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John Blue
For a long time now I have been working to find a long range WiFi card or system that works. The past four months of testing have been very good on this one. Card is from Radiolabs out of Fortuna, CA and no I do not own the company. Web address is Radiolabs. Phone number 877-575-3700.

Card is 2-3/4x1-3/4x1/2 with two rubber antennas that screw into top of card. One is 8" and other is 4" long, the long one has the best range. You have a small four ft cable that goes into the USB jack. Software was on CD and takes very small amount of space. Price was $149.95 plus shipping. Item is called WAVERII "WaveRVII Long Range Notebook adapter". Card will work on PC that has USB jack. Also has a 400 MW output, other cards have 200 MWs.

I had this card sent to Buckhorn Lake Resort at Kerrville, TX and started testing at that point in our last trip out. At Buckhorn's WiFi was good in first place. I took laptop south of I-10 about 1/2 mile and could see reading of 85% sig level, but could not see campground. I went north around 1/2 mile and had same reading.

In Albuquerque, NM went 1/2 mile south of Flying-J, reading were 90%. Next went north on old route 66 to top of hill and could see 30% reading at I would guess to be 1-1/4 miles out. We were at the American RV park, as I was in 1/2 mile from park could see that sig as well. Picked up number of open WiFi sites on way up hill as well.

Here at home on old Linksys card I see no sig. On new card I see 17 wiFi sites. Out of the 17 12 are locked and others are open.

We all have trouble with poor sig levels from WiFi. This trick works for me. tongue.gif

If you need more information please let me know.
Texasrvers
John,
I am no where near as technically savvy as you so let me be sure I understand this. Basically you bought this WaverII system that plugs into a laptop with a USB port and then this device allows you to pick up wireless signals from farther away than usual. So if an RV park has wifi which does not extend through out the park, you can still pick it up using the WaverII. If I've got all that right it sounds like a great little device that we could certainly use. Thanks for all the time you spent testing it.
Cheryl Fuller
John, like TexasRver, I am not technology savvy, so I have a question. My laptop does not use a "card" to access our wireless router here at home (my old one did need a card). I am sure whatever it needs to pick upt he signal is internal. My question is this: is the device you are talking about an actual card that is inserted into some drive in the computer. I would love to have something like you are talking about but can't use it if it is an actual card and not accessed thru a USB port. Okay, did any of that make sense?
RLM
ALL> I am ‘technically savvy” so please permit me to add to John Blue’s comment.

Newer laptops have built in Wi-Fi capability that search for signals and produces a pop-up screen that allows one to click on a wi-fi signal source and get connected. The limitation of range is normally within the user’s computer. That is because the computer’s antenna is embedded on one of its internal circuit boards and that is a very poor arrangement for getting a good signal. Any external antenna plugged into the computer will enhance reception tremendously. To give an analogy, think about TV reception - which works better, a set of rabbit ears on top of the tv or a multi-element antenna stuck on the roof? The better the external antenna, the better the signal reception.

The WAVERII system is plugged into the computer’s USB port. Since I don’t have one, I assume the associated software makes the internal to external connection. In other words, connecting the preciously mentioned internal PC board antenna to the WAVERII antenna.

John Blue> There is some confusion on your “card” comment. I assume that you meant that the card is the device that is between the USB port and the actually antenna as opposed to something that slips into a slot in the computer. I think that is what confused Cheryl.

Be that as it may, I appreciate that you took the time to provide some range data. It validates some of the company’s claims on reception. They obviously will fudge their own numbers to make it look better.

The WAVERII system is omni-directions. Meaning that it receives signals in a 360-degree - all direction - radius. That is a no hassle antenna. Hook it up and do your thing.

But, if one wants the maximum signal strength, then I would suggest considering the directional Wi-POD antenna. It will provide a much better signal strength. However, it will require that the user point it at the source of the Wi-Fi signal. It’s akin to pointing your satellite dish at a place in space that will give the best signal.

If you want to "plug and play" the directional antenna isn't your cup of tea.

Thanks, John Blue. I think that you’ve advanced the cause for better Wi-Fi signals.

Rick
John Blue
Texasrvers,

Your information is correct. The range is the key here. Some systems are so poor you need to walk to office to see the weak sig. This trick will work inside our motorhome anyplace. Old card would work if I was close to front glass and no other units were in line of sight to the antenna.

Cheryl Fuller,

What you said is true about the laptop. Old systems used a card and new ones are build in.

