Adding An Access Point for Longer Range Wi-Fi

Adding AP

Adding a powerful Access Point to a host's network can make driveway surfing a much more connected experience. And it is cheaper and easier to do than you might imagine!

In the course of our fulltime RV travels we will often "moochdock" at a friend or relative's property.

Typically, we have minimal to no hookups – perhaps only a 15 amp power connection in a garage and the ability to fill our water tank with a hose. In these situations the moochdocking host usually has residential Wi-Fi on their property, but the signal is often weak or non-existent at our RV.

Note: We define moochdocking as staying on a privately owned property for free or low cost. It is not really boondocking in a conventional sense, since you typically have some hookups – even if they are at a diminished capacity.

Because your host's Wi-Fi router and network wiring is accessible to you in most of these situations, you have the ability to temporarily add a more powerful Access Point (AP) to their network - making it possible for you to connect to their network from much further away, and at much higher speeds.

You can do this very easily, and without disturbing or affecting the existing network in any fashion.

What I describe here in this tutorial is how to add a commercial-grade AP to your host's network, very much like you would see used in an RV park or Hotel. This caliber of hardware is far more powerful than typical residential equipment.

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This is not a “repeater” or “range extender” – you will be configuring another wired node on their network that broadcasts a more powerful Wi-Fi signal for your use.

Although this article is slanted towards adding a temporary AP for your moochdocking pleasure, the exact same process is used to add an AP to a campground, volunteer workamping site, or other facility. So if you feel like donating the effort and/or equipment towards upgrading underwhelming campground Wi-Fi, the process described here is exactly what is involved to install a SINGLE Access Point.

(Multiple access point setups are an advanced topic best left to experienced network planners...)

So what is involved in doing this?

First, you need the actual equipment. The good news is that the gear necessary is not expensive, and can be repurposed as a CPE for long range network connections when you do NOT have access to the host network wiring.

Read on for a step-by-step guide to getting everything setup.

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This post lovingly provided exclusively to the RV Mobile Internet Resource Center by Jack Mayer - November 17th, 2015.

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