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Bomb proof campervan wifi / data

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 kirsten 21 May 2020

Any experiences / suggestions if "location agnostic" working is to become more of a thing? 

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 Mark Reeves 21 May 2020
In reply to kirsten:

I generally tether to my iPhone, I have an unlimited data deal with Vodafone and with 4g can easily stream netflix and amazon both in UK and when travelling in Spain. (NB abroad using the phone means I don't need a VPN to access my netflix/amazon accounts as the connection seems to come back to UK).

I used to have a 50gb limit which I used a lot abroad and was fine. No limits to that 50gb being used aborad. Since I went unlimited Vodaphone cap me at 25gb a month abroad based on some fair use policy.

I generally use 3/4G to do work remotely, to upload large image files to dropbox.

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 mattrm 21 May 2020
In reply to kirsten:

You can get hotspot routers, which you just put a 4g sim in and away you go.  One of the chaps I work with has been stuck without working broadband and he's been working fine on 4g for the past few months.  If you want bombproof, I'd recommend having more than one sim.

Nice climbing spots might not have good 4g at all, so you might find that you have to travel a little bit to get something suitable.

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 George_Surf 21 May 2020
In reply to kirsten:

id get a mifi SIM card router thing, ive got a Huawei one, probably £30 on eBay? I also got a multi directional antenna for around £80. the cheap omni directional ones are rubbish unless you can see the phone mast and point it straight at it. the antenna is good, I can get internet in places where I previously had no signal. its not guaranteed though...

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 remus 21 May 2020
In reply to George_Surf:

> I also got a multi directional antenna for around £80. the cheap omni directional ones are rubbish unless you can see the phone mast and point it straight at it.

Have you found a decent way of connecting the antenna to the wifi hotspot? I've got what sounds like a fairly similar setup, but the connectors on the antenna are shit and plugging it in to the wifi hotspot is a ballache.

OP, this is the kinda thing you'll want https://www.amazon.co.uk/E5330-3G-Unlocked-Networks-Configuration-Required/dp/B07Z5LWMNZ Not necessarily that model, but that kinda thing. If you search for 'mobile wifi hotspot' quite a few options will come up. Better than tethering to a phone as in my experience this can kill your phone battery pretty quickly.

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 Snyggapa 21 May 2020
In reply to kirsten:

I use a Vodafone GigaCube (which is really a huwawai device) - get an unlocked one and bang in any SIM you like. 

I like the gigacube becasue it has both WIFI and an physical ethernet port so I can plug a network cable into it - more reliable than a mobile connection to a device like a phone then a wifi connection from phone to your device, assuming your device has a network socket. Downside is that it needs a 240V power supply so you need an inverter to power it. 

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 ianstevens 22 May 2020
In reply to Mark Reeves:

> I generally tether to my iPhone, I have an unlimited data deal with Vodafone and with 4g can easily stream netflix and amazon both in UK and when travelling in Spain. (NB abroad using the phone means I don't need a VPN to access my netflix/amazon accounts as the connection seems to come back to UK).

> I used to have a 50gb limit which I used a lot abroad and was fine. No limits to that 50gb being used aborad. Since I went unlimited Vodaphone cap me at 25gb a month abroad based on some fair use policy.

> I generally use 3/4G to do work remotely, to upload large image files to dropbox.

This. Works perfectly, I've used it for remote working (University Lecturer) when I've retreated to far flung places for writing/marking breaks. No issues with uploading/downloading large files (images, data, GIS stuff) up to few GB, and absolutely fine for regular work-based internet use. No need to by some specific mobile broadband-type device and pay £20 a month, just upgrade your phone contract. (FYI I pay £16/month SIM only for unlimited everything, overseas use inc. some non-EU including tethering, on a 24-month plan). 

EDIT: Macbook/iPhone and the connection between the two is rock solid.

Post edited at 09:56
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 Ciro 22 May 2020
In reply to Snyggapa:

> I use a Vodafone GigaCube (which is really a huwawai device) - get an unlocked one and bang in any SIM you like. 

