RV Park Owners- How do I improve my Wifi

Discussion in 'Park Management' started by lighthouse_resort, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. lighthouse_resort

    lighthouse_resort
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    So I own an rv park in big bear that has been in business for over 60 years and up till last year we never had Wifi, so last year I put wifi in. I started by putting the main router right near the office and two receivers in trees throughout the park. I have 100 spots in the park that I am trying to give access to wifi but the only quadrant that gets good quality Wifi reception is probably the 20 spots that are near the main router by the office. My rv resort has a lot of trees so I had a feeling that it would be a struggle for the Wifi service to be good throughout the park, any suggestions on how to improve the reception throughout the park? Had anyone else had this problem and used a booster or something that helped?
     
  2. docj

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    With all due respect, you haven't specified what kind of hardware you are using for your router and repeaters. I've encountered some park owners who have tried to use consumer-grade devices and that, typically, doesn't produce an acceptable result. There are companies that design WiFi systems for a living and I suspect they may be able to create a more robust solution for you.
     
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  3. newkcmoedoe

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    You are going to have major problems. Wifi frequencies (B, G, N and AC) are extremely poor at penetrating items with high water content and that is what leaves on trees are made of. Also, the faster the common frequencies (B being the slowest, N the fastest) the less ability they have to penetrate. The saying in the industry was B would go through walls, G will go through a wall and N will go through the air. AC is a newer format, at 5G frequency only, and is not really an option yet, since many devices will not connect.
    To cover a park, you are going to need multiple routers and access points located around the park. Access points differ from repeaters in that they connect directly to the router and do not repeat the signal which slows the system even more.
    Also of vital importance is the bandwidth you serve the park with. If all that is available to you is DSL or similar, you are almost assuredly wasting your time trying to build out a fast system for 100 sites.
    Finally, remember all internet is two way communication. Even when downloading a huge file, the guest's computer is constantly pinging the system, letting it know it is still connected. This is important because no matter how strong your system is and how well placed your antennas are, the guest's device, with it's two inch antenna and one ounce battery has to be able to communicate back to your system.
    You probably need professional help setting up a working solution. And it may very well be that to provide good service the costs may be prohibitive or even impossible due to limited bandwidth in your area. If that becomes the reality, consider the actual cost/benefits. Do you really want to spend $10,000 or maybe much more to provide Wifi when the customers usually have a data plan on their phones as a backup? Will the business you either lose, or not get in the first place because wifi isn't available cost you more than putting in an expensive system? And if you put in a system, will the customer service issues (and NO campground Wifi system will ever please everyone) be worth the costs?
     
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  4. docj

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    With all due respect, IEEE standards 802.11b, g and n all provide for transmission using the same 2.4 GHz frequency band. All RF transmissions travel at the speed of light; one isn't "faster" than the other. The different standards allow for higher bit rates, but that doesn't have anything to do with the speed of the transmission, nor does a faster bit rate have any direct effect on the penetration ability of the signal.

    802.11n also allowed for transmission in the 5 GHz band but didn't require it.

    802.11ac requires 5 GHz transmission which has nothing to do with the new 5G cellular service. This standard was first implemented in 2013 and by now there are millions of devices owned by consumers that are compatible with it.

    It is true that 5 GHz transmissions will not penetrate as well as do those at 2.4 GHz but that's why most 802.11ac systems have default settings under which they simultaneously broadcast at both 2.4 and 5 GHz.

    If you wish to read a more detailed explanation you can find it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11ac

    Joel (AKA docj)
     
    #4 docj, Jan 7, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
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  5. newkcmoedoe

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    I don't know how you got the idea I posted or even thought that the physical speed of the radio waves were different. Even you admit that N transmits data faster than B or G. But it is factual that even within the different spectrums (2.4 and 5 GHZ) there are different channels in use. And there is plenty of information indicating that the N and G Wifi has greater potential for interference from other devices using that 2.4 spectrum. From your previous posts it is apparent you believe that poor campground wifi is totally the fault of the campground owner. If you can't stream and upload HD video at a campground in the middle of nowhere you feel it is because the park ownership is just being cheap.
    Since I am apparently swimming upstream against the administration of this website in my belief that many times the issue is that parks cannot, under any reasonable circumstances, provide a wifi experience equal to a home served fiber optic lines and cable wifi, I will save you the time and effort of refuting my views by refraining from future postings on this forum. Drop the mic, I am out of here...For good.
     
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  6. docj

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    With all due respect, you're the one who posted this:

    "Also, the faster the common frequencies (B being the slowest, N the fastest) the less ability they have to penetrate." (emphasis added)

    Without being insulting, 802.11b, g and n don't utilize different frequencies (other than the optional use of 5 GHz with "n"). They have different data rates, not frequencies.

