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Old 12-05-2021, 07:14 AM   #1
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Wiring my bus and want to prewire for internet.

Hopefully this subject is proper for this forum.
I'm wiring before spray foam. Being an older generation (61), I'm not naturally familiar with the whole "internet on the move" thing. I'm not a fan of wires hanging everywhere and wondering what wiring I need to install to accommodate any mobile wireless before wall covering?

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Old 12-05-2021, 12:39 PM   #2
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Hopefully this subject is proper for this forum.
I'm wiring before spray foam. Being an older generation (61), I'm not naturally familiar with the whole "internet on the move" thing. I'm not a fan of wires hanging everywhere and wondering what wiring I need to install to accommodate any mobile wireless before wall covering?
Inside the bus I would think you wouldnít need any extra wiring other than power.

For reaching/ grabbing signal there are many options including new OEM RV equipment and also DIY mods and cracks.

What exactly are your needs?
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Old 12-05-2021, 01:39 PM   #3
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Nothing

It is easiest to use a WiFi router rather than a cable but you could install a cat5 with rj45 ends cable into the wall, but a commo cable must be kept a foot away from any parallel power wires, but it can cross a power wire perpendicularly
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Old 12-05-2021, 02:36 PM   #4
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Can be as simple as using your cell phones data plan, or as complex as you want to make it, or some sweet spot in the middle for your personal needs like using a mobile hot spot. AFAIK (not an expert) the only thing that might need to be wired through the ceiling or a wall would be a signal booster/external 4g/5g or wifi antenna but this is optional (for extending/improving range).



Probably defining what your needs are or what you want to accomplish would help direct this question/conversation. It may be that no specific additional wiring is needed.
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Old 12-13-2021, 09:39 PM   #5
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Thanks ya'll for the info. I'm building in a trace for a future satelite dish in case I need one.
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Old 12-14-2021, 09:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
Hopefully this subject is proper for this forum.
I'm wiring before spray foam. Being an older generation (61), I'm not naturally familiar with the whole "internet on the move" thing. I'm not a fan of wires hanging everywhere and wondering what wiring I need to install to accommodate any mobile wireless before wall covering?
Just get a 4G or 5G hotspot from your cell provider. That will work fine without any wiring other than power.
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Old 12-14-2021, 03:08 PM   #7
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Just get a 4G or 5G hotspot from your cell provider. That will work fine without any wiring other than power.
I recently bought a wireless Hot Spot from my cell provider Boost Mobile, $25. The monthly service is free to anyone on government assistance, like SS, food stamps, etc.
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Old 12-18-2021, 05:34 PM   #8
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It never hurts to have a hard wire connection, especially if you're going to connect any PoE (Power over Ethernet) devices such as CCTV cameras. Start where your utility room is. I'd run three to the back (one to each corner and one to the central part of the back wall) and three to the front (front corners, with one where you're going to place a couch).
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Old 12-18-2021, 06:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
Hopefully this subject is proper for this forum.
I'm wiring before spray foam. Being an older generation (61), I'm not naturally familiar with the whole "internet on the move" thing. I'm not a fan of wires hanging everywhere and wondering what wiring I need to install to accommodate any mobile wireless before wall covering?
Short answer: No, you're good not doing anything.

Longer answer: wifi will cover the inside of the bus, more things have just wifi than just Ethernet. You might need to add extra equipment but an external antenna is probably not needed since you have a windshield. If you decided to add it, going down thru the floor or dash area is easy enough. If you need more help, I can set you up...
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Old 12-18-2021, 07:23 PM   #10
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I ran into the same dilemma on my bus and my house. Finally decided on plastic conduits . Can change over to latest thing anytime.
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Old 12-18-2021, 11:38 PM   #11
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I think you’d need to check out the connections on the satellite dishes. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them run a coaxial style cable to each tv and splitters don’t work. That was on my old satellite dish like 10-12 years ago so who knows what they’re like now.

As for Ethernet cable (cat5e or cat 6 etc) it’s possible it could come in handy but most stuff is wireless nowadays. Like my tv boxes. My house was built 9 years ago with Cat5e going everywhere but I hardly use them.
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Old 12-26-2021, 11:13 AM   #12
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Within the bus, I don't see any reason why you'd want to use anything but wifi to interface between your devices & router (assuming you're using a router) for all but exceptional circumstances, and would optimally plan on co-locating anything that requires ethernet cabling with the wireless router itself. In our case, we're installing DC-powered mobile router, so I've ran a suitable DC circuit to power it, as well as an AC circuit in case it fails & we have to utilize something made for residential use.

