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Old 06-29-2014, 03:53 PM   #21
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If you are just worried about marina reception you can get a simple range extender from someone like Netgear for 60 or 70 bucks that works just dandy. Just installed one to get a signal from one cabin to another on my Dad's property over a hundred yard span.

The elaborate and expensive system discussed above are really, in my opinion, only valuable in places like the Bahamas where you may have a reach of a mile or more.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:01 PM   #22
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I thought I made it pretty clear I have a commercial interest in the Wave products Jeff. For the record I don't lurk around boards to sell their products.
However I still think their products are well suited for boaters that want simple and performance. You won't find a single member here that I have sold a unit to through this board. Furthermore they don't sell any 5.8GHz or 900MHz products. I have been a huge fan of using the 5.8GHz products for marinas.
Have I done something wrong?
You have a great product with Active Captain does that mean you aren't entitled to have an opinion about other similar programs? Doesn't AC solicite products through your mailings to subscribers? Does that make you any less credable? I don't think so, you and I have rubbed each other wrong since you insisted everyone should use a VPN back in the Panbo days.
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Nothing wrong, but maybe this is better as a private discussion. No need to divert this thread with a personal debate. Thanks.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:04 PM   #23
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George I believe there are some stretches of the ICW where once anchored you can get either WiFi or extended cellular data by using external antennas. The equipment I'm talking about increases RSSI and CINR the end result is generally improved speeds and reliability. The systems I have described are fairly generic and external antennas are what brings both WiFi and Cellular into the average cruiser with above average speeds and reliability. What's it worth only the end user can put a price on it.
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Old 06-29-2014, 04:28 PM   #24
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I used an antenna and amplifier for cellular for our trips up and down the east coast. Used it less and less and the years went by and coverage improved.

The OP stated a problem at his marina, not a cruising situation. For the latter I really like the Wirie the best for simplicity and bang for the buck. Other than over in the islands, I never saw much need for more than a cheap extender if that.
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Old 06-29-2014, 05:38 PM   #25
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I'll second Island Time. Last February we were ready to leave for the Bahamas and the Bullet connector failed. I called Bob, and since we were leaving the next day, he sent the replacement unit to a friend of mine who was crossing over shortly after me. I finally got it a month later when my friend, who was not going as far south as we were, gave it to another boater, who brought it to us in Georgetown. All Bob asked was that we return the old unit when we returned to the states. That's customer service.
I'll third Island Time. Set up was a piece of cake and Bob Stewart most helpful to this technologically challenged person.
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Old 06-29-2014, 05:44 PM   #26
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George I am not a big fan of BDA's or repeaters they sometimes contribute to the noise and hence slower cellular data speeds. An external antenna connected to a USB LTE modem on the other hands generally increases performance of the 4G cellular based data.
I do realize the original poster talked about getting WiFi in his marina but when he commented that he is routinely exceeding his cellular data cap I thought the discussion about extended WiFi was warranted, perhaps not...
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Old 06-29-2014, 07:19 PM   #27
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I used an antenna and amplifier for cellular for our trips up and down the east coast. Used it less and less and the years went by and coverage improved.

The OP stated a problem at his marina, not a cruising situation. For the latter I really like the Wirie the best for simplicity and bang for the buck. Other than over in the islands, I never saw much need for more than a cheap extender if that. (my bold)
I have the WirieAP installed. Bought it mostly for the more remote BC marinas where there is no cell coverage and the Marina Wifi is the only option, but often with a weak signal. As the self-contained unit sets up a strong boat-wide hot-spot, we find we use it for our multiple devices even where the signal is good. The bonus is that you only need to log in to the Marina once. No need to get additional codes for each device from those marinas having a more complex password system.