    If you had intended this to say "the faster the data rate (b being the slowest, n the fastest) the less ability they have to penetrate" the statement still would have been incorrect. As I already noted, 802.11b, g and n all use the same 2.4 GHz band (5 GHz being optional for "n") and the exact same channels. Therefore, there is no intrinsic reason why the penetration ability of any of these would differ.

    As for your contention that "g" and "n" are more prone to interference from other sources, that claim wasn't in your original post so my comments weren't intended to address it.

    I had no intention of offending anyone, but I think it's important that material posted in this forum be as accurate as possible. There's an awful lot of incorrect information posted on the internet. The least I can do is help to correct inaccuracies on websites I help administer.

    As for blaming park owners for poor WiFi, I don't disagree that some parks are located in remote areas where high speed internet isn't available. But sometimes the definition of "availability" is highly dependent on how much a park owner is willing to invest in this amenity. In metro areas with strong 4G/LTE service many of us don't care about a park's WiFi; it's in more rural areas where cell service is spotty that a park owner's investment in WiFi will be greatly appreciated by customers.

    Joel (AKA docj)
     
    #6 docj, Jan 7, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
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  7. Josh Z

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    I think the only thing you can do to improve your wifi is nothing since we would only relly on the signal from networks.
     
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  8. WooodSI

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    I'm not a professional in this field but very less information was provided. We don't know what router is present and provider information for network.
     
  9. Bama Camper

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    Get a professional with experience in that field and a good track record to design a proper system. You'll save money in the long run and have a more reliable system.

    You probably wouldn't do your own appendectomy!
     
  10. Obiwan-Pierogi

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    I am a campground owner, but because of my location, I must rely on the commercial Satellite Xplornet system.. I've used it for 15 years, and it works great.. I have 4 transmitters in my park.. And I use Zyxel G4100 system connected to the Xplornet modem..
    With this system I can limit the bandwidth speeds, which I do to about 1200 kbs.. Which is quite sufficient.. Each connection is via a password from a printer, and I allow 2 free per site. Addtl 5 bucks each.. This cuts out the kids using up the band width on games.. I also shut my system down from 11 to 6 am, to stop movie downloads etc.
    It is expensive, but I have a small campground and usually their 200 GB package suffices.. 230 bucks per month..
     
  11. docj

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    I commend you for having taken steps to provide internet access to customers in what appears to be a very challenging location. Over the years,I have repeatedly explained to park owners that the capability to create "channels" for customers to prevent data-hogging is well within their capability. I'm glad to see someone actually doing it.

    The only negative observation I have is that 11pm is pretty early for turning off internet access IMHO. Since you appear to have the "only game in town" with respect to internet, if I was an RVer at your park, I would be upset by that.
     
  12. Obiwan-Pierogi

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    I would tend to agree; however, my campground is what we call "an over-nighter", so when you hit 11, 90% are sound asleep.. I also close my gate at 10, which most people like..
     
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  13. BankShot

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    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Hey Obiwan-Pierogi - I gotta tell you, I love your username :D You must like the Star Wars epics as well as those little dumpling/potsticker things called Perogies. Whatever prompted the name it's a good one and I welcome you to the forum and hope to hear more from you as you cruise on down the roads in your RV. Be safe and stay healthy.................

    Regards, BankShot................(aka Terry)
     
  14. GT Hill

    GT Hill
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    Hello all! I'm considering putting some RV spots (10 or less) at my business so I dropped into this forum.

    However, I happen to be a Wi-Fi expert (hope that doesn't come off wrong) so if there's anything I can help with let me know!

    GT
     
  15. docj

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    There are a number of participants in this forum who consider themselves rather knowledgeable about WiFi as it applies to the RV world. Thanks for your offer; if our existing in-house resources fail us we'll contact you.
     
  16. GT Hill

    GT Hill
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    Sounds good! Just to be clear, I wasn't soliciting... just here to help.

    While I'm here, let me correct a few things that were said above.

    11 b vs. g... first off we shouldn't be talking about these things. 11g came out in 2003. :)

    Of the two frequencies used in Wi-Fi (for now) 2.4 GHz will penetrate better but it doesn't have many usable channels. What that means is that depending on the number of users you have and the layout of your park, you could be interfering with yourself.

    5 GHz won't penetrate obstructions quite as well but has many more channels available so the possibility of self-interference is quite low.

    Regarding the data rate / frequency discussion, no one had it completely correct.

    The actual signal penetration through an object or through free space does not change based on the data rate (speed). That was stated correctly. However, the higher the data rate, the more signal that is required to achieve that data rate.

