Internet boost?

Leefireman

New Member
Apr 24, 2022
6
My wife's work is giving her a work from home option which means she could go camping and do some work. My concern is that she won't have good internet. What is a good solution to boost the network connection from the phone to use as a hot spot?
 

Dnodoz

Active Member
Apr 15, 2020
111
We use a WeBoost 4G RV when we have a weak signal. We put the outdoor antenna on an extended painter’s pole and route the coax cable into our Aliner where we have the transmitter plugged into our 12v system. Then we setup the inside antenna on our counter top.

Downside is that your phone or device need to almost be touching the small inside antenna to get the boost.

We usually set our hotspot on the counter touching the inside antenna and then connect our devices through WiFi to the hotspot. That way we don’t need to hover over the inside antenna.

We find that we usually get a one bar improvement over non-boosted signal. If unboosted is zero than boost does nothing. However, if we get at least a bar the boost will get us up to 2 or 3 bars and allow us to browse or stream.

1) You’ve got to at least get a minimal signal or it won’t matter.

2) You need to abide by the distance requirement between the outside and inside antennas.

3). It’s not cheap! Our booster was about $499 3 years ago.

Otherwise, we have very rarely had to go to plan B for cell service. Bottom of Palo Duro Canyon required us to drive up to the office at top of the canyon to use public WIFI. In Ridgeview, Co we had to park outside the town’s library for WIFI.

Starlink is the ultimate solution but even more expensive and still getting the kinks worked out. Depends on what you’re willing to settle for.
 

kudzu

Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 20, 2014
568
Knee deep in kudzu
My experience with Weboost is similar to Dnodoz. If my cell phone can get a bar of signal, my Weboost unit can bump it up 1-2 bars. It’s a lot to pay, $500, for what sounds like a minimal boost. However, that boost usually makes a quite noticeable internet speed difference. At some spots, it is the only thing allowing me to work from the campsite. It has made working better, more efficient. It makes it possible for me to camp more. It should be said, my work is not what I consider data intensive. It is accounting with sometimes large spreadsheets but no graphics. I'm satisfied but not blown away. At the same time, there are almost no other options.

Are you using a canvas p'up? It is important to bear in mind that, as Dnodoz mentions, these systems are designed to work indoors. The outdoor antenna picks up the cell signal and sends it inside via ntenna cable brings it in to the booster unit. Indoor antenna hooks to booster unit and broadcasts the signal to phone or mobile hotspot. The indoor antenna doesn't broadcast far at all. The signal it sends is meant to bounce off the walls in the room. Canvas does not count as walls. It would work in a hardside camper, like an A-frame or my little toyhauler with the ramp door closed. Drop the ramp and hang the screen wall instead and the effectiveness is greatly decreased.

I first bought the Weboost Drive Reach vehicle kit which has smaller antennas, but also added the 12" wire antenna for the RV. Worked well inside the van, but not as well in a larger vehicle like a camper whether the ramp is closed or down. So I ordered the RV antenna & inside desktop antenna. The phone does still need to be inside and in close proximity to the desktop antenna to get the best boost, 2 bars, but not touching or on top of it as needed with the car antenna. However, I have not gotten the large outdoor antenna to work because it must be 20 feet from the indoor antenna. That’s hard to do with a small camper. Actually impossible in some, like my Aliner. It is only barely going to be workable with my toyhauler, 20' long total. Am going to need to get a very tall pole to which to mount it to get just barely 20' distance. In the meantime, I'm still using the 12" outdoor car antenna on the camper. It works but doesn't have the power of the RV antenna. Still a work in progress but it is already helping me enjoy the outdoors more.
 

rsdata

Active Member
Oct 3, 2011
319
N. KY
YEP...
My experience with Weboost is similar to Dnodoz. If my cell phone can get a bar of signal, my Weboost unit can bump it up 1-2 bars. It’s a lot to pay, $500, for what sounds like a minimal boost. However, that boost usually makes a quite noticeable internet speed difference. At some spots, it is the only thing allowing me to work from the campsite.
 

Dnodoz

Active Member
Apr 15, 2020
111
One other thing we did was change from the Omni-directional antenna that came with our Weboost to a directional antenna. We use an app called find tower to locate the compass direction of our cell carrier’s nearest tower and turn our antenna to point as close as possible to that tower. Seems to add a little more oomph to the boosted signal.
 

JimmyM

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
3,309
Franklin, MA
I built my own system with a KuWFi 4G router and a pair of LPDA high gain antennas on a Winegard Sensar TV antenna mount. I use a Google Fi data only SIM in the KuWFi and get 20-70 Mbps whenever I've used it. My phone can be getting an intermittent 1 bar. But with this I can stream movies. In VT where we camp at the end of every season, I get so little phone signal, that occasionally texts will come through, but rarely. This setup works great.
 

Reefluvr

New Member
May 22, 2019
6
Has anyone tried Weboost's Drive Sleek? We're headed west for a month of exploring with the pup this summer. I'll need to work 5-6 hrs/week and can easily do it in the car. I'm wondering if this has the same boost power as the larger, more expensive versions? Also, will my car need to be running, or will it work off the battery?
 

