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Signal Boost Solution: iPAD 2 + Cradle Point Router + USB Verizon Modem (3G)

Drew.Gardonia

I was considering buying an iPAD 2 to chase with next year, but I knew I would be running into signal issues since the iPAD neither has an antenna adapter port to run a signal boost amp nor a USB port to insert a Verizon USB Card into.

Both the iPAD 1 and iPAD 2 do offer the ability to have Verizon or AT&T wireless internet installed in them when you order, but leaves you with the inability to increase your signal via a signal boost amp (which basically means when you get out in BFE, you're not gonna get a signal) since they lack the appropriate antenna port.

So after talking with Wes Carter, I have found the solution. Wes told me about the Cradle Point Routers, that have a USB Slot where you plug your Verizon/ATT/Millenicom/Sprint USB Modem into, plus your signal boost amp into the port on your wireless card and then use the wi-fi connection on your laptop or iPAD to connect to the router.

With the Above equipment, you can now feasibly use an iPAD 2, verizon 3G card + the router and accomplish this task.

Additionally, this eliminates the need for a big, heavy laptop, laptop stand, and a million cables running through your front seat. Multiple users can connect to the router wirelessly with easy (bandwidth may be a concern if you have multiple chasers with you, so be wary of how much data you're using if that's the case or upgrade to Millenicom and get the 20GB data package).

The only drawback to this I can see is that ipad does not have a usb port to hook up a webcam to for live streaming. However, one might be able to use this connector from apple to do that with (but I won't know until September when I test this out for myself)
http://store.apple.com/us/product/MA591G/B?fnode=MTc0MjU4NjE&mco=MjE4ODE1NTc


Just make sure you purchase an iPAD with a wi-fi connection built in (not the ATT/Verizon Internet Service), and a cradle point amp, and you're good to go!

The Cradlepoint CTR500 Mobile Broadband Router has the usb slot and the antenna adapter port on it.
http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/ctr500-mobile-broadband-router#

CTR500-Angle.jpg


CTR500-Antenna_0.jpg


CTR500-ExpressCard.jpg


CradlePoint-CTR500-Wireless-Broadband-Router.png


if there are any other models of cradlepoint routers that have the antenna port and the usb slot, feel free to post them up!
 
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You cannot plug a cellular amplifier direct into a cradlepoint router . There is no external antenna port for cellular on them . The amplifier must be plugged into the USB card. Most do have rf ports but they can tend to be Flaky , especially on the 290 card.
 
You cannot plug a cellular amplifier direct into a cradlepoint router . There is no external antenna port for cellular on them . The amplifier must be plugged into the USB card. Most do have rf ports but they can tend to be Flaky , especially on the 290 card.

shows an external antenna port on the CTR500 (i've noticed other models don't have them at all)

CTR500-Antenna_0.jpg
 
That's a wifi antenna port, not a cellular antenna port for whatever device is attached to it. Some of the larger models already have attached, external wifi antennas, and the smaller ones are intended to be used at such close range it doesn't matter.
 
That's a wifi antenna port, not a cellular antenna port for whatever device is attached to it. Some of the larger models already have attached, external wifi antennas, and the smaller ones are intended to be used at such close range it doesn't matter.

whats the difference between a wi-fi antenna port and a cell antenna port? and why can't anyone make a router with a signal boost amp antenna port. are we the only one's who think of this stuff?
 
A wifi antenna boosts the range of the wifi devices connected to your router. A cell antenna boosts the range with which your router can connect to distant cell towers.
 
whats the difference between a wi-fi antenna port and a cell antenna port?

Your datacard, and your wifi router are two separate devices. Your datacard talks to the cellular network via its antenna, the router talks to the datacard, and then the router sends you the internet via wifi. The cellular and wifi communications are on separate radio bands, using separate technology, and separate antennas. The signal each uses is not shared via the USB cable or slot your datacard connects to in the router.

Its certainly possible to combine both devices into one unit (and some already do such as the mifi devices but maybe without the amplifier). You're restricted to that one datacard for that device, however. With your CTR500 you can plug any number of devices into it.
 
so who here has a voice that could get cradle point to put a cellular external antenna port on their routers so we can overcome this problem? Surely someone here can send a proposal or get in contact with the right personnel at cradle point?
 
I think you might not be understanding why these devices are separate. Its not a problem, its a feature. You'd have to marry the datacard to the router to get your external antenna port. By not doing so, you can use a variety of devices with your router, which is a valuable feature.
 
Those do not come close to the Traveller . Ask any Chaser using a Traveller . He just bought a direct connect from Us . If I were him I would stick to my 3G card for a while as there will be no 3G in rural areas where you chase for a long time yet . Use the Ipad over the WIFI put out by the cradlepoint Router.

I'm sure if the demand is there, they will do it. Did you drop them a line?

