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Old 12-07-2018, 02:03 PM   #1
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Boat WIFI system questions

Hi everyone,

I am looking to add a wifi to the boat. To be clear, it's for when I am in a marina I can connect to the internet. Maybe I am looking for a wireless booster?

I am looking to be able to hook into the boat's wifi system similar to what I have in my home.

I hope this makes sense.

I am getting quotes of 6K. This seems ridiculous to me. I am pretty handy and pull all of the lines myself. What system do you all use? How hard is it to set up myself?
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:13 PM   #2
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6K is definitely ridiculous. Buy a WIFI transceiver and an on-board router and you will have exactly what you want. 4 years ago I got a setup from Island Time which is a long distance WIFI transceiver and the on board router, it works great and does exactly what you're looking for. Check this out:


Marine WiFi Systems


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Old 12-07-2018, 02:23 PM   #3
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We have a Rogue Wave booster and TrendNet router and it cost a whole lot less than $6k! Amazon has the booster for $353 and any decent $75 router will do the job.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:29 PM   #4
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We have a Rogue Wave booster and TrendNet router and it cost a whole lot less than $6k! Amazon has the booster for $353 and any decent $75 router will do the job.


We have the rogue wave as well and connect to a mofi router with a cellular option as well for when we are out of wifi range.

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Old 12-07-2018, 02:38 PM   #5
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Also, to clarify, w will be cruising from Fort Lauderdale to Panama and Costa Rica. Ultimately the boat will end up in Dana Point, California.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:40 PM   #6
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I am finding more and more systems will not allow my external antenna to talk to them.

I have tried alk but a few tricks, time to try something new but the Ubiquity bullet is only a coupke years old.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:54 PM   #7
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I am finding more and more systems will not allow my external antenna to talk to them.

I have tried alk but a few tricks, time to try something new but the Ubiquity bullet is only a coupke years old.
Are you referring to incompatible protocols or just password protected networks? I cannot imagine anyone with a WiFi network not putting it behind a password.
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:58 PM   #8
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Not password protected (way beyond that).....

It recognizes and sometimes connects to networks, gives transfer rates but just zero data transferwhen browser is brough up.

And yes, there are quite a few non password protected signals out there...but like I said, both protected and unprotected may or may not actually transfer data.

I know the system works, because it does occasionally, but fewer and fewer connections are made as time goes on.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:30 PM   #9
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I went through this about a year ago.


I found that cell connections are WAY more reliable, and have better speeds than any wifi signals we could find.


A dedicated cellular modem with it's own SIM card is the way to go. I consistently get 20mb/per device for up to 8 devices. This is *WAY* better than a shared hotspot on my phone, which while it gets up to 80mb/s, that bandwidth is shared across all the devices. So if I connect 8 devices, they are at <10mb.

Not everyone needs to connect 8 devices, and if you don't, just use your phone as a hotspot and you'll be fine. We treat our boat as an apartment on the water, and want all the comforts of home.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:31 PM   #10
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Not password protected (way beyond that).....

It recognizes and sometimes connects to networks, gives transfer rates but just zero data transferwhen browser is brough up.

And yes, there are quite a few non password protected signals out there...but like I said, both protected and unprotected may or may not actually transfer data.

I know the system works, because it does occasionally, but fewer and fewer connections are made as time goes on.



A lot of public wifis take you to a login page once you are connected where at a minimum, you need to accept terms and conditions. Sometimes these can't be accessed correctly through a router. I've had trouble with it in a few places. Could that be what's happening?
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:38 PM   #11
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Nope not that either, usually with those, you open the browser and there is some sort of sign in page. Some marinas, restaurants, airports, malls, motels, etc have these and some need passwords and some dont. Nope, been there with those too.
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:46 PM   #12
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Nope not that either, usually with those, you open the browser and there is some sort of sign in page. Some marinas, restaurants, airports, malls, motels, etc have these and some need passwords and some dont. Nope, been there with those too.

The only other thing I can think of is that some access points are set up to only connect to specific devices. It's mostly used for point to point setups as opposed to open access points. I've seen a few of those with symptoms like you describe. No password, you can connect (sometimes), but no data flow.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:31 PM   #13
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We have the ubiquiti bullet m2. It works great now that I replaced a bad cable that worked intermittently.

Ours opens splash pages fairly easily. Worst case I sometimes have to bookmark the splash / sign in page to get it to work but I had to do that with my laptops connected directly as well.

There were a ton of different settings that would work then stop. Extremely frustrating and I did use my phone tethered a lot while trying to figure it out. It was pure luck that I realized the main cable had a bad connector. I had all of it (bullet, antenna, router) in the salon so I wouldn't have to run up to the fly bridge to reset it every time.
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Old 12-07-2018, 04:49 PM   #14
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Zero money spent on extras.

