Sep 1

Internet Infrastructure Ordered

Written by Boyink and posted in Life on the Road  
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Today I ordered the equipment that I hope will provide us with reliable and fast-enough internet connectivity.  Since I know there are a large number of geeks following us I thought I’d post the details.

With the exception of the 3G USB stick, all of this equipment was ordered through the 3GStore.  While their site isn’t a winner from a visual design point of view, it’s well-done from a business point of view.  They tell you what they like and dislike about each product, their on-line chat was quick and helpful, as was their email based support.  So far everything about my experience with them says they know what they are talking about.

It looks like our equipment is going to consist of two laptops and my iPhone.  Possibly a printer - we haven’t made that choice yet.  What I wanted to avoid was having to always re-configure the individual machines based on if internet was available via a cell card or campground wifi.  I wanted the head-end of the system to be able to switch between available sources, keeping all downstream components ignorant of where the connectivity was coming from.

The 3GStore answered that with the heart of the system I ordered, the Cradlepoint MBR1000 Router.  You can read the specs on that page, but the sell point for me was being able to plug-in both a wifi source and 3G source and have the router choose, and even failover/failback.  It’ll even do load-balancing if we have higher bandwidth needs.  Cool!

From there I needed the equipment to feed it both wifi and 3G.  For 3G the big choice was which provider.  I have AT&T on my iPhone and it’s been average.  Fellow road-trippers the Technomads recently had issues with Sprint which sent them off researching other connectivity options.  They recommended the Millenicom Advanced Plan which will run $60/month with a 10GB usage limit.  This is double the 5GB plans both Sprint and Verizon offer directly, and the Millenicom plan is said to use the Verizon footprint anyway so coverage should be the same.

The USB device with the Millenicom plan allows an external antenna, so I ordered the Omni RV Antenna.  It uses standard coax so my hope is to get this mounted to the crank-up TV antenna currently on the trailer, and just tap into the trailer’s coax wiring for getting the signal to the router inside the trailer.

I hope to use campground wifi to keep me away from the 3G 10GB limit, so I also purchased the recommended Pepwave Surf Mini, to which I’ll add a Hi-Gain Antenna for better reception.

With equipment, startup fees and shipping my costs were around $665.00 - which seems pretty reasonable. Let’s hope the installation and usage goes as well as the ordering process did.

8 comments on Internet Infrastructure Ordered

  1. Picture of Mark Reeves

    Mark Reeves writes:

    I’ve got the Canon MX860 wireless printer/scanner/copier/fax in my office, purchased at a discount with an iMac last year. It’s bulky, but wireless scanning is great. If you find yourself looking for that stuff all-in-one (maybe scanning in stuff you don’t need to otherwise retain will make up for the device’s bulk?), I’d recommend it.

    Posted on September 01, 2010
  2. Picture of Boyink

    Boyink writes:

    I’ve a similar (non-wireless) HP all in one. It’s way too big. I’d rather look into something like mobile solution.

    Posted on September 01, 2010
  3. Picture of salguod

    salguod writes:

    I’d second the recommendation on the Canon, it it weren’t going in an RV.  I’ve got an MX850, which is similar to the MX860 I bet, except it’s not wireless.  Great unit, but way to big for an RV.  It’s a monster.

    Posted on September 01, 2010
  4. Picture of Cherie @Technomadia

    Cherie @Technomadia writes:

    Did you look into Millenicom at all?  They offer the Verizon footprint for just $59.99 per month (no taxes) with a 10GB cap - and no contract.  Much more flexible than going straight Verizon and their 5GB cap.

    We just switched to their Sprint plan (for 20+ GB), but had seriously considered doing their Verizon if didn’t need instant access with our existing equipment when Sprint roaming pissed us off.

    Posted on September 01, 2010
  5. Picture of Boyink

    Boyink writes:

    Bah - that’s right. I remember you guys posting that now. I just canceled the Verizon and am going with Millenicom.  Looks to be the same USB stick so all the same on the hardware end.

    Thanks for the reminder!

    Posted on September 01, 2010
  6. Picture of Boyink

    Boyink writes:

    Edited the post to reflect the change of 3G providers.  Costs went up $200, but the double-bandwidth and no contract are worth it.

    Posted on September 01, 2010
  7. Picture of Boyink

    Boyink writes:

    Also - Millenicom recently doubled our bandwidth to 20GB per month at no additional cost.

    Posted on May 10, 2011
  8. Picture of Boyink

    Boyink writes:

    Update to the above - the cell antenna does *not* use the same coax as the tv antenna.  This means I need to run another hole through the trailer roof to route the wire in. Between that and good connectivity without it I’ve yet to use the exterior antenna.

    Posted on May 26, 2011

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