Sep 262011
 

Review by Jim Guld www.geeksontour.com

DSCN1360-1If you’re an RVer looking to improve your Internet connections, take a look at the Rogue Wave Wireless Bridge and Ethernet Converter.  I have been working with WiFi equipment almost since the beginning of the technology. I have an arsenal of devices, large and small, that I have collected over our years of RVing.  The Rogue Wave is the latest and I like it.

The Purpose of the Rogue Wave

Of the three ways to connect to high speed Internet on the road, WiFi, Satellite, and Cellular, WiFi can be the best. WiFi is available in many places and is reasonably priced and often free. WiFi was never designed to cover large areas or go long distances. It was made for small and home offices and Starbucks. Advances in technology and innovative designs can enable communication over much greater distances and over or through obstacles.

The Rogue Wave is a device to extend the effective range of a WiFi Hotspot . It works exceptionally well and is easy to set up and use. 

Here is a typical scenario for an Rver: You are in an RV park that advertises WiFi, but your computer cannot connect reliably to the Access Point. You can take your computer closer to the AP, and it works fine, but you want to work from the comfort of your own rig. The WiFi built into your laptop is not good enough.

A better radio and a better antenna will give you a better connection. One solution might be a USB WiFi adapter. USB WiFi adapters require device drivers and are limited to about 15’ of cable from the computer because they get their power from the computer.

What Exactly is the Rogue Wave?

The Rogue Wave is an Ethernet Converter. It takes a wireless signal and converts it to wired Ethernet. Ethernet Converters have been around a while. Ethernet Bridges and Game adapters are other terms for similar devices. They were typically difficult to configure and not very user friendly, especially for travelers.

The Rogue Wave is a high power 800mW radio connected to an 8.5dB high gain Omni-directional outdoor antenna. You can get even better range with a directional antenna. The Rogue Wave is powered through the Ethernet cable (PoE) using a 120V block transformer or a 12V power plug.

image
Picture from Land and Sea WiFi which sells the above for $350

As shown in the first picture, I mounted my Rogue Wave antenna on my rear ladder using the included hardware. The radio screws into the base of the antenna and I drop the RJ-45 connected Ethernet cable through a window near my router location. A 25’ CAT-5 Ethernet cable is supplied and that is plenty for my application.

You can plug the Ethernet cable directly into your computer, open up a browser, connect to an available hotspot, and be surfing the Internet in minutes. You will be able to connect to access points that your built-in Wi-Fi can’t.  Below are screen shots showing just that:

With the built-in WiFi, I can see the signal but I cannot connect.Computer can't connect

The Rogue Wave can connect, and it can see many more possible connections. from the same location.
Wave Rogue successfully connected to RVTSouth

 

Connecting Multiple Computers

Using the Ethernet connection is fine if you only have one computer. What if you have 2 or more computers, a wireless printer, and a tablet or e-reader you need to connect? That is not so unusual these days.

Here is the real beauty and advantage of the Rogue Wave and why it was designed. You plug the Ethernet cable from the Rogue Wave into the WAN port of your own local WiFi router. You connect your computers, printers, and other WiFi devices to your local network ONCE. Then connect the Rogue Wave to an available WiFi Hotspot. Now when you move to a different RV park, you only need to configure the Rogue Wave to the new Hotspot using the easy web-based tool. Your local devices stay connected on one network and all use the single connection to the Internet.

Many travelers now carry a mobile cellular hotspot device like a MiFi or use a smart phone to wirelessly tether their computers to the Internet. You can also use the Rogue Wave to connect to a cellular device like a MiFi. The MiFi is normally limited to 5 device connections. You can connect more devices using a local router connected to the MiFi through the Rogue Wave.

This screenshot shows the Rogue Wave connected to our Verizon 4g Mobile Hotspot:
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Then all our other devices can just connect to the ‘Geeks On Tour’ signal provided by our Router.  With the Rogue Wave as input to my local router, I’m online.
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The Rogue Wave is great for RVers. It is also a good choice for boaters who have similar connectivity needs. A good WiFi signal will go a long distance over water and a boater anchored off shore can easily connect.

Check out the Wave WiFi website for more specifications and information. Land and Sea WiFi Products is the dealer for our Rogue Wave.

Geeks On Tour is Jim and Chris Guld. They have been traveling the US in their RV for the past 8 years. They teach fellow travelers how to use computers and technology to plan, preserve, and share their travels. They have both been involved in professional computer support and training since the early 80s. They maintain a family of websites including www.wifisavvy.com containing hundreds of articles.

MrsGeek

Traveling the country in an RV with her husband, Jim. We present seminars at RV rallies and computer clubs all over the country.

  4 Responses to “Rogue Wave by Wave WiFi”

Comments (4)
  1. This is all very interesting. Earlier this year, I purchased the WiFiRanger Pro and WFRBoost antenna. While the antenna works great, the Ranger is one of the worst pieces of hardware/software I have purchased in the past 5 years. I am considering purchasing the Rough Wave. Is there any way to use the WFRBoost antenna with it. Also, what router do you recommend? All I have now is the WiFiRanger and an old Cradlepoint MBR1000. I have a Verizon MIFI4510L which is 3/4G. I want a router that takes advantage of the 4G speed. Any comments or suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Dave

    • Hey David, What firmware are yo running on the WiFiRanger? The latest 4.0.Gr6 has cleaned up a lot of issues, and the company offers a money back guarantee for a year, so you shouldn’t be out anything!

      The 4.4.1 “Hotel” firmware is planned for later this year which will add even more features.

      • Kelly,

        You mean there actually is a way to update to 4.0 Gr6?
        If this sounds sarcastic or frustrated it’s because I am. I tried to update many times, whenever a notice appears that an update is available I get on with it right away hoping for even a tiny improvement. This update process is not transparent. You can’t see what is happening, only the notice that the ranger will reboot within 5 minutes. Well, that never happens. It sometimes goes back to the Dasboard pretending it did install new firmware but when you look at the version you’ll see it’s still the same old version. But many times I’ll just sit there waiting for something to magically happen while the lights keep flashing on my screen and than after half an hour I get fed up and go back to the Dasboard and of course no update took place.

        I’m sorry but I have to agree with David, it is the worst piece of software I have come across in a long time. Now I’m spoiled, being a Mac user for as long as I use computers but I also use Linux and my husband being a Software Architect depends on an Internet connection to do his work while on the road. We even had to purchase a cellular card as a back up for when the Ranger + the boost( that doesn’t really boost much) fails again. I have to say that unfortunately we use the cellular card more than the Ranger which is very costly and was not what we had planned.

        I would appreciate an explanation on how to upgrade to the next firmware other than just clicking thelink on the dashboard or some tips to get the link to work.

  2. This is all very interesting. Earlier this year, I purchased the WiFiRanger Pro and WFRBoost antenna. While the antenna works great, the Ranger is one of the worst pieces of hardware/software I have purcWFRBoost antenna with it. Also, what router do you recommend? All I have now is the WiFiRanger and an old Cradlepoint MBR1000. I have a Verizon MIFI4510L which is 3/4G. I want a router that takes advantage of the 4G speed. Any comments or suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Dave

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