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Wireless Internet Access

Discussion in 'General VW T5 & T6 California Chat' started by Curtis, Jan 12, 2014.

  1. Curtis
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    Curtis VIP Member

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    The best factory fitted accessory I have has to be the Internet Router fitted in the glove Box gives a fantastic signal. Someone was telling me the arial goes over the roof into the wing mirrors but that sounds a bit farfetched whatever its doing its gets a great signal actually in some cases faster downloads than my home broadband anyone else got this and know how it works?

    IMG_0262.jpg
     
  2. James
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    James VIP Member

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    Is there is a subscription charge?


    I just got a pay as you wireless router dongle for £80 - which we top up as and when, doubt it matches the performance of this but we love it.

    James
     
  3. Curtis
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    Curtis VIP Member

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    Hi James, It actually runs off a SIM card you can see the slot in the middle. I have a EE 4G card in it, the point I was trying to find out was how they manage to get such a great signal with it when often on my normal phone (same network) I get no signal at all and this beasty seems to pull in the full monty. I was told that it has a aerial running across the roof into the wing mirrors thats what justifies the cost but it seems a bit far fetched and I wondered if any one else had any info on it.

    Curtis
     
  4. MarkW
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    MarkW VIP Member

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    Hi Curtis,

    Do you have any details on the spec of the router?

    Seems very expensive at £707 but as someone who needs a internet connection for my job I'm intrigued to know more...


    Cheers,

    Mark
     
  5. Californiaman
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    Californiaman VIP Member

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    Without knowming more about the spec of the router, the difference probably comes down to two things - the aerial and power consumption.

    The tech in your mobile phone is designed to do what it does with very low power usage and output (have you noticed how your ear gets really warm as the microwaves do their thing..) where the router in your van will have a much better power supply and get away with using more..

    The aerial is almost certainly huge compared to that in a mobile phone - it may not be that a physical the aerial isn't run right through the roof etc, but it could be that parts of the vehicle act as an aerial or a component of the aerial.

    This type of router may also be a bit more active than a 3g dongle or a mobile phone hotspot. It may well be running protocols that keep the connection active thus making certain activity feel faster (compared to your phone which may need to renegotiate connections when you change web pages etc). It may also be negotiating with multiple phone "cells" at the same time to make the experience a little more seamless.

    All largely guesswork though as I can find very little information on t'web.
     
  6. James
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    James VIP Member

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    I really like it - but I am not sure that I £700 like it, my dongle has never let me down, then again, what options on the Cali are really worth it?

    I think it's a great addition, if I was buying second hand, it would certainly tempt me if I saw a van with one.

    The router is a fairly recent addition to the UK market, so it's greta you've post this, very interesting


    James
     
  7. Larkrise
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    Larkrise VIP Member

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    I think this is interesting too...we have used our mobile tethering before but it is very hit and miss. Does this set up need a contract for the sim, or could you use the one from your phone (I think some companies provide an additional sim with phone contracts)? Could this great aerial lead to better mobile coverage (getting carried away now)? Finally what does "Wireless internet connection and electrical interface" mean? Is none of this information in the public domain?
     
  8. Curtis
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    Curtis VIP Member

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    I like you Mark rely on a internet connection for my work so the cost to get a decent connection is irrelevant. I use Video Skype on it and this morningI watched the Ipcress File streaming down from Iplayer without any hitch or judder rock solid connection. Also tried it with a VF SIM same result whoever put this thing together knows his stuff and for me its a good investment. I have various dongles non come anywhere close. This is the label stuck on the side of the glove box I don’t know the spec unless this tells you.

    IMG_0264.jpg
     
  9. addie
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    addie

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    Hello,

    The router pictured is a Lesswire Wi2U and can be purchased separately for about £300 retail. I would be surprised if the antenna is anything other than the standard one and there should be a GPS one also under the dash cowling.
    http://www.lesswire.com/en/products/con ... /overview/

    Its a good unit, although 'only' supports 3G at HSPA 7.2Mbps rather than DC-HSPA (42Mbps) and no 4G (if that was a consideration). A regular 3G MiFi device would likely produce a similar result with an external antenna but without some of the GPS vehicle positioning functionality of course.

    Hope that is of interest.

    Adam
     
  10. James
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    James VIP Member

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    Interesting website Addie - if someone bought this, can your company have it fitted?

