We started out with an Alpha USB wifi adapter with a 7dbi omni-directional antenna. That worked ok outside the RV, but wasn't strong enough to run inside the RV. It was also limited because it could only plug into our laptop, but wouldn't do any good for the other gadgets (Apple TV, iPhones, iPad). To solve that, we bought Connectify. This downloadable software turns your PC into a virtual wifi router-repeater. It worked pretty good, but sometimes required rebooting, or reinstalling if it glitched out.
A few weeks later I decided to try a more powerful antenna and chose a professionally made 24dbi parabolic antenna. This thing is a big unidirectional antenna that works awesome. We routed this antenna through the Alpha adapter and the Connectify repeater for a month or so with great success. But again, the limitation is the need to directly route the cable from the antenna to the computer inside the camper. Not an easy task.
Last week I picked up a wifi repeater/range extender (Amped Wireless 600mW). I chose this one because it was cheap, and more importantly, had a removable antenna that I could mount our 24dbi antenna to. So now we are routing the parabolic 24dbi antenna into low loss RF cable, into the Amped Wireless range extender. The range extender is plugged into the power pedestal at the campground, and is broadcasting the signal from the parabolic antenna all over the campground, and right into our camper. We now have all our gadgets connected to the signal from the range extender, and everything works great!
In normal campgrounds with wifi, it would be feasible to just use the smaller omni-directional 7dbi antenna from the Alpha adapter to boost the campground signal. Or, if the campground wifi is slow (most are), then use the big parabolic antenna to shoot out of the campground and pick up other open networks. We did this in Duluth, and it worked awesome.
|Success! Apple TV Netflix for our kid. Great thing for him right now, nursing his summer cold virus.|
|Amped Wireless 600mW Range Extender with low loss RF cable feeding from parabolic antenna.|
|Signal from the repeater, and signal from the Connectify router.|
Total cost itemized:
24dbi Parabolic antenna - $60
RF cable - $35
Wifi range extender - $60
Connectify software - $12 (optional)
Alfa USB adapter with 7dbi antenna - $39 (optional)