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RV manufacturer said installing Wi-Fi booster would void warranty. What?!

Dear Dave,
I contacted Heartland about adding a Wi-Fi booster antenna to my RV and they said it would void my warranty. I would appreciate any installation suggestions. Thanks. —Bob, ’22 Heartland TR 251 BH

Dear Bob,
I believe this was just a typical “cover your behind” (just in case my mom is reading!) response. There are dozens of Wi-Fi boosters, extenders, and repeaters on the market with a variety of different installations. OK, yes, it might void your warranty if you installed an antenna on the roof and ran a screw through a 120-volt wire and shorted out the air conditioner—but that is a very long shot! Or if you installed it and did not seal around the fasteners and moisture got in and caused damage, that would not be covered by warranty.

Since you indicated you want to boost a Wi-Fi signal, I assume you are looking to enhance a signal from a campground, rest stop, or other free Wi-Fi location. Typically these locations have a very inexpensive modem or router in the main office and only extend out a few hundred feet. If you are just checking emails or reading the latest RV Travel newsletter, this is probably good enough. However, it will not be sufficient for you to download video content or “streaming.”

What is a Wi-Fi booster?

Did you know that Wi-Fi is a marketing word made up for the wireless internet signal and isn’t actually an acronym for anything? It is the wireless signal that comes from a main router and can be picked up by a computer or cell phone to search the World Wide Web (WWW). A booster picks up that signal and enhances it for a stronger reception. They are also called extenders or repeaters, but they all do the same thing.

There are permanently mounted boosters as well as portable versions. I have installed several of the Winegard versions starting with the Connect 2.0, which is a domed unit that has three antenna cards inside.

This model will receive an existing Wi-Fi signal and boost it to your computer, or can find a 4G cellular signal and provide internet service by purchasing a data plan if there is no Wi-Fi signal close.

The Winegard 360+ is an over-the-air antenna and with the Gateway can be used as a booster or 4G data plan as well.

Both of these are mounted permanently to the roof with four screws that I typically seal with self-leveling lap sealant. Another option is the Winegard Denali, which I have not installed yet. The Ranger antenna is mounted to the roof and the router/booster goes inside.

There are several free-standing boosters such as the popular Netgear models, Winegard’s Poplar, Aspen and Osprey, and the new TravlFi™ Journey XTR.

These would be placed somewhere inside the rig on a table or countertop and pick up the local signal and boost it. It also has 4G capabilities with data plans available.


 You might also enjoy this from Dave 

How do I install a Wi-Fi antenna on my RV’s roof?

Dear Dave,
I would like to install a King Falcon Wi-Fi antenna on the roof of my rig. Do I cut the rubber roof prior to attaching the antenna or attach it directly to the roof? —Andrew, 2021 Forest River VIBE 28RL

Read Dave’s answer.


Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”

Read more from Dave here

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Bob
1 month ago

A WIFI booster will boost the signal it receives. However, it does not increase speed or bandwidth. The speed is governed by the wifi router. Most campgrounds will limit the speed to stop people from streaming video, the number of people using the signal at the same time limits the bandwidth.
Compare internet to the water system in your home. The water pressure is the governs the speed at which the water will flow. Bandwidth is the amount of water flowing to a device. The more faucets you turn on, then less water flows to each faucet.
The campgrounds computer need to run a higher speeds. That’s why you will see two or more connections when searching, but only one is available for the campers without a high level password.

George Selfridge
1 month ago

On roof mounts with four screws is there also a power cord that has to be routed to the roof and sealed?

Carol
1 month ago

This is the most commonly understood explanation:

https://www.stl.tech/blog

“Wireless technology” suggests the absence of cables or wires for the transfer of signals and “fidelity” meaning lasting support. These two words combine to spell out the definition of Wireless Fidelity, which is: A data technology that allows people access to high-speed internet without the need for cables.Mar 2, 2021

Carol
1 month ago

https://www.tanaza.com/classichotspot/blog/wi-fi-not-mean-wireless-fidelity/

“What is Wireless Fidelity?
It is interesting to know that the misconception that Wi-Fi is the abbreviation for “Wireless Fidelity”, was actually unintentionally created by the Wi-Fi Alliance itself when Wi-Fi was introduced. This misunderstanding occurred when the organization published a tagline referring to Wi-Fi as “The Standard for Wireless Fidelity”, in an attempt to make the meaning of the new developed term more comprehensible for users.”

Carol
1 month ago

https://www.javatpoint.com/wifi-wireless-fidelity
Wifi is also known as Wireless Fidelity.

We are all familiar with Wi-Fi, which is available on our mobile phones, laptops, or wherever Wi-Fi is supported. Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology that permits to connect wirelessly to a network or to other computer or mobile device. A circular radio frequency range is used to transmit data in Wi-Fi.

Carol
1 month ago

“Wireless technology” suggests the absence of cables or wires for the transfer of signals and “fidelity” meaning lasting support. These two words combine to spell out the definition of Wireless Fidelity, which is: A data technology that allows people access to high-speed internet without the need for cables.Mar 2, 2021
https://www.stl.tech

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