While enjoying the full time RV living lifestyle, one cannot be without a good internet signal! There is nothing more frustrating than being in an RV park that advertises free internet access, and you are in your RV without a connection to the outside world! I may have a solution to this problem. I may have found the best wifi booster for an RV!
If you are looking for the best WiFi booster for your RV, it does help to understand just what exactly WiFi is. WiFi is a name given to a wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed internet and network connections. WiFi is not short for wireless fidelity like HiFi is short for high fidelity. WiFi is any wireless local area network.
WiFi does not require a physically wired connection between whoever is sending the signal and you the receiver. Radio frequency technology is used to broadcast the signal you are trying to link to. When a radio frequency current is supplied to an antenna an electromagnetic field is created that can travel through space.
Boosting Your RV’s Wi-Fi: A Guide to Staying Connected While on the Road
The beginnings of a wireless network start with a device known as an access point. The primary job of an access point is to broadcast a wireless signal that computers can detect and tune into. Since wireless networks are usually connected to wired ones, an access point also often serves as a link to the resources available on the wired network, such as an Internet connection.
In order to connect to an access point and join a wireless network, computers must be equipped with wireless network adapters. These days they come built right into the computer, but if not, just about any computer or notebook can be made wireless-capable through the use of an add-on adapter plugged into a USB port.
The problem comes as you travel from park to park you can never guarantee your RV’s location in relation to the wired antenna that is broadcasting from the access point. And to top it off, these radio waves do not deal well with metal buildings, the metal casings of certain laptop and tablet devices, and other obstructions that get in the way when parked in RV sites.
Now there can be security issues with linking up to an open WiFi network. If anyone can join without a password I hope you know not to visit sites that would compromise your financial situation by allowing a hacker to steal your identity. Be sure you have each computer’s firewall software activated to prevent anyone from hacking your sensitive information!
The Solution is to Buy the Best WiFi Booster for Your RV!
If you can isolate where the WiFi signal is being broadcast from, it is quite easy to point an antenna at where the signal is originating, hook that to your WiFi booster and you will be enjoying free internet. And because you can get on when others can’t you should be able to enjoy a decent exchange speed!
This antenna could be mounted on your RV somewhere, or you can point it at the WiFi signal from inside the RV. It is very easy to use a painters pole or some kind of extending pole like that and mount your antenna to that and fix it to the rear of your RV. Once you find your line of sight to the originating signal, point it that way. Then find a way to route the cable inside and hook it to your WiFi booster. You will then have a stronger signal that can be shared with your onboard devices!
As far as which is the best WiFi booster, I am relying on a geeky friend of mine (sorry Eric) who offers these products for sale and has done the research. While at the last Workamper News Rendezvous we talked about this weak WiFi signal situation and his preference after he had tested some of the most popular boosting devices out there.
He has two devices to choose from depending on your needs for connectivity. There are two styles of WiFi booster, an awesome antenna that can pick up a weak signal from 250 yards away, and the cabling to make it all work.
The Alfa High Power Desktop Antenna was the best all-around portable WiFi booster from my friend’s recent product testing review. When compared to the built-in WiFi of the Sony Vaio, the Alfa performed at about 3 – 6x the throughput, and the manufacturers claim up to a mile range. The beauty of this booster is its size and versatility. The unit comes with a 6″ folding and swivel antenna that is connected via a standard RP-SMA connector. That means that is you need more range, you can connect the unit to a larger antenna such as the TechnoRV Yagi Antenna. In his testing, he used the standard antenna with the unit mounted in the window holder and got excellent results.
One of the problems of using a WiFi booster is that you need to connect it to your computer via a USB cable. This means that you can only use one computer at once, and you cannot use it with your iPad, Tablet or Smartphone. You also need to install the drivers on each computer that you want to connect the booster too.
Solution: simply plug your desktop WiFi booster or External WiFi booster into the WiFi USB Repeater. You then will need to connect your computer or device to the WiFi hotspot and configure the repeater by telling it which WiFi signal you want to boost (and enter any passwords it may require). Once configured, any number of devices can connect to your local hotspot and gain access to the internet via the boosted WiFi signal.
Please feel free to contact Eric and Tami Johnson at TechnoRV! They are awesome and will be sure you wind up with the products that will serve your needs!!
Happy and safe surfing with your stronger WiFi signal!!
Howard and Pam
UPDATE Summer 2017: It has now been several years since I first published this article! We have successfully been using this technology to gain access to RV parks and campgrounds wifi systems. We have been very pleased! We use this system!