A better bet is probably an in-vehicle amplifier. Then you don't need to add a Cradlepoint, you can just use your regular connection. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DTS2FC?linkCode=xm2&tag=invihand-20
 
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As mentioned on several other threads, the iPad/CP 500/VZW usb modem combination is one I've been happily using for some time now - with a Cyfre amp when in the car.

There are many advantages to using a wi-fi router like a CP over a direct connect. One of these is illustrated by the fact I'm typing this now on an iPad inside a place whose only internet access is via the CP/VZW modem I put in the next room. Another example is a few weeks ago is when my wife and I each shared our connection in the car parked outside in the lot while eating lunch inside at a truckstop.

AFA video streaming.... Dunno about the iPad 2, but I think that's a little like using a Swiss Army knife to chop vegetables. Although I haven't gotten around to that yet this year, an in-vehicle computer is the way I'm going. Now, possibly there's a way to use the iPad's camera and wi-fi to stream through another computer, but then you still have the physical limitations of the camera to deal with.
 
I'm sure if the demand is there, they will do it. Did you drop them a line?

A better bet is probably an in-vehicle amplifier. Then you don't need to add a Cradlepoint, you can just use your regular connection. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DTS2FC?linkCode=xm2&tag=invihand-20

i have an in-vehicle amplifier, but the problem in the future will be with the 4G cards as they do not have an external antenna adapter port on them, so you will not be able to use your signal boost amplifier when 4G cards become available and predominant for wireless internet access.

Those do not come close to the Traveller . Ask any Chaser using a Traveller . He just bought a direct connect from Us . If I were him I would stick to my 3G card for a while as there will be no 3G in rural areas where you chase for a long time yet . Use the Ipad over the WIFI put out by the cradlepoint Router.

Gordon, there has to be someway to get the setup I want to work with 3G and with 4G. i think we've already established you can do it with the 3G....but what about 4G? there has to be a solution.
 
I think you might not be understanding why these devices are separate. Its not a problem, its a feature. You'd have to marry the datacard to the router to get your external antenna port. By not doing so, you can use a variety of devices with your router, which is a valuable feature.

isn't that the point of the usb port on the cradlepoint used in conjunction with the iPAD? so you can have a signal boosted internet connection with the router and still connect via wi-fi on your ipad to the router? not sure what you're trying to say here Skip
 
no 4G amplifiers at this time , they are incorporating new frequencies for it . Got 2 or 3 million laying around you want to donate to develop new amplifiers that cover even more frequencies.?
 
I have been using the Cradle Point CTR500 this year with a Sprint U598. I bought the new Maximum Signals In Car wireless unit. This has worked great this season in areas that I did not have service before. Also I do not have to worry about the USB card in the laptop since the router is laying down on the console. Far greater data up time this year and the cell is boosted at the same time.
 
Gordon, there has to be someway to get the setup I want to work with 3G and with 4G. i think we've already established you can do it with the 3G....but what about 4G? there has to be a solution.

Drew,

As of today, there is not a solution to what you're describing. If you want it now, then you better start working on it. You'll need to design, engineer, test, and license it yourself.

Bryan
 
Drew, the CP router is designed to accept aircards from multiple wireless providers whether or not the aircards have a provision for an external antenna or booster. The CP 500 in particular also has a 10/100 EtherNet port for a wired net connect which can be used simultaneously with the wi-fi. Since an external antenna/booster bypasses the aircard's internal antenna, I don't see that there'd be any practical way of attaching the antenna to the router itself.

Most of CP's routers now have firmware which works with VZW's LTE 3G/4G. See the CradlePoint website for more info. So they say, the dual-capable aircards work ok, although there are issues with 3G-4G fall forward in dual signal areas VZW is working on.
 
Drew - just so you do not think I am kidding about 2 or 3 million dollars to develop and pass new product with the FCC. I figured I would drop a number on you. To get the new Maximum Signal amplifiers tested and approved to the new FCC standards took 9 months of testing and over $800,000.00 just in testing costs . And those are only dual band ( 800 & 1900 ) . To do an amplifier to cover 4G on all carriers would mean having to cover 6 Bands ( 700 , 800 , 1700 , 1900 , 2100 & 2500 ) . And the FCC is not making life easy . They are in fact moving on redoing the rules regarding Cellular amplifiers and even though our new amplifiers meet all guidelines that the carriers have suggested to the FCC it is near impossible for them to get any new products even considered
 
I'm seeing improvement lately in my in-city 3G data rates, which have been erratic for awhile. My hunch is that 4G is beginning to bite off some heavy data users from the 3G network. I think this is another argument for going slow on getting 4G. Lightly loaded 3G with a good connection is more than adequate for chaser/spotter use, and is becoming widely available in the same sense 1X did a few years ago. You don't need a fire hose, i.e. network to stream Netflix, to water the garden.
 
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