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Old 04-20-2014, 01:48 PM   #21
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I already have a Novatel Wireless Mifi2372 that I use to interface my laptop with the enternet from my boat. It is suppose to be able to handle 5 devices. Can I just use the the Mifi to remotley monitor 4 or 5 cameras without using the Cradlepoint? Do I need something like the Cradlepoint to give me more security? Does the Mifi have an IP address that I would be able to access remotely? Would the Mifi have enough range to pick up a camera in the engine room?

As you can tell by my questions this is not my forte.

Thanks
OK, first step is to determine how many devices your MIFI can handle. You can find that from the manual.

I'm also assuming this is a stand alone device that uses a cellular connection as the internet gateway and creates a wifi hotspot.

Yes, you can use it for cameras, but there is a couple of catches. One is the number of devices supported. Another is wether those devices can communicate with each other.

If you want to see the cameras when not on the boat, you NEED to buy cameras that connect and hold up that connection to a outside service. For example the D Link cameras that are "my dlink" capable do that. Using a cellular connection for cameras that you need to initiate a connection to them, generally will not work, and heres why.

Cellular providers in the US are generally not providing "routable" IP address to their mobile clients. You can check this on your cellular device by going into network settings and seeing what the actual IP address is. If the IP address starts with 10 or 192.168 or 172.16 through 172.31 then its a "non routable" IP address. That means you cannot directly access it from outside the network.

This creates a problem in that you cannot access devices from outside the boat. The same problem exists with some land based ISP's as well.

What equipment manufacturers have done to overcome this is having a "free" service that your cameras link to, then you link to that service. Mydlink is one such service. The camera establishes a connection to the service. You then establish a link to the service, and you can see your cameras image. This works because the camera is initiating the connection from within your boats network.

If your cellular company issues an "routable" IP address (not 10 or 172.16-32, or 192.168) then you can, if you know the IP address link directly to your camera, but you have to know the IP address, and it occasionally changes. So, you see the problems with that method. You can overcome them, but in my opinion its just easier to buy products (like cameras)that automatically link to the manufacturers "free" service.
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:26 PM   #22
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Gosh, this is a complex subject that gets more and more complex the deeper you delve into it.

I have all of those devices including one of the new Pepwaves. The Pepwave is going to replace the CradlePoint unless CradlePoint does something fast. The Pepwave is only $99 and has all the latest network tinkering capabilities and capabilities onboard. I'm probably going to write something about it in a newsletter in a week or two (too many other things to write about write now). It solves a lot of problems when you want to connect multiple devices especially at a marina and provides great support for using things like iPads below deck.

A few other warnings I'd make about this stuff...

- Most MiFi's cannot be used as routers. They can put multiple devices onto the internet over a cellular connection but they don't allow the devices to communicate with either other over the local LAN. That's an important requirement for many devices today as WiFi becomes the communications network within the boat. Plugging a MiFi into a CradlePoint or Pepwave is a great solution for this issue.

- Be very careful about finding a 12v power adapter on any of these devices and just clipping the connector and wiring it into your 12v battery supply. You've got to check the input voltage specification before doing that. Most of those power adapters that plug in the wall are called "regulated" because the regulate the incoming AC voltage as it fluctuates to provide something very close to exactly 12v. Your battery bank is never at 12v unless you're in deep trouble. In most cases, it is well above 12v. When underway, it's probably near 14v because of the alternator(s) charging the bank. That can quickly blow out a 12v device not designed to handle more than 12 volts of input. I'd want to see a device specify that it can handle 11-16v or higher before messing around with wiring it to a house bank.

- Every boat should consider how they can implement a boat-wide WiFi network. Everything in electronics - speakers, TV's, cameras, weather instruments, computers - is all going WiFi but most boats don't have a LAN strategy for going forward.

- Consider security for all of this networking stuff. Turning on WPA on your local router or MiFi might not give you what you think you're getting. If you are connecting to an open WiFi network anywhere, you've got to protect yourself today. Only VPN capabilities will give you security. If you're connecting over cellular, you're mostly OK. Open WiFi is a major hole that is so easy to hack with free tools.
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Old 05-28-2015, 07:23 AM   #23
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I see some newer modem/routers are offering a 'WiFi-as-WAN' virtual WAN port. Am I right in thinking this could be used to connect a Smartphone's Hotspot to the router and thereby make it available to all ethernet & wifi devices connected through the router? And if the physical WAN port were used to connect an IslandPC or WaveRogue or similar amplified WiFi antenna, then by selecting the right preferences on the smartphone's hotspot settings, you would have a wifi internet connection when wifi was available, with 'failback' to the cellular network when wifi dropped out. What do the tech folks think of this?
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Old 05-28-2015, 07:27 AM   #24
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On our boat the Wave will see a phone used as a hotspot and you just tell the Wave to connect to it like you would any other WiFi source and away you go.

