Monday, July 30, 2012

Configuring the Radiolabs USB Repeater

How it Works

The CaptiFi WiFi booster uses it's powerful amplifier and antenna to talk to the campground (or other location's) WiFi signal. Because of it's power and the fact that it is outside and higher up, it is able to do a MUCH better job of connecting to the remote WiFi signal than your laptop. 

The CaptiFi is connected to the USB Repeater (the blue box). This device tells the CaptiFi what signal to connect to, and then re-transmits the boosted WiFi as your own local WiFi signal (or hotspot). This hotspot can be used up by multiple computers, smartphones, iPads, Kindles, Roku boxes etc. Because it is a wireless signal, you can connect to it from anywhere inside your rig, or indeed even if you are sitting relaxing outside!

Configuring your System

[Note: the photos below are a little small - just click on them to expand them]

Each time you move to a new location you need to "tell" the CaptiFi what signal you want it to boost. You do this as follows:

1. Make sure your USB Repeater (the blue box) is connected to the CaptiFi and turned on (duh). You should see the blue power light and then after a 20 seconds or so, the blue WLAN light.

2. Connect your laptop to the WiFi signal called "11n 3G USB Router" which is the local signal from the blue box. Open a browser on your computer (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome etc) and in the URL bar (the address place at the top) enter - you will then see the login prompt. Login (admin, admin). This connects your computer to the blue box. Once you have logged in, the system will take you to a page (like the one below) full of mumbo-jumbo. Don't freak-out, it's super easy from here.

3. At the top of the window, click on "Easy Setup" and then select the "USB Wireless Adapter".

4. Next you have to tell the USB Repeater which WiFi network to connect to. To do this, click on "Site Survey" and then wait for the system to come back with the names of the WiFi networks that the WiFi booster can "see".

5. Select the WiFi that you want to connect to. If you're just looking around for a WiFi to hop on to, then look under "Encryption" for a WiFi that is listed as "None", meaning that it is open.

6. The next screen allows you to enter any password that your Campground gave you to use with their WiFi.  

7. The next screen is where you configure your own local WiFi (the signal coming from the blue box). In box A you enter the name of your local WiFi (in this example "TechnoRV WiFi Booster"). In box B you can tell the blue box to encrypt or password your own WiFi signal to stop anyone else from using it. To do that, select "WPA2-PSK". Don't worry if you have no idea what that means, it's just the name of the algorithm used to encrypt the signal. In box C, select "TKIP" and enter your password (it must be at least 8 characters long).

8. Once you are finished, hit "Done" and the system will say "System Re-booting". As it re-boots, it will kick you off the local WiFi, so after a minute or so, re-connect your laptop to your new WiFi network (in this example "TechnoRV WiFi Booster"). The system should come back with a "Wizard Success" message, but don't worry if it doesn't.

9. To check everything is okay, click on the "Status" tab at the top left and then you should see in box A a "Connected" message which means that the WiFi booster is connected to the campground WiFi. Box B tells you the name of the signal that it is connected to.

10. Finally, try navigating to Google or your favorite website. If everything is working correctly, you should be online. If not, either the WiFi you connected to is not working, or you messed up. As a test, take your laptop nearer the WiFi signal your trying to connect to and see if it works without the booster and blue box (sometimes you can connect to WiFi signals that don't go anywhere and aren't connected to the internet).

I hope that helps. Like I say in my seminars, there are no guarantees with WiFi, but with this combination of booster and repeater you have one the most powerful and flexible systems available on the market today. If you still have questions, feel free to email me at