RV Experience Sharing our experience about RVing

August 8, 2005

WiFi Router Setup

Filed under: Uncategorized — donwood49 @ 4:52 am

This article describes the setup of the wireless access network on my Motosat Datastorm satellite Internet system.
My VAR is Ground Control. I have a Ground Control Network Access Point (GCNAP) which provides the Internet connection using the Datastorm satellite system.
I have tried a NetGear WGR614 Wireless Access Point/Router, then a Hawking HWR54G Wireless Access Point/Router, and now I am using the Belkin Pre-N Access Point/Router. ($135 with shipping from Tiger Direct)
I keep upgrading, trying to get better coverage. The NetGear didn’t allow external antennas. The Hawking allowed external antennas but coverage didn’t improve significantly. The Belkin Pre-N promised 400% better coverage. After installation, I had two bars where I previously had an intermittent one bar.
The Belkin is twice the cost but the range is so much better. You could get better range with other WAP/routers with better antennas, but the cost would probably be more than the Belkin, which doesn’t need the external antenna. The other systems get most of the aditional range by using directional antennas. The Belkin is omnidirectional. Therefore, you don’t have to aim the antenna in the direction you intend to be.
Setup of the Belkin router was the easiest I have experienced. I did have to run setup a second time because I didn’t have the network adapter enabled and I had to disable the proxy I normally use so that the router was seen by the computer. Other than that it was mostly a job of clicking “next” several times. I did, of course, enter my own Sysid and after it connected to the INTERNET, I setup security.
Unlike previous routers, the Belkin connected itself to the Ground Control NAP automatically. I didn’t have to fudge anything. I then turned on my proxy again with an exception for the new router IP.
Previously, I didn’t use the WAN port but used a LAN port to connect from the router to the NAP with a crossover cable. With the Belkin, I used a straight cable to connect from the router WAN port to the GCNAP. This allows the use of all the power and protection of the router and it’s firewall. Suffice it to say it just works and was setup extremely smoothly.

History:

Previously I was using the Hawking HWR54G WAP. This article used to contain the information below. I’ve left the information to aid anyone who might need it to setup their Hawking WAP. I got the Hawking WAP because I was looking to increase my range. The Hawking was cheap and had antenna connectors that allowed use of external high gain antennas. I didn’t see a significant increase in range with the high gain antennas. I returned the equipment.

LAN Settings:

The DHCP was turned on even though the NAP had a DHCP running as well. This didn’t seem to present a problem but if it did, I could have turned off the DHCP in the NAP. The DHCP is needed in the WAP to set the correct gateway and DNS for wireless and wired users. The source for these was set in the WAN configuration (below). The NAP IP was set as the WAN IP, and gateway. The DNS was a valid Ground Control DNS.

WAN Port Configuration from Advanced Options:

The Hawking HWR54G was very versatile but most of the settings were unchanged from default, except as noted above and for normal personalization.

Originally I used a NetGear WGR614 Wireless Access Point/Router but it wouldn’t allow the use of an external antenna so I replaced it.

Using a router with the Motosat system takes some consideration. Normally a simple Wireless Access Point is used rather than a router.

The original NetGear WAP worked well but had limited range. It worked inside and immediately adjacent to the RV but I couldn’t connect from inside my house.
It would seem that the Hawking, with a 6 dB antenna, should have quadrupled the range. In actuality, it was maybe half a bar, at best, from the original antenna. The Belkin setup was even easier including automatic setup of the WAN port to the GCNAP (Satellite host), something none of the other WAPs I’ve tried would do. In fact, some wouldn’t allow use of the WAN port with the GCNAP because they incorrectly set the addresses and couldn’t be changed.

With just the installation of the Belkin WAP, and not using Belkin pre-N laptop WiFi cards, the range improvement now is from 0-1 bars to 2-4 bars inside my house. Someday I’ll get a pre-N card for the laptop and I expect another doubling of the range.

This article is still under construction. I’ll try to get some current images of the Belkin as installed some time soon.

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