The best part of ordering this product is it includes a learning series document that allows you to easily set up the wifi booster system to be able to get up and running quickly. Each time I get to a new RV park I use it to remind me how to get it set up correctly, the first time.
UPDATE Winter 2018: Pam and I are currently located in a smart park, that is they offer high-speed internet access through Tango Internet. You can get speeds up to 300 Mbps with upload and download speeds of 10 Mbps.
Now, of course, that kind of speed comes with a cost! You can pay $7.95 a day for one device, $29.95 for a week, and $69.95 for a month. Now that’s not bad if you are not also paying for your cellular service as well. You can get free access to upload and download speeds of .8 Mbps.
So, given the high-speed WIFI access in this park, how does our Camp Pro Kit using the Alfa WIFI booster help us out. You see, we can easily hook up to the RV parks Tango internet system, and receive great internet access without a WIFI booster, but if an RV pulls in next to us, our signal strength decreases because we lose our line of site to the repeater that is only a 150′ from us.
With this setup, our antenna is up high enough to achieve a straight line of sight to the WIFI repeater. So, regardless of any RV’s that are parked around us, trees, bushes, etc. we can receive better signal strength and a reliable connection
The other issue with using the Tango Internet from the park, without the booster, is that our connection is not secure. When we use our Alpha WIFI booster I can create a more secure network. It is password protected so others can’t easily access my network connection.
Once we have our set up as shown and turn on the WIFI booster, all I have to do is connect to the Tango Internet signal and I have a strong and secure WIFI network that allows me to meet my internet needs in the RV.
Since Pam and I run our RV consulting business from our RV home, we do need a secure network while conducting online business activities, and we are also able to advertise our business through our ALFA WIFI booster. We have it named yourfulltimervliving.com so people in the RV park can see our network and visit our website.
If you want an idea of how to mount your Camp Pro Kit antenna booster to your RV, here is what we did.
We bought a $30 extension pole at Amazon. It is a 14′ extension pole that allows more than enough length to achieve a good sturdy height for the booster antenna. I secure it to the side of the RV with two suction cups that I purchased at Amazon.
The only other item we had to address was getting the wire inside the RV to hook up to the ALPHA WIFI booster. Since we have a class C RV it is easy to run the wire through the front cab door.
This set up makes it easy to remove and store as we move from one location to the next.
So, as I sit here updating this website post, I am using my Camp Pro WIFI Booster kit to assure a screaming connection to the RV Park’s WIFI signal.
If you also need assistance boosting your cellular signal inside your RV, visit our page on staying connected on the road which includes more options for keeping you in touch!
UPDATE Spring 2018: A New Camp Pro kit has been released. It offers increased throughput speeds and a simpler setup process. It includes the Learning series to help with setup and installation, plus support if needed!
I bought the Alfa router andUSB adapter and I have not been able to get them, to work from my MAC computer. After contacting customer service and have drives and other files emailed rot me I was never ever able to get this devices to work or confined. The instruction were worthless. It’s been over years and I just gave up on them. Maybe now they hav e improve the compatibility with MAC laptops with simple to follow instructions.
Sorry to hear that!
Who did you buy the Alfa router and USB adapter from?
DOES IT WORK WITH SPRINT CELL SERVICE – SO MANY OF THESE SAY THEY DON’T SUPPORT SPRINTS FREQUENCIES????
WE TRAVEL THE BLUE AND BLACK BACKROADS AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AND- EVEN THOUGH HAVE “FREE WIFI” IN MANY PLACES WE OVERNIGHT – WE’RE MILES AWAY FROM “CIVILIZATION” SO TO SPEAK
Thanks for stopping by our website!
I would visit http://www.technorv.com/Weboost_4G_X_RV_Cell_Booster_p/470410-4g-x-rv.htm?Click=6836 and leave a question for Eric to be sure this product would solve your problem.
I am wondering what setup would i need to use the RV Parks wifi to watch movies using my smart tv ? We are able to watch movies already using the parks wifi but at times it will stop and start or not come in at all. Would one of your systems illiminate this? And if so what products would you suggest? Thanks in advance. Pam
If the movie starts and stops with your current setup, a wifi booster probably will not help. Even if you have a good signal, if the bandwidth that the park allows you is minimal, then boosting the signal will not help.
If you want to test the signal you are getting go to speedtest.net from your computer. Use that to see what your upload and download speed is. If you have less than .5 Mbps you are not really going to get much video quality while trying to stream movies. Once you do the test in your RV, go outside and be line-of-site to a WIFI repeater and see what the response is. If it is significantly better than maybe a booster will help. If so the WiFi Camp Pro setup might help you.
