Whats a cheap way to get wifi in Europe?

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Easyliving, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. Easyliving

    Easyliving Funster

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    We are just back from our France and Germany trip. We had a great time but we sometimes had problems finding a wifi hotspot we could use. This was especially true in Germany where you have to register and provide a German mobile phone number before you can get internet access.

    I am thinking we should invest in a mifi unit as we have various laptops, ipad and tablets that we might want to use.

    We use the internet just to check emails, bit of surfing and the occasional Skype calls to the family. I have looked at some of the sim only deals available but I don't fancy having a 24 month contract, we won't be using the internet every day so PAYG is probably best.

    Any of you Funsters found a cost effective solution? I don't mind £50-£60 upfront cost for the mifi unit but I don't want to pay per month if I am not using the service regularly.

    Thanks.

    Paul
     
  2. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    Three SIM. Feel at home plan good for many countries. No good for Germany buy you can pick up.a vodaphone one there.

    Costs nothing as we have them on cheap contracts anyway.. this why we changed provider
     
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  3. Easyliving

    Easyliving Funster

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    Thanks for that Judge. I have heard Three mentioned several times, seems like a good deal. I am going to order an unlocked Huawei mifi unit and three sim from Amazon.

    Paul
     
  4. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    I got one of those. It was set up and worked OK in UK but wouldn't in France! However I put the SIM card from it in tablet and it worked fine then just tethered via that. No problem.

    Wyn
     
  5. zac

    zac Funster Life Member

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    I would invest in a mifi unit that can take an aerial like the Netgear Aircard 762s older model (or there is a newer one that does the same). I have one with an aerial that suckers to our roof window and it definitely improves the signal.

    Links can be found Here and Here battery lasts around 9 hours give or take. Put what ever sim you like in as they come unlocked. I am sure there are cheaper but i tend to stick with what works. I also have a system similar to the iBoost (home made though), this works for wifi signals that are a long way off although you still need to find one of course.

    Always shop around though as I am sure they will be cheaper on some other well known online shops.
     
  6. Easyliving

    Easyliving Funster

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    Thanks Wyn

    I had a bit of a rethink on the sim card front. We won't being going abroad for a few months now so I am going to have a look at prices for data only sims to use in the UK. I suppose the benefit of having an unlocked mifi unit is you can chop and change sim cards depending on where you are etc.

    Paul
     
  7. Easyliving

    Easyliving Funster

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    Thanks zzzzac

    I think we are getting wires crossed here maybe, I could be wrong (often am) but I don't think I need an aerial with a 3g mifi unit / sim card combination? I am not aiming to pick up wifi from MacDonalds etc rather use the mifi unit I have in the van connected to the phone network.

    Paul
     
  8. zac

    zac Funster Life Member

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    Yes the links i sent you will improve the 3g/4g signals for the phone part when connecting to any of the mobile networks.
     
  9. CherryPirate

    CherryPirate Funster

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    I have a Netgear Aircard which has an external 4G aerial attached to it which is mounted on the roof. The advantage of this is that it improves the signal being picked up from the Internet provider for your chosen sim card. As @zzzzac has said the performance is enhanced and a friend using this same system in Morocco was able to pick up a signal when others were not.

    Colin
     
  10. zac

    zac Funster Life Member

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    Which aerial did you go for on the external mount?
     
  11. Wildman

    Wildman Read Only Funster

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    @zzzzac sounds interesting how about some construction details please. I'm sure many of us would like to build one.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    Recently had the same problem in France with a three mifi. When I got home I found that there was a setting in the mifi unit that you needed to change to allow data roaming. Link to page posted on another thread for 3 in France, I will see if I can find it.
     
  13. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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  14. zac

    zac Funster Life Member

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    The first one i built was from an old Lynksys Router i had back in the days of Cable, replaced one of the aerial with an external aerial (£15 cost) Router was a WRT54GS (off top of my head). Had to repflash it with some open source firmware but works very well although a bit bulky so decided to look for a smaller solution (still got this one just dont use it now) can post some pics later if you like

    Brought the bits separately for the smaller one for a total of just over £80 (list below), probably get them cheaper if you shop around, you can also replace the omni aerial with a directional one (i have both but only use the directional one when i cant get a signal from the omni which at present i havent had to use). The omni aerial is a lot easier to use as you just mount it on the side of the van and leave it, where are the directional one you need to turn until you lock onto the strongest signal but it can also pickup signals a lot further away.

    This works fantastically and a lot cheaper than what I could find on the internet.
    http://www.solwise.co.uk/wireless-usb-usbwifirpt-3000.html £47.75
    http://www.solwise.co.uk/psu.htm £2.84
    http://www.solwise.co.uk/wireless-usb-rocket-bgn.html £21.71
    http://www.solwise.co.uk/networking_sundries_usb_extensions.htm £8.77

    You need a basic understanding of Networking i would say i.e IP/DHCP . It works the same way as the iBoost where you connect to a wifi access point and it will then transmit the signal within the van. Connect as many devices as you want wirelessly or there is an option to connect via an ethernet cable (never used).

    The closest thing to this is of course is the iBoost from motorohomewifi which is a very well made piece of kit (i brought that as well as needed it to go away last year before i could get the parts for my own which actually came before we left anyway. I sold the iBoost to another funster actually). If you are unsure on how all this stuff works the iBoost is for you, if you are on a tighter budget and know a little about I.T then this can easily be made up using the components listed or others on the internet probably cheaper.

    Any questions fire away :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2015
  15. CherryPirate

    CherryPirate Funster

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    I bought mine from Addie at MotorhomeWifi. I purchased the earlier version of the roof mounting and antenae together with a 12v power supply. All came from Addie. Worth calling him to discuss.
     
  16. zac

    zac Funster Life Member

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    Ah yes i have seen them on his site, i spoke with him around getting one fitted to the MH a few weeks ago but he doesnt cover my area. It is more of a nice to have as what I have works but was interested in what others have to see if any different.
    Thanks
     
  17. CherryPirate

    CherryPirate Funster

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    I bought it from Addie but had it fitted in Poole, Dorset. I am sure others like Dave Newell would also make a good job.
     
  18. matamoros

    matamoros Funster

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    I may be wrong but I am almost certain that this only applies to contract sims, I have been using an unlocked huawei mifi with a 3 PAYG data only sim in the UK, France and Spain for the last 12 months without the need to alter any settings on the mifi.
    I bought the mifi from here http://www.motorhomewifi.com/ and have recently bought a stick on aerial for the unit from them.
    I would recommend buying from them even though some items may be available cheaper elsewhere as the support is excellent and well worth a little extra.
     
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  19. grumps147

    grumps147 Funster

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    yes, its a contract sim.
     
  20. zac

    zac Funster Life Member

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    I expect motorhomewifi had already allowed roaming on the mifi as by default it is not enabled, or certainly on not the ones I have purchased (Huawei,Netgear,OspreyMini2 etc). I agree they do offer a top notch service including aftersales but if you are short on budget then there are options available.
     
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