How to improve internet @ most RV parks?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by livin4RV, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. livin4RV

    livin4RV
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    I have been using RVparkreviews for some time tho only recently joined to share my perspective and more "current" park reviews. I really have an issue with the sh***y internet at most parks where i get dropped repeatedly or no access...yada yada yada - yet i never have any problem at Starbucks?!! My laptop now is brand new and was bought and streamlined specifically for travelling etc. Tengo-internet is proving to be the only one that is willing to provide service to RV parks...and they are leaving a really bad impression with me. I have not but am considering purchasing a Wifi booster [tho i invested in an antenna last year to help strengthen connectivity via my comp tech's advice] yet it still is a crap shoot with tengo internet and not really any significant improvement from last year's experiences.
    Any suggestions?
    Note: most Rv parks "know" of the issues with tengo-internet and so will encourage you to call them personally [so stop yelling at them - its really not their job description] yet as i shared i learned from a computer geek that cell phones/smart phones/tablets not even being used can still 'drain' internet bandwidth/connectivity - as they are always receiving updated/current data etc.
    Really not wanting this thread to be a "vent" session - just would like to hear some suggestions of how to improve internet while RVing. thanx
     
  2. docj

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    A recent survey published by KOA indicated that wifi access is now the number one amenity requested by RVers, even ahead of many traditional expectations. However, this shift has occurred only within a the past few years, a relatively short period of time, and many RV park owners haven't been able to remain abreast of the change in customer expectation.

    Don't lose sight of the fact that only ~5-7 years ago internet access at an RV park for most people was simply a way of getting their email and maybe a little websurfing. Today it is not uncommon for a family to show up at a park with every family member expecting to connect his/her own device all of which are capable of streaming video or other high data rate uses.

    Quite a few rural RV parks are located in places where obtaining adequate bandwidth for all such families is literally impossible, at any price. Other parks may be locations where service is available but owners may not yet understand that their competitive position demands they pay for increased capability. More and more are doing so but acceptance of change is never rapid.

    With regard to your comment about Tengonet, you should understand that Tengo designs wifi systems but, in general, has not required park owners to purchase adequate bandwidth. Although this may seem nonsensical, there are quite a few park owners who fail to understand that wifi without appropriate bandwidth may be worse than not providing wifi at all.

    You as as user may benefit from purchasing a wifi amplifier with external antenna. But even though I am associated with a company that makes such devices, WiFIRanger, I always warn potential customers that NO amplifier can make an overloaded wifi system with inadequate bandwidth into a good one. An amplifier can improve your ability to connect to a wifi and can provide other benefits, but no device can increase the bandwidth.

    Most serious RVers also carry their own internet capability via a cellular connection. Even though cellular internet isn't inexpensive, both Verizon and AT&T provide coverage nearly everywhere in the US.
     
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  3. Janet H

    Janet H
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    A cell booster has proved extremely useful in the Pacific NW as connections away from major interstate routes are often lean but there are still many, many locations where there simply is no cell coverage. Connectivity is a top priority for many Rvers, but can be expensive or difficult to provide in some rural areas. The good news is that each year sees improvements in this regard.
     
  4. docj

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    We have a Wilson (now known as WeBoost) Sleek, a cradle-type device that works with phones and MiFi (Jetpack) type devices. It is <$150; newer, higher power devices now are available, but the Sleek provides 15-25 dBm gain and has been adequate for our needs.
     
  5. livin4RV

    livin4RV
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    Thank you both for the speedy response. Tho I do understand the location dilemma [ie:small towns, remote places] I am sharing where the RV park/resort is fairly new and certainly updated, as my criteria puts internet access in my top 3 "must have"s in a park - because i specifically plan and choose parks based on Wifi availability - as i rely on it for weather updates, mapping and detail planning of my RVing. docj maybe you can explain when upon further 'investigation' of some of these parks where i extend my stay - there was no significant improvement in connectivity even after 4 consecutive days with an almost empty park - which one would think would guarantee or improve internet access. Tengonet insisted they had sent 'techs' to investigate...and found nothing wrong.
    One park did add 3 more towers to their present 2 [i assumed that it was tengonet's doing] yet even after that - the last month i was there i noticed little to no improvement.
    Another resort i learned had a policy in place that any long term-ers were to purchase their own personal Wifi/internet - so i'm curious are they in any way using the same towers or interfering with our bandwidth with the resort Wifi [esp if they bought thru tengonet]? Of course the park office would never hear complaints with their connectivity problems...as they are not the internet providers.
    I am disappointed Verizon has not yet made it to Canada - and i am looking into buying into it possibly next winter when i am south.
    I now even avoid parks that cannot or won't give a proper GPS - as i do this solo a lot...and the dogs refuse to read a map!
    I like 'gadgets' now so i will definitely be looking into your suggestions for 'toy-improvements', and thank you again.
     