Made me wonder why we bothered installing a Cradlepoint.
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:04 AM   #25
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On our boat the Wave will see a phone used as a hotspot and you just tell the Wave to connect to it like you would any other WiFi source and away you go.

Made me wonder why we bothered installing a Cradlepoint.
What happens when you need to use the phone Capt.?
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Old 05-28-2015, 09:15 AM   #26
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I think CradlePoint's served their purpose for a good number of years. It was the best of breed for a while. The world just rallied around WiFi to replace connectors and wires making a cellular/MiFi/router less valuable.
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Old 05-28-2015, 10:58 AM   #27
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I think CradlePoint's served their purpose for a good number of years. It was the best of breed for a while. The world just rallied around WiFi to replace connectors and wires making a cellular/MiFi/router less valuable.
As a networking professional I see the trend as the opposite.

Pick your preferred brand of hardware, but I see an increased use of cellular data as a connection medium as data rates fall, and monthly per device connect charges fall as well.

What I am seeing is companies utilizing cellular data to provide quick to deploy, inexpensive connectivity without having to go through the trouble of building out infrastructure in areas that are challenging to serve utilizing 802.11 wireless.

What I am also seeing is that companies utilizing enterprise grade networks are more and more frequently equipping their employees laptops with cellular access accounts eliminating the need for employees on the move to find a wifi hot spot to be productive.

As a boater I may not represent the current norm but I recognize the desire for always on no set up required connectivity at any place and any time. Wifi might be attractive to the most frugal of boaters, and the "old men" generation of boaters, but there is a younger generation that are starting to get into boats, and that generation does not care about the expense of cellular data.

So, while I respect your position in the boating community, and your insight, I respectfully disagree with your analysis that cellular data is on the way out and WIFI is the preferred medium. You might be in fact correct today, but that will only last as long as the current generation of boaters that did not grow up with cellular data are boating.

As younger boaters, and I see more of them every day get into the hobby they won't even think about WIFI. Its not that they will shy away from it, they just won't think of it. Their devices will already be connected to cellular so they won't even think about wifi hot spots.

Specifically addressing your comment above is the concept that your onboard non cellular devices need a way to get to the rest of the world. That is where the cellular based router comes into play. Again, pick your brand but there are allot of things on a boat that can utilize a localized to the boat wifi (or wired) network, then use a cellular router to provide off the boat connectivity.

On my boat we have cameras, security, and TV/Radio all network enabled. Without the cellular router, a boater on the move would be constantly be farting around trying to find WIFI connectivity. On my boat I do not even think about connectivity. Where ever we go. To a harbor, or anchoring out, everything works. I do not need to get involved. The TV works. The Radio works, the internet is up, and the vessel monitoring system is operational. That is the way of the future. Borderless networks. Connectivity without boundaries.

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Old 05-28-2015, 11:30 AM   #28
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Great thread. Lots to learn, so I will study this intently this weekend. Until recently, I had Clear wireless unlimited internet service for $50 per month, with no contract or other commitment. The service was pre-paid, but any time my boat was in an area without a good Clear signal (basically when the boat was in Mexico), and could suspend service then reactivate, without any additional fee, when I returned.
Unfortunately, when Sprint acquired Clear they stopped providing that service. And so far, I haven't found anything comparable, even for double the price.
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:33 AM   #29
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The question I have is About the marrying of cable-sat TV with broadband. I like my TV but I have not yet sprung for a domed dish. I like my internet also. If there is hardware out there to combine I have not seen it.

I am seriously considering an Intelligen I2 set up. Thoughts, wisdom, advice???
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Old 05-28-2015, 11:40 AM   #30
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We have a KVH TracVision M5 and been very happy with it. It's nice to be in 8' seas in the middle of Providence Channel and be able to watch my daily dose of Steve Harvey and the price is right. One day we'll add a Iridium Go and V3IP for internet connectivity.
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Old 05-28-2015, 03:59 PM   #31
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I respectfully disagree with your analysis that cellular data is on the way out and WIFI is the preferred medium.
That was the wrong thing to draw from my comments. I never purposely implied that cellular was out in any way. If anything, I totally agree that cellular is likely to replace WAN WiFi everywhere.

