RV campground wi-fi & cellular antenna/repeater

Friend uses an RV where campgrounds have varying degrees of wi-fi and
cellular signal depending on the campsite chosen.
He asked me for advice where I would like to ask GENERAL questions of you.
The first is for cellular which is whether they sell a cellular repeater for
use not at a home but in an RV that moves to different places?
I suspect not, so then the rest of the questions are related to wi-fi.
For distance, is it true that 2.5GHz travels farther (assuming obstructions)
than does 5GHz? Noise shouldn't be a problem in a campground but distance
is.
The power supply can be the batteries of the RV or 120VAC at the campground.
The laptop has an ethernet port on the side. And he has an old router too.
But his main problem is amplifying weak signal which most of the time he
says exists at the check-in desk but it's too low to be useful (phone calls
or wifi) at the camping spot.
When I looked for radio/antenna setups the first I found was these.
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But then I found this at streakwave which is more cost effective.
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The questions I have about those $80 setups is what's the difference to him
of a 400 mm horn versus a 300 mm long horn (100 mm does what?).
And given he doesn't know whether they'll have 2.4 or 5GHz, do they make a
powerbeam or bullet or rocket that is both 2.5GHz and 5GHz at the same time?
In the end, for around a hundred bucks, what would you recommend for an RV?
Reply to
mike
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Best people to check with is the cell carrier you use. AIUI, the microcells they offer tend to use your internet connection (so if it's bad, the microcell will also be bad).
Technically, 2.4 GHz is attenuated less than 5 GHz over the same distance. That said, 2.4 GHz is a lot noisier, so it might be that even though it attenuates; the 5 GHz signal will be more usable.
Yep - you'll need something with a pretty good directional antenna that can do 802.11a/b/g/n (the 802.11ac stuff I'm aware of doesn't fallback to 802.11n; which can be problematic at campgrounds). Best bet would be CPE radios from Mikrotik, such as their SXTsq lineup.
UBNT has gone pants-on-head stupid in the last few years. It's kind of a shame -- they'd have been top recommendation 5 years ago. Also, the powerbeams are not easy to align at all.
It's the diameter of the dish, not the length of the horn.
No.
A Mikrotik SXTsq Lite2 & 5. Should run you just under $100
A Groove52 might also do it -- but you'll need to purchase the antennas separately (which'll drive up the cost a bit).
Reply to
Dan Purgert
I'm curious what makes you say that. Is this related to the Krebs kerfuffle? We don't need to litigate that but I'm curious if there's technical reasoning here beyond the hack and the Krebs incident.
Reply to
meff
On Mon, 4 Apr 2022 at 10:22:44, mike snipped-for-privacy@address.is.invalid> wrote (my responses usually FOLLOW):
Answering from UK, where things may be different.
I presume that means for the mobile (UK)/cellular (US) network, i. e. 'phone coverage. I've never heard of such a repeater, though I can see it might be plausible, in places where (say) a good mobile/cellular signal might only be available at the peak of the chimney/roof or something. Would presumably be nothing to do with the campsite owner though (unless s/he has some arrangement with the network provider to actually provide a base station/tower/whatever).
Being somewhat at a disadvantage never having seen one, but trying to think about how such a thing would work, I can't see why it would be different for a home one versus an RV one, other than possibly what power it runs on. Do such repeaters themselves connect to the mobile/cellular network, and then act as a "base station" for any mobile below them? Do they contain a SIM (or hardwired identity - I gather SIMless 'phones are commoner in US [they're almost unknown here]), or would they just relay any and all signals? Either way, I can't see they'd be different for home and RV.
By which I take it you mean a facility provided by the campsite owner for the convenience of campers.
As Dan has said, in theory, 2.5 is less obscured by obstructions than 5; conversely, in built-up areas, it's far more likely to be noisy - microwave oven leakage, security cameras, and many other things. In what I would imagine to be the rural location of most campsites, that might be less the case though. On the whole the 5 GHz band is more recently developed, so connections on it are likely to be faster/higher capacity than the older band - if they work at all.
[] I've no experience of active devices (actual amplifiers), or horns. I have seen multi-element Yagi aerials (like a rooftop/pole-mounted TV aerial, but with more elements - which is practical as the dimensions are shorter; they're about a foot or two long) for the 2.4 GHz band; they might exist for the 5, I've not looked. Not very expensive (I think $5-$30); I think one of the main makers is Swan, who I think are Australian (though their products are widely available online, certainly in UK and I would guess in US). I would think it worth trying these out before spending hundreds of dollars. The main practical difficulty is how you connect them to the computer; they generally have a lead ending with a little gold connector (F type I think it's called); laptops with built-in wifi ('phones ditto) tend not to have an external socket. USB wifi dongles that have a "rubber duck" aerial, it's often removable leaving a suitable socket: such dongles are very cheap (few bucks, especially if not dual-band).
