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Discuss the WiFi Ranger
April 11, 2011
1:24 pm
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MrsGeek
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Jim just posted an article that talks about routers and, specifically, the WiFi Ranger.  We'd love to hear from you.  Anyone else using the Ranger?  Anyone have questions?  

April 12, 2011
12:39 am
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David Cross
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This is the first I have heard of the Ranger. Can I tether my Droid 2 to it? Can I pick up my Verizon MiFi2200 and rebroadcast it to go over the 5 device limit? Can I use two or more inputs and increase my usable bandwidth?

Day after day as I try to remember, I find my forgetter working better and better.

April 12, 2011
8:49 am
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MrGeek
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David,

The WiFiRanger is fairly new.  You can tether your Droid to it IF you are paying for Verizon's tethering.  It does not work using PDANet or the other non-Verizon tethering solutions.  That is a deliberate business decision, not a technical omission.

It will connect to your MiFi and yes, you can connect more than 5 devices to the Ranger.  I have tested it with our new 4G mobile hotspot.

Only one connection at a time.  You can connect more than one Internet gateway to it, but they do not combine for added bandwidth.  There is a fail-over function, so you can prioritize the connection sequence.

 

 

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

April 12, 2011
8:31 pm
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David Cross
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So the big difference between this and my Cradlepoint MBR1000 is it's ability to use a wireless signal as input?Confused

Day after day as I try to remember, I find my forgetter working better and better.

April 12, 2011
10:29 pm
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MrGeek
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David,

You are correct.  The Cradlepoint can use a wired connection from a DSL, Cable, or Satellite modem and a variety of cellular modems and smart phones.  The WiFi Ranger adds the ability to use a WiFi signal as your Internet backhaul.

There are good reasons to use WiFi while traveling.  WiFi can be faster than cellular and rarely has any bandwidth limits.  This can come in handy for downloading operating system upgrades and other large files. 

The WiFi Ranger is also a good solution for those who do not use cellular Internet.

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

April 13, 2011
7:22 am
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MrsGeek
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And … the WiFi Ranger allows us to keep using our same 'household' network with our new 4G mobile hotspot as the Internet source!  The WiFi Ranger connects to the 'MiFi' …. all our computers, printers and other devices still connect to the same Geek network.

The 4G mobile hotspot (like a Mi-Fi) can't be tethered.  That would be a problem using the Cradlepoint.  No problem with the Ranger – it connects wirelessly.

April 14, 2011
9:21 pm
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David Cross
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Is there any way to incorporate something like a Hawking Hi-gain USB Wireless-g Dish Wifi Adapter into the mix and if you have a better recommendation on some way to boost a WiFi signal at a park where you are not too close to the access point, could you share that?

Day after day as I try to remember, I find my forgetter working better and better.

April 15, 2011
7:45 am
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MrGeek
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The WiFi Ranger does not have a connection for an external antenna.  That seems to be one of the most popular requests.  The built-in antenna does a good job, though.  They do have an option for an external bridge device that does have provision for higher gain antennas.  I’ll be checking one of those out when I can.

You can’t plug a USB WiFi adapter into the Ranger to enhance the signal.  We have always recommended external adapters for better range and signal for individual computers, but sharing is problematic.

RV parks are beginning to understand that what works is more access points.  Meraki has a good mesh solution for outdoor networks.  I am just completing an installation here at Paradise Island RV Resort in Fort Lauderdale.  We have 10 access points and 3 backhauls.  Results so far have been impressive.  

If the park does not want to bother with technology, I recommend Tengo Internet.  They are the industry leader and very knowledgeable.

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

April 24, 2011
2:09 pm
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Barbara Dewell
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I am still in a condo, and have a Belkin router for my wireless laptop and printer. I have Warner Cable for TV and Internet access. I'm assuming the Belkin won't work in my RV?   I'm moving into the RV in a month to live full-time and will be in a San Diego RV park until December, which has wireless (but I'm told it isn't the best or most reliable).  In 2012 I will do some traveling (stay a few weeks, and move on type traveling).

I spend a lot of time on my laptop – games, reading blogs, TV shows, and will have a NetFlix account.  I may use my laptop for business.  Special projects for my current employer, word processing, etc.

I have a Verizon account, and a Motorola Droid 2.  If I got a WiFi
Ranger, would that take care of my wireless internet needs, and
printing as long as I can get a signal?  Also, WiFi Ranger or WiFi Ranger Pro?  Which would you
recommend?

Thank you!  Smile

April 25, 2011
2:06 pm
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MrsGeek
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Barbara,

What your Belkin can't do is use Verizon for the source of the Internet – it's made to use DSL or Cable, not cellular.  That's why you need a cellular router like the Cradlepoint, or the Ranger.

Just the Ranger alone won't give you Internet – you need to attach it to some Internet source, usually a USB cellular modem from Verizon or other cellular provider. 

Your Droid 2, I think, can be used as a hotspot – right?  So then, you don't need the router at all – the Droid does it all. 

If you do use the Droid for your Internet, then, where the Ranger comes in is that it can connect to the Droid's hotspot and re-broadcast the signal with its hotspot name.  Then, all your devices can get accustomed to that hotspot name.  When you're at an RV park with good Wi-Fi, the Ranger will use that and re-broadcast it.  None of your other devices need to change. 

Hope that helps.

April 25, 2011
9:23 pm
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Barbara Dewell
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Thank you, Mrs. Geek.  Yes, that helps a lot. 

Barbara  Smile

April 27, 2011
3:01 pm
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David Cross
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I might be wrong, but I think that if you choose to use the Droid 2 as a hotspot, there is a $20,00 a month charge for not too much gig download. I can't remember the number, but it didn't seem like enough for me for the cost. You might want to clarify that with Verizon.