What I was referring to was the CradlePoint. They used to be a Swiss Army knife. You could plug in an aircard, WiFi WAN, or other Ethernet WAN to provide routing for your entire boat. Today, the need for that has largely gone away. Today, nearly all cellular devices speak WiFi as a hotspot. It makes it unnecessary to have a special hardware cellular interface (aircard, USB stick modem, etc).

WiFi will still be used for high bandwidth items like streaming video as long as the plans are not unlimited - and unlimited plans are probably coming. What has happened with WiFi is that it has taken over as the medium for connecting those last 10 feet to each device. It's already hard to find a TV without WiFi. Soon, all chartplotters will have it as well. And when everything is using a very open, wireless interface like WiFi, CradlePoint's end up having very little added benefit.
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Old 05-28-2015, 04:57 PM   #32
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Ok now I understand but with that understanding unfortunately I still disagree.

Devices like the cradle point and other brands of the same concept offer a couple of things no "standard" cellular devices offer.

1. A always there connection. If you are not on the boat some systems still need to get to the Internet.

2. Inter device communication. A wifi hot spot from a mifi or a iPhone is generally not a layer 2 switch emulation. That means devices cannot talk to each other.

3. Wired access. Some devices need wired access. Some just work better with wired access.

So, in my opinion the need for a router and a layer 2 switch on a boat is not in the foreseeable future going to decrease, it will actually increase.

This is brand independent. The need for the functionality is the key here. Cradle point is just one player in the market.

Something that we both probably agree on, is that the USB modem's days are numbered . This will force the cellular router manufacturers to modify their design to include cellular radios, where now only the most advanced models offer that.

On the flipside, that change in technology will free the cellular router manufacturers from the endless game of coming up with new drivers for new USB modems.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:12 PM   #33
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1. A always there connection. If you are not on the boat some systems still need to get to the Internet.
You don't need a CradlePoint for that. Many normal routers have WiFi WAN modes now including automatic switch-over (which is a dangerous thing for most people on boats).

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2. Inter device communication. A wifi hot spot from a mifi or a iPhone is generally not a layer 2 switch emulation. That means devices cannot talk to each other.
That information is about 2 years out of date. All MiFi devices act as full routers today. iPhone hotspots too. It used to be that they wouldn't do the routing parts. Now they all do - they have to.

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3. Wired access. Some devices need wired access. Some just work better with wired access.
Again, any $39 router does that. You definitely don't need an expensive CradlePoint for it.

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So, in my opinion the need for a router and a layer 2 switch on a boat is not in the foreseeable future going to decrease, it will actually increase.
You obviously haven't tried some of the more current devices in a while. My normal development environment requires inter-device communications. We often are only using MiFi's onboard to run the entire network.

Hey, if you like the CradlePoint, buy their products. Buy stock in them. It's all OK. It's not something I need to convince anyone of otherwise. My point always was that the need for CradlePoint isn't what it was in 2008. The niche they had for nearly 10 years on boats is pretty much gone.
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Old 05-28-2015, 05:58 PM   #34
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You don't need a CradlePoint for that. Many normal routers have WiFi WAN modes now including automatic switch-over (which is a dangerous thing for most people on boats).


That information is about 2 years out of date. All MiFi devices act as full routers today. iPhone hotspots too. It used to be that they wouldn't do the routing parts. Now they all do - they have to.


Again, any $39 router does that. You definitely don't need an expensive CradlePoint for it.


You obviously haven't tried some of the more current devices in a while. My normal development environment requires inter-device communications. We often are only using MiFi's onboard to run the entire network.

Hey, if you like the CradlePoint, buy their products. Buy stock in them. It's all OK. It's not something I need to convince anyone of otherwise. My point always was that the need for CradlePoint isn't what it was in 2008. The niche they had for nearly 10 years on boats is pretty much gone.
Jeffery


Jeffery, There allot of ways to engineer a network.

I have in this thread presented a viable, able to be purchased today network topology that is easy to understand, easy to install, and requires no human intervention during normal operation.

You have presented a disjointed accumulation of advice that even a networking professional finds hard to follow the logic of.

Here's a challenge...

Why don't you present your network topology, including listing devices that real TF members can buy that provides the same functionality.

Remember the criteria.