    James
     
  11. Curtis
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    Curtis VIP Member

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    Cool thanks a lot Addie I did not realise it had GPS in it either. Have to have a play with that and see what it does.
     
  12. MarkW
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    MarkW VIP Member

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    Hi Adam,

    Can you suggest a device(s) that would be compatible with the California with DC-HSPA (42Mbps) and 4G?


    regards,

    Mark
     
  13. Ambler
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    Ambler VIP Member

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    I'm interested as well Adam, sounds good.
     
  14. addie
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    addie

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    Hello,

    Thanks for the interest :) Yes, we can also install equipment although I wouldn't recommend the Wi2U unless you wanted some of the GPS functionality as well. That's assuming that VW haven't removed that element of functionality as part of their factory fit option as they may wish to sell you an alarm / tracker as well (curtisnash, can you confirm?).

    I don't want to get into trouble for advertising so by all means contact us with your requirements and I'd be happy to assist you. We'll also be at CamperJam later in the year so pop over and say hello :)

    Adam
     
  15. MarkW
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    MarkW VIP Member

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    Hi Addie,

    Can you confirm something?

    Curtis at the start of the thread mentioned how strong a signal he received and impressed he was with the performance.

    Would any potential alternative router be able to connect to the California's internal cabling / aerial?


    thanks,

    Mark
     
  16. Ambler
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    Ambler VIP Member

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    Hi curtisnash

    Am I correct in assuming you can run more than one device (at the same time) off the factory fitted unit? In effect, it is just like a home router?
     
  17. Curtis
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    Curtis VIP Member

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    Yes thats correct, I have had time to play about with it a bit more since Addie kindly found the manufacturer I have accessed the unit via its webpage bit different the VW one to the manufacture it has the reset buttons on different place and some other subtle different things mainly branding. The aerial and GPS are located in each of the the window side pillars. Not sure though of the value of the GPS unless I am missing something sends you a text or a email every time the car is started and moved. OK I suppose but frankly annoying does not seem to be any way to make it a bit more selective I also have a tracker fitted so won't be using that. I am going to try and upgrade the firmware next I hope that does not brick it.

    Seems to be a easy to fit two cables up into side pillars and locate long boxy thing which is the aerial then fitting to power and glove box. Slap a SIM in a bobs your auntie.

    Curtis
     
  18. addie
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    addie

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    Hi Mark,

    If you consider that mobile phones, MiFi devices are built to be small and portable their internal antennas are usually very small, often with a 0.5db gain or less. I would be very surprised if VW had fitted anything other then the Wi2U's default antenna, which looks like this.

    39210_1.jpg

    A decent grade antenna should do a similar job and very easily better than your own mobile phone. My iPhone for example is terrible, 3G virtually doesn't exist. So in my car I have a MiFi device wired into the boot (Audi estate) - same mobile network, no external antenna but 2 bars of 3G.

    If you're not adverse to drilling a hole in your roof, you could get a small 'bullet' type antenna which would be far better then the one fitted by the "Wi2U". We currently provide this kit to a couple of VW converters with good feedback. For motorhomes we fit a larger white antenna because looks isn't so much of an issue here and of course it performs a bit better.

    Hope that helps.

    Adam
     

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  19. Larkrise
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    Larkrise VIP Member

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    Location:
    Whaplode Drove
    Transmission:
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    Vehicle:
    T5 SE 180
    Year:
    2014
    This has all been very enlightening! Like others I also rely on internet for work and the thought of having good access in the van had not really dawned on me until now! So with a van on order (and still able to specify a change I would think, build is first week of Feb), I need to decide whether to get the factory option , or an after delivery option. It sounds as if there might be an option that could be both better (4G/newer protocol) and cheaper than VW. Any comments or links to possible providers?
     
  20. Curtis
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    Curtis VIP Member

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    I would go aftermarket does not seem very difficult to fit and you can then upgrade only thing you won't get the 3 year warranty but with the pace of tech moving I don't think you would keep it that long as they are bound to upgrade, it also as with anything factory fitted is cheaper fitting yourself. Where I roam about I have no 4G yet and its actually fast enough to do everything I want it to do. Or get a wifi modem as Adam suggested and hide the antenna somewhere. I actually like it in the glove box as the lights tell you what its doing and if its connected Ok.

    Curtis
     

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