I am in a smart park that has a minimum of.75 Mbps and I can stream off Amazon Prime, with a lower resolution of .38G/hour and be just fine. Of course, if I pay for the 10 Mbps speed I can stream at 6G/hour and be fine.
I hope that helps! Who thought as full time RVers we would have to be geeks too. LOL
Your post is really helpful! Thanks Howard
Thanks for stopping by our website and commenting!
I understand that I can run multiple items on this. I also understand that I don’t need a laptop to have this all hooked up to. It still does not really mention anything about running streaming on our TV. Can we do this and can we password protect the repeater so only our devices can connect?
Thanks for stopping by our website!
Pam and I stream movies using our alpha wifi booster when we have good bandwidth in the campground. I use my laptop and an HDMI cable hooked to my TV. It works well when the parks wifi is adequate. And yes, you can secure the repeater as well as name the broadcast signal. Ordering from my links will get you the setup instructions that will make it easy to setup the wifi booster and customize it to your needs.
Where we are staying, the park wifi is terrible, but there’s a shopping center less than a quarter mile away with a few stores that should provide free wifi – Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, etc. If I’m able to boost their wifi, would I run into any issues with it connecting but getting hung up on their disclaimer page?
I have used my WiFi Booster system to pick up many free wifi signals, and not had any problems with that. I have been taken to a login page where I had to confirm acceptance but I was still able to boost their signal.
You mentioned that the booster requires one device with a USB port (laptop). We need a stronger wifi signal inside our camper, but only have mobile devices (i-pads). Can you help us with that?
Please visit this link: http://www.technorv.com/RV_WiFi_Boosters_s/85.htm?Click=6836
I think this product will help you out! Your I-Pads will receive a wifi signal from this setup. This is what Pam and I use for wireless connections to laptops and tablets.
I understand the techno info and am glad how nice and to the point the video are on the home website. One thing I might suggest is you add a / router to the WiFi repeater /router as it appears to confuse some folks but do recognize the function of a WiFi router in the home to connect multi devices to. Plus so far all the other products I have looked at are twice the price mostly as I see because to match winguards over pricing. Keep up the good work thanks a new fan.
I am new at this and I just wanted to know if there is something out there I can buy to have Wi-Fi when my husband and I travel out west in our motor home we just got.We need to pay our bills while we are gone.
Please visit this link: http://www.technorv.com/RV_WiFi_Boosters_s/85.htm?Click=6836
These folks are friends of ours. We use their wifi booster products with great success!
HI DAVE! My question for you is what type of WiFi signal booster are you using brand wise and do you keep the antennae in doors or out?
It’s Howard here, the owner of yourfulltimervliving.com, not Dave.
I use a product I got from friends of mine who sell high-tech toys for RVers. You can check out what I use at http://www.technorv.com/RV_WiFi_Boosters_s/85.htm?Click=6836
It’s a product made by Alfa that has absolutely made a difference for us in boosting a weaker line-of-sight wifi signal. I keep my antenna and booster indoors in a rear bedroom window in the RV and broadcast the signal for multiple devices with the included repeater that the kit comes with.
Since I run a business from my RV I also renamed it, which is something the software allows, so people who see my wifi booster signal see my business URL. A small thing, but any free advertising is always good!
Can i make use of my ROKU streaming stick via a wifi booster? The model i have has not hard wifi connection for external signal. The wifi signal here at home is strong enough to work well with this unit but my campground suffers from a weak signal sometimes.. Thanks. An old guy with too few brain cells left to burn them up on this.
Thanks for stopping by our website!!
You can try but the RV Park probably does not provide the bandwidth to stream what you are wanting to. Plus, if you are able to get it to work, you will hog all the available bandwidth and really annoy your camping neighbors who just want to check email and stay connected. It would be best to provide your own data source for this purpose.
Wondering why a USB multi hub will work to connect multiple computers to the Alpha Booster. Is it really necessary to use the USB Repeater you sell?
Thank you for visiting our website!
In answer to your question, WiFi boosters are designed to boost the WiFi signal for one device. The device must have a USB port, and be a Windows operating system. Most people want to access the boosted signal with multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and so on. By adding the USB repeater, all of your devices can connect to the boosted signal wirelessly. Now MAC users and all other devices can connect. To be clear, if you want multiple users to access the boosted signal then get the repeater, and then just add one of the boosters I mention, either the desktop booster or the outside booster tube antenna.
I hope that helps! Happy travels!!
Howard, my wife sometimes has to work when we go away. One of our favorite spots has free but poor to not working Wi-Fi. We also don’t have cell service out there but do have direct tv satellite. We would love to have cell service but would settle for better Wi-Fi . What would you suggest for a ready to go kit.
