- Manufacturer- WifiRanger
- Model #- SkyPro Pack
- Description- Network Router with Wi-Fi booster and an external antenna
- Price- $449.99 on WifiRanger.com
- How acquired- SkyPro Pack donated by manufacturer
- Rating- 5 out of 5 stars
The kit arrived and I found it very well-packaged, though missing what I think would have been very helpful, which I'll explain in a moment.
The system consisted of a wireless router, a roof-mounted antenna with an attached cable, an AC adapter for city power and a 12-volt power adapter, in case that's the power source you would like to install. What it did not come with was a weather protection grommet for the antenna cable coming through an external wall from the roof. A few months ago I installed a Weboost cell signal booster and that kit did contain a grommet for its antenna cable, which was very convenient. Before I could install the SkyPro kit, however, I had to find a suitable grommet. Over a few weeks I tried several places, including Lowe's, Home Depot, Walmart and Ace Hardware, as well as a couple of electrical supply stores. I finally did find one a couple of days ago, not the ideal part but adequate, at a True Value Hardware store in Odessa, Missouri.
In the meantime, we found ourselves camping last week in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, with no cell signal at all. Remember that you can't boost a non-existent signal (32 times 0 is still 0), so the Weboost didn't help. The campground had wi-fi but, like we have found in many campgrounds, we couldn't make a good enough connection to get actual Internet access. I had the WiFiRanger SkyPro Pack with us, still in the box waiting for the grommet, and decided to get it out and turn it on without mounting the antenna. Internet withdrawal is painful and a great motivator, as it turns out.
The start-up and connection to the WiFiRanger router was exceedingly simple and the dashboard easy to access. In a couple of minutes I connected to the router with my laptop, connected the WiFiRanger to the campground's public wi-fi, and immediately had Internet. I was truly impressed. Remember, the SkyPro antenna receiving the signal was sitting inside my rig on a table, not yet installed on the roof.
The problem was that in order to change the Internet bridge on the router from the Mobley to the Verizon or to another connection, I had to disconnect the wi-fi on my laptop, power it down, connect the laptop to the router with an Ethernet cable, power up the laptop, and hope Windows 10 didn't refuse to connect and run the router's utility screen. Often when I did connect successfully and make the change, the network drive and printer were unavailable. It was a royal pain that was forcing me to look for alternatives.
Guess what? The WiFiRanger router resolved all of those issues. It has regular Ethernet ports and a regular wi-fi connectivity like my Linksys had. However, its dashboard allows me to choose among all of the wi-fi connections it sees within its 1.5-mile range, as well as lets me prioritize the connections so that the AT&T Mobley can be the first and foremost on the list, but would fail over to Verizon automatically.
Its interface also allows me to easily set up another wi-fi connection on the fly and all my devices would automatically get the new Internet access. The Mobley, for example, has a limit of 5 connections, so we might want to free them up on the network to stream on a TV, so I could simply change the WiFiRanger router to use the Verizon during that time.
With everything connected and set up, the router has been running flawlessly. In fact, I completed the roof-mount installation this morning and reconnected all of the devices, and the router didn't flinch.
Another benefit of the SkyPro Pack is that when you are connected to a shared public connection, such as in a campground, the device tends to get priority for Internet access from that source because of the strength of the connection (compared to other, unboosted, connections).
When I receive free products to review, especially more valuable equipment, I typically scrutinize it to a higher degree than if I purchased the equipment myself. This is to make as sure as possible that the value I gained isn't reflected in the review. In this case, I just can't rate this any lower than 5 out of 5 stars. It's that good.