Recently I was contacted by WINEGARD and asked if I would be willing to test and review their new Wi-Fi antenna system called the WINEGARD ConnecT 4G1 WiFi Extender. I agreed, and they sent me a unit to test and review.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Since I wrote this article a few more ways to get Wi-Fi in your RV have become available. So you might want to watch my video below to learn about the other options that are now available and yes, the WINEGARD ConnecT 4G1 WiFi Extender is still one of them. So, before you dive into my review watch the video for the other available options.
• ConnecT 2.0 WF2 (WF2-335): This unit increases Wifi range at an RV Park but has no 4G.
• ConnecT 2.0 4G2 (WF2-435): Also increases WIFI range but you can also use 4G when WIFI is not available or if you want to use WIFI in your RV while going down the road. You can purchase 4G from Winegard or use Mini Sims from AT&T or Verizon.
We will start off with a video below, that gives a very good explanation on how the ConnecT 2.0 WiFi Extenders work.
I have been testing the ConnecT 2.0 4G2 WiFi Extender for a little over a month and have used it at 4 separate RV Parks. I will say up front that I am quite impressed by its performance.
The roof unit is a very sleek looking well-constructed dome that contains 3 WiFi Antennas and 2 4G Antennas (pictured Above), which is available in either black or white. It does not have the 5 external antennas that the WINEGARD ConnecT 4G1 Wifi Extender has, so there is no chance of having a tree branch breaking off the antennas. Don’t get me wrong the performance of the WINEGARD ConnecT 4G1 WiFi Extender is impressive, but I was always worried about the antennas getting torn off of the roof unit.
The ConnecT 2.0 also includes a basic on and off switch that you can install in a location in the RV that you choose. I have mine installed in one of the cabinets above the driver’s compartment. The unit is 12 volt powered, so the switch allows you turn it off when not in use. The on off switch can also be used to reset the unit to factory settings in case of a problem.
I like the security that is included with the ConnecT 4G2. The built in Firewall and encryption allows you to use your computer, tablet, Smart TV, Smart Phone, etc. safely on a public unsecured wifi network which you will find at most RV Parks. The unit is already setup for the best encryption and firewall settings from the factory.
I also like the ability to set up a separate guest network, for friends and other visitors.
In the 4 RV Parks I tested it at, I first connected to their “free wifi networks”. I started connecting to the wifi networks using my laptop and my Smart Phone. In 1 of the RV parks, I could not connect either my computer or smart phone to the WiFi. So So,tried connecting using the ConnecT 4G2 and was able to acquire a ususable WiFi connection. I connected my smart phone and laptop to the ConnecT 4G2 and was able to use both. The connection was not super-fast, but it was useable. That was impressive considering that I could not connect directly to the WiFi with my laptop and phone.
In the other 3 RV Parks I again followed the same steps as outlined above and was able to connect both my phone and laptop directly to the RV Park WiFi, but when I used the ConnecT 4G2 to connect to the same WiFi networks, the signal strength averaged about 30% stronger than when I was connected directly to their WiFi network with my laptop. At 2 of the RV Parks I was able to use my Smart TV which was connected to the ConnecT 4G2 to stream Netflix with a great picture. Not bad for using free RV Park Wifi.
If you are like me, you will sometimes use your Laptop outside of the RV, so you can enjoy nature while working or cruising through the internet. Depending on the location of the WiFi antennas at the RV Park, you may not a get a good signal. Well, the ConnecT 4G2 solves that problem by broadcasting its strong and secure WiFi signal through the rooftop dome around the outside of your RV. Don't worry the signal is password protected so only you can log in.
So, you’re traveling down the road and you want to use your laptop, or your Non-4G enabled tablet to access the internet or you're at an RV Park that does not provide WiFi (Yes, there are still RV Parks that don’t have WiFi) and you want to access the internet. You can do that by using the 4G connection on the ConnecT 2.0 4G2 WiFi Extender.
There are two ways to connect to 4G on the ConnecT 4G2. The first way is to use the 4G that you can purchase directly from Winegard. Winegard has several levels of 4G you can purchase.
All of Winegard’s 4G LTE data plans are 30-day, pre-paid plans available in sizes ranging from 1GB to 20GB with no throttling, so connection speeds will never be slowed based on data usage (see Chart Above).
One of the only downsides that I have found with the ConnecT 4G2 is the Winegard 4G plan 30-day expiration of purchased data. In my opinion the data that you purchase should be available until you have used it all.
The second way you can access 4G internet access is by swapping out the SIM card in ConnecT 4G2 roof unit to add to new or existing data plans from other carriers. Currently through AT&T or Verizon.
Since the SIM card is in the roof unit (see picture above), you should probably make this decision prior to installing the ConnecT 4G2 roof unit on your RV.
I did not install a SIM card from other providers, instead I used the 4G available from Winergard 4G Data Plan. I must admit that I was quite impressed by the speed and the signal strength of the 4G. We were traveling through several rural areas of both Nevada and Arizona and never lost 4G access. In fact, every time that I checked the 4G signal on the ConnecT 4G2 unit it never fell below 85% whether we were on the road or parked at a Campground.
While we were going down the road, we were even able to stream Netflix on our tablet. Now I will warn you, using 4G to stream Netflix, HULU, or other videos can be expensive, so I would not recommend doing a lot of 4G video streaming while traveling.
After having used the ConnecT 2.0 4G2 WiFi Extender and running it through its paces. I have to say I was very impressed by its overall performance.
4.8 out of 5.0
Despite this one weak area I was impressed by the ConnecT 2.0 4G2 WiFi Extender and how it worked like Winegard said it would.