Oliver | Luxury Fiberglass Travel Trailers, Campers & RVs › Forums › OLIVER CAMPERS › Mechanical & Technical Tips › Tethering a Hotspot to WiFi Ranger
- March 22, 2019 at 5:08 am #164307
Oliver offers the WeBoost Drive 4G-M Cellular Signal Booster and the WiFi Ranger Sky Pack as options. The WeBoost Cellular Booster will improve the signal on your phones if you use it correctly (see below). The WiFi Ranger has two inter-connected routers, the Sky router on the roof and the Go2 in the cabinet above the dinette, and it provides a number of useful features. First, it creates your own local network, which is especially useful if you have multiple devices. Logging in to your network is easy, as your devices can remember the password to your local network. Second, the rooftop antenna can boost the WiFi signal from a campground, a Starbucks, or a truck stop, from as much as a mile away (see post by RVGeeks). If your device (phone, tablet or laptop) is connected to the WiFi Ranger, you would have a much stronger signal and faster speeds than if you connected your device directly to the WiFi source. Third, the Sky router on the roof allows you to access your WiFi signal outside the trailer, as much as 1000 feet away. This allows you to surf the web at the picnic table or by the river. When inside the trailer you should connect to the interior Go2 router.
The interior antenna for the WeBoost Cellular Booster is mounted beneath the cabinets, above the dinette table. It is important that phones or hotspots be close to this antenna, about 18-36 inches. The signal strength decreases if you are too far away.
A lot of users use the WeBoost Cellular Booster and the WiFi Ranger together, along with a mobile hotspot. Verizon seems to have the best cellular coverage in rural America, and we purchased a Verizon 7730L Jetpack as our hotspot. In the past, we placed the hotspot on the dinette table, a good distance from the WeBoost interior antenna. After setting up camp, I would turn on the WeBoost, the WiFi Ranger, and the Verizon Jetpack. Next, I would have the WiFi Ranger connect to the Jetpack.
The WiFi Ranger has a USB port, and the instruction manual says that one can use a cable to directly tether the WiFi Ranger to a mobile hotspot or phone. This post describes how I did that; it was pretty easy. I wish I had done it sooner.
First, why bother? There are a number of good reasons to tether the mobile hotspot with a cable. (1) The signal between the hotspot and the WiFi Ranger is much faster and stronger over a cable than through the air via Wi-Fi. (2) WiFi connections break periodically. We all see this with our devices, where they have lost connection to WiFi, and we have to re-connect. This happens in the trailer, where the WiFi connection between the hotspot and the WiFi Ranger breaks. I find this out because my devices can no longer see the internet, and I need to use the WiFi Ranger Control Panel to reconnect them. These breaks in connectivity do not occur with a wired connection. (3) The WiFi Ranger, when powered on, automatically connects to the hotspot. I no longer have to log on to the Control Panel to do this. (4) The WiFi Ranger has something called Multi-WAN Dynamic Mode (support page and YouTube). This allows you to connect to a local WiFi network, perhaps the campground WiFi, and the WiFi Ranger can use both the local WiFi and your mobile hotspot, deciding which to use depending upon which is currently faster. Campground WiFi can be notoriously slow, but at some times of the day it might be faster than your hotspot. This can save on the amount of data you use on your hotspot. (5) The battery on my Jetpack is getting charged whenever the WiFi Ranger is powered on, albeit a minor benefit.
To tether my Jetpack to the WiFi Ranger, I bought a white 10-foot USB-A to USB-C cable from Amazon. USB-A is the common USB connection that has been around for years. USB-C is a newer type connector, and I need that because my Jetpack has a USB-C port for both data transfer and for charging. Your hotspot or phone could have a different connection port, and you would need a different cable.
I plugged the USB-A end into the side of theWiFi Ranger Go2 router, which is in the cabinet above the dinette. I ran the cable along the back of the cupboard until the center of the cabinet, then under the rubber mat in the cabinet and out the grommet that has the cable for the WeBoost interior antenna. I then wrapped the cable around the window, behind the frame that holds the window shades. The 10-foot cable was the perfect length to reach the center of the dinette table.
I decided I did not want the cable dangling from the grommet above the dinette. Although this is not necessary, I bought some white adhesive clips from Amazon to secure the cables. It gives it a neat appearance.
Finally, I put white Velcro on the belly band above the dinette, and black Velcro on the back of my Jetpack. That way I can keep the Jetpack off of the table, as other things often need this space.
Best practices for using the cellular booster. Some advice on properly using the cellular booster. After you turn on the WeBoost you should briefly put the phone in airplane mode, and then turn off airplane mode. This forces the phone to let go of the distant cell tower with the weak signal and to now look for the closest “cell tower,” which is the WeBoost. Similarly, if you were using the JetPack in the tow vehicle, you should power it off and then back on after starting the WeBoost. If you have been out hiking all day, your phone will remain connected to the distant cell tower, and you can get it to connect to the WeBoost by cycling into and out of airplane mode.
I tend to make very few phone calls when camping, but if you are camped at a location with very poor cell signal the booster works well when seated at the dinette. To improve your ability to make and receive phone calls I suggest you set your phone to use Calling Over WiFi. I think most phones and providers can do this. At my work, the cell signal is very bad, but with calling over WiFi I can get calls. In your trailer, if you have the WiFi Ranger connected to the cellular booster you can get calls throughout the trailer as well as outside.
WiFi Ranger Control Panel. You should make it easy to connect to the WiFi Ranger Control Panel via a web browser. On a laptop, you can save it as a bookmark for quick access. On a phone or tablet, you can use the Add to Home Screen method to save a Shortcut Icon to your device.
David Stillman, Salt Lake City, Utah
2016 Oliver Elite II Hull 164 | 2017 Audi Q7 tow vehicle.
Travel and Photography Blog: http://davidstravels.net
Attachments:March 22, 2019 at 7:45 am #164348
Great writeup, David.
Snowball • LE2 256 • 2018 Ford RaptorMarch 22, 2019 at 3:55 pm #164511
David, this is a super write-up and exactly the setup I need when picking up Hull#444 on April 4. I purchased the cell phone booster and WiFi Ranger sky pack options, and recently purchased a Verizon 8800L jetpack with the prepaid, unlimited data plan ($70 per month). I intend to follow your instructions to the letter. The pictures are very helpful. What I need now is a compact LaserJet printer/scanner/copier and some advice on the best place to put it. This summer, I plan to semi-retire to half-time (yahoo) but I still need to be connected as I travel into the scenic country with my lab retriever, Magnum, and sometimes my lovely wife, Karren, but continue to work part-time. I am a Professional Engineer so need the printer/scanner/copier and connectivity for my work. Also, I DO NOT LIKE ink jets. Never had any luck with the very expensive ink jet cartridges. I am a fan of HP LaserJet (my home office is a HP Color Laser Jet Pro MFP M281fdw which is too big for the Oliver). Printer recommendations? Once again, thank you for a great description – I intend to print and include in my “Oliver User Manual” which continues to improve with wonderful sections such as your connectivity recommendations. I am a bit old school – sometimes find written manuals/plans to be more convenient than reliance on the internet.
2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II, Hull#444
2019 GMC Sierra 2500HD Crew Cab, 4WD, Denali, Duramax 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8 Engine with Allison 6-speed transmission
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