Mobile Data Service

turbopilot

New member
Finally finishing up my list of upgrades to my Unity MB. I have been waiting for some parts to complete my cellular data system in the Unity. This solution is not cheap, all up close to $900 in parts but it really works well. Compared to options like $2,700 aluminum wheels I think this would be much more valuable to most folks who like to be "connected" most of the time.

I am using a CradlePoint COR IBR600 series compact modem/router. This a high quality M2M router/modem that is available in versions supporting Verizon, ATT, Sprint and T-Mobile. The modem/router has MIMO antenna inputs for both cellular data and WiFi. It has many features but one valuable feature for RV's is the ability to do WiFi as WAN. This enables you to snag a distant WiFi signal with an external antenna and rebroadcast it locally in the RV as a strong WiFi signal. I mounted the IBR600 in the upper rear storage cabinet off the bathroom in the Unity MB just below the externally mounted antenna. If you have a data account with a cell phone provider all you need is a standard sized SIM card associated with that account to use the IBR600.

The IBR600 has a LAN ethernet plug so it can be used in your home as a full service router with LTE cellular data backup to your home WAN connection when not being used in the RV. To make it into a multi-port LAN just add an ethernet switch box. It comes with cellular/WiFi "rabbit ear" antennas that you can attach directly to the router when not using external antennas.



Here is the COR IBR600 in the rear cabinet. Unit comes with a quick disconnect cradle so it can be popped in and out easily for use at home when the RV is being stored. I left the antenna leads a little longer than needed just in case I decide to mount it differently in the future.



I decided to use the MobileMark BLACK Multi-Band 5-Cable Antenna. Main reason to use this antenna is that it includes both cellular and WiFi MIMO antennas in one head unit. This unit will require at least an 8" ground plane to be used on the Unity composite roof. Here is how the antenna looks on the Unity roof with the ground plane. It requires a 7/8" hole to pass the 5 antenna cables through to the cabinet below. It is a very low profile antenna so it is not likely to be snagged by tree limbs. Having externally mounted WiFi antennas gives full signal strength inside the Unity while allowing mobile devices like iPhones use the WiFi connection up to several hundred yards from the Unity.



The MobileMark antenna comes with 15' antenna leads using RF-195 cable. While RF-195 is a low loss cable it still suffers a loss of .17 dB per foot at higher frequencies, so you want those cables to be as short as possible to have the highest signal strength possible at the IBR600. To shorten the cable you will have to source 2 each SMA Male and RP-SMA crimp plugs. The tough part is that those little SMA connectors need a special crimp tool. Center connector needs a crimp of .039" while the ferrule needs a .213" crimp. Here is a cheap tool to do the .213" crimp and here is a tool to do the .039" crimp. If you look around you might find one crimp tool with both dimensions in the same tool.

I have been using a setup up similar to this in an EarthRoamer since 2011. As a matter of fact I was a beta tester for the first IBR600 when it was released. So I have a lot of experience using this equipment in deep fringe reception areas in the western US. In the EarthRoamer we were often far "off road" it was very rare we did not have any signal. The COR IBR600 will gracefully downshift from LTE to 3g to 2G/Edge as conditions change, so even in the bush I often could get text messages in and out many times when other folks could not get any service.
 
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alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
Clean solution/install. :thumbup:

I need to get serious about moving mine to the rear and getting the antenna up where it can do some good....
 

Colvos

New member
Turbopilot.....been following all of your posts on this topic....thank you for all the information.

I'm not the least bit technical, and have a couple of questions before installing in my 2015.5 TB:

- Why the Mobilemark antenna instead of the Cradlepoint 5-in-1BPS Glonas?....price difference or ???

- Is trimming the lead lengths a difficult task (with the right tools)?

- I'll install either at the back of the rig with the electronics in one of the upper storage bins using the power plug above the bed, or near the front of the rig over the kitchen using the storage bin with the speaker control unit and power inside --- any advice?

- I have an iPad mini with a Verizon chip...the small SIM chip....that I normally use as my hotspot....will the small SIM work in the Cradlepoint router? If not, is there a solution?
 

turbopilot

New member
Turbopilot.....been following all of your posts on this topic....thank you for all the information.

I'm not the least bit technical, and have a couple of questions before installing in my 2015.5 TB:

- Why the Mobilemark antenna instead of the Cradlepoint 5-in-1BPS Glonas?....price difference or ???

- Is trimming the lead lengths a difficult task (with the right tools)?

- I'll install either at the back of the rig with the electronics in one of the upper storage bins using the power plug above the bed, or near the front of the rig over the kitchen using the storage bin with the speaker control unit and power inside --- any advice?

- I have an iPad mini with a Verizon chip...the small SIM chip....that I normally use as my hotspot....will the small SIM work in the Cradlepoint router? If not, is there a solution?
- I did not see that CradlePoint antenna. Don't see why it won't work. Looks like it has about the same performance as the MobileMark.

- Not hard trimming the antenna leads if you have the proper crimping tool.

- I used power from the closet light to power the Cradlepoint. Don't think it makes any difference where you hide the modem/router as long as it is close to the antenna.

- Don't know about current shipping models of the COR IBR600 but mine uses the larger "standard" sized SIM. I have seen adapters that will let you use the mini SIM in a device that requires a standard SIM. Don't know how well they work.
 

alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
Antenna envy

Much neater looking antenna than what I encountered out along US101 just north of Florence, OR yesterday:

antenna.jpg

The minute I spotted this guy all I could think about were the threads on here about good antenna placement. :lol:

There was a bunch of highway construction that had only 1 lane open so I ended up in a batch of cars that was led by this strange sight. He was going slow so when he signaled to pull off to let us all by I quickly yanked out my phone and grabbed the shot.

