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Do you use an amplifier to boost your Internet for telecommuting?
Total Views: 1934 - Total Replies: 7
Dec 28 2010, 12:07 am - By GreyDoggie

Not yet on the road and trying to set things up so the transition appears seamless to my clients - and just wondering if I need to have an amplifier for my Millenicom USB760 modem (Verizon)?  Or will a trucker's antenna be enough?  Most of the time we will be camping in private campgrounds - so I am hoping that will be close enough to the various towers to get a good signal.


I appreciate any advice you can offer - thank you!

Dec 28 2010, 1:10 am - Replied by: Boyink

Hey - we've been on the road for 11 weeks now and I can tell you what we've experienced:

I have the same USB modem (yay for 20GB/mo!).  I also bought the trucker antenna.  We use it with a Cradlepoint router for sharing, and w/o any amplifier.

However in the rush to leave I wasn't able to get the exterior antenna mounted - I just pitched it under the bed in the trailer.  The big concern I had was routing the wire in w/o creating a leak (I was actually hoping to use the existing TV antenna wiring but the impedance is different). 

So far, at least in the areas of the country we've been (MI to NY, south to GA etc) the USB modem has worked pretty well w/o the external antenna.  Sometimes faster than others, but it's always worked (more than I can say for my AT&T iPhone).

Park wi-fi, OTOH,  has been a letdown.  I'd say the park wi-fi has only been usable 1/3 to 1/2 of the time it's been listed as available.  Either it will be down, or slow, or only available if you sit next to the managers desk in the office, or "available" but only in the coffee shop next to the park where you feel like you have to pay for coffee etc.

I'm happy to see the bandwidth increase because it'll allow us to use it pretty much w/o fear of going over our alloted bandwidth.

A family of 4 ditches their house, gives away most of their stuff and hits the road full-time

Dec 28 2010, 1:28 am - Replied by: GreyDoggie

That's pretty amazing - I figured I would need an antenna at least to get good reception (but maybe that is only in the western part of the US?).  Totally with you on the new 20GB limit - very exciting!


Someone on the Escapees forum has a nice page on mounting ext. antennas, http://www.jackdanmayer.com/communication.htm#Antenna Mounting Methods, I am probably going to try attaching the antenna to the ladder and then running the cable through the back window as he suggests (drilling holes in the trailer seem like a bad idea - I can just imagine making the hole too large and having little critters visiting us). 



Dec 28 2010, 4:47 am - Replied by: Technomadia

We had an antenna/booster system integrated into our trailer when it was built.  It's one of those things, that when you need it AND it works - it's miracle worker.   And you're correct, you'll have far more need for it once you go west of the Mississippi. Connectivity is easy on the east coast, relatively speaking. 

That said.. I can only recall about dozen times over 2.5 years that the booster system actually was useful. (And we did *a lot* of boondocking).  For our remote camping, we ultimately went with a satellite tripod system to really allow us to be wherever we wanted to be. 

 - Cherie
Cherie and Chris / Technomads / www.technomadia.com
1961 GM 4106 - Vintage Bus
On the road since 2006 

Dec 28 2010, 3:22 pm - Replied by: BeBe

Hi - We have two Mifi's (one Sprint with Millenicom & one Verizon thru Coast2Coast) - 5 devices can connect up to each one and we have been on the road 5 months.  We do stay most of the time in campgrounds or by friend's homes and even though I purchased a Wilson Sleek Antenna booster that will work with both cell phones and our Mifi's we have not needed to use it yet.

I agree about the campground internet, it is really hit and miss about 50% of the time if you are going to get something you can actually work with, but having the Mifi's for back up is great. And with Bill's work their VPN won't usually allow the campground wifi so then the Mifi is a life-saver.
~Debby & Bill
aka eXceSs & Lycktonite

on the adventure of our lives......
2008 35' Southwind
2010 Subaru Forester toad

Dec 29 2010, 9:15 am - Replied by: blars

Thanks for the info -- I have a usb760 and have been looking into getting an antenna and maybe an amp.  If you want to use one on Linux, see my blog article.
Dec 29 2010, 5:36 pm - Replied by: KevsKnight

We have had an amp and antenna for almost all of our four years on the road, and I think I have set it all up only three or four times. There were two places in Florida that we needed it, and one place we go in Cali that is really helpful to have.

The real answer to this question is "it depends on where you go". We are not ones to want to spend a lot of time out in the middle of nowhere, so we don't run into issues with connectivity very often. For my work, I need both cell and data, so we plan our travels around that. Since I spend my life working on VPN, satellite does not work for me, so I really depend on my EVDO cards. I will use park Wifi if it is good and available, but prefer to always be ready to supply my own.

That being said, I don't feel like we are limited in where we can go. We are currently boondocking in Quartzsite for a month, and have great 3G speeds (just check Technomadia's Coverage? app if you don't believe me ;) ). The nation is getting more and more coverage.

Before dropping the money on extra equipment, you might want to get out to some of the places you want to be to see what you really need.

Good luck!


I have washboard abs. They are just hidden under 50#s of laundry.
Dec 29 2010, 5:47 pm - Replied by: GreyDoggie

Thanks!  I think I will buy the antenna as a 'just in case' and then see if an amplifier is needed at places we camp longterm. 
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