Better Cell Phone & Data Reception

Scarecrow

2017 LTV Unity Murphy Bed
Just to complicate matters, Verizon is rolling out their 5G coverage in 11 markets from now until the end of summer.
Here we go!
But won't that require a new 5G-capable phone, 5G-capable JetPack, and 5G-capable Booster?

I sure as hell wish Google Fiber would just follow me around wherever I go. Maybe Elon Musk can loan them one of his sub-miniature Boring Machines. You know he has one!
 

alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
Here we go!
But won't that require a new 5G-capable phone, 5G-capable JetPack, and 5G-capable Booster?
Or just a 5G capable hotspot and compatible MIMO antenna. Everything else just uses wifi to access the hotspot. At this point the booster is just adding complexity that isn't necessary at all.

I installed a booster in my 2014 TB when I first got it 3 years ago since it was the cutting edge technology for my application. It's a legacy solution at this point and is going to get even more marginalized going forward.

I did side by side tests between the booster and a MIMO capable hotspot when I first got a MIMO capable hotspot a year ago with compatible antenna and as might be expected the results weren't even close. I used my roof mounted booster antenna cable as a pull string to yank in the new MIMO cable set and dumped the booster into the recycle bin.

I fully expect to have a new hotspot/antenna system by this time next year to take advantage of whatever comes next.


:2cents:
 

ablock

Member
What avanti says makes complete sense. I've been thinking about this issue of what to put on the roof since we got the Unity in September. At the time I threw a Verizon AC791L in the electronics cabinet and called it good enough. I was annoyed that the other, more expensive, options available the time had limitations: for example, mobile routers with SIM slots had radios that didn't cover all mobile bands, or they broadcast older, slower wifi. I've since concluded that as avanti says, you should absolutely keep your system modular, separating the mobile radio and the wifi router into separate devices. The upgrade cycles for the two are totally different, and manufacturers like Pepwave who combine both radio types into a single box are always months or even years behind the state of the art for that reason. So while it seems like it would most elegant to have a single box that does everything, in reality I think that's the wrong approach.

As such my plan is now to:

1. Add MIMO antennas to the roof to improve the AC791L reception. I'll drill a hole in the roof above the jetpack so I can keep the cable short, and use a cable gland so that when the radio frequencies change I can easily swap in a new antenna. I don't think I care about trying to enhance my RV park wifi pickup, since as a rule it sucks anyway and free wifi seems to mostly be a thing of the past. That also allows me to get a cheaper antenna.

2. Install a mobile router that will allow direct USB connection to the AC791L (or future 5G jetpack). I want one that has at least three Ethernet ports for the smart TV, Raspberry Pi media player, and Victron electrical system controller, as well as AC wifi. The two that seems to fit the bill best are the Pepwave Surf SOHO and the WifiRanger GoAC. The latter is more expensive but has some good features for wifi-as-WAN, which I just stated above I didn't care about — don't judge me. :)

3. 3D print a copy of avanti's AC791L wall mount, to protect the delicate antenna connections.

Guess I'll order the gear tomorrow...will try and post my findings when I do the install.
 

kmay

2013 Unity MB
Frankly, though, unless you desire a real LAN in your van, you can get by with just the AC791L. That device, combined with a good MIMO antenna performs very well. I designed and 3-D printed a cradle for the AC791L, which is nice, since the antenna connections are tiny and fragile.



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This seems to be an excellent choice for our needs. We would like to use Go To Meeting services while underway. At present, Signal transfer between towers makes hosting a meeting while coach is moving almost impossible and certainly unprofessional. We get better results while stopped in a rest area. Given preferred lower traffic routes, I would accept stopping to host a meeting if data speed was within reason.

My other want is to stream content to the dumb tv via a stick or something simple.

I could create a mount near the fantastic fan which would keep cable short.

Would a digital RV tv antenna support MIMO? That would be awesome.
 

Gamma1966

2013 Chassis /14 Unity MB
There is a similar thread on this forum, which you may want to review as well. https://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=44106&page=16 In my posting on that thread I address my desire to have a full LAN in the van, that is also connected to my home office using VPN connections. As part of the latest mobile communications upgrade, I added an external Omni Antenna on a telescoping antenna and a cell repeater. In my RV storage location I have T-Mobile and AT&T, both which show about -110 Dbm outside the RV, but on the PepWave Router with dual SIMs, it typically shows about -60 Dbm; which is the max gain provided by the repeater.
 

Kosinar

2017 Unity TB Silver
Thank you all for very educational posts. Based on what I have learned from this and other treads I decided to buy the newest Verizon Jetpack 7730l 4G LTE and MIMO antenna from Antenna Plus. I called them but they do not have that jetpack on the list of devices so they are checking the spec to be able to sell me the right antenna. If there is a better option please advise me. I do not need direct connection for any of my devices. I do have Apple laptop but wifi is sufficient for my use. Beside the laptop I have apple phones and IPad. I have 2017 Unity TB and intend to use black tank vent as a route for the cables. Is it safe to assume that jetpack has a sufficient range to cover unity with Wifi signal if I mount it in rear upper compartment or do I need router also?
 