    The technical term for this is Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). Very technically it's SINR but we won't get into that here.

    So what does this mean to you? If you were to upgrade from 11n to 11ac (or to 11ax) you may not see significant improvement if you have weak signal getting to your customers. Now, you could see some improvement but that's not b/c of the upgrade in standard - new equipment is just better at dealing with bad signals which is a great thing for us.

    Here is some fundamental Wi-Fi advice:

    - The difference between consumer and professional (enterprise) equipment is manageability and reliability. It is more expensive but you won't have to worry about rebooting it randomly like some (most) equipment designed for the home.
    - No equipment can defy physics.
    - There is such a thing as proper Wi-Fi deign. I've spent almost 20 years doing it and I still see sooo many poor designs with great equipment
    - When you can, wire it. I love Wi-Fi but if you can wire an access point, do it.
    - Your Wi-Fi will almost ALWAYS be faster than your Internet connection. So if your customers have slow Internet access it could be your Internet connection, not the Wi-Fi.
    - Glass is your friend. Radio frequencies travel through glass much easier than through the metal sides of an RV. Place your access points accordingly if you can.
    - On 2.4 GHz only use channels 1, 6, and 11. Don't ever break this rule.
    - Always only use 20 MHz wide channels. Don't ever make it higher.

    I'm sure I can come up with some others but this is already too long of a post. :)

    Thanks!

    GT Hill
     
  17. docj

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    With all due respect, if you seek to be a participating member of this forum, I suggest that you participate more often than once a month. In addition, I suggest you take seriously my previous comments that quite a few of us have significant experience with a variety of technical topics and don't need to be "educated". FWIW I have a PhD in physics and am well aware of the channel structure of the 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz bands and the differences in their penetration capability. Furthermore, I am quite familiar with the differences between 802.11 b, g, n, ac and ax.

    We always welcome people who bring knowledge to the forum. But I suggest you achieve our respect by becoming a participant who shares his knowledge in a collegial manner, rather than as a lecturer.
     
  18. GT Hill

    GT Hill
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    I have been participating in this forum by reading every topic I can and learning as opposed to asking the same questions that have already been asked. There are very few places I have to contribute because I'm not an expert in the RV industry. So when I responded initially it was to be a contributor to the forum.

    I reached out offering to help because much (but not all) of the information in this thread was either incorrect or lacked usable context.

    I understand that as there are a number of so called experts out there on a variety of topics, especially on Internet forums so I understand you not wanting to listen to a random guy that just popped into a thread.

    How does one achieve respect where now, on two occasions, my expertise has not been welcomed? I'm not entirely sure what to do now... should I list my credentials and experience? Apologize for trying to help?

    You interpret it as a lecture but you are trying to assign intent when it is very difficult to ascertain such a thing by reading a random forum post.

    I assure you that I'm not trying to achieve any more respect on the topic of Wi-Fi. My intent was to help in the only topic on this forum that I have qualification to do so.

    GT

    P.S. Tech talk: Let's see how you receive this... :)

    2.4 and 5 GHz penetrate common objects with the same losses AND the both travel with the exact same energy in free space (given the same transmit power). There's a common myth even in my industry that 5 GHz has less RF range than 2.4 GHz but it just isn't true. Yes, 5 GHz has less effective range but it isn't because that frequency dissipates its energy at a greater rate than lower frequencies. That would of course break the laws of physics. :)
     
  19. docj

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    With all respect I don't think that is entirely true. The absorption by common building materials varies significantly. The free space propagation of the two frequencies is pretty much irrelevant.

    If you're interested here's a paper on the absorption of 2.4 and 5.8 GHz waves by common materials: https://blog.ibwave.com/a-closer-look-at-attenuation-across-materials-the-2-4ghz-5ghz-bands/
     
  20. GT Hill

    GT Hill
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    Yeah... I know Kelly well. I read a paper on it many years ago and it had dB loss values almost the same. I'll have to see if I can find it. Found it:

    https://www.am1.us/wp-content/uploads/Documents/E10589_Propagation_Losses_2_and_5GHz.pdf

    Obviously there are a number of nuances and my statement about losses wasn't completely correct. But in general practice we don't calculate losses separately between frequencies in normal circumstances.

    There are a few problems with that blog post. One... they keep mixing up dB and dBm - frustrating. All losses are always expressed in dB (relative as you know) vs dBm (absolute) values.

    Two, Wi-Fi devices are notoriously crappy at measuring signal strength. We've done a number of tests where the same model device measures signal differently - up to 10 dB. That's why I like using spectrum analyzers to do the testing. Downside is that they are usually $50k on up. :)
     

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