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Old 07-11-2020, 06:25 PM   #1
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Getting your WiFi on via a Cable Modem

The below is a write up I did for the campground we are staying at about how to hook up WiFi via Spectrum cable. The TV cable is provided as part of the standard connections at the resort and thru some, at times, frustrating discussions with Spectrum, I was finally able to break the code, so to speak, and figure out how to do it.

While your resort and cable provider will be different perhaps some of the tips and tricks I learned will be helpful. And regardless of the area / provider the discussion on equipment applies anywhere.

And now that I have this equipment, anytime we stay at a location for a spell I am hopeful that we can quickly navigate the service providers layers and establish cable internet without any connection or disconnect fees as is the case where we are.

I have read thru the Forum rules and it seems I am not violating any in mentioning campgrounds or companies.

Here is the write up I did for the good folks at Moose Hillock:

Getting your WiFi on via a Cable Modem at Moose Hillock Camping Resort Fort Ann, NY

This is a self-help guide for the those who are willing to install a modem and set up a wireless router. No real experience is needed as these devices come packaged with easy to follow guides and instructions.

While the free WiFi that is provided by the Resort is much appreciated, and something we have used a lot over the years, when we became a seasonal, having our own dedicated Internet and WiFi really opened both our entertainment and ability to work windows. Both my wife and I have jobs where we can work remotely on laptops and having our own connection allowed us to do this from the comfort of our RV. Additionally, given the spotty cell service around here, having the smartphone ‘hot spot’ just was not cutting bandwidth and reliability wise.

If you are a seasonal or simply staying for a spell and WiFi is on your list of must haves, it’s totally possible without visits by a Spectrum technician or connect / disconnect fees as long as you have your own equipment and are willing to get on the phone for a bit.

The key to getting this done is understanding how Spectrum services the campground. Unlike your single residential family home, the campground is considered the same as an apartment complex with one feed and many users. And your site number is the same as an apartment number from Spectrum’s viewpoint. As such the folks your need to talk to at Spectrum are in the “Community Sales” also known as the “Bulk Department.” Only folks in this department will be able to initiate the Cable Internet service.

The phone number for Community Sales was 833-697-7328 at the time of this writeup but calling the generic number and keep asking to be transferred to Community Sales will also work. Do not let them convince you the first ‘normal’ sales person can help, insist on talking to Community Sales.

Another key to making this work smoothly is knowing that the address Spectrum has for the ‘apartment complex’ is 10366 State Route 149, Fort Ann, NY 12827. Not SR 149, not NY 149, but specifically “State” followed by a space and then “Route” followed by a space then “149”. Even though I was talking to Community Sales it was over 1 hr and several agents before I got one savvy enough to look multiple ways and even use the internet to get this proper address. Said differently, unless the agent can call up the location in their system the first try, they will try to convivence you its not set up and need to go a different route. At least that was my experience. If they ask for the nearest cross road, its Tripoli.

And another key is that the agent may ask you to get a form signed off by the property manager. There is no need, they already have signed it off and it’s on file. If the agent pushes back, insist that you have already talked to the property manager and the Mgr told you they signed it off a few years ago with Spectrum.

There are at three steps to the process.

Step One: setting up your account with the Community Sales agent. Things like ‘what speed’ and do you want the HBO package, etc. Explain that you ONLY want internet, that the ‘apartment complex’ already provides free basic tv via the cable that is already available at your location. Remember your site number is their apartment number. Also explain you have your own equipment. Be ready with the MAC ID of your cable modem (more on that later as well).

Step Two: validating your site / apartment is suitable for cable internet. This is a Spectrum internal check with a different department. The Community Sales Agent may ask you to call back after this step is done; for me, I was lucky and the agent said, “Hold on, I know they can get this done in a few minutes.” Took about 15, but this was my 3rd or 4th attempt. On earlier attempts is when they came back and said, “need Property Mgr sign off”, i.e. the other department was insisting on it. So, a few back and forth calls with the Resort and Spectrum and that is when I finally got lucky. This was the ‘tip’ I was given by this great Community Sales agent, she said “I know they just are somewhat busy, so I make them look to see if any other apartments have internet at an address and when they see that, they are all good to go.”

Step Three: validating you have internet. While you may have to call back technical support like I did this was only because I did not have my modem ready yet. During Step Two, I was still exploring if it was even possible to get internet, so I had yet to get my device. The phone number direct to technical support I was given was 888-415-0012.

Note: all the above lessons took multiple phone calls over a two-week period so hopefully this will shortcut that into just an hour or two.

Let’s discuss equipment.
Since this is a cable internet connection, you need a “cable modem”. But that will only get you internet, not Wifi. For that you also need a WiFi Router. As I am sure you know, a WiFi Router hooks up to the Cable Modem and it will then broadcast WiFi as well as provide several additional wired ports. I researched several options and settled on a combination Cable Modem + WiFi Router, all in one small and convenient box. It is NETGEAR Model: C3700. Was not crazy expensive with hyped up with antennas from a spaceship. Got it for $90 in spring of 2020. Easy to use interface and setup with all the needed security as well as both 2.4 and 5 GHz broadcasts. And I was able to tuck it away in an unused cabinet; more on that later. On this device will be the MAC ID. This is needed when you are initiating the modem with Spectrum. Ideally you will have your modem installed, operational and be hooked up to it with a laptop / smart pad (wired or wireless > you do not need internet to hook up to your WiFi router). That way Spectrum can “ping” the router to ensure they see it, allow it access to their system and then ask you if have internet (which is why you need to be on your laptop and hooked up to the router).

