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Wi-Fi 

 

Advantages

  • Can be very fast (see "disadvantages")

  • Sometimes Free, sometimes low priced (see "disadvantages")

  • Quick, easy access

Disadvantages

  • Can be very slow in parks with inadequate bandwidth and/or an overloaded network

  • Often overpriced with charges of up to $12.00 a day

  • Not available in all RV parks, and not accessible from all sites in parks that have it

  • Limited coverage while on the road between RV parks and official "hotspots"

If you find an RV park with good bandwidth at a reasonable price the two main problems are then coverage area and signal strength.  To avoid these issues I added a wi-fi amplifier and directional antenna.  There are several products available, and all work to some extent.  I'll show you two examples. 

Simple, and effective booster

 

The Wi-Fire is one example of a compact, simple, indoor wi-fi booster.  See photo below, and read about it on Jim and Chris Guld's website.  Chris even has a video about the WiFire.  There are also many other WiFi Boosters to consider

 

 

More Complex -- More Effective

 

You can also buy a commercial wifi amp and antenna.  These are more powerful, and the external mounting location is higher to avoid obstructions from neighboring RVs.  These can be used with a wireless router to share connection inside your RV.  Of course, there are disadvantages.  You'll have to install the system on your RV, including running cable and a 12v. power source.  You'll also need a good general knowledge of networking and routers to operate the equipment and configure it for each location you park.   If you're looking for "plug and play" this isn't for you.  

 

I chose an externally installed directional antenna and amplifier; the Deliberant model CPE-12.  The "box" in the photo below contains the amplifier and router circuitry plus one side is a directional panel antenna.  Surprisingly these aren't too expensive.  I believe I paid about $100 for mine plus shipping.

 

Other units are more powerful, but I chose this one for small size and light weight which enabled me to mount it on our crank-up Wingard TV antenna (see photos).  This makes it easy to point the directional antenna from inside the RV.  Yes, the TV antenna may sometimes be pointing the wrong way for TV, but we rarely watch broadcast TV, so it's no problem to adjust for those times.  Many RVers mount this type of wi-fi antenna on a PVC pipe, often attached to the ladder.

Deliberant CPE-12 on our RV.  Left is stowed (during install, wire not yet secured) right is deployed.  Click for larger views

 

Manufacturer's website:  Deliberant

Retailer's website:  Double Radius

 

 

More information about Everything Wi-Fi

 

I've already mentioned Jim and Chris Guld, the Geeks On Tour.  They're the experts on this topic and rather than writing a book here I'm just going to send you to their websites ok?  This first one is specifically about wi-fi.

 

http://www.wifisavvy.com/category/wifi/

 

Here's their main website wi-fi page.  Parts of this site are free and a membership subscription at a very reasonable price gets you a year of unlimited access to their premium content.

 

http://www.geeksontour.com/wifi-home.cfm