We have recently uploaded a video with more info – Check it out here – https://youtu.be/vL5GJrSqqGE
Hey everyone, a lot of you have read our blog post about communications on the road when you’re in really remote areas. Thank you for the support with that and I’d like to now write a bit more of an advanced guide to the remote internet on the road and answer some FAQs. So in the previous article we showed you what we use and how it sort of works and why it works the way it does and how you can sort of get it to work that way for you. In this article, I’m going to write about some of the more advanced details that I didn’t cover in the earlier post, as well as some tips and tricks that we’ve learnt in the last six or so months of using this setup on the road full time.
Original Article HERE
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- A major question we get asked a lot is how are we getting the cable for the antenna into the caravan to connect up to the modem? And it’s a good question. We actually purchased some of the foam tape that you use to seal around the edges of doors. It’s got sticky stuff on one side and then the rest of it is black foam about a centimetre wide. We use this foam on one of our windows. Our windows are the type that have a magnetic seal between the fly screen and the blinds and the magnetic magnets stick together and seal it. We put the tape along that seal join and then cut out a little 1 cm wide gap usually in the corner and that’s what we stick the cables through. This means that you won’t get any bugs or anything into the caravan. The phone isn’t thick enough to stop the magnet sticking together, so we think that this is a great solution to get a cable into your caravan without any permanent damage or fixings.
Some other ideas that people have told us they’ve been using is through the skylight vent poked through the edge of the fly screen and also through more permanent solutions like speaker holes etc.
Check out this innovative solution from a clever cookie who purchased our kit… They have adapted a 240V Outdoor connector to become an SMA connector for the antenna! What a great idea….
2. The next question we receive a lot is about the connectors that connect to the antenna cables to the modem. So the antenna cables end in an SMA connection which is a really good connection. It’s fine, but our modems, the nighthawks actually have a TS9 connector. These connectors are actually quite well hidden and they’re not the most durable things in the world. We have a pair of pigtail leads that adapt the TS9 connector to the SMA connector. These sit firmly on the TS9 connector on the modem. You can wiggle them around sideways and they’ll rotate freely over. They should stay on reasonably firmly. However, we don’t recommend hanging the modem off these cable connectors or anything like that. In our kit with put together there is a small TS9 to SMA adaptor. We haven’t actually tried specific connector because we purchased our products separately before we set up the kit for everyone.
3. A third question that we get asked regularly is can I use this on the move? The Answer is both yes and no. The directional antenna is absolutely not suitable for using on the move. The only antenna that you would use on the move is an omni antenna. However, the modem itself you can definitely use on the move and we do it all the time and recommend it. The internal antennas on the modem are quite good and will get you reception in a lot of dubious areas. However, if you want more range than that while you’re driving, we recommend getting an omni antenna installed on your car and simply moving the nighthawk antenna from your caravan into your car. The battery in the nighthawk will last for a fair while or it can just be charged from any USB port. Hook up the omni antenna into your nighthawk and you’ll have just as good a connection as anyone with a celfi-Go repeater.
4. The fourth question that we get asked quite a lot and this is a really important one is, “can the nighthawk work on multiple carriers like Telstra and Optus for example?”
And the answer is definitely yes. However it does require some fiddling around. First of all, you’ll need a SIM for the different carrier. We personally have bought an AMAYSIM sim. This uses the Optus network. We have a 180 day charge on it with 150 GB to use in that 180 days. Since we don’t use this SIM very much. This works for us. Alternatively, you can just do pay as you go with a one month prepaid data plan when you actually want to use the Optus network.
The fiddling around that I mentioned is purely in the settings of the nighthawk and is to enable different bands that Optus uses that Telstra don’t that Telstra don’t preload onto the modem. I’ll have an advanced guide for this very soon here.
5. The last question that we get asked a lot is should I purchase the nighthawk M1, M2 or M5? Or perhaps a different mobile modem? There’s a lot of mixed messaging about this. We only have personal experience with our setup with the M5 and the M2 modems. We have the M5 personally and have had feedback from other people using our setup with the M2 modem that it all works well. However, the Wi-Fi range on this modem is not as good as the M5 being newer technology. Also, the M5 obviously has access to the 5G network when you’re in that sort of an area. If you’re on a tight budget, you can definitely get away with an M1 or M2 modem as the antenna is doing most of the work to get your signal really good. We don’t have any experience with other brands of modems with this setup, however, theoretically anything that has MIMO and the ability to take an external antenna and use it should work fine.
6. We regularly see posts and get asked how it compares to the Cel-Fi Go. Well in short – it’s better as you can direct the antenna to a tower and gain a connection even if you had nothing previously (within reason). Whereas the Cel-Fi needs something to boost from and connect choose where you connect too.
Another one is congestion, we have numerous times been in a town where there is more than one tower to connect to. The automatically connected tower is swamped and therefore really slow, so we have put up the mast and antenna, directed the antenna to another tower (usually further away) and we had a much faster and more reliable connection.
I have done some testing comparing our set-up to the Cel-Fi and I’ll put the details here:
Thanks a lot for Reading this advanced guide if you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below and we’ll try to answer them as soon as we see them.
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