  6. docj

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    Some park owners, particularly in rural areas, are using residential quality wifi hardware with relatively limited DSL internet connections. There's no telling what the underlying "backhaul" is in any given park. So it's not impossible that the connection in an empty park is poor even when the park is empty. Adding towers has nothing to do with the speed of an internet connection; it only helps you connect more reliably to the network; if the backhaul hasn't been improved nothing really changes.

    The people who are "purchasing their own" internet are using cellular connections which have nothing to do with the park wifi. They aren't interfering with anyone; the frequencies being used are totally different as are the towers.

    As a Canadian resident you may not be able to get a Verizon contract unless you have a US address and can pass a US credit check. We have the same problems when we go north.
     
  7. livin4RV

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    This is why it is important to have friends on both sides of the border. I did find Verizon's global and data plans to be the best deal [for my needs] but my dilemma was that deals which are offered "online" by Verizon are not the same deals offered "in-store", or i would have gotten the iphone5 deal & i would have been a relatively happy camper [literally]
    Thank you docj for sharing the info and better explaining Wifi.
    Just for clarity why is Tengonet not better at explaining this to the parks about upgrading/increasing bandwidth? Are the parks themselves acting irresponsible by claiming ignorance on the technology aspect? Or are the internet providers shirking on their end by not better informing & educating the parks to their specific needs?
    Some parks have chosen to restrict 'streaming' so now i have to ask that specifically at each park; and if a park does that practice - then they loose my business [unless i am staying longterm and then i will gladly sign up for my own personal Wifi]
    Just curious to know who exactly are we to be holding more responsible for sh***y Wifi?
     
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  8. NYDutch

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    Tengonet can only advise parks of the Internet service options available to them, and the costs. If a park chooses to go with a lower cost option, there isn't much Tengo can do about it. In other cases, higher speed services are just not available in a given area.
     
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  9. livin4RV

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    i'm not sure how much help we can get now we are back in canada, yet we are experiencing sh***y Wifi at a resort that only just got 'connected up' last year - and it has been hellish with the constant dropping and 'crashing' of their router/modems(?) I was told they had "good Wifi" that becomes only problematic in the summer months when kids start showing up - then they plan to restrict streaming etc. but today i was told they are going to be implementing the restrictions sooner [and b4 i can get personal Wifi installed - one month waiting for Telus] Now i am considering moving on as i do not see how my personal Wifi will be any better than their sh***y Wifi has been [both are supplied by Telus] So if Telus internet is failing for the resort - how can i expect any better service with my personal wifi = same area same company?
     
  10. docj

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    There should be little correlation between how your personal internet connection will operate and how the park's wifi works even if both are supplied by the same carrier. The performance of the park's wifi is determined, in part, by the size of the "pipe" to the internet that it pays for. This is not at all relevant to your connection since you, in essence, are paying for your own pipe.

    BTW, if you aren't aware, posting on internet discussion forums using bold-face type or all caps is frowned upon. It is considered "shouting" and not in good taste. Please refrain from using bold except to highlight a key portion of your post. Thanks.
     
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  11. livin4RV

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    I apologize for the 'bad penmanship' - i was unaware bold print is also considered yelling. docj - you mentioned b4 that my personal wifi will have nothing to do with the resort's - yet we are in what one might consider a remote area and Wifi was only introduced here last year. There is no cell service, yet long time owners have been able to get phone lines plumbed to their sites [pricey]. It is the phone company [Telus] that when I talked to was told I would be given my own 'box' and my streaming would be fine and uninterrupted. Yet for the life of me I cannot fathom how my modem will operate better with more/adequate speed for streaming and not have anything to do with resort's. It's a simple $35/month 'box' that they are guaranteeing will easily deliver me hi-speed internet [tentative explanation was something to do with satellite] I keep trying to google it - but then the internet crashes...again!
     
  12. NYDutch

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    Your connection to the Telus network will be for your use only, not shared with the rest of the park. Sort of like the difference between the old time party line phones versus a private line, if you're old enough to remember those days.
     
