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Gear choices
Total Views: 1464 - Total Replies: 9
May 17 2011, 4:33 am - By damonandjen

So we are getting started as full timers, and the biggest concern I have is being able to keep making a living.  I am lucky in that my job is letting me go full time.  I am a network/sysadmin type so Internet access will be huge for us.

Jen's on Verizon already.  I'm almost ready to switch and get a data plan.  I've been really happy with T-Mobile so I've been waiting to leave.  Now that the big merger is in the works, I really want to leave.  I'm sure the FCC will approve it, and Verizon has the coverage.  Now if only Verizon had an Android that I want that's on cyanogen's supported list...

I'm thinking the plan is going to be a wifi ranger pro, and a compatible 3G/4G USB modem.  Is anyone using one of these?  Is there a preferred router?  I saw some buzz about this router over on rv.net, and the pro model with an external antenna to get far away park wifi seems like a good bet.  At this point my motto is going to be "If I don't have net, then I either need to move a little or not be worried about work."

Sat is right out since I spend my days in a text terminal running Unix systems.  So high latency kills me.  It's gonna have to be terrestrial based for me to get anything done.

I figure finding net is a lot less difficult these days, but I'm sure it will be a challenge that rears it's head more often than I'd like.

TIA for any help.


Damon and Jen

1994 35' Monaco Executive
Class A Diesel pusher
2004 Subaru Baja toad

May 17 2011, 2:59 pm - Replied by: hitek_homeless

Not really what your looking for, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

I have used an old linksys router with openwrt/ddwrt custom firmware to act as a wifi repeater. If you have a router that the firmware works on and happen to be lucky enough to have an external antenna port, you can reach out and grab that open signal from quite a distance (with the right antenna), then rebroadcast it for your local network.

It is occasionally a handy piece of equipment to have around, although we primarily use EVDO for connectivity. I just like it for the ability to work on silly hacks like automated bit torrent downloads while driving through a metro area. But, I can see someone using the router for mail synchronization and various non-critical data downloads.
A couple of 30-sometings on an ultimate adventure.
May 17 2011, 4:08 pm - Replied by: watsonswander

Check out this guy's page; amazing amount of info on getting an internet connection wherever you are. http://www.jackdanmayer.com/communication.htm 

I am still in the planning stages as well and will go with most of what is mentioned on that page. 

 External cell antenna and amp. (Still to be researched) 
Cradlepoint MBR1000 - (cell modem to wireless) 
Pepper Surf w/ ext antenna - (retransmit wifi) 

These days it almost sounds like sticking just to cell connection is faster and easier than messing with campground wifi, so not sure if I will get the Pepper Surf to start. 

I needed a new wireless router at home, so I bought the cradlepoint already.
May 18 2011, 2:02 am - Replied by: damonandjen

Thanks for the advice.  I've thought about a Linksys with a ethernet to wireless bridge, but I want to minimize the amount of swapping around devices and networks to get access to all devices.

That link to jackdanmayer.com is awesome!  I can't believe I hadn't found that yet.  He seems quite the proponent of the wifi ranger so I'm feeling good about that one.  Now I only wish I had bought the right Verizon modem.  We're gonna have to take back the LG for the Pantech.  I like that the ranger has the boost antenna for wifi capture.  Although, I'm afraid that you're correct about the spotty wifi quality at parks.

I'm definitely interested in the cell phone amplifiers as well.  That should allow us to be out as far as we're likely to want to go.  Heck, this summer, we plan to be in Portland so I probably won't start that project just yet.

Thanks for the help,

Damon and Jen

1994 35' Monaco Executive
Class A Diesel pusher
2004 Subaru Baja toad

May 20 2011, 11:32 am - Replied by: hitek_homeless

re: cell amplifiers.

If the budget can stand it, consider one with a wireless repeater built in. They are a little more pricey, but with so many modern phones not having an antenna port, it's worth it IMHO if you are getting the amp anyway.

It irritates me to no end that our shiny new super phone has no way to plugin to our Wilson amp.

