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Discuss the WiFi Ranger
December 12, 2011
3:46 pm
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Edward Owens
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Folks,

  Has there been any update to the Ranger since August?  I was sold on the concept but then saw this thread and the attendant issues and don't know quite what to think.  We are going full time in March.  I was planning on relying on WiFi at RV parks and free locations using a Ranger instead of a limited cellular plan.  I figured in the future I could add cellular if it just didn't work out but the limited plans are not at all attractive.

 

   So my question regarding the Ranger and if the problems have subsided.  Or is there another solution on the horizon?

 

   Assuming the Ranger is the current best answer it appears that the antenna is usually mounted on the rear ladder.  How do you get the cable into the coach (on a permanent basis)?  I believe somewhere I read that you ran it through a window but 1) my windows all have screens and 2) how does that work when you're traveling (I'm not asking about reception, just the logistics of having a window always open).  Finally, where do you install your internal WiFi router to re-broadcast the signal?  Is the back of the rig (a 40' DP) OK?

 

   I'm sure there is more to know but I'll stop here for now.

      Ed Owens – Ready2Roam

December 13, 2011
10:23 am
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MrGeek
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The WiFi Ranger updates their firmware occasionally.  I have not seen an update recently. 

We are currently using our Ranger as a router for wired DSL here at Paradise Island.  Before we got the DSL hooked up, the Ranger was working quite well with the WiFi here.  That has not always been our experience.  No two hotspots are the same.  So much depends on your proximity and orientation to the access points and the Internet connection the park uses.

There are new products on the WiFi Ranger website that we have not used or tested.

The Ranger does not have a connection for an external antenna.  They use a bridge device called WFRBoost.

The antenna we have mounted on our ladder is part of the Rogue Wave RV system.  The radio attaches directly to the antenna with an Ethernet cable coming into the rig, either directly to a computer, or as input to a wireless router.  I disconnect the radio and cable and store them inside when we move.  I also reposition the antenna when we travel.  Very easy, and nothing sticking up to snag low branches, etc.

I prefer un-obstructed, line of site to my router.  So it is in the open.  We Geeks love colorful blinking lights all year.Cool  You might be fine with a router in a cabinet in the back of the rig, but you won't get as good a signal in the front.

WiFi *can* be the best connection while traveling.  Use good WiFi where you find it to do your large filesize operations.  Relying solely on WiFi in RV parks will quickly frustrate you.  

Depending on how much you need or rely on the Internet, you need a backup plan.  Millenicom has some good reviews for cellular data.  They use the Verizon network and offer more data than most carriers for a resonable price.

 

 

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

December 13, 2011
11:07 am
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Edward Owens
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Thanks for the quick update but now I'm confused.  What is the difference between the Rogue Wave and the Ranger?  Is it that the Ranger can handle cellular as well as WiFi and Rogue only does WiFi?  Or do they serve totally different purposes (sorry for being so dense but I've read their web sites and still can't figure it out)? 

 

The DW is not thrilled with me crawling on the roof but if it's just climbing to the top of the ladder and undoing an antenna she might be OK.  Right now, however, our plans are not to stay more than a week in any one place, but to travel to see this country of ours.  So a more 'permanent' solution would make pulling up stakes a little easier.

 

Another question, my router, and I assume all commercial ones, are 110v as, I assume, are the Rogue Wave and Ranger.  Do you run them off an inverter while you are traveling (or do you not use Internet while mvoing)? 

 

Again thanks for all your help.  BTW, if you walk into our sticks and bricks office at night you think you're in the middle of a christmas tree for all the LEDs shining.

 

Ed Owens – Ready2Roam

December 13, 2011
8:08 pm
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MrGeek
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I understand your confusion. With so many changes and additions, it is hard to keep up.

The Rogue Wave is a WiFi bridge.  It converts WiFi to Ethernet for use directly into a computer or as input for a router.  It is excellent for long range connectivity to a WiFi hotspot.  I mentioned it because you asked about the antenna on our ladder.