JFloFoto

Member
Thank you all for very educational posts. Based on what I have learned from this and other treads I decided to buy the newest Verizon Jetpack 7730l 4G LTE and MIMO antenna from Antenna Plus. I called them but they do not have that jetpack on the list of devices so they are checking the spec to be able to sell me the right antenna. If there is a better option please advise me. I do not need direct connection for any of my devices. I do have Apple laptop but wifi is sufficient for my use. Beside the laptop I have apple phones and IPad. I have 2017 Unity TB and intend to use black tank vent as a route for the cables. Is it safe to assume that jetpack has a sufficient range to cover unity with Wifi signal if I mount it in rear upper compartment or do I need router also?
Am I missing something? I don't see where the Jetpack 7730l has antenna connections.
 

Kosinar

2017 Unity TB Silver
Jetpack 7730L has (2 test ports), that are actually functional antenna connectors.
 

Kosinar

2017 Unity TB Silver
Technomadia did review of the unit and that is where I got the information from.
 

alichty

2014 LTV Unity TB
Thank you all for very educational posts. Based on what I have learned from this and other treads I decided to buy the newest Verizon Jetpack 7730l 4G LTE and MIMO antenna from Antenna Plus. I called them but they do not have that jetpack on the list of devices so they are checking the spec to be able to sell me the right antenna. If there is a better option please advise me. I do not need direct connection for any of my devices. I do have Apple laptop but wifi is sufficient for my use. Beside the laptop I have apple phones and IPad. I have 2017 Unity TB and intend to use black tank vent as a route for the cables. Is it safe to assume that jetpack has a sufficient range to cover unity with Wifi signal if I mount it in rear upper compartment or do I need router also?
You should be able to get a very workable wifi signal from anywhere inside of the coach. From my own experience Antenna Plus should be able to get you the correct tail to plug into the hotspot.
 

ablock

Member
Thank you all for very educational posts. Based on what I have learned from this and other treads I decided to buy the newest Verizon Jetpack 7730l 4G LTE and MIMO antenna from Antenna Plus.
RV Mobile Internet reviewed the 7730L and found that it has some firmware issues and at the moment is no faster than the AC791L. So you might consider sticking with the older (and cheaper) unit which is still great (it's worked very well for us).

I have 2017 Unity TB and intend to use black tank vent as a route for the cables.
As a rule keep antenna cables as short as possible. Drilling a hole in the roof to reduce the cable run may be worth it — after all your goal is to maximize signal strength and S/N, both of which are affected by cable length. My plan for this is to use a cable gland and a new hole on the roof above the TV equipment space.

Is it safe to assume that jetpack has a sufficient range to cover unity with Wifi signal if I mount it in rear upper compartment or do I need router also?
That should work fine for inside the van.
 

kmay

2013 Unity MB
Are these units, cables etc, sufficiently shielded from interference such as electric motors?

I would like to use the galley fantastic fan escutcheon to mount the jetpack and locate the antenna adjacent. I would have a short cable run, easy access to 12v and the location is high and center of the coach offering clear line of sight to any device. The only fly in the ointment I can see would be fan motor interference.

Thanks for a great thread!
 

avanti

2014 GWV Legend 3500 I4
Are these units, cables etc, sufficiently shielded from interference such as electric motors?

I would like to use the galley fantastic fan escutcheon to mount the jetpack and locate the antenna adjacent. I would have a short cable run, easy access to 12v and the location is high and center of the coach offering clear line of sight to any device. The only fly in the ointment I can see would be fan motor interference.
I have no data, but if you want a guess:
I suspect that the fan wouldn't hurt the Jetpack any, and that running the shielded antenna cables near it would be ok, too. I would worry about having the antenna too near a source of electrical noise. I think it may well overwhelm the tiny cell signals. The inverse square law is your friend.
 

ablock

Member
I just placed the order for the AntennasPlus antenna for my AC791L. This is only for improving the cellular range as I'll be using a separate box if and when I do wifi-as-WAN. The specific SKU is AP-CC-BA-SCSC-BL, which signifies the following configuration:

• Double Cell/LTE antenna
• Built in ground plane in 7 inch round housing
• Adhesive mount
• Color black
• 15 feet coax with adapters for AC791

It turns out I can use the mount with integral adhesive and avoid having to install a separate cable gland, which is good because the double cable isn't round. I asked whether a shorter cable would give better performance and AP's sales manager said no, and that it would be safe to coil any extra. This model costs $5 more than the one without a ground plane but avoids the hassle of sourcing and installing a piece of sheet metal for that purpose. It does look a little less sleek than the non-ground plane version.

I'll report on how well it works once I get it installed.
 

aarpskier

2017 LTV Unity FX
It turns out I can use the mount with integral adhesive and avoid having to install a separate cable gland, which is good because the double cable isn't round.
I plan on using the same components you are, except going with the cheaper Surf On The Go unit because I only need 1 Ethernet port. I want to mount the antenna as close as possible to, and above, the equipment box in the FX (above TV on right side, just aft of passenger seat). Please explain in a little more detail what you mean in the quoted sentence. :idunno: Thanks.
 

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