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A Wifi gadget that works, but it isn't cheap

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    A Wifi gadget that works, but it isn't cheap

    Some of you may have been following Janet's posts, (the sitter),about our very wet voyage around the Highlands so it was useful to be able to have access to Wifi on Club sites. However, on most of them the signal was poor, despite assurances in the books that it was available 'almost everywhere'.Our experience is that the Caravan Club is much better served with repeater poles than the Camping and Caravan Club, but both restrict you to using one device at a time, so constant logging on and off when you have two phones, a laptop and an iPad.

    But we have gadget that solves all of that, a booster that enhances signals from Wifi that we cannot even see on our devices, and allows multiple devices to be used , even simultaneously. As we don't use it for streaming or graphics we feel we are still within the spirit of the single user idea.

    So, the gadget, got there at last. It's called an iBoost for motorhomes and you can find it here: /www.motorhomewifi.com. It doesn't come cheap, and I am sure Brian the Snail could make one with two tins, some lighting flex and kitchen foil for £1.50. In fact it is about £160 - but it works! We have used it at nearly every site with Wifi and not suffered with drop out. The instructions look complicated but are easy once you follow the steps. There is no messing about with switches and the gadget is stuck on to the inside or outside of a window, rain or shine.

    That's it, if you travel a lot, as we do, then keeping in touch with family and the news is important, so maybe worth the money.

    Colin

    #2
    Thanks for the info Colin. How's the sequel coming along?

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      #3
      Hi Sandra
      The bad news of atrocious weather has led to the good news that the sequel to Dot's Legacy has now been finished whilst I was incarcerated in the van. But I need to find somewhere to print off the last few chapters so that I can do a first edit.
      I will keep everybody informed of progress, but aiming for November publication.
      Thanks for asking.
      Colin
      Last edited by niloc; 20-09-2017, 08:15 PM.

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        #4
        Thanks Colin. Ian( iVan ) had a gadget for boosting WiFi at the meet but I'm not sure how much he paid, he said it was from Maplins.

        Did yours allow for two gadgets to work at the same time using one purchase from C&CC WiFi then? Sounds useful as we have the same problem having to keep logging in and out.

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          #5
          Hi Pauline
          Yes it allows multiple gadgets to be used simultaneously as they are just users of the iBoost which is the only thing logged into the Club's Wifi. I am very impressed with the quality as it has stood up to torrential rain without faltering or falling off the window. There are lights on the back so that you can accurately align it to get the best signal.
          Ask away if you have any other queries. You don't need the case, it's only a plastic sandwich box really.
          Colin

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            #6
            Not really given this much thought yet but shouldn't it be possible to take one of the cheap WiFi extenders on the market and increase the gain of the antenna with one of the DIY reflectors described on various internet forums? Anyone tried this sort of thing??

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              #7
              Jon - it would work too some extent but I would expect it to be quite poor. The solution Colin has is probably similar to ones I've cobbled together in the past. My d-i-y solutions weren't as expensive as Colin's but a lot more then his suggested £1.50. I probably spent around half of what Colin did but my solution required a bit of tech savvy and was no where near as elegant. The £160 price tag is large but certainly not excessive.

              As you say the basic idea is to get a WiFi repeater and a decent antenna. Possibly a home repeater and something like a Wavefinder d-i-y reflector would work but far better is to get a repeater with a far more sensitive receiver (so it is capable of picking up weaker WiFi signals) and coupling it with a really decent high-gain antenna. That's what I did and I suspect the iBoost is very similar technology but packaged elegantly and made easier to set up and use.
              ​​​​​​
              Mind you if you do have a tight budget then check out the "cantenna". If you can find a WiFi repeater that allows antennas to be screwed in then a decently made cantenna on really short coax ought be quite good. Needs only 1 tin can and no lighting flex though

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                #8
                I have found on my travels in Europe that there is generally a good mobile data service and with a little care my contract allowance is adequate. For data hungry operations there are plenty of nice cafés with free WiFi. Mcdonalds if really desperate. So I am probably not going to be spending a lot. However, it might be an interesting winter project.