It must provide an always on connection, anywhere, any time, even when you are not on the boat. That means at a marina, or anchor'd off somewhere.

It must provide a solution that does not require you to screw with it to make it work.

Simple challenge I'd say. I think you can do it, but I am curious as to how many devices you'll need.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:04 PM   #35
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No, it doesn't take a Cradlepoint to do the stuff we want or need, but having a dedicated router seems to be the best of both worlds for me, too. Not everyone is tech savvy (myself included) and the simpler I can make it for my crew and guests, the better. When the Admiral walks onboard with her laptop, she auto-connects to the wifi and it's just like she's at home. Same with my guests...if they need wifi, it's easy for them to recognize the boat's network and hook up with my password.

I happen to have a Cradlepoint and love it, but I could probably do it with a less expensive router, too. The Cradlepoint has many more capabilities than I'll probably ever use.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:11 PM   #36
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I've written extensively about network architectures to have onboard in our weekly newsletter over the last 7 years. There is no one-size-fits-all for a network on a boat. There are many factors and needs.

If you can come up with a single list of devices to buy, then make a big purchase and sell the solution to the few thousand boaters who are looking for it. You'll understand exactly what I'm talking about when you get flooded with complexities that you never imagined.

Hey - I've added enough to this discussion. Creating a network onboard is going to continue to be very important. I hope everyone finds their way.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:35 PM   #37
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It would be nice if some one in the marine or mobile world would support AC1900.
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Old 05-28-2015, 06:46 PM   #38
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I've written extensively about network architectures to have onboard in our weekly newsletter over the last 7 years. There is no one-size-fits-all for a network on a boat. There are many factors and needs.

If you can come up with a single list of devices to buy, then make a big purchase and sell the solution to the few thousand boaters who are looking for it. You'll understand exactly what I'm talking about when you get flooded with complexities that you never imagined.

Hey - I've added enough to this discussion. Creating a network onboard is going to continue to be very important. I hope everyone finds their way.
Jeffery, more smoke and mirrors. When you tell someone they are incorrect you need to step up to the plate and prove it. When you tell someone you have a better way, again, you need to step up to the plate and show you have a better solution.

Here's my solution, no smoke, no mirrors, no confusing things at all.

1. Go to your favorite cellular providers store and buy a usb modem. If they do not offer one, buy a sim card.

2. Buy a cellular router with a built in layer 2 switch. Pick your brand but check before hand compatibility with your the cellular device you bought in step 1 above. I chose Cradle Point. The models I like are the MBR1200 and 1400.

2. Follow the easy to understand instructions that come with the cellular router.

3. Enjoy your new network.
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Old 05-28-2015, 08:41 PM   #39
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What happens when you need to use the phone Capt.?
You pick it up and dial, answer it or just ignore it.
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Old 05-29-2015, 06:35 AM   #40
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Kevin: I get what you are saying, but I think most (?) of us would prefer a cellular solution that just worked off our smartphone's ability to serve as a hotspot, rather than having to go buy another device (eg: a usb modem). I think those things are fast fading in the marketplace given the power of the current crop of smartphones. Very carrier and country specific, but apart from the extra hardware there's often negotiating a new plan or a plan add-on, separate billing, etc etc....as opposed to just finding a phone plan that can be cranked up on the data side just enough to cover boat-time needs. Only a very minor quibble though and I know some carriers, in some markets, offer great deals on the usb modems. Jeff has written extensively -- and really compellingly -- over at least 7 AC newsletters about how he approaches the cellular/wifi thing. One of his comments really worked for me: with an external wifi antenna (eg bullet/IslandPC/RogueWave types plugged into router's WAN port), you can use the wifi hotspot to find the smartphone hotspot & connect to it..and you suddenly have cellular access without needing a usb modem. And at least on my Samsung S4, I have a hotspot setting that allows me to prioritize wifi over cellular so I can create a fail-back if I'm on wifi but it drops out and I want to stay connected (at all costs!) to the 'net.


Stepping back, I think there seems to be general agreement that for many folks, a decent domestic router with a WAN port plugged to a 'boosted' wifi antenna; as many ethernet ports as you need for must/best if wired devices (like my Furuno NN3D MFD & radar); and wifi for all the wireless devices so everything can share data and the I/net connection, is the basic topology for today. Of course it will be different in 5 years or less, as technologies shift in ways we cannot predict...but that's ok, we're now used to changing technologies in these spaces that frequently, at least, anyway now.
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