The WiFi Ranger is a hybrid device.  It is a WiFi router and 4 port switch.  It can accept Internet input via a DSL, cable, or satellite modem.  It will also accept a USB Cellular modem and it can use external WiFi as input.  A bridge device such as the Rogue Wave can also be an input for longer distances using WiFi.

Cradlepoint and Pepwave have devices with similar functionality.  Some have 12V inputs.  An inverter will do the trick for any of them.

A MiFi or a cellular mobile hotspot is best device for use traveling down the road.  Cellular is the only Internet technology available in motion for consumers.  You can typically connect up to 5 devices at a time with 3G devices and sometimes more with 4G.

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

January 13, 2013
8:53 pm
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Ricky Morgan
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I listen to living the rv dream and John reviewed the wifiranger.  The biggest problem he found is that the inside wifi is set and you can not change it so if the local wifi is on the same channels you would conflict with it.  I don’t know if that is still the case or not.  I like the idea of using the local wifi as an input as well as my cel input on usb.  As I under stand it the unit has two wifi radios one for the inside and one to bridge the outside wifi.  The outside one adjusts to what it receives but not the inside.  With the additional outside anttenna you should be able to pickup any wifi available which is good.  This would save you a lot of data on your cel plan which is good.  I would like to find out if that problem has been fixed. 

January 13, 2013
9:40 pm
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Edward Owens
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Ricky,  At one or two RV parks they asked not to turn on an internal hot spot because of the IP addresses (I suppose, they didn’t seem to know why, just don’t do it).  On my WiFi Ranger there is currently no way to change the default sub-net address (they use 192.168.251.xxx).

   Having said all that, I’ve been using the WiFi Ranger for the last year full time in my coach.  In general I am pleased with the concept but the implementation sometimes needs some help.  I have a Millinicom USB to cellular modem attached with unlimited 3G service (not 4G) and I end up using it most of the time since I often have issues trying to attach the WiFi Ranger to the RV Park WiFi.  Most parks require some kind of login, even if it’s free.  And getting the Ranger to switch to the login screen requires more patience than I usually can muster.  Also, I have the WFRBoost antenna but have not had good look getting it to work.  The 120 Volt to 12 Volt converter they send with it burned out, as did their replacement and then the one I bought from Radio Shack.  Finally they sold me a PoE (power over Ethernet) adapter.  It seems to supply consistent power but the Booster never configures.  In fairness to WiFi Ranger, I haven’t pursued this vigorously, more interested in having a good time full-timing.

   But, would I do it again, yes, probably.  It is really convenient to set up a WiFi connection once and then have both our laptops, the Kindle, the iPad and my Droid phone all using the internet.  I should have some time in the next month or so to pursue my issues with WiFi Ranger Tech support (they have been most helpful in the past) and I’ll update when I get a solution.

 

January 13, 2013
11:59 pm
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MrGeek
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Ricky,

The WiFi Ranger Go is my recommendation for most RVers. As Edward says, the convenience of connecting all your computers, tablets, and printers to one internal network is a great feature. You configure the WFR using an easy to use web interface. It will connect to an open WiFi network automatically. If the WiFi network you want to connect to has encryption, you can configure that manually once in the WFR. It is important to know what WiFi network you are connecting to.

The WFR Go has many features that were not on the earlier (Home) Ranger. The IP addresses it hands out are on a subnet very unlikely to interfere with any WiFi network it will connect to. It automatically chooses a wireless channel that does not interfere. You can manually chose a channel if you want. I have never had a problem with interference.

Your understanding of the 2 WiFi radios bridging is correct. It will accept a USB cellular connection as well as connecting to a wired modem from a satellite, DSL, or Cable network. You can set priority if you have multiple inputs.

If you connect an external antenna, you want to keep the cable length as short as possible.

The WFRBoost adds a level of complexity as well as cost. Configuring it to pair with the WFR is not intuitive. The steps involved must be performed exactly and timing is important. It does dramatically increase your range.

Keep us informed with what you decide.

Helping Travelers to Plan, Preserve, and Share their Travels

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