OK, this card is "outside" the laptop or any PC. You have a four ft. cable with USB on one end, plug that into the USB jack on PC. Other end of cable had a small two pin head that plugs into this 2-3/4x1-3/4x1/2" Blue card. The other end of card has place to screw on the antenna 8" or 4". You can move card and antenna around (remember four ft cable) to pick up best sig. I lay it on dash or near a window to get max bars of sig level. Remember steel kills WiFi sig's.
On (laptop) bottom tool bar you will see a meter with bars, red is poor, yellow is fair, green is great. Also if you do not need more range then do not plug it in. If sig level is poor or dead them plug it in and go to work.

Rick,

You are correct, most RV people would not wish to use a POD system. Also this little trick will fit inside my laptop travel bag. Remember a caveman can use it! Now this will get me on court TV soon. Ha Ha


I talked to people in CA shop for sometime over this item. They has tons of RV people asked for more power and range so this card was setup (WaveRVII). Nice part is you do not need to mount anything on roof or run wires outside to use it. Card, cable, and antenna has a weigh of about 4 ounces.

More nice stuff for our toy box.
riggarob
Hi all. Good info. ? though. What if you are using a Verizon type "air card" in your laptop for internet service. Will this card help bring in a better signal? W/ the sprint card, you can plug it into a linksys router, and have wi-fi in your coach. Again, will this signal enhancing card help in these situations? Thanx in advance for any info. P.S. I know that your wi-fi reception w/ these "air cards" depends on how good your cell reception is.
Texasrvers
Here I go again, commenting on something I know nothing about. I thought an air card allowed you to "dial up" a number for your internet service provider. For instance I have a provider here at home. (Mine is a DSL service because I live in a fairly remote area.) Anyway when we travel this provider has many local numbers that I can call in larger cities. By using a telephone connection plus the laptop's built in modem I can dial a local number for the city we're in (or an 800 number) and connect to my provider back here in Texas and that gets me to the internet. As I understand it if you use an air card then basically it provides the telephone part of the connection. This way you do not have to go the the park office for a phone line. On the other hand if you use a park's wifi system then you are connecting to the internet using their service provider. So I am probably wrong but I don't see how the WaverII system would increase the air card signal.

How about it John or RLM? Do I have my technology straight or not? (Cheryl, I know you don't know. Just kidding! You know more than you give yourself credit for.)

We actually looked into the air card a few months ago and it also sounded good. However, since we are on the road only a months a year and the air card was a service that you paid for every month, this did not seem like a good option for us. The WaverII sounds more cost effective for our situation.
John Blue
riggarob,

What Texasrvers said is correct as far as I know. They are not the same service. This card only ties to WiFi systems that are in range. Air cards work over the cell phone network and for the same reason as Texasrvers, cost is high for number of months we spent on road. You paid by the year. You can also call people in CA for more help.
RLM
There are multiple methods to connect to the net. They are not the same because they use different hardware and/or software to do the job.

Wi-Fi is a system where you basically tap into someone else’s hi-speed connection by capturing a radio wave and then use it to send and receive data. The middleman between you and your internet service provider is whoever has the “ Wi-Fi Hotspot” set up. IE: campground, coffee shop, truck stop, etc. Because it is a radio wave, the external antenna system that John describes peaks (the non-technical term) your capability to receive it. Hence, you get more of those little green bars with a better antenna.

A cell phone wireless data card (air card) also sends and receives data, but does so on frequencies different than Wi-Fi. The middleman is the cell company. You must have a plug in wireless data card to send and receive the cell data signals. Anytime you are within the range of a cell tower you will be able to connect to the net thru the tower. Same process as traveling with your cell phone. There is an extra charge for the service, but reliability is better than Wi-Fi. I use such a system because I want the capability to connect 24/7. It can be used even if I am traveling down the road as long as I am in a cell service area. One of the nice things I've found is that if I need directions, campground info, fuel prices/locations, I can turn on the laptop, log onto the net and get it..all while not having to stop the rig. (I drive, the co-pilot does the browsing).

You can also connect using a cell fone hooked to an external antenna, altho that is getting to be more difficult to do. Most of the newer cell fones do not have a plug for an external antenna and the cell companies usually don’t sell a data plan anymore. They want you to buy the more expensive air card system. Even if that weren’t the case, connecting using a cell fone is slow – about ½ of a landline dial-up connection. In this day and age, that’s what I call…dead turtle speed.

