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Old 11-06-2011, 01:01 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Laptop Internet Setup, etc.

This is the setup I have in my 2011 Solera. I'm using an air card from AT&T along with a Wilson Electronics booster due to the remote locations I usually work in. This was the most economical setup I could find because I also use this air card at home. I don't have any other occupants in this RV except for Thumper, a Manx cat who travels very well. The booster increases the air card signal very nicely and also aids the cell phone signal. It can be located at:

Product Details

The installation guide is located at:

http://www.wilsonelectronics.com/upl...ide-072911.pdf

I clamped a metal plate to the outside TV antenna which I'll probably NOT use because I use an "in motion" DirecTV satellite dish. I put the outside Wilson Booster antenna on it which has a magnetic base and tie wrapped the cord so it won't get cut if I do happen to raise the TV antenna. I passed the outside antenna cord through the front bunk window on the passenger side leaving a hanging loop outside to help prevent moisture collection inside the RV. I also used duct tape to help seal the window. The inside antenna was placed on the passenger headrest under the seat organizer because its the area I use the cellphone and aircard most of the time. I did not have any voltage problems when I connected the power cord to the 12 volt connector above the RV entry doorway. The 2 antennas require at least a 5' separation if the outside antenna is not mounted on a solid metal roof because this can cause oscillation and loss of signal. I have not experienced any oscillation problems in the 3 days of using this setup so far.

I have a 17" Dell laptop strapped on a Jotto desk that is attached to the front 2 bolts on the passenger seat. I also ran a 15' monitor cable from the laptop to the front of the dinette table and connected this to a 19" HP external monitor and use a wireless mouse and keyboard with the laptop. I also use the Delorme mapping program on the laptop for navigation as well as the dash Pioneer navigation.

In the first picture, the little pouch below the Jotto desk is used to hold my cellphone which works through the Bluetooth connection on the Pioneer dash radio. Here, the cellphone can easily be charged as needed. The 2 connectors to the right of the shifter boot are for a thumbdrive and Ipod to use with the dash radio.

I plan on covering up the openings above the side RV door with smoked doors when I finish running all the electric lines, etc properly.
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Old 11-06-2011, 05:55 PM   #2
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So I guess this means those boosters actually work? I have been skeptical of such devices. The weak link is still between the cell tower and the first receiver (in this case, the booster). The booster might be able to transmit my outbound signals better, but the incoming signals are still coming from the cell tower and are poor quality. How does boosting unusable signals helpful?
I realize this sounds sarcastic. But I really want to know because if it really works, I might plunk down the money for one of these things. In the mean time, I just don't see it.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:21 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ovair View Post
So I guess this means those boosters actually work? I have been skeptical of such devices. The weak link is still between the cell tower and the first receiver (in this case, the booster). The booster might be able to transmit my outbound signals better, but the incoming signals are still coming from the cell tower and are poor quality. How does boosting unusable signals helpful?
I realize this sounds sarcastic. But I really want to know because if it really works, I might plunk down the money for one of these things. In the mean time, I just don't see it.
Hi Ovair:

They work well for me most of the time. Some areas I work in still have the old analog towers. These boosters don't work well there. IMO Here at home (I'm about 10 miles from Hot Springs, AR in the mountains and forest), I use another type of booster for small buildings and more spacing is required but it still works after I followed the manufacturer's directions for installation. When I have the booster off, I only get 1-2 bars on my air card or cell phone. When I turn it on, I get 4-5 bars with 5 bars being the maximum available. Also, most vehicles are metal cans and partially block a cell signal. My understanding is that this weak outside signal is multiplied inside the vehicles with this booster. Oscillation can occur if the 2 antennas are placed wrong and they cross feed from each other. When this happens, the lights on the booster turn yellow and red and my signal strength is minimal at that time. It happens more often when the outside antenna is placed near a sunroof or something similar. According to the instructions with this booster, at least 5' of spacing is required between the 2 antennas if near a sunroof, etc. The spacing I have between mine are over 7' and the outside antenna is on the highest point on the RV (the roof). I thought about attaching the magnetic base of the outside antenna to the metal near the windshield but feared that would make that antenna omnidirectional meaning I'd have to park it a certain direction for better signal reception. Hope this helps.

When I work in the midwestern states, most of the stronger signals are found along the interstate highways and bigger towns and cities.
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Old 11-06-2011, 06:31 PM   #4
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AT&T signal strength meter

Here are 2 snapshots of the AT&T signal strength meter for my air card. The weaker signal pic was taken with the booster off and the stronger signal pic is with the booster turned on. This was done a few minutes ago on my home PC but the RV booster works the same. IMO
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:35 PM   #5
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I understand what you have written, but I'm still skeptical. I'll try to explain and in doing so, will probably expose my lack of knowledge of the technology.
Okay, here goes....
The picture with the weak signal shows what you are getting from the cell tower (because the booster is off).
The picture with the strong signal shows what you are getting from the booster (because the booster is on).
Similarly, we use a wifi hotspot that uses cellular technology to create an 802.11 wireless environment for computers and such. When we turn that on, the computer ALWAYS has "5 bars" because the hotspot device is only a few feet away from the computer. It even has 5 bars at those times when we can't reach the Internet because the signal on the service side of the hotspot is nil.
My wife often says "I don't know why I can't get any web pages to show up, we have a good signal". I have repeatedly pointed out to her that we have good signal between the laptop and the hotspot, but the hotspot frequently has poor reception of the cell service and it therefore unable to pass data to and from the Internet.
If I went to the Moon and took my wifi and my laptop, I'd still get 5 bars, but I wouldn't get any Internet because there is no cell service on the Moon.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:19 AM   #6
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My Internet Speed test results

I'm not trying to convince anyone that the Wilson booster will work for everyone. And I understand what you are saying. The only thing I can show you at this point is the speed tests with the booster on:
All-In-One Test Results
Loaded 754,928 bytes in 2.796 seconds from Host Rocket server
Your Results:
2160 Kb

And here is what I get with the booster off:
All-In-One Test Results
Loaded 754,928 bytes in 5.442 seconds from Host Rocket server.
Your Results: 1110 Kb

The website I used for these tests is:

Internet Performance and Speed Test
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:39 AM   #7
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Now THAT is info I can get behind! Thanks for posting those download results Cajundjb!

So... about how much is one of those booster kits? I went to their site, and they don't quote on the page. You have to locate a dealer. I'm just looking for a rough estimate.

Thanks again for posting those test results. That is DATA!
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:09 AM   #8
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You're very welcome! I just didn't know that's what we needed. I have seen higher results in better weather and it has helped improve my cell and data signal near marginal wifi areas.

Please bear in mind what I've mentioned about those analog towers, etc. Also, it seems to me that some rural cell towers handle less cell/data traffic than those near cities. So if you're near one of them at peak hours, you may experience slower transfer rates. IMO
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Old 11-07-2011, 08:18 AM   #9
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wilson electronics 801212

The model number above is for the whole kit that includes the 2 antennas, cables, power supply, etc. You can google it. I'd also check amazon and ebay for price comparisons. I paid ~ $230.00 for mine with free shipping.
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Old 11-07-2011, 10:43 AM   #10
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Cajundjb. where do you live? I'm live in Lake Arthur, La.
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