WLAN / WiFi in the RV

WLAN-USB-Adapter, WiFi-Richtantenne, Wireless vehicle antenna, WLAN router

In the GRP cabin of a motorhome you have the built-in wireless antenna of the notebook really good conditions for a reliable WiFi in motorhome.

If the wireless signal is weak, The notebook combines often at unfavorable locations in the cabin or there is no wireless connection possible. A bad WiFi connection greatly affects the speed and reliability of the Internet connection and easiest online activities for protracted agony.

Already significant improvement brings a good wireless USB adapter with high receiving sensitivity and higher transmission power, which is connected with a longer USB cable to the notebook. So, the notebook can be at the desired location and the wireless USB adapter or. the antenna is installed in a receiving favorable place. With an additional wireless directional antenna, which is connected to the wireless USB adapter, can significantly improve the wireless reception again!

A separate WLAN-AP (WLAN-Access Point) motorhome tablets and smartphones can provide with a good WiFi signal, so that the external Internet connection can be used by these devices.

Campers from conductive materials, such as sheet steel or aluminum, attenuate the wireless signal is strong. The wireless USB adapter or. the WLAN antenna should in this case outside the cabin (z.B. vehicle roof) be placed.

Demands on the wireless system in the motorhome

On a WLAN-System for the motorhome, we have the following requirements:

  • optimal wireless connection in various travel situation
  • modular, flexible, expandable, worldwide available standard components
  • Fi for all devices (Notebooks, Tablets, Smartphones, Reader, etc.)
  • Best price / performance ratio by customized components

Many times we met travelers, who have paid a lot for a poor and inflexible WiFi solution. By choosing the right wireless devices it is good and cheap. The entry starts from ca. 40 EUR with a good wireless USB adapter and a USB extension cable!

Below we describe the WLAN / WiFi components currently used by us. Much more detail we deal with the issue in our free eBook WiFi / WiFi in the RV, that of all travelers free download can be.


When you buy a wireless USB adapter for the motorhome should be on a detachable antenna, high receiving sensitivity and a higher transmission power are respected. If the WiFi antenna removable, can be a powerful directional antenna or a vehicle antenna can be connected.

Even drivers for the newest operating system (z.B. Windows 10) should already be available, even when their own notebook yet with an older operating system (z.B. Windows 7) Browsing.

Having long the Zioncom WL0162 used because of its excellent reception sensitivity, we have become the wireless USB adapter ALFA AWUS036NHR v.2 changed. This we can also with the supplied omni-directional antenna, the vehicle antenna or operate the directional antenna. The first version of ALFA AWUS036NHR had not convinced us, so we have only changed with the new version v.2. The version v.2 has achieved excellent results in our measurements.

The ALFA AWUS036NHR we can use with the notebook or directly with the ALFA R36. The direct connectivity to the ALFA R36 was the real reason for the change to ALFA AWUS036NHR. So we can operate in the camper with the ALFA R36 and the ALFA AWUS036NHR an autonomous in-vehicle wireless AP, without the notebook to have to use it (s.u.).

When traveling light (z.B. in Hotels) we use the AWUS036NHR only with the notebook and a USB extension cable. In the vehicle, we can connect the situation requires a WLAN antennas and build up in the vehicle on demand via the ALFA R36 or laptop equipped with wireless AP (s.u.). Thus, all devices (Tablets also, Smartphones etc.) use the external Internet connection.

The AWUS036NHR offers the following advantages:

  • detachable antenna (5 dBi)
  • high receiving sensitivity and above-average transmit power
  • Drivers for the current and previous versions of Windows (32/64 Bit)
  • supports IEEE 802.11 b / g / n
  • own WLAN in the vehicle directly through ALFA R36 possible

Price Alfa AWUS036NHR: ca. 30 EUR

USB extension cable (active)

To connect the wireless USB adapter to the notebook we use active USB cable (z.B. ALFA), respectively 5 m or. 10 m are long.

With active USB cables the maximum permissible USB cable length can be significantly exceeded.

So the wireless USB adapter can be installed at a receiving favorable place, if need be further away from the vehicle.

Higher positions on the vehicle roof, a wall, a tree or a pole can be easily reached with a USB extension cable.

