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  • gscalfaro

Internet Connectivity

In my old van, I had a internal Pepwave router, that took a USB modem. I added an external antenna to that and got slightly better service. I decided that I need a little better coverage with the new van. I good part of our camping especially in the wintertime is at the Oregon coast. The weather can sometimes be somewhat nasty, so hunkering down at night watching a movie, or for that matter streaming your favorite shows. The old rig had a TV with a built in DVD player, now days I stream on a laptop, although a larger monitor is most likely going to happen. So, technology has changed and staying connected is even more important. And while we complain about always being connected, you can just turn it off.

I started looking at all the boosters, and other devices to see what I wanted to come up with. One setup that I was looking at was from Mofi Network Inc. Of course Pepwave was still a good choice their Max Transit router is a standout. The next thing to look at was antennas, which really is one of the more important parts of the system. This led me down the path of Insty connect mobile internet router. This was developed by a RV’er that like to work from the road. He had a Utube presence connecting on the road and even had a video where he recommended Mofi router. As technology changes he decided to build his own system. While still new, he is now producing a 5G version and has an innovative antenna system called Angel Wings or now with 5G Cloud Wings.

One part of innovation is to put the router inside the antenna cover. This allows the cabling to be short, improving the performance. The modem/antenna is then connected to the router via USB cable. The cloud wing is designed to be hard mounted to the roof. If you really need better performance, they also provide Binocular antenna setup. You can just move the router over to Binocular antenna and get better coverage.

One of the big things that led me down this path, was not only supporting a family run business but also some of the reviews. Many reviews were overly positive, and many issues that were reported back, were fixed in subsequent updates to the product. The company also provides a reasonable upgrade path. On the downside, the antenna mounted on the roof will be a constant threat from tree limbs, etc.

Installation and setup were straight forward. The first part of the installation is the mounting the router and setting up the software. The initial connection to the router is through an open setup network, after that it is pretty much like setting up any router, setup password for the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz. A somewhat unsupported feature of this router is WIFI as WAN. The first issue is that the antennas are located on the router inside the van. The second is that while you can either frequency stablish your WIFI as WAN, you will not be able to host with that same band. So, if you have devices that only attach with one band then take care to band you use for WIFI as WAN.

For installing I of course need to run the USB cable through the roof, not a big problem, I have used the Solar Entry Puck for my solar panels and will use one for this also. I decided that instead of screwing the Insty’s antenna mast to the roof, that I would make an adapter plate that would fit on my 80/20 roof rack. It would give me some more flexibility as I get used to the system.

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