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Old 06-03-2020, 10:49 AM   #1
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Rock solid WiFi configurations, plans and equipment

Hello all,

I've been searching through the wifi chats on various boards, would still like to revisit my requirements and know what the best options are.

Does anyone know by what means I could access the Xfinity mesh of hotspots and connect / authenticate with my account?

Secondly, I have a Netgear WiFi router w 4 1GB lan ports and I would still like to use this. Obviously I can't provide an internet path to it via cable modem, but it does have 2.4 and 5gz so I might could use a DD-WRT AutoAP repeater type setup to connect to xfinity or open signals on one of the bands then NET on the other band for a home network.

I'm not really interested in paying for cell coverage but would consider this as a BU plan.

Most of the WiFi boosters and antenna things offered use a USB input to a single device and I would rather try to put that singal in to my Netgear router for multiple devices and wifi rebroadcast.

Bottom line - I'm looking for a way to use an external antenna to grep wifi long range and use free or paid internet in order to reliably work from home. If you are actually DOING THIS I'm very interested in your equipment and service. This is time sensitive and I need to test some solutions in the next week.

Please let me know about your successes or PM me if you don't want to state publically.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:23 AM   #2
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So this is from home and not your RV?
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:45 AM   #3
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Hello all,

Does anyone know by what means I could access the Xfinity mesh of hotspots and connect / authenticate with my account?
I am an Xfinity customer with an account that is "intended" to allow me to connect to the various Xfinity / Comcast access points to get connected..

Notice my careful wording about intended... They intended to offer this as an alternative... I intended to use it if it actually worked.



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Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
Bottom line - I'm looking for a way to use an external antenna to grep wifi long range and use free or paid internet in order to reliably work from home. If you are actually DOING THIS I'm very interested in your equipment and service. This is time sensitive and I need to test some solutions in the next week.

Please let me know about your successes or PM me if you don't want to state publically.

Thanks in advance!
We have been working from home for almost 12 years.

We have been working from our Seneca for almost 4 years.


We use about 48Gb of 4G-LTE data per month, and try to offset that useage when we can get any reliable WiFi connection. We have a dedicated Data-Line for our LTE and have a backup provider in case we don't have coverage from our primary carrier in that spot. We mount a directional LTE dish to a mast and it is wired to our Motorhome POE. It can transmit at full-power back to the cell tower we are pointed to. It takes about 10 minutes to set up and align the unit to the best LTE tower.

PM me your contact # if you wish to talk more about LTE
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Old 06-03-2020, 11:57 AM   #4
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Does anyone know by what means I could access the Xfinity mesh of hotspots and connect / authenticate with my account?
If you have an existing Xfinity account, all you need to do is open your browser and log into your email/account. Once logged in, try to connect to the Xfinity hotspot you see listed in the WiFi list. It should connect automatically.
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:24 PM   #5
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Since I have previously logged into an Xfinity hotspot on most of my devices if a hotspot is available where we are located the device(s) will automatically connect to that hotspot with no action required on our part. I do have Xfinity at home so I do have an account with them.
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Old 06-03-2020, 01:41 PM   #6
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All of the above assumes that you are within reach of a hotspot.

A good high gain directional antenna will increase your odds, but there still has to be an access point within line of sight, and you'll have to spend some time aiming it. ( A tip, here... if you know where the AP is, tape a small laser pointer to your antenna and do your aiming at night...)

None of which will help you if you're in the middle of a big field with no WiFI for miles, or even if you're in a campground which offers service, but caps your data or throttles the B/Width.

If you are on a long-term site, it may be worth asking the operators if you can add data to your cable connection, but you may still be capped.

As for "rock solid, anywhere"... if you have deep pockets, look at satellite.
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Old 06-03-2020, 02:52 PM   #7
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If I only want to use one laptop then yes, I can use a web page and connect directly to the Xfinity wifi but this leaves me with only one firewall, and may or may not allow my VPN tunnel.