Price USB Repeater Cable: ab ca. 10 EUR (varies with cable length and providers)

WLAN-Richtantenne ALFA APA-L2419

In some situations, even the omnidirectional antenna of the wireless USB adapter is too weak, to provide a reliable connection to a distant WLAN-Hotspot to building.

Can one of the source of the WiFi signal is not further approach a Directional antenna needed, which provides a stronger signal due to its directivity.

With a pigtail (s.u.) one connects the directional antenna with the wireless USB adapter. Pictured this is good to see.

As directional antenna we use a waterproof ALFA APA-L2419 with 19 dBi. Our directional antenna is about 30x faster than the supplied with the Wireless USB Adapter small omnidirectional!

The ALFA APA-L2419 is a so-called Panelantenne. She has a very low profile and therefore easy to store in your camper van. To fix the directional antenna, we recommend a sturdy suction cup with ball joints. When Saugnapfhalter should be paid to quality and never saved.

We used to have a smaller directional antenna with a much smaller footprint (13 × 13 cm), as we had concerns about the ease of use of a larger directional antenna. Although ALFA APA-L2419 a floor area of ​​approx. 37 x 37 cm having, can they be used more easily. With the suction cup mount, the antenna can easily on the roof, are mounted on the ceiling or on the outside wall of the motor home inside. The APA-L2419 directional antenna has, due to the larger surface and a 8 dB higher antenna gain, So over 6x faster than our previous directional antenna.

Price ALFA APA-L2419: ab ca. 50 EUR
Price suction cup: ab ca. 30 EUR

Pigtail / Adapter for external WLAN antennas

A pigtail is an adapter cable, to connect devices with different RF connectors. In our case, we conclude that external WLAN antennas (Directional antenna, Vehicle Antenna) an den WLAN-USB-Adapter an. A pigtail should be as short (z.B. 50 cm) be, so that the antenna signal as little as possible steamed (attenuated) becomes.

A necessary extension between computer and antenna should therefore always be done with a USB cable, So between the computer and wireless network adapter and not between wireless adapter and antenna.

The plugs of the pigtails must or the wireless adapter. match the antenna. In our case it is an adapter cable with RP-SMA connector and N-connector. We have pigtails / Adapters from different manufacturers, such as. das Pigtail TP-LINK TL-ANT24PT. This has a cable length of 50 cm and ca. 0,8 dB attenuation.

Price pigtail: ab ca. 9 EUR

Wireless Vehicle Antenna Diamond MG-200

A wireless external antenna has the great advantage, that it is always set up even with wind and weather in an elevated position.

With our WiFi-vehicle antenna is an omnidirectional Diamond MG-200 (7 dBi) with flexible feet and a length of 60 cm. This antenna design has no pronounced directivity and can therefore receive around as many signals. One does not have to move the antenna, for it is weaker than our directional antenna.

With the flexible foot (strong spring) the antenna with obstacles (z.B. Boughs) buckling in all directions and is thus not easily damaged.

The antenna is attached by means of implementing foot on drop sheet the roof rack platform. A short pigtail leads through the cab roof and connects the MG-200 with an ALFA AWUS036NHR v.2, which is fixed in the lining behind the radio. From here, a repeater cable leads behind the headliner directly to the passage between the cab and residential construction.

On passage of ALFA R36 is attached and alternatively can be connected from the cab or on the structure quickly and conveniently also the notebook.

We have for the vehicle antenna own ALFA AWUS036NHR v.2, always stays connected.

Price Diamond MG-200: ca. 60 EUR

Private Wireless Access Point in the camper

If the Internet connection is only possible with an external wireless USB adapter (z.B. by directional antenna or vehicle antenna), so is the wireless signal for Tablets, Smartphones & Co. too weak.

Need this also an Internet connection, we take the external wireless signal with the directional antenna or vehicle antenna to the vehicle and distribute it here on its own, internal wireless AP (WLAN Access Point) with good wireless signal to all other devices.

Mainly we use forward two options:

Wireless AP with the ALFA R36

The ALFA R36 can be used as in-vehicle wireless AP (ugs. Hotspot) operated in mobile home. By ALFA AWUS036NHR we bring the Internet connection from the external wireless AP (z.B. WiFi Campingplatz) the vehicle and transfer this via USB cable to the ALFA R36.

