In order to know what is going on around the world and of course to keep you updated all along our trip, we will need to access the Internet regularly.
So, the question is: what will be the most practical way to access it.
After few hours of research, we found that some solutions exist:
The mobile networks (3G/4G)
They can be quickly expensives, even if you buy local subscriptions each time you cross a new border. Not really the best idea for our wallet…
Pretty easy to find, but their computers can be oldies, your personal data may not be really safe, they have some exotic keyboards, and it can be impossible to connect our personal devices in order to copy your pictures. We can add on that list the per-minute rates wich can be high (resulting on the need to hurry up if you want to do what you have to do). Anyway, not the ideal way.
Use the WiFi networks
WiFi networks have expanded all around the world, even in the most isolated places. They are often free (in airports, libraries, parks, shops, restaurants…). One disadvantage of WiFi is that you need to bring your own device with you (laptop or smartphone). One other is that you need to be directly situated in the place who host the network – or very close to the access point – in order to receive data correctly. Aside from that, this solution looks the most interresting.
Regarding the first point, this is not a problem for us because we will allready have our own equipement. However, the second point can be troublesome…
After some reading of blogs and comparatives (particularly the one from our friends Itinéraire d’un Iveco Voyageur), we finally chose a non expensive solution in order to correct the proximity problem.
To sumarize, this kit is composed by a WiFi antena, powerfull enough to receive the outside signal and re-amplifiy it, and by a WiFi router which will distribute the external network to another one inside the truck, in WiFi too.
In facts, the free wifi of the restaurant situated 500m away will be available inside the truck, with the same quality as if we were seated next to the access point. 🙂
In this domain, they are not fifty solutions and brands available. But some products exist, from different ranges, power and quality. We have to think about compatibility between each products, that is limited. The best solution for someone who is not comfortable in this domain is to buy a turnkey solution, even if it is more expensive.
After deep research and excel sheets study, we chose the above products, with a total of 109,83€, shipping fees included 🙂
We looked for a powerfull enough, but not too expensive one. Only relevant criteria : water, dust and UV proof, in order to keep it outside all the time.
The access point
The same sealing constraint for the access point, that will be situated under the antenna. Here it comes:
Both put together can look like a jedi weapon…
Compact, configurable, specially compatible with the access point, our choice fell on this router:
The power supply
Only the router will need to be connected to the truck’s 12V network. The WiFi access point will be powered by its USB cable, itself connected to the router, which will power them both.
One of the interest of this router is that it is already 12 Volts powered, so we do not need a transformer. In order to save money, instead of buying the Alfa cigaret lighter socket adaptor that costs 15€ more, we choose a 12V power jack fitting the router socket, which was found in our local electronic shop. At the end, with an old razor cable and a soldering iron, we have a power jack for just 0,80€ 🙂
The galery is not set up yet (but already bought 🙂 ), so we will have to find a way to attach the antenna with a movable support in order to protect it when driving.
Besides, we we’ll need some electricity in the truck to plug all this stuff. But this, it will be in another post 🙂