Wireless Router and EVDO Modem

My wireless EVDO router and Verizon air card connected together

 

I have a USB Sierra AirCard 595U, from Verizon.  It allows me to access the internet from almost anywhere.  Where EVDO Rev-A service is available, the download speed is comparable to DSL.  However, my wife and I both have laptops, so I wanted to be able to use the air card with more than one laptop and not have to get it out and plug it in each time.  So I set up a wireless network inside the coach using the CradlePoint CTR-350 wireless EVDO router (purchased for $135.99 from Solid Signal).  The router is very small - about the size of a pack of cigarettes.  But it's powerful enough to cover the entire coach and immediate outside area with a connection that is rated "excellent".  And this little router is loaded with capabilities.  The Verizon USB modem just plugs into the side of the router and both units are always on and ready.  Power for the router was routed into the cabinet from the TV receptacle.  Because I disabled the ignition cut-off to the TV power outlet, the co-pilot or passengers can use the router to access the internet while the coach is underway.  When not traveling in the motor home, the small router and air card  are kept in my computer case so I can use them anywhere.

To boost the data signal, I also purchased an external Wilson Trucker Cellular Antenna, and mounted that on the roof directly over the right front cabinet.  It has a built-in ground plane, so it works well mounted on a fiberglass surface.  With the appropriate phone antenna connector, it will also work with a cell phone, if the need arises.  I also purchased a Wilson direct connection duel band signal amplifier which goes between the antenna and the air card.  Wireless  duel band repeaters (with an internal antenna) are much more versatile, because you don't have to switch cables around to use them with your cell phone.  But the ones that are wired directly to an air card or a phone offer better performance.   I saved a bunch of money on this item from Amazon.com. 

 

Here is a close up of the front right cabinet next to the TV where I installed all the EVDO G3 equipment.  (Sorry about the picture quality - it's dark in there.)  The antenna lead comes down through the roof and is coiled and secured to the right cabinet wall.  It then plugs into the left side of the amplifier.  The amp is powered via a 12v plug from a receptacle just out of picture range on the right sidewall of the cabinet.  I installed a double female FME adaptor to the output of the amp and then the adaptor cable that fits my USB Air Card.   The Air Card is plugged into the small Wi-Fi router which is powered from the 120v power strip on the left side of the cabinet.  The power strip is plugged into the TV receptacle through a hole cut in the upper left side of the cabinet.  (See the complete component list here.)
 
 
   If you would like a complete list and descriptions of all components needed to set up a wireless network and EVDO broadband internet service in your coach, click here.
 
 
A Side-note about networking with Vista and Windows XP:  My wife's new laptop runs Vista and mine uses Windows XP operating system.  I initially ran into some compatibility problems networking the two.  Click Here for a detailed description of the tweaks that worked to resolve the issues for me.

Here is a close-up view of the Wilson Trucker Antenna mounted on the roof.

A close-up view of the Wilson Trucker Antenna mounted on the roof.

 

 

Check out the download/upload speeds on the test I ran with this setup.  Typical download speeds for EVDO Rev A is an average of about 700 kbps  with peak bursts generally not exceeding 1.5Mbps.  Typical upload speeds are round 400 kbps.  So you can see the speed shown on my test above with this equipment is certainly optimum.
 
 

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