Day after day as I try to remember, I find my forgetter working better and better.

April 27, 2011
11:07 pm
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Barbara Dewell
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Thank you, David, and you are right.  It's $20/mo for 2gigs, and that wouldn't be enough. 

I decided to go with the Verizon Samsung 4G LTE (hotspot).  It's brand new, and I'm not in a 4G area, but it backs down to 3G if 4 isn't available.  4G is available in San Diego now, but not in my zip code yet.  Hopefully it will be soon.  And in the new zip code I'm moving to in a month.

I just got it today, and they have having a problem nationwide with this device today.  Of course….  So right now I'm pirating a wireless connection from someone in my area.  I want to cancel my cable and see how I do with just the hotspot.  I have 14 days to return it if I decide I don't want it. 

I'm not sure what to call it – hotspot? MiFi? Confused

Barbara

 

 

April 28, 2011
7:40 am
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MrGeek
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We got our 4G LTE mobile hotspot a couple weeks ago. We are in a marginal 4G area and the device goes back and forth between 3 and 4, but no drop in WiFi, only speed.  The 4G is fast!.  The 3G is pretty good, too.

The 4G signal was very strong in Clearwater, where we just picked up our new RV.  The Ranger worked great connected to the Samsung the whole time.  Chris also used the Samsung alone during the ride across Alligator Alley.

Give the Samsung a chance. 4G coverage will only increase.

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

April 28, 2011
10:28 am
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Barbara Dewell
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Thanks, Mr. Geek.  I guess if you have the Samsung, too, then that was the right decision, and I've decided to keep it. (There aren't a lot of other options, and the satellite dish is too expensive for the new frugal, soon-to-be-retired me.) 

I called Verizon later in the evening, and they said the 4G network outage yesterday was a very unusual situation, and things are okay now.  I can't wait for 4G. I didn't realize the 3G is slower than my cable connection, and I'm going to miss that speed until 4G is available in my area.

May 3, 2011
9:30 am
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Paul Goldberg
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Glad to see this new product.  I enjoyed my Cradlepoint MBR 1000 until I got my droid x.  Am looking for alternatives since the 2 gb data limit does not leave room for anything beyond basic email and limited posting to my blog.  I expect WiFi ranger will extend my capability in that manner.  The real issues with park wifi are both weak signal and limited bandwidth.  Have been in parks where wifi was solid, but the backhaul as you call it was very limited.  

I am getting as confused as my printer connection with all the options these days.

July 23, 2011
10:35 pm
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David Cross
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Well, I finally did it. I got the WiFiRanger Pro with the PicoStation 2 antenna (WFRBoost) and a Verizon 4510L 4G LTE hotspot. I have had a lot of problems.

1. Before I got the 4G card, I was using my MiFi2200 and the Ranger kept scanning amongst 18 or 19 WiFi signals. It would lock on to one for a very short while and then scan, looking for a better signal. I ended up using 7 or 8 gigabytes with all the activity as it seems to test the speed by sending and receiving packets. I then moved to a different campground and shut down the MiFi, just using the campgrounds WiFi signal. I was having a lot of trouble, so I called 3G store and in talking with their tech, he decided to transfer me to WiFiRangers tech. I spent over 3 hours on the phone and they finally decided to patch my Ranger because it was having a problem with the firewall at the campground. Then I moved again to another campground and by now, I am at 9 gig of my 10 gig limit and only have 24 minutes left on my 500 minute a month plan. I bought the 4510L and in Elgin, IL where I am now, there is 4G service. My problem now is when I use Quicken to download all my financial stuff from all credit cards, bank accounts and brokerage accounts, it hangs up. If I use my Droid, tethered, it works fine. If I use the hotspot by itseld, it works fine, but if I go through the Ranger, it hangs up. I also seem to have problems opening more than a couple of tabs in Firefox. Has anyone else had any similar experiences?

Day after day as I try to remember, I find my forgetter working better and better.

July 25, 2011
10:28 am
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MrGeek
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I have many of the same issues with the WFR. 

It is such a great idea, but falls short in implementation. 

We do not have the booster.  That adds another level of complexity.  I think an external antenna connetion would be preferable to the booster, although long cable lengths cause substantial signal degradation.

I have tried all sorts of settings in the web interface including disabling all automatic connections.  This defeats the purpose of simplicity but allows me to function.

There are just too many possible network configurations or combinations, I think.  Sometimes it works as advertised.  Sometimes I pull my hair out trying to get it to work.  I went through many of the same contortions trying to connect a single computer with simple hotspots.

Keep up the good struggle.

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

August 1, 2011
3:43 pm
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Nancy Ludden
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New Horizons Offering WiFiRanger Installation Option to Luxury RV Customers

Leader in Towable Luxury RV’s Adds WiFiRanger and WFRBoost fixed for Internet Savvy RVers

Hi Geeks,  I just found this announcement on the net.  Is this 'old news' . . . or something just 'hot off the press'??

August 1, 2011
6:30 pm
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MrsGeek
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Hey Nancy,

Thanks!  I, for one, had not heard of this.  For what the Ranger is supposed to do – I think it's a great idea for it to be included as an option on RVs.  Something Jim has promoted ever since his Coach Connect days (2004-5) is to have a Wireless Bridge mounted permanently to the roof of RVs right off the assembly line.  A few have tried.  Nothing has worked quite right to be practical.

And – the WiFi Ranger is no exception … as far as our practical experience goes … I think it's going to take a lot of support.  It needs some bugs worked out before it's ready for the mainstream RV buyer.

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