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Old 02-04-2014, 05:11 PM   #1
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wi-fi antenna

Does anyone know of a wi-fi antenna booster that won't set me back 3-4 hundred dollars ? Everyone I looked at were over priced, at least for my budget.
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:42 PM   #2
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Does anyone know of a wi-fi antenna booster that won't set me back 3-4 hundred dollars ? Everyone I looked at were over priced, at least for my budget.
you can buy the pieces and parts for a little over $100..but if you don't understand the electronics all that well..believe me the plug and play with telephone support is worth it.

Try this blog for getting started...
The Trawler Beach House: WiFi
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Old 02-04-2014, 05:49 PM   #3
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I thought the same thing, but the more I looked at the pcs and parts route the more I kept shifting to the preprogramed package. They come with software that makes using them a whole lot easier. Save your pennies until you have enough to buy the good ones. Its easier on the blood pressure.

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Old 02-04-2014, 05:55 PM   #4
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Some people report good luck with standard in home or auto type boosters...hard to imagine though...

Here's a good company and their cheaper version is $199...but most people I know state the "Bullet" is the one to have...or at least when I was looking...

Marine WiFi Systems
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Old 02-04-2014, 06:24 PM   #5
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Mine in based on the "bullet" as I believe most of the good ones are. They then add their own proprietary software.

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Old 02-04-2014, 08:36 PM   #6
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Check this thread out. WiFi Extenders I put together an antenna, The cable to the computer was USB. It corroded outside and should have been a gold pated USB connection. It worked well until it failed. I gave it up due to a bimini enclosure mod. At that time I went with a 2000 mw desk top antenna. It worked better than the big 3.7 foot outside antenna.
Alfa AWUS036NH 2000mW USB Wireless Wi Fi Adapter APA M04 7 dBi Panel Antenna | eBay
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Old 02-04-2014, 10:21 PM   #7
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I have (or had... took it down for boat's sale) a rig based around the bullet and I can tell you they are NOT easy to get setup unless you are in I.T. The GUI is horrible and you can't search for signals from anywhere but inside their software. I set it up with some help, but I no longer feel like I could even operate it. There were so many steps, I don' remember them all.

If there is an easier way... get it.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:10 PM   #8
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Does anyone know of a wi-fi antenna booster that won't set me back 3-4 hundred dollars ? Everyone I looked at were over priced, at least for my budget.

What are you trying to accomplish, or what problem are you trying to solve?
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:16 PM   #9
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I have the Wave Wifi booster which works fine.

The problem is it is getting very hard to find a hot spot that is not protected.

I can usually pick up at least 50 networks, lucky if there is one that is not password protected and strong enough to be usable.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:41 PM   #10
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I have the Wave Wifi booster which works fine.

The problem is it is getting very hard to find a hot spot that is not protected.

I can usually pick up at least 50 networks, lucky if there is one that is not password protected and strong enough to be usable.
Yea... and there's that too. As cell coverage improves, it's almost better to leverage that technology with a small MyFi rig. TBH, if I am THAT far away from cell signal, I got there on purpose and really am better off without it for a day or two
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:10 AM   #11
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I would look at his device with an external antenna. It uses a 12 vdc power supply so could be wired into battery power, seems to be easy to use and has a 4 port ethernet hub. I went with a high dollar system and don't think it is any better than this. I find more often than not I am Wifi tethering my Iphone to the hotspot and using it for internet access.

Amazon.com: EnGenius Technologies 4-Port Wireless N300 Media Bridge and Extender (ERB300H): Computers & Accessories

Antenna

Amazon.com: TP-LINK TL-ANT2415D 2.4GHz 15dBi Outdoor Omni-directional Antenna, N Female connector, weather resistant: Electronics

Cable

Amazon.com: TRENDnet Low Loss Reverse SMA Female to N-Type Male Weatherproof Connector Cable (8M, 26.2ft.) TEW-L208: Computers & Accessories
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:53 AM   #12
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I can usually pick up at least 50 networks, lucky if there is one that is not password protected and strong enough to be usable.

An extra 1/4 or even 1/2 mile of range will not cure this problem.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:46 AM   #13
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An outside, amplified antenna is certainly not a cure all for instant, strong, fast internet.

But after 2 trips between NJ and Florida...my antenna has saved the day for getting internet in dozens of location. One of the most notable was the Mega Dock in Charleston...sure they have antennas and good signal strength all over that HUGE marina but the speed was so slow we were gonna slit our wrists using it. Because we stream Wifi to Skpe our kids, watch television, and overall entertainment in many forms...we are usually happy to get good internet without paying a fortune in monthly data plans. With my bullet rig I was able to pick up an unsecured wifi that had to be a 1/2 or more miles away (so some range extension is necessary) that worked fine.

I find many marina HAVE Wifi but it is so slow that they might as well not advertise. Can I always get an open signal?...no...but in more than half the marinas and anchorages (picked because of available Wifi) I could because of my setup.

