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Old 08-14-2019, 04:01 PM   #1
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City: Bocas del Toro
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Lightbulb Furuno NavNet on boat WiFi network

Hi all. I have a boat with a Furuno NavNet3D system on it. For those not familiar, it's an ethernet based proprietary protocol (but the chartplotter can interface with older NMEA 0183/2000 sensors). The idea is that you can connect multiple displays, radar, and PCs to this ethernet network and they all talk.

I wanted to wire this NavNet3D protocol into my boat's WiFi network, so that my laptop on the network could display all this data wherever I am on the boat. According to Furuno, this isn't supported, you need to hard wire in your PC directly to the chartplotter. Being somewhat computer savvy, I knew it should be possible, because ethernet packets are ethernet packets. It shouldn't matter if it's over wireless or wired connections. I set out to do this, and I did, fairly easily. This post is mostly an "FYI" for those with similar installations and want the same capability I did.

I found the beginnings of a discussion on this topic over at Furuno Forums:
Furuno USA Community • View topic - NN3D & Internet
It showed that other people did have wifi working with their NN3D systems. But in those cases, the wifi router was only used as an "dumb" access point, essentially just putting the NN3D network into WiFi. The extra wrinkle that I wanted to solve was getting the NN3D protocol to work on an existing boat network that included a router and internet access (via a Wifi booster). The problem here is that on this existing setup, similar to a home WiFi network, the WiFi router acts as a router and as a DHCP server, giving out IP addresses to everyone that connects--and the NN3D chartplotter ALSO acts as a DHCP server, because it expects devices to be connected directly to it, and they need an IP address assigned. And you simply can't have two DHCP servers on one network.

My solution was the following:
- Leave the regular home router as the network's router and DHCP server
- Connect the NN3D network to this router
- Turn OFF the DCHP server on the NN3D chartplotter (Master: OFF)
- Set the IP subnet of the router to match the NN3D (172.31.X.X)

This way, all my devices are on the regular boat network, with internet access (assuming my booster is connected to the marina wifi, etc), and they are also able to see all the NN3D data including radar overlays, via TZ Navigator software for PC. Perfection!

If you don't care about wiring this into an existing wifi network, and just want NavNet over Wifi, you simply configure the router as an access point (NOT a router) and connect it to the NN3D ethernet wire. Then if you connect your PC to that wifi signal, you will also have NN3D data.

See the linked thread for more technical details or feel free to ask any questions here. I was getting too technical for Furuno so they locked my thread.
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:37 AM   #2
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Once you have Navnet on your boat network and wifi, then what? Have you found apps that can crack the Navnet ethernet data to display it? Or does it end up being the same UDP encapsulation of 0183 as everyone else does?
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:43 AM   #3
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Why do this?

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Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Once you have Navnet on your boat network and wifi, then what? Have you found apps that can crack the Navnet ethernet data to display it? Or does it end up being the same UDP encapsulation of 0183 as everyone else does?
TimeZero makes PC software to view and control the system. It's called TZ Navigator (previously known as MaxSea). My boat came with the MaxSea CDs and so the previous owner had it set up in the hardwired configuration to a laptop. I updated to TZ Nav and then got it on the wifi network.

The software is good and the interface is more powerful than the MFD in the cockpit, especially when it comes to planning routes. For example you can download weather forecasts and overlay on the PC software, planning long passages, then sync the route to the cockpit display when finished. You can also view and control the radar and have much more granular control of the data and overlays on the PC software.

I have it loaded onto a laptop in the nav station as well as on a cheap Windows tablet for more portable use around the boat.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:51 AM   #4
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UDP stream format

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Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Or does it end up being the same UDP encapsulation of 0183 as everyone else does?
This is a good question. I haven't checked to see if the UDP encapsulation is standard. I separately have another device which reads NMEA 0183/2000 buses on the boat and rebroadcasts the data over UDP for that purpose, so I've got that covered. But now I will check...
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