Devices can connect to external WiFi if and when available, but I wouldn't bother trying given inexpensive phone/data.

$50 mobile phone set up as a hotspot in the wheelhouse covers the entire boat at other times with several devices connected.
Worked trouble free for 700+ days so far.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:00 PM   #15
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We upgraded and added an IslandTime Wifi extender. We wanted an antenna that also had the 5.8Ghz band. The 5.8GHz band doesn't have the range but is less crowded than the 2.4Ghz band. The marina we're in now, broadcasts on both bands and the speed/connectivity is superior on the 5.8 GHz. We had the "Bullet" before which as ok but only had the 2.4 GHz band.

Here's an article discussing the differet bands:

https://www.sabaitechnology.com/blog...vs-5-ghz-wifi/

The Island Time system we bought has the Mikrotik Groove 52HPn Dual Band High Gain antenna 2.4/5.8Ghz, 7/8dbi

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Old 12-07-2018, 05:28 PM   #16
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Zero money spent on extras.

Devices can connect to external WiFi if and when available, but I wouldn't bother trying given inexpensive phone/data.

$50 mobile phone set up as a hotspot in the wheelhouse covers the entire boat at other times with several devices connected.
Worked trouble free for 700+ days so far.
Be aware that even “unlimited “ plans will throttle you after 15gb hotspot streaming and 20gb streaming directly off the host device. Dedicated cellular data nodes do not have this restriction. If all you do is email and web surfing this is no issue, but if you, like us, use it primarily to replace traditional TV it will be a problem.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:41 PM   #17
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Be aware that even “unlimited “ plans will throttle you after 15gb hotspot streaming and 20gb streaming directly off the host device. Dedicated cellular data nodes do not have this restriction. If all you do is email and web surfing this is no issue, but if you, like us, use it primarily to replace traditional TV it will be a problem.
No such restrictions here.
We go hard on 50gb/mth however we like
Getting 150gb/mth plans here now
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:42 PM   #18
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Be aware that even “unlimited “ plans will throttle you after 15gb hotspot streaming and 20gb streaming directly off the host device. Dedicated cellular data nodes do not have this restriction. If all you do is email and web surfing this is no issue, but if you, like us, use it primarily to replace traditional TV it will be a problem.


Right, and probably even more restrictive. It’s really important to read the fine print on all these limited “unlimited” plans. They all sound great, but may require a paper bag in the morning.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:50 PM   #19
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Redirects can be really tricky, particularly if you're connecting a Bullet or similar device through a router. It ends up not passing the IP number through the router, so your browser doesn't see the redirect page and you just sit there.



I've found that using the ping utility on the WAN device (the Bullet or other such client that connects to an access point in a marina) is a better way to test for internet presence. Ping 8.8.8.8 and if you get a reply, you have a connection to the outside world. If you get a timeout, no internet. My experience also has been that many marinas have such poor wifi that it's just not worth connecting. OnSpot is the exception, it seems to always work, and always has great throughput. Most home-grown marina solutions are horrible.



If you can work a plan for cellular access that's not too costly, you'll have far better luck getting and staying connected via LTE vs. wifi. I recently switched to a PepWave router, it has a USB connection for a cellular LTE modem. It will also use a Bullet or equiv. connection to a wifi AP. If cruising offshore or in areas of low signal, I set the LTE modem in a Wilson Sleek cellular amp that has an external antenna, it works great for domestic use. In the Bahamas, I use a smartphone, get a sim card for it or for an iPad and use it as a hotspot in the same cellular amp cradle, works great. The amp is a huge benefit since the towers are so far apart there. Without the amp, no service in many areas.



Pepwave also has a smaller wifi-only solution that will connect to a marina AP or the LTE modem option. I've set one up for a boat neighbor, works great, easy config. It only uses 2.4gHz and is being phased out, but an excellent lower cost alternative.

For wifi, connecting to a 5gHz AP will give much better throughput than 2.4gHz by factors of 2 or more, and there's less interference and cross talk on 5G. You'll need a dual band antenna as well, so starting from square one it's a matter of a bit of extra cost and picking the appropriate gear. There's still a LOT of 2.4 gHz AP's where there are no 5 gHz options, so dual band is the way to go.

If you're not geek-inclined, you may find the Island PC a better option. Good support, the product works.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:01 PM   #20
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Zero money spent on extras.

Devices can connect to external WiFi if and when available, but I wouldn't bother trying given inexpensive phone/data.

$50 mobile phone set up as a hotspot in the wheelhouse covers the entire boat at other times with several devices connected.
Worked trouble free for 700+ days so far.
I'm doing the same thing and it works great. I haven't even considered another option..
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