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Connecting a regular router to a hotspot

Connecting a regular router to a hotspot

Old Nov 13, 2022, 5:59 pm
  #1  
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Connecting a regular router to a hotspot

Hoping someone might be able to point me in the right direction. Here's the scenario. I have a project where I need to connect a regular or mesh router to use a smart phone as the WAN interface. As an example, going to a cottage and setting up a router to cover the entire cottage (give or take) so internet access is available throughout. IME, a travel router doesn't really have the horsepower to support what we're trying to do (at least no travel router I have seen has been able to do this). Starlink would be nice, but way too pricy for what it is intended for (and not sure the coverage is there).

A former client has reached out to ask if I knew of any solution (which unfortunately I don't) but I thought I'd tap our little community here as this is a rather niche scenario. I need something that doesn't require

Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Nov 13, 2022, 7:10 pm
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I am not sure if this fixes your problem, but I routinely get my pixel 5a on a wifi signal in a hotel, lounge, or cruise ship, then use it as a router with multiple devices by sharing the hot spot. Pixels do this, including my old pixel 3XL, but other androids and iphones do not that I am aware of. And with 2 of these, you can effectively daisy chain them. The phone is pretty mobile, and last month when the wifi at home went out I could get a signal 30-40 feet away. I just did a little test of my Pixel 5a and mrs. boernes. You can indeed daisy chain them. The first 5a was getting about 140 mbs down. Google fiber as source. The second phone about 30 feet away was getting 45 down. It was sorta a DIY mesh router with 2 nodes. Pixel 4s are in the $120 range on swappa.
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Old Nov 13, 2022, 10:00 pm
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Originally Posted by boerne
I am not sure if this fixes your problem, but I routinely get my pixel 5a on a wifi signal in a hotel, lounge, or cruise ship, then use it as a router with multiple devices by sharing the hot spot. Pixels do this, including my old pixel 3XL, but other androids and iphones do not that I am aware of. And with 2 of these, you can effectively daisy chain them. The phone is pretty mobile, and last month when the wifi at home went out I could get a signal 30-40 feet away. I just did a little test of my Pixel 5a and mrs. boernes. You can indeed daisy chain them. The first 5a was getting about 140 mbs down. Google fiber as source. The second phone about 30 feet away was getting 45 down. It was sorta a DIY mesh router with 2 nodes. Pixel 4s are in the $120 range on swappa.
Thanks but unfortunately that doesn't help either. I did think about just using the smartphone as a router, but the coverage and strength isn't enough. Daisy chaining them is an idea, but I'm trying to figure this out for someone who doesn't have a lot of technical knowledge. Unfortunately I don't know enough of the lay of the land of some of the destinations this person might be going (I know they have at least one "cottage" out west somewhere and often go down south for a few months at a time) but I am hoping for an easy one two type solution.

It's not an issue, but this was a good former client and could lead to other possibilities so just trying to help out.
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 7:59 am
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Look at Cradlepoint:

https://cradlepoint.com/?utm_source=...BoC2tQQAvD_BwE
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 9:09 am
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It sounds like you just need a "LTE modem"?

like this one:
Amazon Amazon
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 11:57 am
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If you can somehow get a Raspberry Pi, you may be able to set up Linux bridging between the network interface that's created for your phone (when plugging into it using USB) and the Pi's built-in Ethernet port. That will effectively give the phone an Ethernet jack that you can plug a normal consumer router into. However, that may be more futzing around than you or your client would want to do.
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 6:17 pm
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How about something like this: https://eu.dlink.com/uk/en/products/...mobile-hotspot

or this Deco X80-5G router: https://www.tp-link.com/us/deco-mesh...y/deco-x80-5g/?

And then you can use it as a fixed (mobile phone service-dependent) hotspot with the hotspot connecting to any device — including routers — which makes sense for the circumstances applicable.

One thing to check generally with these kind of things is if you schedule a shutdown and re-powering of the device with a timer plug of sort, then you want to make sure there is no manual log-in or selection option required for the device to power on and re-establish the mobile phone service/data connection.

Last edited by GUWonder; Nov 15, 2022 at 6:32 pm
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Old Nov 15, 2022, 10:14 pm
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Originally Posted by Dubai Stu
That was interesting, But I don't think this would be suitable for the client. Good read though.