I'm looking to bridge from something to my NetGear NightHawk 7500V2 which allows me to assign DNS > set MAC filtering etc.

I'm looking to pirate or pay for some internet source through an external antenna and connect to the NightHawk thus replacing the cable modem source I'm now using.
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Old 06-03-2020, 05:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
If I only want to use one laptop then yes, I can use a web page and connect directly to the Xfinity wifi but this leaves me with only one firewall, and may or may not allow my VPN tunnel.

I'm looking to bridge from something to my NetGear NightHawk 7500V2 which allows me to assign DNS > set MAC filtering etc.

I'm looking to pirate or pay for some internet source through an external antenna and connect to the NightHawk thus replacing the cable modem source I'm now using.
Ahhhh that clarifies the needs a little better! but to make sure I understand, you want to use your NightHawk as your local AP/firewall in your motorhome and use the WAN port on the NightHawk to connect to an outdoor CPE type device that connects to the various WiFi sources that might be available surrounding you at the moment!

So looking for a 802.11 CPE that can connect to the various AP's around you that might have an open WiFi connection (or one you can connect to w/ credentials if needed)

Is that the ask?
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:23 PM   #9
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You will spend much more time, money and effort (not to mention disappointment) to try and leach wifi vs. doing it right and getting an LTE router or hotspot..
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:22 PM   #10
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You will spend much more time, money and effort (not to mention disappointment) to try and leach wifi vs. doing it right and getting an LTE router or hotspot..
While this might be the case in most of our travels... there have been a few RV parks across the USA that have little or no LTE coverage. When we found these parks that had dismal signal for ATT/Verizon/T-mo... they DID have a free WiFi that was throttled to 1-mbps with an option to purchase service for a day, week or month.

I have to say - it was in Iowa and there was a 3rd party provider that hosted the network that was not part of the RV-Park. It was worth the $20 for the week to keep us able to work and stay there.

That said, We do bring with us a assortment of CPE devices that we can connect to 3rd party WiFi services... The sucky part is having to constantly connect with a phone/laptop to keep logging in and renewing the EULA and keeping the connection ACTIVE. Having a device that can spoof(emulate) a WiFi MAC address of the device that renews that connection is critical... Very few have that feature available unless you are working in the class of CISCO or Mikrotik hardware / equipment...
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:56 PM   #11
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. . you want to use your NightHawk as your local AP/firewall in your motorhome and use the WAN port on the NightHawk to connect to an outdoor CPE type device that connects to the various WiFi sources that might be available surrounding you at the moment!

Good lord man! Why didn't I just say it like that myself! So hells to the yeah, I'd rather use some sort of network WAN from an outdoor device and have the cell gear as a backup.


Having the use of m own router and the NAT and MAC filtering that comes with it is far preferred to just windows firewall rules.




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Old 06-04-2020, 07:57 AM   #12
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If I only want to use one laptop then yes, I can use a web page and connect directly to the Xfinity wifi but this leaves me with only one firewall, and may or may not allow my VPN tunnel.

I'm looking to bridge from something to my NetGear NightHawk 7500V2 which allows me to assign DNS > set MAC filtering etc.

I'm looking to pirate or pay for some internet source through an external antenna and connect to the NightHawk thus replacing the cable modem source I'm now using.

Yes, it is possible, I've been doing it for years. In the neighborhood we recently moved out of, I managed the neighborhood pool. At the pool, we had 8 IP cameras that covered all areas of the pool grounds (we had issues with breakins at the pool). So I could monitor the cameras from anywhere, we needed Internet. The HOA couldn't afford internet since it was considered a business and the expense for business internet was too prohibitive.

