UPDATE (10/28/2016): Now Shipping!
Winegard sent out an email yesterday announcing that the ConnecT was at last shipping, saying:
"Available Now at Select RV Dealers & Camping World Nationwide!"
We've updated our ConnecT with the latest firmware, and have shared some initial thoughts (exclusive for MIA members) in the post below.
For more information - see our page on the Winegard ConnecT in the Review Center.
Winegard has a long reputation in the industry as the leading provider of both satellite and over-the-air TV antennas designed for RV use.
But perhaps noticing that more and more people are watching TV over the internet than over the air, Winegard has just publicly announced that it is also pursuing an entirely new direction:
RV Wi-Fi range extending.
Will Winegard be as successful helping RVers pull in distant campground Wi-Fi as they have been in helping them pull in distant TV stations?
We've been beta testing the new ConnecT package since May - and at long last we can start to share about it publicly.
The Winegard ConnecT WiFi Extender
The Winegard ConnecT package consists of an indoor and outdoor unit that are designed to work together.
The outdoor unit looks like an inverted three legged stool, and honestly it looks a bit odd on an RV roof. The three legs of the stool are actually high-gain 5dBi Wi-Fi antennas, and the Wi-Fi radio in the base can use these three antennas to lock on to distant 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n campground Wi-Fi.
The indoor unit is a modern 802.11ac dual-band 2.4GHz / 5GHz AC1750 wi-fi router, which should be able to fill the interior of any RV with an extremely fast indoor private wireless LAN.
If you have wired equipment as well, the ConnecT also provides a single wired gigabit ethernet port.
The outdoor unit connects to the indoor unit via a 25' ethernet cable, which provides both power and a data connection between the two units.
The ConnecT package is scheduled to ship in "mid October" this year, for a list price of $549. The roof unit will be available in both black and white, to better match your RVs rooftop decor.
Winegard has set up a signup page for people who want to be notified when the ConnecT is available.
Winegard Knows TV - But What About Wi-Fi?
Winegard's ConnecT is going head-to-head with the long-established WiFiRanger Elite Pack - and they both have some significantly different inherent strengths and weaknesses in what they are bringing to market.
Once we have the final hardware and software in hand from Winegard, we'll be able to start testing these bundles against each other.
For now - we are sharing a bit of our initial first impressions, thoughts, and analysis in a member's only tip (below).
But the biggest competition Winegard will face isn't WiFiRanger, it is cellular data plans.
Campground Wi-Fi in so many places remains stuck in the past - and very few campgrounds or public Wi-Fi hotspots are up to the challenge of handling potentially hundreds of people online at once, all hoping to stream.
Getting a better, faster connection to an overloaded and slow Wi-Fi hotspot just isn't going to end up being worth the effort or expense for many.
But if you are frequently someplace where there is remote Wi-Fi worth connecting to - it is great news to have one of the big players in the RV industry bringing out a powerful new tool for the job.
We've now created a page for the Winegard ConnecT in our review center. You can keep up with all the latest updates there.
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