Smoothtalker simply boosts whatever signal is out there, much like the Wilson Amp. Boosting your signal will NOT make it faster. Many campgrounds have limited bandwidth. That's why they ask that you only use their wifi for checking your email and short surfing. You can get a MIFI from Verizon (recommended) or AT&T. They provide 5g of data per month for about $50/month. Turn it on and you're surfing to your hearts content, and it's private.....Dennis
x2 on the Verizon Mifi. For $50.00 you get a receiver and a router for up to 5 devices in a product smaller than a deck of cards all in one. Totally wireless and mobile. You can put it in your shirt pocket and get 3-4G speeds all day. My wife puts it on the dash and we have never lost a signal, in motion or stationary. And often we might have 3 laptops accessing it. And encrypted so only you use your signal. It's a personal wifi hotspot.
We have been in Montana where the Missouri flows south to north and nary a cell signal till the smooth talker is fired up, same thing in southern Colorado but no Missouri River but maybe the Rio Grande, same thing across Monument Vally but no rivers. The smooth talker allows us to get service in some of the most out of the way places. Works with 3G or 4G phones and again we only pay for one line of service a data package. Black Berry is encrypted but I think the Verizon wifi is not encrypted but rather is password protected.
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AT&T has the "MiFi" setup as well if that helps you any. Recent software upgrades have improved their MiFi performance dramatically over the last few months - to the point this formerly unhappy customer is now pretty impressed! Recently completed a 5500 mile trip. From SE Mi, down along nearly the entire Gulf coast, across southern Texas, New Mexico, Arizona (Grand Canyon), Utah, Colorado and home, the only times we were without GOOD signal was when we were in a hole. If the AT&T phones worked, the MiFi worked. FWIW
The simple answer is pretty much no, depending on what your value for inexpensive means.
I am assuming the by Wifi, you are meaning any non-wire internet service. And yes, there are some options. Someone mentioned Smoothtalker, but that is just a cellphone repeater. It will only help the telephone and not an actual Wifi situation. There are other things you can do and many are affordable.
Attached is what I wrote some time ago.
This is what I wrote some time ago when I was explaining the options to a client. It isn't so old that MUCH OF anything has changed except the prices. It is not formatted correctly for this forum, but it isn't that bad or that long a read.
I keep revising it, but I can't keep track of all the costs.
I have no trouble at all communicating even underway. But, first you have to
decide how much it is worth to you.
If not very much is your answer, then you need to track the available free
wifi. There is a lot available, not just MikeyD, Denny's, PizzaHunt, FJ, Pilot,
but Many BK, all Panera and lots of others. If you are really interested in
making this work, look up Alfa 036 on E-bay. These are Wifi adapters that are
bags more capable than the one built into your laptop.
Problem: If you are at a campground and using their service, any inconsiderate
fool that decides to stream music or a movie may all but shut the system down.
There is nothing that the rest of us can do about these people. If you make a
point to the CG management that their WiFi is useless on a regular basis, then
maybe, just maybe, the administrator will look in on the system, find the abuser
and shut him dowm. (This is pretty simple for the administrator of a WAP to do,
but he has to be there and he has to care.)
If you only need e-mail, stay with an old cell handset and find out how to use
it as a DUN (Dial Up Network) access, but this requires that you have an account
with an ISP that still has DUN capability.
If that does not appeal to you, and you have a data capable cell phone, they can
usually be tethered to the laptop. Typical cost is 30$ a month, but it can be
turned on and off as needed at the daily rate. This will get you 1X or EVDO
speed and pretty good coverage.
If you already own a smartphone, you can either use the hotspot app for
30+$/month or look up PDAnet or EasyTether that you buy once and use the
smartphones data link for no additional cost. Will get you 3G service in a lot
of of the country if you are with Verizon.
Verizon, and maybe others, have a 3/4G device available that creates a multi-user
hotspot. Both the Hotspot app for a smartphone and the Verizon Mifi box will
serve up to five separate clients. Cost, 30~40$/mo for a contract. There are
similar devices available as a Pay-as-you-go by other carries, but with many, you
have to own the ~200$ device.
If you really need a lot of capability, then go with one of the USB data cards.
These aren't cheap, but where 4G is available, they are fast. There are people
that have 4G available dropping their cable modem for this. It is as fast and
cost competitive with many cable services.
The data cards can also be plug into a USB input WAP device like those made by
Cradlepoint. I'm not sure if this is any advantage over the Mifi box, the plan
is the same cost (afak), but there may be flexibility and and speed issues that
I am not aware of.
If you plan to be places that there is nothing, or very nearly so, then
satellite may be you best answer. This is not simple to use or inexpensive to
set up. It is fast and will have good availablity as long as you can see the sky.
I have stopped at the smartphone line, but have set up all of the last for others.
I still run Wifi sometimes when I need the phone free and it is available.
Now all you have to decide is how much money can/want to spend for internet
Matt & Mary Colie
A sailor, his bride and their black dog going to see some dry places that have Geocaches in a coach made the year we married.
WiFi at some campgrounds is really the pits...poor signal strength because to many are online at the same time &/or poor signal strength to begin with. Your distance from thier antenna &/or any obstructions also changes things.
I fully agree you may not be able to boost what is already not strong enough however you can get a booster to see if it helps. You just won't know until you try it. You may have to find a time of day when fewer people are online or move closer to thier antenna.
That is why we gave up on WiFi and got an air card. We had our own signal and it was fast enough to do what we needed and we used it fulltime even when at home because we had no other source for the Internet. I don't care to ever go back to WiFi. At home we now have Wild Blue/satellite and will carry the air card on trips.
If you don't care to use a smart phone or air card and would rather have free WiFi...it may be something you'll just have to get used to.