> I like the gigacube becasue it has both WIFI and an physical ethernet port so I can plug a network cable into it - more reliable than a mobile connection to a device like a phone then a wifi connection from phone to your device, assuming your device has a network socket. Downside is that it needs a 240V power supply so you need an inverter to power it. 

Very inefficient to go DC to AC, then back to DC again for small devices - just check the voltage output of the adapter, and use a buck converter to step up or down your 12v leisure circuit to the device requirements 

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 kirsten 22 May 2020

Thanks for the suggestions - I've tried with using phone / mifi previously and it hasn't been quite up to it... as in, ok when it had to be but wouldn't like to rely on it. Obviously a good signal is the starting point, was just wondering if some of the more built in/ antenna options were any better.  I've topped 25GB over the last 30 days so would definitely need a separate sim set up. Basically need to be online and connected for 8 hours a day, with live data streaming and few other bits and pieces. 

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 George_Surf 22 May 2020
In reply to remus:

this is the antenna box: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poynting-4G-XPOL-A0001-Cross-Polarised-Antenna/dp/B00C1DGFPS/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=4g+antenna&qid=1590152462&s=computers&sr=1-3

it comes with cables and the short adapter cables. the adapter screws in to the main cable, the other end plugs in to the wifi box, its not the strongest connection but I guess that's the point; if you yard on the cables they come out instead of breaking your wifi box. since ours is fixed its not a problem, the box is velcro'd on to the wall and there's a usb that's wired in to the battery so its always charged/on.

datarate is amazing, with the antenna and good 4g I get crazy speeds like 60mbps+! you can rinse a few gigs of data really fast if you're not careful.

the box is screwed in to inside of the back doors of the van, in poor signal I open the doors and I has a bit more of a chance... its also weatherproof worst case

I think we met you in Chulilla this year; Milena introduced us. Hope youre keeping well, fingers crossed we can get away again this winter :0

Post edited at 14:08
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In reply to kirsten:

Hi there,

This is kind of my day job, so excuse me if I get too geeky.

We've tried a lot of different 4G gateway boxes (AKA MIFI's) and the best one by miles is this one:

https://www.netgear.com/home/products/mobile-broadband/mobilerouters/mr5200.aspx

or it's slightly cheaper brother

https://www.netgear.com/home/products/mobile-broadband/mobilerouters/mr1100.aspx

Neither is cheap but the performance is excellent, especially when paired with an add-on antenna that will stick to the window of your van...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/NETGEAR-6000450-Antenna-Aircard-Hotspots/dp/B00DN3J03O/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=nether+nighthawk+antenna+suction+cup&qid=1590307019&sr=8-1

or the more expensive Poynting one...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poynting-4G-XPOL-A0001-Cross-Polarised-Antenna/dp/B00C1DGFPS/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=nether+nighthawk+m1+external+antenna&qid=1590306980&quartzVehicle=16-177&replacementKeywords=nether+nighthawk+external+antenna&sr=8-5

Hope that helps.

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 Snyggapa 24 May 2020
In reply to Ciro:

Yes agree. It actually takes a 12v input, I was tempted to get a dumb adaptor and go straight into the cigar lighter socket but didn't want to test how it fared with 14.6v or whatever the charging voltage would be so DC AC DC it is now.

At least it's low draw so even very inefficient doesn't waste that much in real terms. I would rather it took a 5v usb though as those are readily available everywhere. Apart from the power supply it's a great device

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 LucaC 24 May 2020
In reply to kirsten:

I'm away in the van a lot for work (freelancer) so having a solid hotspot system is vital to keep up with admin and to entertain myself in the evenings. I've got 100gb of data from EE on my iPhone and tether it to my MacBook and get good download speeds. Upload is pretty poor however, so I guess it depends on your needs. 100gb usually just about lasts a month of work/netflix/selected photo editing.

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 climbercool 25 May 2020
In reply to drconline:

 I just had a look at that netgear device online but I am still unsure what it actually does.  Do i put my normal simcard in it and it makes the download and upload speed faster, or does it have it's own built in sim and i pay a conract.    Basically, what is the advantage of this thing over just using my phone as a hotspot?

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