Our challenge was more the antennas. It might not be applicable to your situation, but we require/desire internet access in as (relatively) remote & varied locations as possible. So for us, that meant high-gain antennas on the roof for both cell & public wifi, which therefore meant locating our router as close to where those antennas would be as possible, and running the lowest-loss coax practical from that point to the antenna mounting locations (both cell & wifi utilize high frequencies that require their feed lines to be well-thought out to avoid unacceptable signal loss). But that's just us...

Best thing I could tell you is to develope a concrete vision for how you see yourself wanting to use everything internet/network related, now & in the foreseeable future (even if not implemented immediately or all at once), determine the system components & configuration required to meet that goal, and then run any inputs & outputs that can't be easily added later, whether they go to anything at the moment or not.
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Old 12-26-2021, 03:35 PM   #13
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Our challenge was more the antennas. It might not be applicable to your situation, but we require/desire internet access in as (relatively) remote & varied locations as possible. So for us, that meant high-gain antennas on the roof for both cell & public wifi, which therefore meant locating our router as close to where those antennas would be as possible, and running the lowest-loss coax practical from that point to the antenna mounting locations (both cell & wifi utilize high frequencies that require their feed lines to be well-thought out to avoid unacceptable signal loss). But that's just us...

Did you do a post or write-up on your setup and thought process anywhere. This is an area I would enjoy learning more about (Both the Antennas you chose as well as the DC router).
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Old 12-26-2021, 04:32 PM   #14
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Interesting subject as I'm going to have to figure out what electronics I want/need in my bus as the time to roll out closes in.

I my house I always had cable TV/internet/phones. I disliked my cable provider so when I 'sold' my house I was happy to escape from them. As fate would have it the sale fell through and I ended up back in the house. I had no intention of putting myself back under the thumb of the cable company so I got a booster and helped myself to my neighbor's signal for a while (they knew, in fact the son set it up for me).

This summer I finally decided to get 'legal' so started checking into my options that didn't include the cable company. I ended up with T-Mobile cellular internet. It's designed to go across 5G but they said I could use it on 4G though it might be slow. Took me about 5 minutes to connect and I haven't notice any slowness so far though it's just me. I made sure I put the device in front of the largest window in the house.

At this point I don't see putting much in my bus that would require hardwire data connections. Cameras (backup/side view/ etc.) can be wireless as well though I have no idea if they're any good.

When the time approaches to roll out I'll see if my service can be used on the road. If it can I'll see if it's worth the effort. If I'm sitting in Daytona Beach I figure it'll be fine. If I'm sitting in Ehrenberg, AZ probably not so much. At that point I'd have to start learning (hate learning new stuff - I'm so old) about boosting/antenna-ing/stealing it from the tech genius parked beside me, whatever.

My biggest concern for internal wiring at this point is DC for lighting and charging and AC for really important home appliances I can't live without; burr style coffee grinder and a Mr. Coffee 4 cup coffee maker. No sense going on the road if I can't take those.
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Old 12-26-2021, 08:00 PM   #15
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Did you do a post or write-up on your setup and thought process anywhere. This is an area I would enjoy learning more about (Both the Antennas you chose as well as the DC router).
@dzl_

Nope, not yet, but I'll try to summarize here. Maybe some info you're not so interested in, but it serves as background for our use-case, which informed our decisions on routers / antennas / etc.

Wife absolutely has to have internet access for work. I'm more flexible but it would be nice. Also, we wish to boondock as much as possible, the remoterer the betterer, which means access via cellular data plans (mainly), and/or public wifi (secondarily). So for the best signal, we need at least one antenna on the roof (outside the faraday cage we call a bus) for cell, and at least one for wifi.


Why do I say "at least"? Because many towers/modems/routers now support mimo, which can benefit from multiple independent streams of data, utilizing multiple antennas. Mimo's the reason many home routers now have multiple antennas.
Why didn't I say "more than one"? Because some antenna designs offer mimo capabilities in a single unit... multiple antenna elements, fed by multiple leads, but all through the same penetration.


