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Boost Your RV WiFi Signal – Installing a WiFiRanger Elite Pack

Boost Your RV WiFi Signal – Installing a WiFiRanger Elite Pack

In case you missed Sunday’s sneak preview of our WiFiRanger installation video…

Anyone who’s stayed in an RV park offering “WiFi” can tell you that most of them… oh, how shall we say this delicately?… uh… suck. Yeah, that’s probably the most polite way to describe RV park WiFi.

UPDATE ON OUR WiFiRANGER:

Check out our follow-up video showing us in a location where we wouldn’t have been online without using our WiFiRanger.

WiFiRANGER UPDATE #2 — July 19, 2016:

Our friends Nina & Paul of Wheeling It have just published a great post about installing and using their WiFi Ranger Elite. If you’d like to read the installation instructions rather than watch our video version, plus get their review of the system’s pros & cons, check it out here.

There’s no easy solution to having too many people vying for too little bandwidth. Besides the challenge that remote parks face when internet speed options are limited, most parks don’t have equipment that’s robust enough to handle so many users at once. Enterprise-class, commercial-grade equipment is very expensive, so most park owners either can’t or won’t spring for it, or simply aren’t aware that standard consumer-grade systems are simply not up to the task at hand.

There is something you can do to overcome one weak link in the chain: boost your connection to whatever signal is available. If you’re parked in the far corner of the park, your laptop, tablet or smartphone may not be powerful enough to reach a transmitter. That’s where WiFiRanger comes in.

The external antenna connects to a WiFiRanger Go2 unit inside our electronics cabinet, amplifying and re-broadcasting our own personal hotspot in and around our motorhome. This not only helps boost weak RV park WiFi, but can also reach out to snag other nearby hotspots. We can be staying in a Wal-mart parking lot and get onto a Starbucks or McDonald’s network down the street.

This video reviews our installation of the WiFiRanger Elite Pack, which includes both the external antenna and the WiFiRanger Go2 unit. Your installation may be different, but this will give you some idea of what’s involved. And there are lots of different options from WiFiRanger, so be sure to visit their website to determine which system is right for you.


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Steve and Chris

Thursday 18th of January 2018

Hey Peter and John. I have the WiFi Ranger Elite/Go2 like yours. Followed your great install for mine. Do you tether your jet pack (Verizon/AT&T) to your Go2? I have had so many issues tethering my AT&T Unite Explore to my Go2. It just is not stable at all. It has been pretty much useless as a WiFi router within my coach. Have you had any issues like this? I even have stability issues connecting as WiFi to my jet pack also.

TheRVgeeks

Thursday 18th of January 2018

Hey Steve & Chris! Sorry to hear you're having trouble. We don't use USB tethering with our Verizon MiFi or iPhone (in the case of the iPhone, we've just never gotten it to work reliably), but we DO regularly connect the WiFiRanger to our MiFi via WiFi (known as "WiFi as WAN")... and that works for us seamlessly. Couple of thoughts:

Check to be sure that your WiFiRanger's firmware is up-to-date. When you log into the control panel, there's a link in the upper right near where it shows the uptime (obviously, the WiFiRanger has to be connected to the internet for it to work). It's possible that you're still running an older version of the firmware and that's causing trouble with the connection remaining stable. Check the settings on your Unite Explore to be sure it's not going to sleep. We had that problem with an earlier MiFi... basically, if it wasn't actively being used, it took a nap... and when it did, all connections to it were dropped. You might have to Google it to find how to access those settings, but that could be the culprit. Have you tried contacting WiFiRanger directly? Their support is extremely helpful... and they may know of an issue/setting that could get you back up and running. If none of the above help... are you members of the Mobile Internet Resource Center? If so... check their on the Forums or the Gear Reviews section for any info about problems with the Unite Explore and see if there's any info about known problems. (and, if not, you can save $5 on your first year's membership with the code "MIAGEEKS"... it's a great way to stay up-to-date on all of the changes in mobile connectivity, cellular plans, etc.)

Hope this info helps!

wheelingit

Wednesday 20th of July 2016

Thanks so much for the link-love! Your installation video helped us tremendously for this product. Couldn't have done it without you.

Nina

TheRVgeeks

Tuesday 28th of June 2016

We'll try to get that video together sometime soon. In the meantime, you've inadvertently answered you're own question regarding power. Everything on an RV is powered by either 12 volts DC or 120 volts AC. Our whole media/communications system runs off 120. How you get that 120 is kind of irrelevant, as shore power, inverter (fed by the house batteries), or generator power is all the same. The only device in that cabinet capable of being powered by either 110 or 12 volts is actually the WiFi Ranger, but we keep it on 120.

Dave

Saturday 11th of June 2016

OK I have to know if you've done a video on your computer gear/NAS that shows up in this video at 6:30. Looks like a QNAP and maybe an Apple router? Been trying to figure out what similar gear we'll be able to get working in our Airstream. Thanks!

TheRVgeeks

Saturday 11th of June 2016

Hi Dave! That is indeed a QNAP NAS system (6-bay unit with 24 TB of RAID 5 storage!) and a new Apple Airport Extreme 802.11ac router. That cabinet also features a WiFi Ranger Go2, Apple TV, Roku, Obi-110 VOIP ATA device, 5-port ethernet bridge, a 3-port HDMI switch... with protection from a small UPS system. :)

We've been meaning to do a video about our compact-but-massive redundant file storage system, and our connectivity, all of which has been assembled over the last couple of years. Sounds like we'll need to get that going!

Dave

Sunday 3rd of April 2016

Great video once again! I have my WiFi Ranger Elite Pack and am anxious to get it installed on my Raptor Toy Hauler and was kind of curious as to how many have experienced interference if mounted on the batwing and someone is watching TV at the same time as trying to access wifi? I want to get this installed, but I want to make sure I do the right thing and install the best way the first time! I do have a foldable ladder on the rear of my TH and thought that may be a great alternate installation point, but of course the cable routing will be much different depending on which install I choose. One more question, the cover you resealed on your video is that just covering a hole in your roof or is that covering some sort of junction box? If I use the batwing I will have to go through the roof, if I use the ladder I'm pretty close to the fridge vent.

TheRVgeeks

Sunday 3rd of April 2016

Hi Dave,

We don't use our batwing for over-the-air (OTA) TV reception, but we've never heard of anyone having a problem with interference between it and a WiFiRanger (they operate on different frequencies). That said, we did make sure to install ours so the WFR antenna sticks up above the batwing, so it had the best "view" all around. If you decide to mount your WFR there, you should be fine... whether or not anyone's watching TV while you're surfing the web.

We're leery of poking any new holes in our roof... so if we were you, we'd probably use the refrigerator vent to route the cabling through. But you'll have to decide if that works for you for locating the Go2 unit and power supply inside the RV. Every installation is unique (isn't that helpful, LOL!). If you DO end up making a new hole for the wiring, just be sure to (1) measure twice, cut once... and (2) seal it up well! We've heard of using a weather-proof junction box mounted to the roof, so you can seal it up tightly, route additional cables in the future, AND get access to the connection(s) if needed.

The cover you see us using is one that came from the factory... it provides access from the roof to the conduit for satellite antenna cabling. There isn't any junction box inside... just some insulation and the end of the conduit that leads to the front entertainment cabinet in our floorplan.

Hope this helps! And hope you enjoy your WiFiRanger as much as we like ours!

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