Posts tagged: wireless

It Floats and Barely There

By , July 30, 2010 10:18 am

After Seattle, we decided to make our way to Olympic National Park.  After doing a bit of research, we found that the ferry was probably the cheapest and fastest method of getting our collection of vehicles over.  We hopped on the ferry at Edmunds, after a number of issues.

IMG_3151-Edit

First, there were no signs to tell us that we had to disconnect the Jeep from the Dutch Star.  Second, there was no designated space to do so after getting through the entry booth.  We pulled over, blocked a lane for a bit and got everything unhooked.  IMG_2076Dasy took the Jeep and I drove the Star.  Dasy loaded up first, while I sat there for a bit and was then directed to take up two spots and straddle the lane to park.  Dasy unloaded first and ended up in front of me.  Unfortunately, she didn’t know where we were going and there was no where convenient to reconnect.  So, she drove for about a half an hour with occasional horn honks and lots of turn signal warnings from me behind her. 😉IMG_2069

The icing on the cake, however, was there were at least four other RVs on the ferry.  One was larger than us, directed to take a single lane and did not disconnect his toad.  There was another smaller class C, also with a toad that was connected (“toad” is the nickname given to a towed vehicle by RVers).  So, we ended up with a lot of confusion and a lot of extra hassle and work because the ferry system is inconsistent on what to do with RVers.  Ah well, it was still cheaper and faster than driving all the way around the sound (about $75 for both vehicles).

The ride was fine, but the view wasn’t great from my perspective. IMG_2073 I did get out a couple times and take a look around, but it was kinda gray and there wasn’t a whole lot of decent pictures to get on the trip.  But, it did get us over to the Olympic peninsula pretty quickly and easily, so it’s all good.

Now for the other part of our headline for this article… “Barely There”.

We’re currently just outside of Mount Rainier National Park.  It’s pleasant and will give us the opportunity to see Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, but we have no wifi.  We also have no cellular data connection.  That means we’re essentially without any kind of connectivity for a few days.  The nearest coffee shop with Internet is about 15 miles from us (which is where we are right now). So, we’ll not be regularly replying to emails, text messages, comments on the blog or anything else for about four days.  The bright side is that I can work on the blog posts for Olympic National Park offline, then upload them when I get to town.  So, you might be seeing three or four posts roll in on one day (but probably not today).

That covers us for now… we’re off to see Mt. Rainier, then we’ll start batching up blog posts on Olympic tonight. 

All your packet are belong to us…

By , November 30, 2009 11:21 am

Repeater

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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