Patrick w

Active Member
Aug 13, 2021
563
I built my own system with a KuWFi 4G router and a pair of LPDA high gain antennas on a Winegard Sensar TV antenna mount. I use a Google Fi data only SIM in the KuWFi and get 20-70 Mbps whenever I've used it. My phone can be getting an intermittent 1 bar. But with this I can stream movies. In VT where we camp at the end of every season, I get so little phone signal, that occasionally texts will come through, but rarely. This setup works great.
Thats a nice setup, except doesnt Google Fi allow switching from whatever tower it wants (verizon, Att or tmobile)... so its not limited by one provider...
 

dbhost

Super Active Member
Sep 19, 2018
1,279
League City, Texas USA.
Not mine, but my in laws RV they use a WeBoost with a directional antenna. They can pull a barely 1 bar signal and get it to 4 bars. But you HAVE to have at least SOME signal...

My wife and I both work remotely and are prepping to do some travelling during the work week as we can set up.
 

JimmyM

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
3,309
Franklin, MA
Thats a nice setup, except doesnt Google Fi allow switching from whatever tower it wants (verizon, Att or tmobile)... so its not limited by one provider...
It will select from T-Mobile, US Cellular and Sprint (now owned by T-Mobile). One thing the KuWFi doesn't allow that the MoFi4500 does, is allow you to select the specific band that you prefer. But so far, the additional cost of the MoFi doesn't seem worth it.
 

JimmyM

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
3,309
Franklin, MA
It will select from T-Mobile, US Cellular and Sprint (now owned by T-Mobile). One thing the KuWFi doesn't allow that the MoFi4500 does, is allow you to select the specific band that you prefer. But so far, the additional cost of the MoFi doesn't seem worth it.
Also, Google Fi counts all data the same. So my unlimited plan allows for 50GB/mo before throttling regardless of whether I use it through my phone or my Data SIM. We rarely use more than 5GB/mo per person. So I have 200GB of data (4 members) to use when I need it.
 

kudzu

Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Oct 20, 2014
568
Knee deep in kudzu
Has anyone tried Weboost's Drive Sleek? We're headed west for a month of exploring with the pup this summer. I'll need to work 5-6 hrs/week and can easily do it in the car. I'm wondering if this has the same boost power as the larger, more expensive versions? Also, will my car need to be running, or will it work off the battery?
Have not tried it but did consider it. To me it seemed more for phone & text use than data. It is less powerful, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work for your purposes. Wilson Amplifiers could help you decide. Two other things to consider are the type of antennas and how many devices you want to connect. The Sleek is for one device only. (That combined with the more limited power is why I had to go up to the more expensive unit.) The indoor antenna is a cradle into which you put your phone. The phone must be in the cradle for it to work. If you are using a different device, like a hotspot, check carefully to ensure it will work in the cradle. If it won't, perhaps Wilson has a work around. That isn't necessarily a bad thing if you are trying to use it outside or in a canvas p'up. If I want to use my unit outside, I have to use the vehicle indoor antenna and literally set the phone on top of it. It is also better if that is on a table and right up against the side of the camper.

These things aren't magic but it gives me the privelege to work from camp. I'm sort of practicing for retirement. [:D]
 

Reefluvr

New Member
May 22, 2019
6
Have not tried it but did consider it. To me it seemed more for phone & text use than data. It is less powerful, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't work for your purposes. Wilson Amplifiers could help you decide. Two other things to consider are the type of antennas and how many devices you want to connect. The Sleek is for one device only. (That combined with the more limited power is why I had to go up to the more expensive unit.) The indoor antenna is a cradle into which you put your phone. The phone must be in the cradle for it to work. If you are using a different device, like a hotspot, check carefully to ensure it will work in the cradle. If it won't, perhaps Wilson has a work around. That isn't necessarily a bad thing if you are trying to use it outside or in a canvas p'up. If I want to use my unit outside, I have to use the vehicle indoor antenna and literally set the phone on top of it. It is also better if that is on a table and right up against the side of the camper.

These things aren't magic but it gives me the privelege to work from camp. I'm sort of practicing for retirement. [:D]
Haha - practicing for retirement sounds lovely! I'm hoping I can put my phone in the cradle and turn on hotspot so I can connect my computer to it. My pup also has a 12v jack (like in the car) so I'm hoping I can work from my dining room table. :)
 

rmihalcin

Member
Jul 30, 2013
14
The booster stuff is old school. Check out https://instyconnect.com/ 4G model is $700. I get 80 meg down in the woods. I also bought the binocular antennas for really remote locations. Nick (a remote camping IT worker) has a very innovative design where the modem is mounted in the antenna. He has a youtube channel. . Very cutting edge design. I just take my the SIM out of my "work" IPhone XR and pop it into the modem. Works great. He makes the "angel wings" on a 3D printer in his barn. Good American ingenuity.
 

JimmyM

Super Active Member
Gold Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2014
3,309
Franklin, MA
This is very similar to the system I built. But instead of a pair of antennas on a mast, I use the Sensar mount to elevate the antennas 2-3ft above my camper's roof and can rotate to point accordingly.
I like the band locking feature. The MoFi4500 and 5500 does it. But not my cheapo KuWFi.
 




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