Friday, September 11, 2015

Getting the Most out of a Campground's WiFi

Getting the Most Out of Your Campground's Wi-Fi

Connecting to your RV park's WiFi is a good way to help reduce the data load on your cell phone / MiFi card plan. These plans can be very expensive and any way to reduce the usage of the cellular plan can save you money. Connecting to the RV parks WiFi signal can be a real issue at times.  However, it is not magic. If the park's WiFi has low bandwidth, it doesn't matter how much you boost it, your data rate will still be very slow. You just want to give yourself the best opportunity to take advantage of the parks WiFi, and having a WiFi booster will give you that opportunity.

WiFi is basically like a two-way radio.  Instead of speaking English, your computer speaks a language called 802.11; this has a few variations, but you get the point.  The radio waves use a frequency band called the 2.4GHz ISM band which is also used by microwave ovens and some cordless telephones.  This means that WiFi can sometimes suffer interference from these devices.

It’s important to remember two things about WiFi. First, it is mostly line-of-sight. Radio waves of this frequency do not pass very well through objects, especially ones made of metal and objects with a high water content.  For that reason, fog, rain, wet leaves and our own bodies can also impede the WiFi signal. Secondly, remember that I said that WiFi is two-way. You have to be able to “hear” the signal, but they also have to be able to “hear” you.

This is the root cause of many of the challenges in trying to connect to a RV park’s WiFi. The power output of a typical laptop WiFi is about 80mW (milli-watts or about 0.08W) and the power output from your smartphone or tablet is typically much less. They are designed to communicate to a home or office router that is at the most 15-20 feet away, not 100 - 200 feet away. And remember the square law: the strength of a signal reduces as a square of the distance, meaning that if you double the distance from the source, the signal strength reduces by 4x. So what typically happens is that your laptop can “hear” the WiFi signal(because most parks have large more powerful antennas), but your little old laptop can’t send its signal back which is why you can’t connect or have connection timeout failures.  WiFi Boosters can be a great assistance in receiving the WiFi signal from the RV park.  Again, the receiver in your devices just are not made for large distances.  

Understanding how WiFi works can help you in realizing what the solution is to your RV park WiFi frustrations. Check out the TechnoRV WiFi boosters. These units are our top selling products because they help solve a problem we all have with when in travel: getting the most out of WIFi from parks that offer it.