I bought a Ubiquiti Nanostation and mounted it on a column at our pool house. I pointed it at a neighbor's home that I knew had Xfinity. The Nanostation found about 10 different Xfinity Hotspots. I selected the one with the strongest signal. I then connected the Ethernet cable of the Nanostation to the Internet port on a Netgear router. All 8 cameras could now be accessed from anywhere. The best I could ever get for speed was about 18 Mbps, but that was rare. Usually it is just 3 or 4 Mbps. For accessing the cameras, that was fine. For regular use, that's not much. When I first set it up, I opened my browser and it took me directly to the Xfinity login, I entered my Xfinity username and password, then I could surf the web. Every so often, maybe once a year, I might have to log in again. Although, it's been a while since I have had to do it, well over a year since I last had to login.

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Old 06-04-2020, 01:47 PM   #13
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Good lord man! Why didn't I just say it like that myself! So hells to the yeah, I'd rather use some sort of network WAN from an outdoor device and have the cell gear as a backup.


Having the use of m own router and the NAT and MAC filtering that comes with it is far preferred to just windows firewall rules.
.
Ok

Here are some pictures of our alternate configurations to get WiFi to the motorhome...

The first is a WiFi repeater bridge that is powered by a trolling motor battery we carry. When we need to extend the range, or get around a mountain blocking our connection.

Second is a 16dbi gain directional AP and the other is an omni 2.4 /5 AP we set up in the Pit area of the motorsports event.

Third is another set of directional WiFi used as a bridge from the RV Park office that had WiFi for customers that would not reach the far end of the park. I plugged them into a campsite pedestal halfway between us and the Office. One as CPE pointed to connect to the Office and the other as an AP pointed at our Motorhome

Fourth is the same unit as the first pic - but in service on a ridge above where we were camping.

Fifth is where we set up a wireless network at a motorsports event and were testing alignment and radio locations (tied to picture 2) where we broadcast WiFi down into a narrow canyon where the course competition would occur. We had separate wireless networks for vendors, Media and our event staff that put the event on Facebook Live https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/...582&ref=search

That entire network was fed with an LTE radio on a ridge a few miles north of the event - relayed to the event grounds and then bridged with other AP's at the end of the course.
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Old 06-04-2020, 03:20 PM   #14
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SloPoke you already iterated why I dislike having to frequently AUTH a connection. It's a PITA I'm not wanting to deal with.

You're devices require PoE to operate yes? 24v supply? I'm looking for equipment that will run on 12v batt house voltage if possible to minimize inverter time. Do I have a list of all the exact devices that you are using in-house? THX for the list btw.

The Mikrotik products scare me as they're out of Latvia etc and no USA or domestic phone support
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:19 PM   #15
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Impressive, but not something that the everyday RVer is going to be carrying with them or wanting to set up.

I gave up on the wifi in RV places years ago. If they don't throttle it themselves, the other 50 or more people in the place are trying to stream their TV shows or working on their computers thus killing any high speed, if there was any.

Trying to cheap it out and use some of the advertised "free connections" around the country is just a head banger. If you are lucky you are on a good cell phone business plan with unlimited data and no throttle down. I have one of those and both my wife and I can "hotspot" it but if you don't it is worth the few extra a month to do it and not worry about RV lot tortoise speeds.

Sorry, just my thought on this for what it is worth, and that probably is not much.
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Old 06-04-2020, 06:31 PM   #16
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SloPoke you already iterated why I dislike having to frequently AUTH a connection. It's a PITA I'm not wanting to deal with.
That is why the Xfinity option sucks the most... I think they try to make it more difficult for their legitimate customers that HAVE and account. But are doing that to make it hard for those poaching internet services from someone sharing an account.

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You're devices require PoE to operate yes? 24v supply? I'm looking for equipment that will run on 12v batt house voltage if possible to minimize inverter time. Do I have a list of all the exact devices that you are using in-house? THX for the list btw.
The Mikrotik equipment is 12v to 57v 6Watts POE. I have left the remote relay up on a ridge for a full 7 days running two of these devices on an Odyssey SXS battery



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The Mikrotik products scare me as they're out of Latvia etc and no USA or domestic phone support
I disagree... I have bought from Streakwave, Baltic Networks, Flytec, Microcom. As far as support - there is plenty, although the depth of configuration that you can do with the MT router is extensive and robust.