Originally Posted by Need
It sounds like you just need a "LTE modem"?
like this one:
https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-LTE-B...dp/B08R813HLW/
I did consider a mifi, but IME, they don't really have that great a range. If you're in a hotel room, maybe one away, sure. But beyond that, (or one up or down) it usually doesn't work very well. And this client likes largish spaces.

Originally Posted by tmiw
That will effectively give the phone an Ethernet jack that you can plug a normal consumer router into. However, that may be more futzing around than you or your client would want to do.
Hadn't considered that, but yeah, the client would have to be technical enough (they're not) that if something goes wonky, they could troubleshoot.

Originally Posted by GUWonder
The last time I looked, there weren't any mesh routers that supported 5G (or LTE) but after you posted this, I tok a look and NetGear also has one as well. It might be a thing. The mobile hotspots I generally find do not have the signal strength I have in mind. A mesh might be the way to go. Although I suspect if there were a gaming router, that would be easier. Either way they consume roughly the same amount of space. I'll reach out to them again and present some of these ideas.

Thanks everyone!
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Old Nov 16, 2022, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by StuckInYYZ
I did consider a mifi, but IME, they don't really have that great a range. If you're in a hotel room, maybe one away, sure. But beyond that, (or one up or down) it usually doesn't work very well. And this client likes largish spaces.
It is not a mifi. It is just a LTE modem with ethernet connection. You connect your own wireless router to it. And you could put in AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon sim card to use the mobile connections with your own router. Isn't that what you want?
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Old Nov 16, 2022, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Need
It is not a mifi. It is just a LTE modem with ethernet connection. You connect your own wireless router to it. And you could put in AT&T/T-Mobile/Verizon sim card to use the mobile connections with your own router. Isn't that what you want?
Ah. That'd work too. I'll have to go back and take a look. It's got me thinking about when I work travel next. Thanks.
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Old Nov 16, 2022, 4:36 pm
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I second the Cradlepoint suggestion. LTE/5G routers is what they do. Their base model, the E100, should be plenty for your needs...but they ain't cheap.

https://cradlepoint.com/product/endpoints/e100/
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Old Nov 16, 2022, 4:52 pm
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Cisco Meraki (https://meraki.cisco.com/products/wireless-wan/) or Cradlepoint, anything else is headache.
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Old Nov 18, 2022, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by StuckInYYZ
IME, a travel router doesn't really have the horsepower to support what we're trying to do (at least no travel router I have seen has been able to do this)
Just curious, when you say horsepower, do you mean throughput (bandwidth) or WiFi range? I regularly use the GL.Inet Slate router when I travel and it's enough to cover a 2-bedroom, 2-floor concrete condo. In situations where I've needed more range I have an older Ubiquiti Unifi AP which I'll daisy-chain into the Slate router.

Asus routers are generally highly-rated and have good performance, AND support USB tethering, from phones and from LTE modems. That might be an option if you want something more integrated.
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Old Nov 18, 2022, 9:51 pm
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Originally Posted by KRSW
Just curious, when you say horsepower, do you mean throughput (bandwidth) or WiFi range? I regularly use the GL.Inet Slate router when I travel and it's enough to cover a 2-bedroom, 2-floor concrete condo. In situations where I've needed more range I have an older Ubiquiti Unifi AP which I'll daisy-chain into the Slate router.

Asus routers are generally highly-rated and have good performance, AND support USB tethering, from phones and from LTE modems. That might be an option if you want something more integrated.
Wifi strength/range. Since this is meant to be semi-mobile, I have to assume it's not going to be constant. I know for myself I've had issues where the router is just on the other side of the wall and signal strength was crap (I suspect a power main running somewhere in the nearby wall) so I just assume signal might not be strong. I think the guy is just going to go with a Nitehawk M6 and pipe it through to whatever router (I was suggesting the XT8 myself) he has access to. Whether he really wants to lug that much gear with him is up to him. I suspect he'll decide after he's done it a few times whether he'll stay with the solution. I'd probably be better off with just the M6 myself. But then again, I could also make due with just tethering to my phone (but I don't need too large a range myself)
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