I could have used a workable roof mount this last week out along the coast as connectivity was spotty at times.
 

alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
'Nuther question - how did you fasten down the roof mount antenna?
 

brew9

New member
Did you make or buy the ground plane? I am doing the same install as you. need a ground plane. and how does the ground plan connect to the roof and or antenna base? Would love to talk with you. From Bakersfield........
 
Did you make or buy the ground plane? I am doing the same install as you. need a ground plane. and how does the ground plan connect to the roof and or antenna base? Would love to talk with you. From Bakersfield........
I believe that Turbopilot used an 8 or 9 inch aluminum disk as did I. In my case the disk was glued down but also clamped between the antenna and the threaded nut inside on the shaft from the antenna. I had it done but Turbopilot did it himself. I didn't have the courage to start drilling holes through the roof and cutting away the fan insulation on the inside.. :-O

Bob
 

turbopilot

New member
I believe that Turbopilot used an 8 or 9 inch aluminum disk as did I. In my case the disk was glued down but also clamped between the antenna and the threaded nut inside on the shaft from the antenna. I had it done but Turbopilot did it himself. I didn't have the courage to start drilling holes through the roof and cutting away the fan insulation on the inside.. :-O

Bob
You got it right. No big deal drilling the roof out as long as you double check dimensions. Roof is a composite structure with fiber glass on both sides. Using a hole saw drill out a larger hole from below and a hole on top that matches the diameter of the shaft coming out of antenna. Just make sure there is a good ground contact between the antenna ground and the ground plane you install on the roof.
 

johnmina

New member
Cradlepoint COR IBR600 Series was really a high-quality M2M router/modem, I think nowadays no more available this and its updated version Cradlepoint COR IBR600C Series replaced it with some updated features. Is it good to use the same antenna with this updated version of router modem?
 

Gamma1966

2013 Chassis /14 Unity MB
I did a similar upgrade to my 2014 Unity MB, using Pepwave Mobile Modem / router. I posted on this on April, 2017 including a 4 page document with details of the system components.
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
I have done a number of such systems over the years (both mobile and fixed). Generally speaking, I have had much better luck with Pepwave products than with Cradlepoint. I have had three different Cradlepoint units that suffered from stability problems (although this was a number of years ago). Pepwave stuff seems rock solid.
 

johnmina

New member
I have done a number of such systems over the years (both mobile and fixed). Generally speaking, I have had much better luck with Pepwave products than with Cradlepoint. I have had three different Cradlepoint units that suffered from stability problems (although this was a number of years ago). Pepwave stuff seems rock solid.
I used Pepwave a couple of months ago but I was WIFI coverage and WAN connection issues with it.
 

Gamma1966

2013 Chassis /14 Unity MB
The pepwave mobile router or any similar device all require strong Cellular connections and / or wifi signal. Hence I added a SureCall Fusion2Go RV Signal booster, and I have a external omni directional antenna on a telescoping 30 ft mast. I do not often have to run the antenna up the 30 feet, and usually get great reception and boosting just having the antenna at roof top level. However, when traveling to emote locations, I have often been able to get strong internet connection using the pwepwave router, SureCall booster and my extended Omni Directional antenna.
 

Gamma1966

2013 Chassis /14 Unity MB
Also note I have two other Pepwave routers at each home, and both continue to work flawlessly and reliably. Pepwave also provides remote access to the routers over the internet, which makes it very easy to manage the LAN side of the network attached to each router.
 

fourgonbound

Winnebago View 24J 2017
The pepwave mobile router or any similar device all require strong Cellular connections and / or wifi signal. Hence I added a SureCall Fusion2Go RV Signal booster, and I have a external omni directional antenna on a telescoping 30 ft mast. I do not often have to run the antenna up the 30 feet, and usually get great reception and boosting just having the antenna at roof top level. However, when traveling to emote locations, I have often been able to get strong internet connection using the pwepwave router, SureCall booster and my extended Omni Directional antenna.
Where is your outside and inside antennas located? I'm interested in either WeBoost or SureCall but not sure which one is better.
 

Gamma1966

2013 Chassis /14 Unity MB
The document attached to this posting >> https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showpost.php?p=544338&postcount=153 << shows the external Omini Directional antenna is attached to rear roof ladder using a 2-inch Flagpole mount from Flagpole Buddy.com.
The coax cable from the Omini Antenna is connected to the SurCall booster. The booster has a inernal cellular Antenna connector which I run up to the PepWave MAX Br1 mobile modem / router. In turn this device provides WiFi hot spot for the entire RV; as well feeding the LAN network in the RV to provide streaming, web browsing, etc to all digital systems in the RV.
 

fourgonbound

Winnebago View 24J 2017
The document attached to this posting >> https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showpost.php?p=544338&postcount=153 << shows the external Omini Directional antenna is attached to rear roof ladder using a 2-inch Flagpole mount from Flagpole Buddy.com.
The coax cable from the Omini Antenna is connected to the SurCall booster. The booster has a inernal cellular Antenna connector which I run up to the PepWave MAX Br1 mobile modem / router. In turn this device provides WiFi hot spot for the entire RV; as well feeding the LAN network in the RV to provide streaming, web browsing, etc to all digital systems in the RV.
Thanks! From that document I can't really tell if the booster is far from the outside antenna or not. Some folks say they need to be as far apart as possible otherwise it doesn't work well.
 

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