As for the Cheryl’s wireless router, it is just basically a limited range wi-fi hotspot. Unless it is enciphered to prevent me from doing so, I could park in her driveway and tap into that signal for internet connections. Again, it’s just a radio wave that my laptop can receive.

Hope this helps. I am working with someone to produce an information booklet and/or detailed article on all this technical stuff to include satellite internet and TV. We just got started a few weeks ago. When finished, I’ll let you know.

Rick
Browzin
Texasrvers

OK let me try an explain "AIR CARDS".

First, a air card, no matter who it is from, Sprint, Verizon, Cingular/AT&T, T-Mobile etc. all work the same. When connected to your computer they connect to the service provider that you have service from (Sprint, Verizon, etc.). This service provider, is your ISP at this point, you do not connect to any other 800 # or other ISP. Remember this is BROADBAND data service, not cell phone tethered to computer acting like a home phone line. (You can not make phone calls from a air card. They are data only.)



Second, you need to have a cell signal in order to be able to connect with an air card. The biggest miss conception that people have is just because you do not have a signal on your cell phone does not mean that you won't have a signal with your air card.



Third, you can use a air card in a wireless router if you want to provide *WiFi* service to more than one computer, (just remember that *not* all air cards will work with all routers, make sure they are compatible before purchasing). With a router you have the option of adding a external antenna as well as a signal amplifier to the system if you so desire to increase your signal range. (This will increase your signal range between the air card and the cell tower, not the router and *WiFi* signal to your computer.)

Now if you do not need to supply a signal to more than one computer, you can plug the air card directly into your computer and connect an antenna directly to the air card as long as it has a antenna connection on the card. (There are many different types of air cards, USB connection, express card slot, PCMICA, to chose from, not all are compatible with all computers).



Fourth, there are many cell phones on the market today that are broadband ready, (you still have to have a cell phone service package that includes broadband service). If you have a cell phone that is broadband ready, you have the option of using it as a air card by tethering it to the computer and connecting the same as you would with a air card or you also have the option of using it like a home phone line and using a dial up connection. (dial up is so slow not sure why any one would want to do that any way).





Fifth, the monthly cost of a air card varies from each service provider. There are many different data service plans available at varying cost.



I realize that I have greatly oversimplified air cards / broadband operation in order to keep things understandable for people that are not familiar with there use/operation.
RLM
The only thing I would add to this is that the wireless data cards (air card) is that even tho it is 'broadband' the connection speeds are not always high speed. One has to be in an area where high speed broadband is available, otherwise the connection speed is only about 4x that of dial up. Still quick, but not DSL type speed. You can access the company's website and find the geographical high speed areas.



QUOTE(Browzin @ Jun 8 2007, 08:17 AM) *

Texasrvers

OK let me try an explain "AIR CARDS".

First, a air card, no matter who it is from, Sprint, Verizon, Cingular/AT&T, T-Mobile etc. all work the same. When connected to your computer they connect to the service provider that you have service from (Sprint, Verizon, etc.). This service provider, is your ISP at this point, you do not connect to any other 800 # or other ISP. Remember this is BROADBAND data service, not cell phone tethered to computer acting like a home phone line. (You can not make phone calls from a air card. They are data only.)



Second, you need to have a cell signal in order to be able to connect with an air card. The biggest miss conception that people have is just because you do not have a signal on your cell phone does not mean that you won't have a signal with your air card.



Third, you can use a air card in a wireless router if you want to provide *WiFi* service to more than one computer, (just remember that *not* all air cards will work with all routers, make sure they are compatible before purchasing). With a router you have the option of adding a external antenna as well as a signal amplifier to the system if you so desire to increase your signal range. (This will increase your signal range between the air card and the cell tower, not the router and *WiFi* signal to your computer.)

Now if you do not need to supply a signal to more than one computer, you can plug the air card directly into your computer and connect an antenna directly to the air card as long as it has a antenna connection on the card. (There are many different types of air cards, USB connection, express card slot, PCMICA, to chose from, not all are compatible with all computers).



Fourth, there are many cell phones on the market today that are broadband ready, (you still have to have a cell phone service package that includes broadband service). If you have a cell phone that is broadband ready, you have the option of using it as a air card by tethering it to the computer and connecting the same as you would with a air card or you also have the option of using it like a home phone line and using a dial up connection. (dial up is so slow not sure why any one would want to do that any way).





