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Old 09-16-2016, 07:36 PM   #1
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Default Winegard ConnecT WiFi Extender

The ConnecT WiFi Extender is an interesting new product from Winegard: Winegard Connect - RV Internet WiFi Extender

WF-3000 (white) Winegard ConnecT WiFi Extender MSRP $549
WF-3035 (black) Winegard ConnecT WiFi Extender MSRP $549

You can get some additional tech data from the docs here: https://fccid.io/C3D

The indoor indoor unit (IDU) and outdoor unit (ODU) system design could make for a very good system.

At this point I'm assuming the ODU is a Wireless Bridge and the IDU is an Wireless Access Point that is connected to the Wireless Bridge by Ethernet cable.

If so, then it would be a much better setup than a simple repeater.

Coincidentally I had setup something like this yesterday to test at home. I used two devices, a router flashed with Tomato firmware functioning as a wireless bridge and an Asus router running in AP mode connected to the bridge by Ethernet cable. The AP allows for wireless devices to connect. It works better that using the Asus router in Repeater mode. Repeaters operate at the physical layer of the OSI layered networking reference model. MAC addresses are ignored at that layer I think. I'm likely not using the correct terms here. The bridge would operate at the data link layer. I was seeing MAC address related error messages in the log using a simple repeater and the using the bridge solved that.

I don't know if this is in fact what Winegard is doing but it might be similar. Their site says the new ConnecT WiFi Extender has a firewall as well.

This Winegard design would eliminate antenna cable losses by having the antennas attached to each unit (both the indoor and outdoor units). Omnidirectional antennas will make it easy to use.
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Old 09-16-2016, 08:20 PM   #2
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We have a similar setup using a Ubiquiti Nanostation M2

https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Nano...nanostation+m2

This is a directional antenna, so I have it mounted on our TV antenna mast:

Antenna.JPG

Other Ubiquiti products are available in omnidirectional configurations.

The Nanostation is a self-contained router that connects to the van's main router via shielded CAT-5 ethernet, and is powered via PoE. Our inside router is a PepWave Surf SoHo:

Pepwave Surf SOHO Router

The SoHo also tethers to a Verizon JetPack AC791L hotspot, with a MiMo rooftop antenna.

This is an exceptionally effective setup for not very much money. I have to admit that I rarely use the Nanostation.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:51 PM   #3
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I've been in contact with Winegard and they confirm that they are using the outdoor unit as a bridge and the indoor unit more or less as a router.

The indoor unit and the outdoor and software are all designed to work together. Both units are made in Burlington, Iowa. Even the PCB is made in Burlington. It's all specifically design to work in a mobile environment.

They pointed out that there are 6 internal antennas paired with 3 outdoor antennas. They noted those antennas are paired with their own radio so speeds could be much faster than units with a single antenna. As an example they said to think of a 3 lane highway vs a 1 lane highway.

I think it should be a very good solution. By comparison, using a single radio repeater would halve the bandwidth available from the campground access point. A single radio would have to alternate between receiving and transmitting.

I'd expect to see the Winegard ConnecT WiFi Extender showing up on new RV's on dealer lots.
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Old 10-04-2016, 12:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo View Post
They pointed out that there are 6 internal antennas paired with 3 outdoor antennas. They noted those antennas are paired with their own radio so speeds could be much faster than units with a single antenna. As an example they said to think of a 3 lane highway vs a 1 lane highway.
This is simply describing MiMo (multiple-input and multiple-output) antenna technology. This does indeed make a very big difference and is certainly the wave of the future. Note, however, that you will not see the big improvements unless the campground access point is also MiMo. I am guessing that very few are at this point. Hopefully, that will change. You do still get the spatial diversity advantage of MiMo's multiple antennas, even if the base station has only one, though. Also, I am pretty sure that MiMo WiFi only works with 802.11n (which is only one of the current WiFi standards).

MiMo is great technology, but it is more significant for LTE broadband, since it is widely supported in modern cell-towers. That is why I think the Verizon JetPack AC791L with a rooftop MiMo antenna is so exciting.
Quote:
By comparison, using a single radio repeater would halve the bandwidth available from the campground access point. A single radio would have to alternate between receiving and transmitting.
My understanding is that even MiMo radio systems have to alternate transmission and receiving ("half duplex"). Otherwise the radios would interfere with each other.

This does look like good technology, and looks pretty future-proof. And a design optimized for mobile is a good thing. But, it is pretty pricy, and there is nothing unique about the technology.
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Old 10-04-2016, 02:03 AM   #5
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is this like wifi ranger
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Old 10-04-2016, 01:53 PM   #6
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Yes, it is a similar type product.

A quick glance at the wifi ranger site shows:
- single external antenna
- 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz)

The Winegard ConnecT RV Internet WiFi Extender site shows:
- three external antennas
- 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:23 PM   #7
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I can't tell from the web page if it's 12v native. It does say there is a 110v adapter.

Otherwise looks like a cool device, but requires yet another hole to be drilled in the roof.
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Old 10-06-2016, 09:59 PM   #8
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If the Winegard Connect AC adapter happens to output 12VDC I could see using a DC voltage stabilizer instead and run it off the batteries. You can get small DC to DC converters in just about any voltage combo you want so that's another option. You could always pull the DC plug on the indoor unit to shut it all down.

On a B van this item would seem to be easiest if installed in the build phase of the coach. Make it DC and put a switch where all the other switches are if the indoor unit is tucked away somewhere inaccessible. On A's, C's & trailers etc., it looks to be an easy DIY install. The rafter roof system would make it easy to route wires in those units. My trailer has an AC outlet flush mounted on the ceiling to plug in the TV - perfect to power the Winegard Connect IDU (indoor unit).

Another place to plug in is the hardly used hidden outlet in the microwave oven compartment. I think that's where I'll plug in the power brick for my Asus router (DD-WRT Repeater) in the Travel Trailer. I'd route the small wire out of the compartment.

The amount of holes needed for installation could range from possibly Zero to 17 holes drilled for the outside parts of the Winegard Connect. The instructions look to indicate up to 17. Most would be holes for small screws; 6 for the ODU feet, 10 for the cable entry plate perimeter and 1 hole for cable entry. I'd have no issue or worries about following the instructions. If it becomes popular then no doubt 3M tape & routing the Ethernet cable through existing entry points will enter the discussion on forums.

The tech in this unit seems up to date and nice but most unique feature IMO is flat rooftop mounting of the ODU (outdoor unit) with 3 outdoor omni-directional antennas.

One thing to note is that the ODU is 802.11a/b/g/n 2.4GHz: 450Mbps (Rx), 450Mbps (Tx). The IDU has that plus 802.11ac 5GHz: 1300Mbps (Rx), 1300Mbps (Tx). That makes sense to me. My limited experience with 802.11ac has been that it is fast but doesn't extend as far as g or n does.
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:04 PM   #9
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OK you all...anyone can research the specifications.
Why hasn't anyone tried it and posted how well it works and what the range is?
Hopefully someone out there has.
Thanks,
John
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:10 PM   #10
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Since this was posted, I've discovered there are a variety of solutions that are much less expensive. Currently, I'm using the Ubiquity Nanostation, which basically does the same thing. I connect it to my Apple AirPort Extreme for my internal network.

The nice thing about the Nanostation, besides it only being $80, is that you can mount it with a suction cup either internally, like on the windshield, or externally to a side window or the body.

The Winegard is around $500 for the parts alone. Since 99 percent of the wifi you'll encounter on the road, or in parks, is going to be 2.4 ghz. So I don't really see what Winegard is bringing to the table that you can use, that others aren't doing for much less.
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