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  13. livin4RV

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    Thanks NYDutch for the insight, raised on farm so for us it was party lines a longtime. I really miss the old rotary phones sometimes...hard to loose those between the cushions! It is such a beautiful and pristine spot here so we have decided to stay at least to give the personal Wifi a serious try - i will keep you posted. I have boondocked before and the experience of "unplugging" is not without merit, it's just that we are in an isolated area already so being able to keep in some kind of contact with the 'outside world' is appreciated. Que sera!
     
  14. NYDutch

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    Yes, please let us know how it works out for you. I'm sure there are other folks that would be interested.

    "Back in the day", we had a 13-party phone line at one point for our rural location. When we were switched to a 4-party line, it was almost as good as a private line. You could actually pick up the phone most of time, without anyone else being on! :D
     
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  15. Virginia c

    Virginia c
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    I got the Hotspot added to my phone and when the parks internet isn't that great. I use that, it's great and not that expensive, you really can't compare having no problems getting on the Internet at Starbucks to an rv park, the size between the two is usually huge. I think it's hard for the campgrounds to get the Internet right, the tree's and the size of most campgrounds. Try the Hotspot you will be less frustrated. Good luck.
     
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  16. nedmtnman

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    If I am staying overnight I don't bother with it but if I am staying long term like the winter in Texas I use a hotspot on my phone.
     
  17. Creeper

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    The difference between starbucks and RV campground wife. Starbucks people are all within the routers range with not extended distances. In a RV campground you have dozens of people who think it's okay to watch movies or are trying to video chat away. I've seen people yelling at campground owners that they can't watch their online movies as the wifi is too slow. Since most campground owners have no clue about wifi, they just plunk down a standard house router, put up a sign for free wifi and never configure it( yes I've had to use the default password and set up their routers to fix it for the campers). The biggest problem is not limiting bandwidth per user. A few campers can take over an internet connection. I've set up my own hotspot, pointed my directional antenna at some off site free internet and then charge people to use my bridge. :)
     
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  18. docj

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    The problem with wifi at most CG's is not the hardware but the inadequate backhaul (the connection to the internet). Many park owners undersize their internet connection because of cost or availability and nothing can remedy that problem. WiFi has become the most desired amenity among RVers and also the most complained about.
     
  19. livin4RV

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    An update: the personal Wifi has been working great, and i have been encouraging everyone staying here [esp long term] to sign up for it. Best money i've spent here! I have enjoyed the Wifi for over a month now [got lucky and they came early to set it up] and I am glad it's working out as i really love the area and really wanted to stay the summer. Sad to say this but owners/managers of RV parks really need to get educated on their so called "free Wifi" - cause sh**** Wifi is going to end up costing in the long run = i would have left if this could not have been rectified, as it was/IS a deal breaker for me. Now i will be adamant in any planning of extended stays - that they guarantee to have good/proper Wifi availability, or we will not be staying. Loss of revenue will have to be the 'forehead flick' to the parks.
     
  20. tony s

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    I have been working on our Wifi for over a year. I originally had 3 antennas for a 200 space Rv Park. It is a lot more complicated than most think to get a good wifi connection to most Rv's. We now have over 20 antennas. 2 Fiber optic runs,2 Backhaul stations so 8 antennas make it back to the main access point over this setup. Then 4 antennas go over fiber optic back to main access point. Then the rest of the antennas pic up the best route back to the main access point. Interference plays a big part of connection issues. The Park is one big hotspot. Everyone is given a code to connect. The antennas are set on different channels to try to avoid some of the interference. Then you have all the trees which also can cause problems. Also a problem is the devices trying to connect to our wifi. I personally have a laptop, ipad, android tablet, android phone. I will go around our park and connect to the wifi. When I do this, the devices will usually pic different antennas to connect sometimes they are close other times they seem to far away. I see which antennas they have connected to through my system. Each device chooses it's own antenna nothing has control over this part of the connection except the device. I have found the thinner devices such as apple products seem to be the hardest to connect. They don't work very well if over 100ft to antenna that the are connected to. I also limit bandwidth so that one person doesn't abuse the system. We have 100 mbps of bandwidth. The most I have seen used is 35 and that is total usage. We usually have between 50-90 people connected at the same time. With all this done we still will get complaints that some still can't connect. So even in the best of situations there is a lot going on to make the wifi work.
     

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