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                  #9
                  On the subject of wifi. The snag for me is the bit after leaning out of the heiki roof or window and finding the good signal how on earth do you find a way to fix the antenna in that position. I don't want to spend too much money or make extra holes anywhere. I want to find a way of a temporary attachment on our PVC - maybe a suction cup with pole . Any ideas for a diy solution that is fairly inexpensive ?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Judkels - we've used quite large directional ham radio antennas in the van. I have an aluminium extendable pole - the sort decorators etc use to stick a paint pad on so extends to about 10 feet or so but is very lightweight. We need it to rotate so it can't be locked in position - at the ground end we used just a weighted box or something packed to stop it moving laterally but allowing rotation. At the top of our R20 (about 1.8m or so high) I used one of those orange dent puller suction pads (available from all good cheapy shops) and a reusable cable tie to hold it securely but still allow rotation - it was mounted to the side of the window so just needed to pop the window open, reach round and rotate.

                    Another pole I've used is one of those fibreglass extendable fishing poles. I have a couple and my largest is 10m long although you can't stick anything on the top 3m or so because the sections are too thin (although we have wire antennas a little higher). Again using a dent puller if we want to rotate or otherwise we lash it to our grab handle which is on the van by the back door (bit like one of those bath grab handles you can buy - the bath ones have suction cups so would work on a van - ours is a permanently mounted grab handle we specified when we bought the van). Fishing poles are hollow so at the ground end I used to just stick a screwdriver in the ground and slip the pole base over that - now I have a long spike off a spit roast which is longer than a screwdriver and narrow enough to fit nicely in the pole.

                    Hope this helps

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Yes thank you. I will look into the pole idea. I like the idea of just being able to rotate easily from the window. I shall have to source an extending pole that collapses to a small length for storage. Also a means of attaching the antenna at the top. Definitely want to keep it simple.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by judkels View Post
                        Yes thank you. I will look into the pole idea. I like the idea of just being able to rotate easily from the window. I shall have to source an extending pole that collapses to a small length for storage. Also a means of attaching the antenna at the top. Definitely want to keep it simple.
                        Rather than a fishing pole would a flag pole be any good?........ http://amzn.to/2kyAMwd .......We use something like this for the forum flag and you can buy ground stakes that go with them, they are two long metal rods which you hammer into the ground to help keep it upright.

                        It is telescopic and we store it easily in the van.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          About 4 years ago I bought a Wifi booster thingy via another well known motorhome forum, it didn't cost anything like as much as that one but then it probably wouldn't work anything like as well.

                          I never found out because it came with a mini cd thingy that had to be loaded into the laptop. The laptop didn't have a hole for that so I never used it. I'm not too sure where it went after that - somewhere in the house - no doubt it will re-surface at some point in the future when such technology is hopelessly out of date and we just have to raise our hand and wifi instantly connects with our head.

                          In the meantime, the data allowance on my phone has gone from 500 somethings to 3 somethingelses a month and even with a few downloads and lots of browsing etc I found that to be plenty as I didn't even use up 2 somethingelses in either my month long tour of Scotland etc or my recent 3 weeks in France. As I tend to be on the move most days it is relatively easy to find a pub, Tesco, Mcdonalds etc with free wifi if I need to download masses.

                          In late 2015 I did pay for a year's Wifi on C&CC sites and it worked OK on all the ones I stayed at, but I didn't really feel I got my money's worth as I don't stay on them that often and the only one I needed it at was Tavistock in Devon where my phone didn't work (rainy day, bored daughter, hence Wifi purchase).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Caz View Post
                            In the meantime, the data allowance on my phone has gone from 500 somethings to 3 somethingelses a month and even with a few downloads and lots of browsing etc I found that to be plenty as I didn't even use up 2 somethingelses in either my month long tour of Scotland etc or my recent 3 weeks in France.
                            3 somethings is a good deal depending on how much you pay.

                            I get 1 something (otherwise known as 1gb ) for £6 month with virgin.

                            Mine easily lasts me even if we have some lengthy trips in the van.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              fortunately for me I do not get pocket money anymore, so my allowance is zero as for full loading, half loading, down loading or up loading, I tend to leave all that labouring to the carriers!............... just saying!

                              Comment

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