Still have some bugs to work out

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Been having some problems with the WFR dropping WiFi connection.  And now, parked in Oregon, I have trouble logging on to an open wifi site.  This site — free to campers — requires a user name and password the first time you sign on.  But, when I try to access the open network via WFR, I get an error message stating “DENIED”.  The control panel looks like this:

Open network clearly shown

After attempting to log on, the word DENIED shows in the blue status section.  I posted on the WFR forum, received a reply, and after much fooling around I was finally able to connect via WFR.  Not sure how anymore, but it worked.  But it appears there are still some glitches when it comes to networks that are open but require a first time log in.

Other than that, it is still working fine and I look forward to trying the Boost this week.

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A minor wrinkle

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Most of the time, WFR works well, just as advertised.  But there are a few wrinkles starting to show up.  Specifically:

1.  I have the preference set for wireless first, then cellular.  When I’m driving the system usually is in cellular, which is is what I want.  But then when I arrive at a new location it doesn’t want to scan for a WiFi signal and I have to hit scan several times before it will find a signal and log on.

2.  I am starting to see sporadic drops of the WiFi signal.  When it does that, my WiFi signal just goes away and doesn’t show up anymore.  And when it does show up again I need to enter my WPA password to log back in again.  Not sure what this is.

I’ll conatct the WFR peole and I’m sure we can work this out somehow.

John

First travel day

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After being stationary for a month, it felt good to be back on the road. And I really wanted to find out how this WiFi Ranger would work on the road.  So far, so good.  At the first rest area, I checked and found the WFR logged into my cellular modem, as expected (and hoped for):

Logged into the Verizon network via cellular

This was exactly what I had expected.  I got a bit of a scare at the next rest stop, as the modem would not log into the cellular network.  I fussed with it, couldn’t make it work.  Checked my cellular phone, and found — no cell signal!  Time to move on.

Next, I made it to our rest stop for the night.  The camp had good WiFi, with 5 working nodes.  The WFR picked up the best signal strength automatically.  Entered the pass word, and voila, logged in as hoped for.  Good stuff!

At our rest stop, logged into the RV camp WiFi

Printer issue….

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When I set up my WiFi Ranger, I used exactly the same SSID and WAP as my old system (MBR1000).  This was because I have a lot of devices already configured, and I didn’t want to have to reconfigure them all.  In general, this worked, except for the printer.

I have a Lexmark x4580 printer which printed wirelessly over my pre-WFR system.  Now, I keep getting “Communication error” messages.  I have deleted the printer drivers, reinstalled with fresh ones just downloaded, and tried every thing I could think of, with no luck.  The problem occurred from both my MacBook Pro and a Windows XP laptop, both of which worked on the old system.  I have to think it is in the WFR setup or operation somewhere.

I have posted on their forum and will call them to see if this can be resolved.

Completed install

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Got the extension cable and completed the install.  Once I got everything installed, I could access both the WiFi and the Cellular modem.  However, I am not sure I understand all the features yet, so a lot of work remains.  Suffice it to say that everything works.  I have a few reboot issues (after I manually reset the system) but I think I’m beginning to get the hang of it.

Where I’m parked now I need the amplifier.  When I bypass it, I use the adapter in the clip on the left of the amp.  So I guess the physical aspect of the install is completed.  The amp is screwed to the panel, all the rest courtesy of Velcro.

The real test will come in a week and a half, when we drive from Dallas to Portland, via Los Angeles.  Then we’ll see if the WiFi Ranger delivers on what I think the promise is.

Viewed from the WiFi Ranger side

Viewed from the amp side

Adding cellular modem – problem #1

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First of all, I had a UM150 modem that has worked well for two years.  After I ordered the WiFi Ranger (WFR), I found out that it was not an approved model, so I bought one on eBay that was (USB760).  It arrived, I took it to my PC, activated it, tested it, and found it ready to go.

So, I installed it in the WFR.  However, the Control Panel always said “No Modem”.  Now my WFR is over my head, but I could see the green light (indicating the 760 is on) so my assumption was the modem was active.  Not so.  Turns out the 760, although it is one of the few approved for use with WFR, won’t physically fit.  The WFR case interferes.

USB modem interferes with WiFi Ranger

So, I guess I will have to find an USB extension cable today so I can continue my adventure.  Oh well.

My WiFi environment

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We’re currently parked at the Lewisville City Campground in Lewisville, TX.  They provide free WiFi through their library linkup.  However, they do not have a valid security certificate, so if you try to log in you will have problems.  If you’re using Chrome:

Trying to link using Chrome

And, in FireFox 4:

FireFox 4 warning message - crashes

In Safari, you will get this message:

Warning screen

Click on Continue, and you will get this:

You must click on Accept to log on to the network.

So sign-on is a bit of a problem.  This means that you have a Filtered Connection in WiFi Ranger speak, requiring you to log on in Safari once the connection has been made.

WFRanger Control Panel

Once you’re up and running, WFR will keep you logged in.  Even if your computer goes to “sleep”, once it wakes up you will still be on line.  Interestingly, sometimes when you do a full cold reboot you are still logged in, sometime you have to go through the whole “ACCEPT” sequence again.  Have not yet found a correlation when you need to log back on and when WFR does it for you.

For the record, here is my current WiFi speed, logged into the park WiFi:

WiFi speed test results

Soon, I will be getting my new Verizon USB760 modem and I will detail the process of logging on with the cellular modem.

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