If you want better WiFi, how far are you from the access point where you are and what is the line of site is like. Also, if it is within a half mile with good line of site then I would say to go to the access point with your computer and see what the experience is like. If the experience is still poor when you are right there at it then a booster will not help, but if it is fine when you are close to it then a booster will pull it in from a distance. The Camp Pro kit we sell is a great set up for WiFi boosting. http://www.technorv.com/Wifi_Camp_Pro_Kit_p/wificamppro.htm?Click=6836
Experiences will vary with all of this stuff as you know, but adding more power to the transmission and receive side of things is a great solution to a better WiFi and cell experience.
I was wondering if you can use the exiting radio antenna on top of the rv trailer to boost the wifi signal? Using it as a access point or a receiver point?
Thanks for stopping by our website. You are using some out of the box thinking. However, the frequencies involved in radio signals and high bandwidth wifi are different and require other technologies. But, it was a good thought!
Thanks Howard for quick reply.
We are planning a long trip in our Rv. We work from home 12 hours a day, so we are always on our computer. We need Wi-Fi access constantly. We have installed a mifi unit. However it is still slow and or non existent at times. Is there a product out there that gives you consistently fast and good Wi-Fi connection for the rv, while driving? Please anyone??
Thanks for stopping by our website!!
Pama nd I use Verizon and we have a MiFi unit and two smartphones. We travel quite a bit and I use the MiFi with my laptop while Pam drives and I have business to attend to. We have no problems as we travel about. I think Verizon has some of the best coverage nationwide. You can even use your smartphone to broadcast a wifi signal that you can use for your laptop. We have the MiFi because there are lots of times that Pam and I are on together. I hope that helps!!
I am looking for a portable SATELLITE UNIT
Which I can take with on my trips to the
wilderness and still have decent TV reception.
I am not interested to have hundreds of available
station only the major networks.
Thanks for your help Alex
Hi Alex! Thanks for stopping by our website! I have no personal experience with them, but we do see a lot of our fellow campers with the portable Winegard units. Perhaps one of those might work for you. Just Google portable satellite tv and you will get plenty of results to choose from. Happy hunting!!
I’m a full time rv liver and having to spend way to much for wifi what can I do to drop what we are spending
What are you currently using / spending Pam?
I purchased the alpha repeater with the CC X Mile Long Range directional WiFi antenna to install on my travel trailer. The install was super easy and it works incredibly with my tablets, Android phones and windows laptop. The “easy setup” function had me online and linked to my devices within 10 minutes. Before using the repeater I had 1 bar of signal and internet cut in and out. After setup of course I had a full signal and the internet is fast. I’m running at a distance of 5000 ft from the WiFi source so I would agree with your article and would recommend this device for Windows and Android networking. I’m not familiar with Mac so cannot really comment on that platform.
Thanks for the input Anthony! I am glad to hear that the Alpha Repeater works for you! Happy travels!!
I tried it based on your recommendation and after two hours of trying to install it on my Macbook Pro, and not getting any return communication with Alfa, I returned it. It may the greatest booster in the world, but if they cannot supply instructions as to how to install it, it does no good. Bummer, as I don’t really see another alternative. If you know of one that is Mac-compatible, please share the info! Thanks.
Sorry to hear that Mike! I went on the recommendation of an associate that swears by that product. Unfortunately he took his tech business back to England. I will inquire around to see if I can find an alternative for Mac users! Once I do I will update the post.
Yes, please. I use my Mac laptop in my she-shed that’s 70 feet from the house. Most times I can pickup the house wi-fi to a degree but it’s fickle and finicky. I’d love to be able to get a better signal out here in the back forty. I’m on your newsletter (I think) so I hope to get an update when you find out the info. Thanks.
When using the Alfa High Power Desktop Booster as a stand alone unit, meaning only one device will receive the boosted signal, then only Windows operating systems are supported. Mac systems work great with this booster when you use it with the WiFi USB Repeater. Also by using the repeater with the Alfa High Power Desktop Booster, you can connect multiple devices wirelessly to the boosted signal; this is what most people do.
All the links on here my site will take you to a source that will provide you with the products you will need to improve your WiFi needs!
Hi Can we still use our laptop in the wireless mode? Where can we buy it in Canada?
Thanks Pierre Sarnia Ontario Can.
Yes, you can use your laptop as long as you have the internal technology to pick up wireless signals.
As far as locating these items in Canada, I would do a Google search for them with the search criteria set for the country of choice as Canada and see what you find.