Fifth, the monthly cost of a air card varies from each service provider. There are many different data service plans available at varying cost.



I realize that I have greatly oversimplified air cards / broadband operation in order to keep things understandable for people that are not familiar with there use/operation.
Texasrvers
Wow RLM and Browzin', those were some of the best explanations I have ever had. I'm going to print them out. Thanks for dumbing down for me. I'm not being rude. I really appreciate your presenting this in a simple logical way. I actually understood it. It is a bit different from the info that the "air card" salesman gave us, and I obviously did not understand it very well. You two are more knowledgeable and could explain it better than the salesman. I'm still not sure the air card is right for us, but now I have a lot more information with which to make a decision.

I have another question about wifi at RV parks, but I will put it in a new thread a little later. Thanks again for all your help.
K.J.
I'm pretty new to actually understanding the technological side of wifi, and I agree that the above explanations were very good. I haven't actually tried out any of the said cards, but I did get a similar product called the Wi-Fire by some small company called hField Technologies. It's a USB plugin device that acts as an antenna right from the top of your laptop or anything you can clip it onto. It's going for about the same price as the WaveRVII, and so far it has worked very well. I just thought I'd share to give you a little more information to work with. I think there many products like this out on the market, you would just have to search online for a while to find the one you like. Maybe check out the list of products at http://products.wi-fiplanet.com/wifi/usb_a...er/recent1.html. That's where I found the Wi-Fire at. Good luck with your endeavors, and thanks for the simple explanations!
rangiebob
Just want to add my .02 on this. For the first year we lived in our motor home full-time I used a satellite connection. This is fairly slow and if the weather is rainy/snowy, somewhat undependable. It is also (in my experience) the next step up from dial-up as far as the speed.

About 3 months ago, I got a Verizon USB720 (not an air card) that I plug into my laptop's USB port. My son, who is my server, helped me set up an ad hoc network so my husband can be online with his laptop. Compared to satellite, it is a fast connection and, unlike satellite, I am able to be online while my husband is driving. I was thrilled with it until last week when we were at Hillview Aces RV in Cambridge, OH. I had no Verizon cell service on my phone and very little on my plug-in device. Because we work from our motor home, I always need to be connected. So, after one day of this frustration we moved to a campground in the city area of Cambridge and we were connected again.

Now I am looking at enhanced antennas options in case we are out of cell range and this happens again. This is what has been suggested: http://3gstore.com/index.php?main_page=pro...products_id=375.
rangiebob
QUOTE(rangiebob @ Jun 17 2007, 05:00 PM) *

Just want to add my .02 on this. For the first year we lived in our motor home full-time I used a satellite connection. This is fairly slow and if the weather is rainy/snowy, somewhat undependable. It is also (in my experience) the next step up from dial-up as far as the speed.

About 3 months ago, I got a Verizon USB720 (not an air card) that I plug into my laptop's USB port. My son, who is my server, helped me set up an ad hoc network so my husband can be online with his laptop. Compared to satellite, it is a fast connection and, unlike satellite, I am able to be online while my husband is driving. I was thrilled with it until last week when we were at Hillview Aces RV in Cambridge, OH. I had no Verizon cell service on my phone and very little on my plug-in device. Because we work from our motor home, I always need to be connected. So, after one day of this frustration we moved to a campground in the city area of Cambridge and we were connected again.

Now I am looking at enhanced antennas options in case we are out of cell range and this happens again. This is what has been suggested: http://3gstore.com/index.php?main_page=pro...products_id=375.



I couldn't figure out if there was a way to edit my post so I'm just adding something I forgot. When we got the USB device, we thought we'd use the satellite as a back-up when we weren't in cell range. Well, that didn't work out because there were so many trees at the campground that our satellite couldn't see the southern sky. This is certainly an ongoing challenge and education!
John Blue
rangiebob,

This is the same system we use in our motorhome. I found it at Prime Cellular in AZ. http://www.primecellular.com/. We have the same ant. on roof, cell amp., that works 800 or 1900 Hz's and we use a Mot E815 cell phone.

This trick works about all the time. You go from no service to full bars with amp on. If you have noise and hard to hear on Mot we hook up the Wilson amplifier and you hear very clear again. We have used this system for years now and had no problems.

You will drive into parts of USA that have no service. NV is one of them places, miles and miles of open desert no cows, no people, no towns, no anything.

You can call them at 800-713-3001 for more information.

Hope this will help! tongue.gif
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