Personally, I'd experiment with such a yagi aerial (buying such a dongle if necessary - you'd need to disable the laptop's built-in wifi, or it might be OK to leave it on, as it almost certainly won't receive anything a long way from the site office).
Reply to
J. P. Gilliver (John
Those incidents, as well as the general decline of things. Maybe I'm just bitter, since when I started using their stuff, they were in a pretty solid upswing. Seems they skipped right past "leveling off" into "downswing".
Reply to
Dan Purgert
Don't forget that "campgrounds" can also be densely populated (especially on weekends) with people looking to get away. A modest-sized campground may have 100 sites (or even more)...
Reply to
Dan Purgert
On Tue, 5 Apr 2022 at 13:26:55, Dan Purgert snipped-for-privacy@djph.net wrote (my resp>> On Mon, 4 Apr 2022 at 10:22:44, mike snipped-for-privacy@address.is.invalid> wrote (my
True! Though probably won't have the security cameras, etc., and other "noise sources", you'd get in a more built-up area, and presumably most people who "get away" to them will be out walking, or similar. But I suppose if there's sudden bad weather or something, there might be lots sitting in their RVs trying to use the net - possibly enough to swamp the 11 or 13 channels on the 2.4 MHz band. Though again, whether enough of them would have the ability to use any such facility based at the site office, rather than using data on the cellular/mobile network directly ...
Reply to
J. P. Gilliver (John
Sort of. There are a few key points that can become problematic:
1. If someone's connected to the AP in the office (whatever), it'll constantly try connecting if it's "in range". This can tie up the AP for other people.
2. If it's just an AP for the office (e.g. there's a game-room or laundry or other reason to specifically put wifi there), trying to connect through exterior walls can be very hit-or-miss (metal-foil in the insulation, efficient windows, etc all tend to block RF - I mean, it's exactly the same reason you get fuzzy TV or radio if all you have is the rabbit-ears...).
3. If it's just some generic "consumer" kit, it's really only going to be able to handle ~2 dozen devices anyway (limited hardware resources)
4. People utilizing their phones as wifi hotspots that happen to collide with the office AP, by virtue of being far enough away that they think whichever channel is available; and creating local contention issues.
Reply to
Dan Purgert
Fair enough. Just wanted to make sure that they haven't found a technical deficiency with their equipment yet.
Reply to
meff
Do they make a cellular repeater that can be purchased for <$200 and then it can be used in multiple places which can pick up low (maybe -110dBm?) cellular signal which can be amplified by the repeater's second unit to allow the cellphone to be used as a personal hotspot inside the RV?
I suspect it's illegal (FCC rules?) to move a cellular repeater, so that might not be an option but maybe someone knows more about that option?
Reply to
mike
He won't know ahead of time if it's 5GHz or 2.4GHz with the best signal.
But I don't think he cares if it's Engenius or Mikrotik or Ubiquiti equipment as long as it's around less than about $200 and if it can get him enough signal strength on send/receive to connect to the "free" wifi at a typical campground.
To do that it will probably need a high gain dual band radio & antenna (if they make them in dual bands that is). Do they?
He'll probably need a high sensitivity receiver and a high transmit power (although I'm not sure which is more important but I think the antenna gain and the receiver sensitivity are more important than the transmit power because in the end he's limited to whatever the legal EIRP happens to be).
Do Engenius, Mikrotik or Ubiquiti make a dual band radio and antenna with legal EIRP and decent receiver sensitivity in the approx <$200 range?
Reply to
mike
The microcells that I am aware of require an internet connection as their backhaul. They're not "repeaters" that listen for / re-transmit LTE signals. Offhand, I'm not actually aware of any "cellular repeaters" in general.
Not 100% sure what their internals do, but most likely is they utilize a VPN or otherwise link back to the cellCo's internal VoIP routing network.
Reply to
Dan Purgert
Bad thing is RV campgrounds are notorious with having horrible wifi.
Most of the time it is due to wifi's hidden node problem:
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So even if he has a high-gain antenna and good rx sensitivity, the other campers with shit equipment will step all over him.
He may have better luck getting a directional cellular antenna.
Maybe this $100 Doorking 1514-014?
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Or this 4dB to 5dB cellular omni?
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This $40 cell antenna is seems to cover the cellular 3G 4G 5G LTEWi-F bands.
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Reply to
JAB
How does a boost of 100 decibels of your cellular signal sound to you?
By Sascha Segan Updated February 25, 2022
The Best Cell Phone Signal Boosters for 2022
Cellular signal boosters use big antennas to improve coverage in your home and car. These are the top-performing boosters for large homes, small homes, apartments, and vehicles.
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Reply to
Gronk
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Lynn
Reply to
Lynn McGuire

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