RV Experience Sharing our experience about RVing

July 29, 2007

A Better WiFi

Filed under: Uncategorized — donwood49 @ 7:32 am
I wanted to have the ability to easily share my Internet connection with fellow campers when we’re on the road. When I share, I want some access and bandwidth limitation controls though. I hadn’t found a good system that provided a good signal let alone some control, until now.The Meraki Outdoor Repeater seems to be what I need. One of the things I really like is an appliance approach to technology. I just plugged it in and it worked immediately. I then logged in to it’s dashboard and easily setup Id’s, passwords, and features. Nice system.

Meraki isn’t really a WiFi router or access point product. They are trying to setup public Internet access using “mesh” networks. They’re located in Mountain View a few miles from home here in Palo Alto. The goal is cheap ubiquitous Internet access. Google is evidently assisting them get started.

I installed the repeater in the RV and connected it to the Datastorm system (Hughes Satellite Internet). It’s setup to provide for fee access to anyone and provides bandwidth limitation to prevent hogging the system. I still need to see how this affects the Fair Access Policy (FAP) of the Hughes Satellite system that limits the data quantity use over a 24 hour period. It should easily handle polite fellow campers that just need a little Internet and email access. If abused, it can be turned off quite quickly either entirely or for abusive users.

It also has the capability to provide both a private wireless system and the public access at the same time or can have a white list of for free access users while providing fee access to others.

The result will hopefully be a better system providing more features with easier control.

When I’m home, I don’t need to use the Hughes Satellite Internet dish on the RV but do like to use the RV as a quiet office occasionally. The Meraki repeaters can talk to each other and connect into a mesh network. I’ve also installed a repeater at the house. The unit in the RV can get to the Internet via the repeater in the house when parked at home. It can provide wireless connections using the Hughes Satellite Internet connection when on the road.

One other neat thing is that expanding the mesh network is quite easy and cheap. Meraki Mini repeaters cost $49. The outdoor versions ($99) are basically the same but in a weatherproof housing with the power provided over the cat5 cable. A bonus feature of these devices is that they are extremely light users of power.

Since I don’t have a lot of experience with these yet and none on the road, this posting may be edited if my experience proves different than expected and as specification, features and tests indicate. If it works out the Meraki repeater will replace the Belkin “N” system currently used in the RV.

More information links:

Meraki Site
Google and Meraki

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