Is it worth $300 up front and possible need replacement in a few years (mine is on 24/7/365)?

To us it is...but I can see maybe not everyone.
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Old 02-05-2014, 07:59 AM   #14
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I have the Wave Wifi booster which works fine...



¤RadioLabs || WaveRV Marine - Wireless antenna
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Old 02-05-2014, 10:01 AM   #15
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We covered the latest issues of WiFi in today's ActiveCaptain newsletter (The WiFi Perfect Storm):
https://activecaptain.com/newsletters/2014-02-05.php

The right way to do extended WiFi onboard is to have a high gain WiFi modem outside with a marine quality antenna and enclosure. That should get connected to an inexpensive router inside the boat, usually DC powered. Then all devices onboard connect to the onboard router (even below deck since the router is inside your own boat). It allows onboard devices to connect to each other - there are many uses for that and many new things coming as marine electronics, iPads, apps, etc are all going wireless. Then when any of the inside devices connect to the internet, they'll go over the outside high-gain device.

If you know what you're doing, you can save about $50 by putting all the parts together yourself - it should all cost less than $300. If you'd rather have someone put it all together for you and be there to answer questions, Island Time PC is the best resource I've found. Bob is a master at WiFi and provides outstanding tech support. Anyone can install and use a system that he puts together.

More info on Island Time is here:
http://islandtimepc.com/marine_wifi.html

I have no affiliation with Island Time but I know they've helped at least a thousand ActiveCaptain users who love their solution. I've had their solution for the last 4 years myself and wouldn't change it.
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Old 02-05-2014, 04:41 PM   #16
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Wi-if antenna

I tried to hook up a cell phone booster antenna to receive a signal to use wi-fi on my boat, but because there is no cell service out at Santa Cruz Island, in Southern Ca. where we usually go, it wouldn't work. Is there better systems out there that will pick up a cell tower over twenty five miles away?
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:00 PM   #17
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Is there better systems out there that will pick up a cell tower over twenty five miles away?
Cellular will never work that far away. FCC limits transmit gain and unless you have a 200 foot tower, you won't receive the shoreside tower's signal. I'm able to get cellular to work at about 10 nm offshore and that's only with AT&T and a powerful amp. Verizon seems only good to about 3 nm offshore (if that).

Satellite technology is all you can hope for and it's expensive.
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Old 02-05-2014, 06:55 PM   #18
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You can do cell towers at pretty decent ranges if you generally have line of site and use a directional antenna. As 700 MHz LTE gets deployed out to more rural areas, we should see ranges improve significantly as most cellular data services are running at 1900 MHz now. If your current phone is not LTE capable, you might want to consider switching down the road. Be sure the carrier you use is deploying 700 MHz LTE. Both ATT and Verizon have 700 MHz frequencies as well as some in the 1700 MHz area. They generally use 700 MHz in rural areas because they get more coverage from a single cell site and their LTE phones will support both bands.

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Old 02-05-2014, 10:22 PM   #19
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You can do cell towers at pretty decent ranges if you generally have line of site and use a directional antenna.

As a practical matter you're limited to about 7 miles before the Earth Bulge begins intruding into your Fresnel zone.

On land, you can go higher and use highly directional antennas, but neither solution is practical on a boat. At least not the size of boat that private citizens typically own.


BTW, I see a lot of comments about "do this" or "buy that", but the OP is advised to be careful about following that advice.

Not that any of it was given in bad faith or that nothing useful was said, but it's putting the cart before the horse.


The FIRST step in resolving wireless issues is determining precisely what it is that is going on to begin with. Otherwise you're just throwing money at a problem that you haven't actually identified yet and hoping that it just happens to accidentally fix or crutch the true issue.


And I have some advice for people who do that...


HIRE ME!!! I LOVE CUSTOMERS LIKE YOU!!!
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Old 02-05-2014, 11:40 PM   #20
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I agree on the Fresnel zone issue, but in rural areas and in the coastal areas I frequent, the cell sites are located anywhere from 200 to 1000 above sea level. That height really changes the effective range of cell phones. In Prince William Sound, there is a cell site on Naked Island that is about 500 feet MSL. It operates in the 900 MHz band and supposedly now has 700 MHz LTE. That one works for CDMA and GSM voice at 20 plus miles over water. Text messages work even further if you can see Naked Island. Along the east shore of Cook Inlet most of the cell sites are 200-400 feet MSL and can reach most of the 30 miles across the inlet. Height is everything and because of that one of the tough problems of cell phones in airplanes, is the number of cell sites a phone can see and due to the speed the hand off from one site to the next. That's assuming you can overcome the challenge of being in a metal tube.

While I haven't tried it, the Wilson Electronics cellular boosters with an omni antenna mounted high on a mast could have a pretty significant effect on cellular coverage as long as there is no intervening terrain.


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