Posts tagged: Linksys

All your packet are belong to us…

By , November 30, 2009 11:21 am


One of the issues we’ve had since leaving our brick and mortar house is how to stay connected to the Internet.  We make do in a number of different ways, some of which are temporary depending on what is available at a campground, others are more permanent (and creative) in nature.

On our trip down to Florida, we stayed at several campgrounds.  Some were commercial, others were parks.  The commercial ones were easy… they all had some kind of Wi-Fi available.  We just had to make sure we were close enough to the access points to use them (we actually moved sites in Hilton Head because we couldn’t get a strong enough signal).  The parks were another matter… no service was provided of any kind.  We made do with public hotspots (Panera Bread was a favorite) and with my cell phone data plan.  The cell phone option isn’t a good one due to bandwidth limits, but it works in a pinch.

Now that we’re at our “winter home” in Florida, we have a different issue.  We’re miles from any kind of hotspot, we have almost no cell phone service and the RV is too far from the house for us to snag my mom’s Wi-Fi signal.  The access point she uses is on the opposite end of the house from where we are, and there’s a lot of back yard and an aluminum framed screen room between us.  We’re about 200 feet from the wireless router and our various laptops can only see that it’s broadcasting… they aren’t getting enough signal to connect to it.

After much experimenting with other solutions, we eventually ended up with a solution that works for us.  We added a Linksys Wireless-G Range Extender to the front of the RV.  It gets just enough signal for it to work for us.  It basically connects to the Wi-Fi in the house (it’s obviously got a pretty good antenna) and then rebroadcasts whatever it receives.  It’s basically a wireless repeater.  All it does it grab packets off the radio signal, stamps them with it’s MAC address and shoots them back out.  It’s not elegant, it adds a bit of latency, but it does work.  Wireless_Networking_in_RVHere’s a quick and dirty diagram I made to illustrate (click for full sized version). 

There’s a lot more involved than what’s on the diagram, but hopefully you’ll get the idea.  Since this worked for our setup here, we’ll probably keep it for when we’re on the road.  It was a lot easier than messing with DD-WRT and the other odd stuff I tried.

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