Also, as I understand it, since I own my own equipment and there is no activation or disconnect fees, nor a contract, even if I was a transient and staying for only 10 days and could call up Spectrum and have them activate my ‘apartment’ and deactivate it when I leave. They do charge by the partial month, so you only get billed for the time you are active. The monthly rate in 2020 is $49,99/month.

Some other benefits of your own connection and Wifi.
In addition to the aspects mentioned above, having a dedicated connection with WiFi has also enabled us
• to install a WiFi connected Thermostat
• get a WiFi connected Nanny Cam + Security Camera
• get a Smart TV (still to be bought)
• remotely monitor the RV power (loss of) as well as temperatures in the RV and Refrigerator / Freezer (still to be bought)

We are appreciating the WiFi connected Thermostat a lot so far. While we are a seasonal, we are not full time RV’ers. That explains, in part, the list above. The WiFi Thermostat allows us, prior to arrival, turn on the A/C or Heat so the RV is nice and comfortable when we get there. Also, when staying at the RV, we get out during the day onto beautiful Lake George. Now we can turn off the A/C when we leave, saving a lot on electricity, and simply use the app on our smartphone to toggle the A/C back on an hour before getting back. Neat! Or should I say “Cool!”

What follows next is for the more tech savvy.
Since we are not full time the remote aspect that WiFi provides is important to us. Thus, having WiFi during a power outage was also germane. The cable modem / router runs off a typical wall wart that plugs into 110VAC and delivers some level of DC to the device. To keep these devices going during a power outage, folks will get an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). As you may know, this device plugs into the wall (110AVC) and the protected devices, in turn, are plugged into it. As long as there is 110VAC it simply passes it thru. But during a power outage, the built-in battery and circuits will kick in and provide 110VAC to the connected devices. For how long depends on both the power consumption of the devices and the battery capacity of the UPS. But a RV, with its car battery is already like one big UPS. So, I looked for a modem device whose DC power requirements was 12VDC. In other words, the wall wart converts the 110VAC to 12VDC and passed it to the modem via the thin little wire. Why not just hook up the little wire directly to the RV’s 12VDC system? Instant UPS! And this is what was done with one addition. Let me explain:
The 12VDC system on an RV is maintained by the power converter while shore power is hooked up and available. This device will constantly charge the 12V battery. And the good devices will go thru a ‘charge-maintain-desulfation’ cycles that kicks up the DC Voltage to 14VDC and higher during the desulfation process. And of course, during a power outage the voltage will drop to the point where the battery is dead. A good UPS system will cut off powering the devices (in part to protect them) when its battery voltage drops to the point where it can no longer sustain the needed output. While I do not know for a fact, I am sure the modem / router devices are somewhat sensitive to voltage. Recall the wall wart puts out 12VDC in the case of the NETGEAR C3700; so, I wanted to ensure the device received a constant 12VDC even if the RV’s convertor was up a 14+. And for loss of shore power I wanted the device to still see 12VDC for as long as possible and then get cut off. Turns out they make a device called a “Voltage Stabilizer” for just such an application. This device will take in from 10 to 36 VDC and output a constant 12VDC; below 10VDC as the RV battery dies, it will simply shut down. So, the modem / router is now protected just like a good UPS system will do. And at a cost of ~ $25 compared to a typical $100 for a UPS, I saved a bunch of bucks to boot. The device was purchased on Amazon and is called: “Car DC 12V 4A Voltage Stabilizer Surge Protector Power Supply Regulator for Auto Truck Vehicle Boat Solar System etc. (DC10-36V Input, DC12V Output).” Its tag says LY-KREE T121204. I simply cut the thin wire from the wall wart and attached the lead that plugs into the modem onto the Voltage Stabilizer paying attention to the plus and minus sides. And I kept the wall wart just in case.
Finding 12VDC on the RV system was easy in the cabinet I choose to tuck all this into. And since I do not have a wall wart plugged into a 110VAC outlet, I can hide the complete system. Note that the RV’s cable was also accessible from this cabinet so was able to route via a COAX splitter, the needed cable for the modem as well. And due to the location of the cabinet, which is below the built in TV, I was able to run the router’s two Cat 6 port connections up the wall to an outlet I installed. Now I have the needed (preferred) wired connection to the eventual Smart TV that will bought.

Here are a couple of pics of the installation.
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:52 PM   #2
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Thanks!

I didn't know that was even possible! I'll have to check if my campground is aware of this before we head down South for the winter.
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:39 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boscorelli View Post
I didn't know that was even possible! I'll have to check if my campground is aware of this before we head down South for the winter.
Even if they are not, do not stop there. Ask the campground who the TV cable service provider is and then vigorously pursue them about it. Spectrum did not even acknowledge the address until it was provided exactly as it was in their system. And the other tip is the campground is really an apartment complex from their perspective.

Let us know how it goes and Good Luck!
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Old 08-09-2020, 06:26 PM   #4
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Unexpected Benefit!

In the write up above I go into how I used the RV’s 12VDC system to power the WiFi Router vs. using the typical wall wart that depends on shore power. Well due to an issue I was having with my Progressive Industries EMS (see other post), I had to turn off shore power for a number of times over several hours and a couple of days. Off goes the CG’s 30 Amp breaker so I am safe working on the AC side. On again. And off again, time and time again. Yet not once did the DW complain. She continued to have the 12VDC lights as well as the WiFi with ZERO interruptions. Neat!
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Old 08-09-2020, 08:03 PM   #5
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Most, of not all, Netgear and Arris devices are 12v. My Netgear box in the MH is connected directly to the coach. Also have an Amazon Alexa thing running direct. Thanks for the voltage stabilization device link. Gonna order right now.
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