Review by Jim Guld www.geeksontour.com
If you’re an RVer looking to improve your Internet connections, take a look at the Rogue Wave Wireless Bridge and Ethernet Converter. I have been working with WiFi equipment almost since the beginning of the technology. I have an arsenal of devices, large and small, that I have collected over our years of RVing. The Rogue Wave is the latest and I like it.
The Purpose of the Rogue Wave
Of the three ways to connect to high speed Internet on the road, WiFi, Satellite, and Cellular, WiFi can be the best. WiFi is available in many places and is reasonably priced and often free. WiFi was never designed to cover large areas or go long distances. It was made for small and home offices and Starbucks. Advances in technology and innovative designs can enable communication over much greater distances and over or through obstacles.
The Rogue Wave is a device to extend the effective range of a WiFi Hotspot . It works exceptionally well and is easy to set up and use.
Here is a typical scenario for an Rver: You are in an RV park that advertises WiFi, but your computer cannot connect reliably to the Access Point. You can take your computer closer to the AP, and it works fine, but you want to work from the comfort of your own rig. The WiFi built into your laptop is not good enough.
A better radio and a better antenna will give you a better connection. One solution might be a USB WiFi adapter. USB WiFi adapters require device drivers and are limited to about 15’ of cable from the computer because they get their power from the computer.
What Exactly is the Rogue Wave?
The Rogue Wave is an Ethernet Converter. It takes a wireless signal and converts it to wired Ethernet. Ethernet Converters have been around a while. Ethernet Bridges and Game adapters are other terms for similar devices. They were typically difficult to configure and not very user friendly, especially for travelers.
The Rogue Wave is a high power 800mW radio connected to an 8.5dB high gain Omni-directional outdoor antenna. You can get even better range with a directional antenna. The Rogue Wave is powered through the Ethernet cable (PoE) using a 120V block transformer or a 12V power plug.
Picture from Land and Sea WiFi which sells the above for $350
As shown in the first picture, I mounted my Rogue Wave antenna on my rear ladder using the included hardware. The radio screws into the base of the antenna and I drop the RJ-45 connected Ethernet cable through a window near my router location. A 25’ CAT-5 Ethernet cable is supplied and that is plenty for my application.
You can plug the Ethernet cable directly into your computer, open up a browser, connect to an available hotspot, and be surfing the Internet in minutes. You will be able to connect to access points that your built-in Wi-Fi can’t. Below are screen shots showing just that:
|With the built-in WiFi, I can see the signal but I cannot connect.
The Rogue Wave can connect, and it can see many more possible connections. from the same location.
Connecting Multiple Computers
Using the Ethernet connection is fine if you only have one computer. What if you have 2 or more computers, a wireless printer, and a tablet or e-reader you need to connect? That is not so unusual these days.
Here is the real beauty and advantage of the Rogue Wave and why it was designed. You plug the Ethernet cable from the Rogue Wave into the WAN port of your own local WiFi router. You connect your computers, printers, and other WiFi devices to your local network ONCE. Then connect the Rogue Wave to an available WiFi Hotspot. Now when you move to a different RV park, you only need to configure the Rogue Wave to the new Hotspot using the easy web-based tool. Your local devices stay connected on one network and all use the single connection to the Internet.
Many travelers now carry a mobile cellular hotspot device like a MiFi or use a smart phone to wirelessly tether their computers to the Internet. You can also use the Rogue Wave to connect to a cellular device like a MiFi. The MiFi is normally limited to 5 device connections. You can connect more devices using a local router connected to the MiFi through the Rogue Wave.
|This screenshot shows the Rogue Wave connected to our Verizon 4g Mobile Hotspot:
The Rogue Wave is great for RVers. It is also a good choice for boaters who have similar connectivity needs. A good WiFi signal will go a long distance over water and a boater anchored off shore can easily connect.
Geeks On Tour is Jim and Chris Guld. They have been traveling the US in their RV for the past 8 years. They teach fellow travelers how to use computers and technology to plan, preserve, and share their travels. They have both been involved in professional computer support and training since the early 80s. They maintain a family of websites including www.wifisavvy.com containing hundreds of articles.