This is a private, strong wireless signal the external Internet connection to all other devices (Notebooks, Netbooks, Smartphones, Tablets) to disposal.

The advantage of this solution, that the notebook must be switched on, so that other devices can use the Internet connection. The ALFA R36 can be used with any web browser, to prepare the new external Internet connection with a change of location.

The power of the R36 via 12 VDC or via the included power supply with 100 – 240 VAC. The Alfa wireless USB adapter is powered via the USB cable from the R36 with current. In order for the WLAN of the R36, the connection to the external wireless AP does not interfere, He should send on another channel (see eBook).

The ALFA R36 also supports various Surfsticks (3G USB Modem), so that an Internet connection via mobile phone network can be passed on to all other devices.

Price ALFA R36: ca. 50 EUR

WiFi-AP with the notebook

Since Windows 7 can be provided through the built-in notebook wireless adapter is a virtual wireless access point available, at which more notebooks, Netbooks, Tablets, Smartphones etc. can log. In this way, these devices can use the Internet connection of a computer on the notebook wireless USB adapter.

The establishment of virtual wireless access points can be done via the command line or to install the appropriate software (z.B. Virtual Router). This combination provides particularly when traveling light in hotels or apartments to.

We take this mostly just a wireless USB stick (the picture is still the Zioncom WL0162 to see) and a USB extension cable. The notebook is then via the Virtual Router Internet connection via private wireless AP on Tablet and smartphones continue.

Thus, a secure VPN connection to be shared by the other devices. Read more in our free eBook WiFi / WiFi in the RV.

WLAN-Repeater: The wrong device for Caravan

A classic WLAN-Repeater, sometimes wireless amplifier, called Extender or Range Extender, is not useful in the camper. We have already seen so travelers, Therefore the following information.

The idea behind the wireless repeater is, that it is being placed still within range of a wireless signal, the WiFi signal and retransmits to the desired position out of range (z.B. to the computer in a remote part of the building). The repeater is therefore specifically between wireless AP and wireless client (z.B. Computer) be positioned.

The way you can the repeater hardly put an extension cord in the middle of the lake, rebroadcast to the wireless signal from the Cafe on the opposite bank to the computer in the motorhome. A WiFi Repeater is simply the wrong tool for the motorhome! The money would be better invested in a good wireless USB adapter and directional antenna, so that one can get the wireless signal directly into the RV!

The main disadvantages of a WiFi repeater motorhome:

  • a classic wireless repeater is the wrong tool for the requirements in the camper
  • No connection for an external wireless directional antenna or vehicle antenna
  • maximum design halving (!) the maximum possible speed of the WiFi connection
  • Sends the channel / SSID of "reinforced" wireless AP, which may cause wireless interference

Free eBook WiFi / WLAN in the motorhome

Our experience with the subject WiFi, Fi and Internet in travel vehicle we have much greater detail in the free ebook WiFi / WiFi in the RV summarized.

Technical details are described therein as simple as possible, so it is easy to understand even for travelers without technical background.

On more than 80 sides, you do not have to read all, is the topic dealt with much more comprehensive, than is possible on this side. Travelers in RV, Expedition Vehicle, SUV or camper found in eBook useful information for better Internet on the move.

The ebook is about:

  • WLAN-Adapter, vehicle antennas, directional antennas, Rundstrahler, own wireless AP
  • Description of various configurations and their advantages
  • Comparative measurements of the WLAN adapter and aerials
  • Private WiFi motorhome for smartphones, Tablets, Notebooks
  • Improve wireless reception and WiFi security
  • secure, encrypted connection via VPN (Virtual Private Network)
  • WLAN-Tools, Find WLANs traveling easier, u.v.a.m.
  • 84 sides, 88 pictures, 15 tables, 11 measurements

Click here for the Download eBook WiFi / WiFi in the RV

Links WiFi / WLAN in the motorhome

We have an extensive collection of links “WiFi/WLAN im Reisemobil” compiled, contains numerous links to helpful information.

Click here for the Links WiFi / WLAN in the motorhome

Disclaimer / Disclaimer
The solutions presented here one must not operate in many countries and, if applicable. not own. We also point out possible health risks by high frequency electromagnetic waves. The authors / website owners can not be held liable for damages, incurred in connection with the use of the information on this page or the products discussed.

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“Long ago has become the communication
emancipated from the content.”