A couple of 30-sometings on an ultimate adventure.
May 21 2011, 11:16 pm - Replied by: zennomads

I've been telecommuting on the road for 18 months now. I've found that it is best for me to have redundancy. Sprint USB card is great in some areas where my Verizon USB is lacking. I got both through millenicom.com. The sprint plan (69.99 per month) is true unlimited (I average over 50 gigs a month). The Verizon plan (59.99 per month) is 20 gigs a month.

I've found that trying to use RV park wifi connections is about useless.

I use a Cradlepoint MBR100. It takes both usb cards.

The cell phone amp would be nice with an external antenna but I have not dropped the money for it yet.

Zen Nomads - Wanderers in search of enlightenment
May 22 2011, 3:58 pm - Replied by: Technomadia

Yup.. agreed that RV Park wifi is definitely hit or miss and we don't depend on that as part of our connectivity plan.  Even if it's set up to be park wide where you can get it from your rig, never fails that it's down or your neighbor it streaming video or downloading huge files. 

We had a Wilson external antenna and amplifier built into our last trailer - and honestly, if we had it to do over again, we would have just gone with a portable system instead.  It was only useful a handful of times in the configuration we had. 

Right now, we're on a Millenicom Verizon 20G plan, use an iPhone for tethering on AT&T ($20/mo for 4 GB ain't bad as a backup where Verizon doesn't work or is slower.. and yes, it happens, often.)    And we keep a Sprint aircard ready to go if we needed to turn on an unlimited plan. 

We also have a Hughesnet satellite tripod setup for really being out in the boonies (well.. uh.. it's in ZenNomad's bays right now until we get our next home on wheels).  But, it does have that latency problem.  For most of the work stuff I need to do tho (FTP, VPN, etc.), it's workable. 

4G is nice when it's available, but unless you're staying in primarily big towns - it'll be a rare treat for now.  Millenecom does now have a 4G plan. 

Basically... when going mobile, think back to the olden days when the very first cable modems came online and it seemed like blazing fast as compared to 56.6k.   If you're mentally prepared for living somewhere between 56.6 to old-school cable modems (or DSL), life on the road can be a joy.  But if you're expecting to keep your mega fast connection to the net while you roam - you'll be frustrated a lot. 

Now you just have to worry about where you're going to be able to catch that next hit of bandwidth.  Which is why we came out with our Coverage? iPhone app. 

 - Cherie

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

May 24 2011, 12:39 pm - Replied by: watsonswander

How often did you use Hughesnet and was it a pain to setup and move? 

Up until 2 years ago they were my home connection and I still have the dish and modem so I would not have any setup costs. I just hated dealing with the company that is hughsnet.
May 25 2011, 4:03 am - Replied by: Technomadia

We bought the setup (used) in August of last year, and then in November ended up going to the Virgin Islands and shutting off the service.   So.. just a couple of months, and we haven't turned it back on since returning stateside.  We look forward to traveling with it again (and/or getting a motosat that auto aims on top of our next rig), as we really liked the options it opened up for us. 

We got it down to setting up the tripod and aiming in ~30 minutes, so definitely only worthwhile to do if you're going to be someplace for a bit.  Our biggest use was at Burning Man last year, as we were able to supply wifi for Camp Nomadia. But we did use it a few other places before and after.  

 - Cherie

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

May 25 2011, 4:24 am - Replied by: damonandjen

Well, I am spoiled when it comes to Internet access.  I've pretty much had fast next since 128k ISDN was the fastest thing around.  I guess I'm going to have to rethink the park wifi into more of a "nice when it's there" kinda thing.  Ok, so here's what I think I'm going to do...

1.  Take back the Verizon USB thing and try and get that all cancelled.
2.  Get a Millenicom account for Spring and Verizon
3.  Get a MBR1000

I'm also considering getting a Clear account since we'll be in Austin and Portland a lot this year, and both are Clear cities.  They also claim to have a nationwide 3G network.  Does anyone have any experience with them?  I think I may call and find out what their coverages, and give it a try.  If they truly are unlimited 4G, then it might be worth it.  I know people who have it in Austin and love it, and use it all over town.  A guy I know streams Pandora in the car all over town.

I'm definitely going to be thinking about how to get better 'net to rural areas.  Not sure if I'll think of anything new about it, but certainly there's some kind of methodology that works.


Damon and Jen

1994 35' Monaco Executive
Class A Diesel pusher
2004 Subaru Baja toad

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