:55 AM »

I spoke yesterday with Verizon, and they have a thing called MyFi, that might do what you need. Talk to them, as I am installing multi-computer Internet access in my conversions.
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2010, 06:25:37 AM »

Mifi will not work for BK's application. Only 5 users can connect at once, also they have the bandwidth restriction now that Sean mentioned in his post.

We have a Mifi, and love it, we are some of the lucky few that are on the old "unrestricted" plan. Can download as much as we want without going over.

They are a good cheap way of having internet on the road for private use.
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2010, 06:47:46 AM »

hey Bryce,

What do these kids need to do? Projects on their laptops? or simply check e-mail & FB?

If the students are checking e-mail & FB, well... what teenager don't have that on their cell phones anyway?


Sean,

5 years ago i purchaced an unlimited air card plan through Verizon for $60 a month. They no longer have that plan

but they have to still honor it. What they did do, is slow my card up after 1000 mb/mo. usage. It drops to about 3/4

speed. With 4 users on my card, it usually stays at full speed for 2-3 weeks of the month. Sad


Nick-

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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2010, 08:01:01 AM »

... Sean, 5 years ago i purchaced an unlimited air card plan through Verizon for $60 a month. They no longer have that plan but they have to still honor it. ...

Sure, but that doesn't help Bryce.  As you note, that plan is no longer available to new subscribers.

FWIW, all the carriers who are stuck with "grandfathered" accounts such as yours are using every means at their disposal to move those customers off their unlimited plans.  Want a new phone for free?  Just agree to these here new contract terms.  Add another phone?  Same deal.  How about adding international roaming?  Yup -- agree to the new terms.

If you have one of these unlimited data plans like Nick's from days gone by, be very, very careful about any promotions your carrier offers you.  You will likely find buried in the fine print that you will need to agree to the new terms, and once you've given up the unlimited data, you can never get it back.

Again, none of this is applicable to Bryce's situation, as I said earlier.  He needs a commercial multi-user contract and those don't look anything like the personal data usage plans we are all familiar with.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2010, 10:55:31 AM »

Bryce -

Based on Buswarrior's comment, and a few minutes with Google, I really think this is what you're looking for:

http://waav.com/Bus_Coach.php

There's a contact number in the upper right corner of the screen, give them a call.

If Blue Pooch is using it. . .

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

PS:  Check your PM mailbox.
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« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2010, 11:10:37 AM »

Many smartphone users like to use WI-FI when available as it is often faster, but in this case a bus system would probably use the same 3G/4G connections as the phone.  New cell phone contracts often have data limits, but how many can use 2GB on a phone?
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