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Impressive, but not something that the everyday RVer is going to be carrying with them or wanting to set up.

I gave up on the wifi in RV places years ago. If they don't throttle it themselves, the other 50 or more people in the place are trying to stream their TV shows or working on their computers thus killing any high speed, if there was any.
Agree... Most of what you get while out on the road for free - is not worth what you paid. Face the limitation of 802.11 and 50 people streaming will kill everyones experience.

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Trying to cheap it out and use some of the advertised "free connections" around the country is just a head banger. If you are lucky you are on a good cell phone business plan with unlimited data and no throttle down. I have one of those and both my wife and I can "hotspot" it but if you don't it is worth the few extra a month to do it and not worry about RV lot tortoise speeds.

Sorry, just my thought on this for what it is worth, and that probably is not much.
That is why we choose to pay for what we use - and went with unlimited LTE for a monthly fee.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:31 PM   #17
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As for "rock solid, anywhere"... if you have deep pockets, look at satellite.
Na, that won't work either. The residential services have no mobility, you leave the small beam your in and you won't get online again. If you stay in your geographic beam, you have some chance it working but depending on the provider, they can be quite small. I'm not sure about other satellite providers, this is true for one of the larger ones.
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Old 06-04-2020, 07:38 PM   #18
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While this might be the case in most of our travels... there have been a few RV parks across the USA that have little or no LTE coverage.
Haven't found one yet, nothing 2 LPA's at 45 degrees for MIMO on a mast 20 feet in the air getting some unloaded UTMS site giving me 7 solid Mbps 24/7.

Much easier then messing with setting up battery powered repeaters, cpe's etc.. and probably better TPUT. I like ham radio and messing with wifi stuff as well, I'll do the same as you and drag out all sorts of AP's, routers, PI's, TIK's etc.. and play with them while camping. I wouldn't suggest that option to anyone though.
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Old 06-04-2020, 08:17 PM   #19
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That is why the Xfinity option sucks the most... I think they try to make it more difficult for their legitimate customers that HAVE and account. But are doing that to make it hard for those poaching internet services from someone sharing an account. ...
I have had Xfinity high speed internet at home for years and use their hotspots when I travel. after I connected to an Xfinity hotspot the first time have very rarely had to re-enter my credentials when logging into another Xfinity hotspot, and I mean rarely. If you're talking about Xfinity Mobile, I don't know about that.
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:19 PM   #20
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I have had Xfinity high speed internet at home for years and use their hotspots when I travel. after I connected to an Xfinity hotspot the first time have very rarely had to re-enter my credentials when logging into another Xfinity hotspot, and I mean rarely. If you're talking about Xfinity Mobile, I don't know about that.
Dave,
I agree with you 100%! as long as you are using a single phone, or single laptop that connects with that same device.

When trying to connect a CPE to those networks - many large WISP's (comcast) don't like to have multi-tennant connections with NAT'ed connections behind them. Once there are over 200 ports opened over that single connection - they look at it as a multi-tennant connection (not a single subscriber device) and take action accordingly. (We do this on all of our Public guest-WiFi connections in our retail locations)

If you were to pull up in front of one of our stores... and try to connect to our Public WiFi and use your phone... It will work for a pre-set period of time (measured in minutes, not hours) - then your connection and authenticated session will terminate. You will be required to re-connect, re-authenticate and then you will have "limited internet access" for a different period of time. (Comcast does this too - with persistent connections that appear to be more than a temporary customer presence)

All the while, Ports to the internet are filtered at a cascading level of enforcement to protect the network and satisfy our agreement with the ISP.

If it appears to show a pattern of a persistent connection for longer than expected - that has more than one device routing traffic... it is easy to recognize and the ISP is simply resetting the session - asking you to start over and show you are legit. All part of the EULA!
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