Staying Connected on the Road: A Look at Cellular Boosters
We spend a good deal of time working with products that help RVers stay connected on the road. Our Staying Connected seminars seem to always be popular at RV rallies, and our WeBoost Cellular Boosters and Pepwave Cellular Routers are top sellers. There is no doubt that while RVers may travel to "get away," we do not necessarily want to give up the comforts of life, and staying connected to the internet seems to be at the top of the list. Many RV park owners tell me that the number one amenity that RVers are looking for is a great Wi-Fi signal. Forget the swimming pools, shuffle board, and game rooms; give us internet, and we will entertain ourselves!
Difference in Cellular and Wi-Fi
There is a difference in cellular signal and Wi-Fi signal, and when you are developing a plan to stay better connected, you don't want to confuse these two. In short, Wi-Fi is a set of media access controls designed for setting up a wireless local area network. Wi-Fi comes from an internet provider like Comcast, Cox, Mediacom, and so on, and covers a limited area. Generally Wi-Fi is for unlimited use and can be very fast. RV parks that offer Wi-Fi are simply taking the signal from the internet company and giving you access to it wirelessly. Unfortunately, most campgrounds do not offer enough bandwidth to give a great experience, and most RVers are moving to cellular for a reliable internet connection on the road.
A cellular signal comes from a mobile carrier like Verizon and AT&T and is transmitted through cell towers. A cell signal can cover a large area, can be fast, but is limited to the plan that you have as far as usage. Luckily, there are more options for larger data plans available for RVers now. TechnoRV offers a 300GB plan from Verizon that covers the data needs for the majority of RVers.
Your Resources for Connecting
If you find yourself in areas that have weak cell coverage, then there is a solution to this problem. Your adapter in your device that is trying to grab that cellular signal can only do so much, but by adding a cellular booster you will find in most cases that your experience improves dramatically.
Communicating with a cell tower requires you to transmit a signal to the tower and to hear the signal coming back to you. Cell boosters work wonders in both directions to improve download and upload speeds. Watching the number of signal bars you have is not an exact science, but can give you a general indication of what your experience is going to be when using the signal.
Remember though, cell boosters are not magic, and can only do so much. If there is not a signal in the area to boost, then there is no booster that can make something out of nothing. One thousand times zero is still zero, and this applies to boosting cell signal as well. With that said, if you have found yourself with a struggling signal, and you are dropping calls and data speeds are super slow, adding a cell booster will make a big difference for you.
Let's take a look at some options that we have available to help boost your cell signal. We only sell WeBoost brand cell boosters (formerly known as Wilson). As a company, we do not get mixed up in selling a lot of different brands of one solution. We locate and test what we believe to be the best, and that is what we sell.
TechnoRV Cell Boosters
There are 2 WeBoost Cellular Booster options that we offer that should cover your needs: WeBoost Drive Reach and the WeBoost Destination.
WeBoost Drive Reach RV
The WeBoost Drive Reach RV comes with the maximum allowed 50 dB gain and is designed to be used in motion or stationary. The unit has an outside antenna, an amplifier (booster), and an inside desktop antenna. The inside antenna's range can vary depending on the incoming cellular signal. We've seen it as far as 8 feet, but it is far more common to only see 2-3 feet. If you have a mobile hotspot or use your phone as a hotspot, then just set your hotspot next to the inside antenna and you will always have the benefit of the cellular booster when in use. If you need the boosted signal for phone calls, then position yourself next to the antenna or use a blue tooth headset and leave the phone next to the antenna.
Since the WeBoost Drive Reach can be used in motion, the outside antenna can be mounted permanently on the roof. You would need to run the cable inside to the amplifier where it will need to have 12V or 120V power. You can also mount it temporarily when you arrive at your destination using a TechnoRV Suction Cup Antenna Mount and PVC pole. or any other antenna mount you may have. When we temporarily mount the Drive Reach, we run the cable in through a slide and connect it to the inside amplifier.
WeBoost Destination RV
The WeBoost Destination RV is the most powerful RV cellular booster in our lineup, boasting a 65 dB gain system. This system is designed for use with stationary RVs and cannot be used while in motion. To use the booster, simply set it up when you reach your destination, and take it down before you leave. The unit comes with an outside directional cellular antenna mounted on a 25' telescoping pole (the pole is 6 feet when not extended), which requires approximately 30 minutes for initial installation and 10 minutes for subsequent setup and take down.
The inside antenna is a wall-mounted panel antenna that outperforms other antennas in its class, delivering remarkable transmission and receiving power. The kit includes an AC and DC power supply, 60 feet of RG-6 cable, and all necessary mounting materials.
A Few Questions to Ask Yourself About Cell Boosters
Do you need to boost cell signal while in motion?
If so, then you need to know that all cell boosters are not made to be used while in motion. The FCC cuts off in-motion boosters at 50 dB gain. If a booster has more than 50 dB gain, then it cannot be used while in motion. Keep in mind, 50 dB gain is a very strong booster, so it's not like you are getting ripped off by stopping at 50 dB gain. The WeBoost Drive Reach RV is designed to be used in motion and has the maximum gain of 50dB.
Do you want a permanent or temporary cell booster solution?
Some cell boosters are made for easy set up, and others are a bit more involved. The set up for all cellular boosters are very similar. You will have an outside antenna, an amplifier, and an inside antenna. You will need to be prepared to run the cable from the outside antenna inside, so this is something to consider. Many people mount the Drive Reach antenna temporarily using the TechnoRV Suction Cup Antenna Mount paired with a PVC pole.
The WeBoost Drive Reach can be used as a permanent mount due to its omnidirectional antenna and its 50dB gain which is allowed to be used in motion, but it is also popular as a temporary mount as well. The WeBoost Destination is designed to only be used when you arrive at your campsite. Not only does it have a gain above what the FCC allows in motion, but it also comes with a directional antenna which does no good while in motion.
Things to Consider When Installing a Cell Booster
When you install a cellular booster, you need to create distance between the outside antenna and the inside booster. If there is not enough distance, then these two can start to interfere with one another, also known as oscillation. This is common with all cell boosters and is easily overcome by creating space between the two.
Be sure to place your inside desktop antenna in a location where it is most used. The amplifier can be placed in a cabinet, but the desktop antenna needs to be out and visible in order for it to operate best. Remember, the range the antenna works can vary with the incoming cellular signal and can be as far as 8-10 feet, but it is best to plan for 2-3 feet since most times you use a cell booster, the original signal is weak.
Arm Yourself to Stay Connected
Don't let connection issues ruin a good day of RVing. You know going into it that there will be connection issues as you travel, and since you already know this it makes sense to arm yourself with the correct booster to make your trip more enjoyable. Cell phone boosters and Wi-Fi boosters can aid in connecting in these hard to reach places. Don't wait until you are pulling your hair out to think about your boosting set up.
As always, if you have more questions you can reach us for more information at email@example.com.
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