Author Topic: Back Country Internet Access  (Read 5352 times)

Jeff Beckman

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Back Country Internet Access
« on: October 21, 2010, 12:50:20 PM »
Any thoughts on extending wireless internet coverage in the back country?  The two big obstacles I can think of are coverage and battery life.  I've got a smart phone with internet tethering, but this solution is a little limited. 

To increase coverage I've thought of combining a WiFi repeater with a high gain directional antenna.  Both can be had for around $100, but the power requirements are significant.

As far as battery life goes, I'm not sure what the best direction to go is.  Smaller and lower consumption or bigger and higher capacity.  Any ideas?

Greg W

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Re: Back Country Internet Access
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2010, 01:58:42 PM »
If you have an internet source via an EVDO card or the like then I like the Cradlepoint routers which will give a better ranging 802.11n network and eliminate the five user limits of most of the 3G cards. I've not thought much of power issues outside of the command bus situation but AC via a power inverter may be ok or there are compatible battery packs as well.
Here is a link to one of the Cradlepoint routers and a battery pack that will run it for about 12 hours-

Definitely more costly but I guess it'll depend on how long you'd like it to run, the scale of the operation and how big of an area to cover.

If we only have a weak 3G signal then we'll likely need to look at an amplifier/repeater/antenna solution.



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Re: Back Country Internet Access
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2010, 06:38:05 PM »
There are a lot of external antennas that will generally work with most phones and 3G cards. You may have to search for the antenna connector on the device, but they are there. Getting an external antenna up 15 or 20 ft should make a big difference. We are looking at a 50' mast on the new command trailer with a phone/3g antenna on top. This should give us coverage most areas except in places like Lost Valley. I currently looking for a DA to go with the antenna so we can feed the signal to multiple devices. The issue is that most DA's are not bi-directional and are only meant distribute a received signal.


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Re: Back Country Internet Access
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2010, 08:06:09 AM »
Hey Guys,

I see many of your discussions have been a few months ago, any updates for getting better internet access in remote locations?  I'm very impressed with the SAR program, now we need to overcome the internet access issue.

Thank You and Have a Great Day!


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Re: Back Country Internet Access
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2010, 08:30:25 AM »
Welcome Buc.

We've been using Verizon Mobile Hotspot devices, see:

In our county (San Diego) these have pretty good coverage and getting better all the time.  We are also seeing more and more missions in urban locations which also makes the Web more accessible.  To streamline things we plan to try one of the Cradlepoint device Greg found with the Verizon Hotspot, see:

Been looking into satellite connections, but they are very expensive.