In our case, we chose to go with two separate antennas wifi (2x2) and two more antennas for cell (2x2). Why? In part, because it's my understanding that mimo should/might/maybe work better with physical separation between elements. Also, 2 good high-gain antennas work out to about the same cost as one combined unit. And 2 antennas exactly the same offer a measure of redundant back-up should one get damaged/fail. And finally, having multiple antenna mounts allows me some flexibility to changing things up, adding another radio, whatever.

Mimo isn't necessary - you don't need more than one antenna to complete a connection to a cell tower, nor more than one to access public wifi, but if implemented on both ends can greatly increase data rates, which may make the difference between being able to work from the woodside office of our dreams vs a Walmart parking lot.

So now we have two omnidirectional antennas on the roof for cell data (2x2 mimo), and 2 omnis on the roof for public wifi access (2x2 mimo). That's great if we have line of sight to even a fairly distant cell tower. But what if we're in a depression and have to get up over a hillside, buildings, or treelines? What if the nearest cell-tower is so distanct that even with clear line-of-site it isnt enough?


A booster (amplifier) might solve problem #2, but it won't help much w/ #1.
A directional antenna on a mast would potentially solve both.

So our 'plan B' is just that. A directional antenna (2x2 mimo... 2 elements, one vertically polarized, the other horizontally polarized), a mast, and low-loss coax jumpers (likely LMR400). Erect the mast/antenna, remove the two cell antennas from the roof, connect one end of the jumpers to were they used to be, connect the other ends to the directional antenna, and point it at the distant tower.


Plan C: If that still isn't enough, maybe then a booster might come into play. But I'm not buying a booster until I see this as a likely scenario. The booster would go between the router and one of the cell antennas, so I simply make sure I have a power circuit necessary to power the booster available where I'd need it if I did, as well as the space to mount it. But I seriously doubt I ever will, so I also make sure to buy something I can use that circuit for, like a DC-powered beer-bottle opener.

Plan D: Public wifi. That's already met with what we did above, preferably combined with a router that's capable of wifi-as-wan functionality. Pretty much just what it sounds like... all your connected devices go through your router just as they always would, no individual connections with the public wifi source need to be made.

So now if we can't connect in the boonies, we can drive a little closer to civilization and work in the starbuck's parking lot (and of course we'll buy enough coffee to cover the bandwidth we use - that's a given ) Or an RV park. Or a bar. Whatever.

Some boonies might only have access to one provider, though. Verizon is likely the best bet, but it would be nice to have another provider to fill the voids. It would be even nicer if you could combine the bandwidth between the two where both are accessible for higher data rates. So we want our modem/router to have that capability if possible.

Speaking of which, since we're interested in boondocking, power is an issue. Not only does a 12v DC router avoid conversion innefficiencies, it may allow the inverter to go into sleep mode (or be powered off) where if we were using your average consumer/commercial modem/router powered by an A/C wall-wart, that wouldn't be the case. Plus hardware designed for transit applications is hardned against the rigors of the mobile environment...

Enter Peplink. Their Pepwave line of cellular mobile modem routers includes models with the features previously described... the allowance for multiple SIM cards to support multiple providers, wifi-as-wan functionality, sma/r-sma connections for attaching multiple exterior antennas, mimo (different 'levels' of mimo depending on the network category and - correspondingly - price of the thing), mil-spec construction, 12VDC input voltage (we have a 12v house system, I haven't researched 24V but they probably have that option?), the ability to combine multiple providers for higher data throughput, and a whole bunch more features which would be useful.

All this said - to summarize our system now that you know something about the logic driving our decision:

Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2 Cellular Router (They have a 5G model available now, but it's much more coin. Maybe once 5G becomes more popular. For now not worth it for us).

2 x Pulse Larsen panel-mount phantom-series 2.4g/5g wifi antennas w/ n-female base (can't remember the part # but if you'd like it let me know. Pulse makes great quality antennas and pretty much all I use for anything. Mouser electronics is a great source)

2 x Pulse Larsen panel-mount 4G-LTE / 5G cellular phantom-style antennas w/ n-female base (same I just said for the wifi antennas)

A flat plate to mount each someway on/above the roofline. The antennas we used need a ground-plane... basically a plate of metal upon which to mount them that acts as the other 'half' of the antenna... but the size of the ground-plane shrinks as frequency increases, and at the high frequencies we're talking here, the ground plane doesn't have to extend more than a few inches or less past the edges of the (very small) antenna itself).

Coax to connect the antennas to the router. Here's where loss comes into the equation, and here's where you either make or break your system. The higher the frequency, the higher the loss. And both the cell & wifi frequencies we're talking are pretty high (especially the public wifi on 5ghz) . In general terms, the larger the diameter of the coax, and/or the shorter the run, the lower the loss. But some coax is significantly better than others. The Times Microwave LMR series is the only thing I use for anything in this frequency range. It comes in a variety of diameters.

How much loss you can accept is kind of a judgement call. Every 3db is halving your signal, so to me, I'd hope to be aiming for 1.5db loss or less if I can at the highest supported frequency. The antennas have something like 3-8 dbi gain (just going off memory here), plus there's the gain of them being mounted outside on the roof as opposed to a device inside the bus, so you can stand some loss in the line and still be ahead of the game making all this a worthwhile pursuit. But if it got to 3, or 6, or 9... you might be better off just sitting on your nature's head from your phone.

Taking my setup as an example, if I mount the modem/router directly under the roof-line in the rear cap area, and coax from the centerline of the bus over to an edge (I'm planning on mounting a solar panel directly over this area in the back, with the 4 antennas mounted near the corners), the minimum run of coax required I've measured out to be ~7 feet. So I add 2 more to that for a fudge factor, then another foot because 10 sounds better than 9. I want 1.5dB or less loss in 10 feet of coax at my highest frequency... let's say 5Ghz (high-band wifi). If I use the Times Microwave Calculator, I find 10' of LMR-240 ultraflex at 5000Mhz (5ghz) (I'd go with ultraflex versions due to the decreased bend radius & flexibility required in most mobile installs) gives me 2.4dB insertion loss. Not what I wanted, but maybe I could live with it? The antenna gain is more, so it's still better than me sitting on my roof with my cell-phone using Starbuck's 5ghz wifi (not even sure if they have 5ghz wifi lol). Your call may be different than mine. But I'm a performance junkie. So I need to go bigger w/ the cable, or shorter with the run. Here the limiting factor is pretty much the sma / r-sma antenna jacks on the router. Anything bigger than LMR240 (same size as RG-8X) coax and I don't even think they make sma connectors (could be wrong though). Plus bigger cable means bigger cable glands, higher price, less utility. So maybe the easiest way is to move the antennas inboard. Can I do it in 5'? Measure again, yes I can. 5' of LMR240-UF at 5000Mhz is 1.4dB. That's well below the antenna gain, which means maybe I'm sitting in one Starbuck's parking lot, using the 5Ghz wifi of another Starbucks one block away? Why? BECAUSE I CAN!!! And don't even talk to me about 2.4ghz now. I own that frequency.

Was this so much more than you asked for? Was this rambling stream-of-consiousness response even human-readable? A help or a hindrance, I'm not sure. But if you have questions shoot me a PM and we'll chat on the phone
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Old 12-28-2021, 06:33 PM   #16
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@dzl_
Was this so much more than you asked for?
Much more than I asked/hoped for but super super informative and gives me a ton to follow up on/process/further research. Thank you for going into so much detail. Its an area I am not very informed about yet, and this gives me a lot clearer understanding of the total system/strategy.

Quote:
Was this rambling stream-of-consiousness response even human-readable?
Human readable--yes--information overload, but in a good way.

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A help or a hindrance, I'm not sure. But if you have questions shoot me a PM and we'll chat on the phone
Defintiely a huge help!! Thank you for taking the time to outline all this and go into so much detail about your thought process and the concepts/tech behind it. Its much appreciated, and will be a lot of help at a future point in time when I get around to actual implementation! I think many others will find it useful too!
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Old 12-28-2021, 06:48 PM   #17
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No worries. Really glad it helped.
Just to reiterate, just the way I did it. Not necessarily the right - and definitely not the only - way depending on abilities & needs.
Also common are units that dispense with the line loss by mounting the modem/router up top on the roof in a waterproof enclosure. But that's even pricier, generally speaking.
I also don't know anything about Starlink (Elon Musk's thing) other than when I briefly checked a few months ago, I think the early role-out required a fixed location. But don't quote me on that, I didn't spend any real time researching.
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