No complaints at all. It has worked well for us, was very easy to install (only needs a 12-volt feed, otherwise wireless) and is simple to operate, but I really haven't tried to define the actual gain in signal.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:18 PM   #28
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The theoretical gain can be a simple as an RF link budget or as complex as adding the noise created by your own personal hot spot on the boat. I have over the years and through real world testing tried to convince Wave WiFi and the vast majority of boaters that ask me what's the optimum set up to not use any internal access points on the 2.4GHz WiFi band. I am totally against repeating the WiFi unit with the external antenna and Ethernet converter be configured as a bridge router etc. using a similar 801.11B,G&N access point inside the boat. With all but a few exceptions rebroadcasting inside your vessel should be on the 802.11A&N 5.4 to 5.8GHz band and here's why. Think of the shore based access point you are trying to pick up with your WIRIE, Wave ROGUE or any other long range product as being the weakest link. The link for dependable communications needs to be -72dbm or stronger depending on the WiFi environment, now think about adding even a simple +23dbm access point in the same band on your boat. What do you think happens? You introduce RF and thermal noise and it's so strong it's at least 50dbm stronger than the shore based access point hot spot link. Even high quality shore based access points with the best RF wise bridge unit trying to hear it and through it, now you have to contend with an in band signal that is thousands of times stronger. It can and will overload the receiver front end in your external unit effectively taking a good ship to shore link and destroying it with noise. Now change the scenario wire your laptop to the WIRIE or EC ROGUE directly with CAT5 cable only and you will see higher throughput speeds and what appears to be stronger access points from the shore. The next logical step is to take the WIRIE or the ROGUE and have it repeat it's Ethernet signals to the devices on the vessel using the 802.11A or N 5.8GHz band. You have eliminated the near far interference and self created interference from trying to rebroadcast the shores access point in the same radio frequency band. This isn't even taking dynamic RF channel selection into acount on the boat's access point. My best ship to shore WiFi system is a Ubiquiti Rocket M2 with an Airmax dual polarity Omni it feeds a Ubiquiti Rocket M5 with 2 small rubber ducky antennas on the 5.8GHz band. There is no RF near far in band overloading or noise to deal with. The only negative with this set up is some of the older Skype phones and old laptops only operate on the 802.11B&G band. So if you can get rid of that Skype phone and replace it with an AOS or and IOS smartphone or tablet and install a VOIP client this will work because you connect all devices in the vessel to the 5.8GHz 802.11A&N access point and your ship to shore link is preserved and will operate with improved signal to noise and a higher QOS (quality of service) and hence you will see higher throughput, more usable range and system wide improved overall performance. Think of every part of the ship to shore WiFi as a system. Rebroadcasting that link on another band is sound RF engineering 101.
How many commercially packaged marine WiFi systems do this?
It's so inexpensive to make these changes I'm not sure why it's not being done?
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:35 PM   #29
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We installed the Rogue Wave Pro last year and are very pleased with the performance. We connected it to a wifi router and that allowed us to integrate our Fusion stereo with our iPhones and iPads.

The Rogue Wave seems to be reliable to about 2 miles. That is really contingent upon the other persons router strength.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:42 PM   #30
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We installed the Rogue Wave Pro last year and are very pleased with the performance. We connected it to a wifi router and that allowed us to integrate our Fusion stereo with our iPhones and iPads.

The Rogue Wave seems to be reliable to about 2 miles. That is really contingent upon the other persons router strength.
The FUSION is my favorite entertainment unit for boats. I'm trying the Garmin Meteor unit on my new to me Gulfstar. I suspect it's a relabeled FUSION. FUSION was recently purchased by Garmin.

I think if you were to try changing the boats internal access point to a 5.8GHz unit you would see even better performance than you currently do with the ROGUE Pro.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:15 PM   #31
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How do you do that?
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:23 PM   #32
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The FUSION is my favorite entertainment unit for boats. I'm trying the Garmin Meteor unit on my new to me Gulfstar. I suspect it's a relabeled FUSION. FUSION was recently purchased by Garmin.

I think if you were to try changing the boats internal access point to a 5.8GHz unit you would see even better performance than you currently do with the ROGUE Pro.
Bill
You'll see better speeds, theoretically, but you won't get better range, not that range within the boat is a big deal. "Theoretically" because the extra speed capability usually exceeds that of the broadband internet connection.

The new "AC" routers and APs are typically "dual band" 2.4 and 5.8. You set up access names and passwords for each band like it was its own router.

Getting back to more practical matters, as mentioned above, the WirieAP takes a lot of the complication and cable running out for those who are gearhead oriented.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:27 PM   #33
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Are you talking about the router or the booster?
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:31 PM   #34
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I put together on of the bullet systems with a large antenna fitted topside. It was the same thing they sell you for $150-$200. I trashed it and got this and it works better than the so called 5 mile systems.
Amazon.com: Alfa AWUS036NH 2000mW 2W 802.11g/n High Gain USB Wireless G / N Long-Range WiFi Network Adapter with 5dBi Screw-On Swivel Rubber Antenna and 7dBi Panel Antenna and Suction cup / Clip Window Mount: Computers & Accessories
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:35 PM   #35
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Are you talking about the router or the booster?
First, the router. Then if you get a booster ("range extender") that too, assuming it is dual band. So when we set up the little Netgear range extender down in the other cabin, we set it up for both the 2.4 and 5.8 network names from the router.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:40 PM   #36
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Replace what is commonly mis-labeled as the router. A simple Ethernet switch and a 802.11A and N 5.8GHz access point is what is needed. With the new N standard the 2.4GHz links have gotten much faster hence the need to use a true 2.4GHz bridge unit (the external unit and dual polarity antenna, have that feed a simple Gigabit Ethernet switch have the switch feed a local 5.8GHz 802.11A/N access point for inside the boat coverage.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:45 PM   #37
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The 2.4GHz units labeled N without 2 antenna ports are only quasi N. It takes 2 antennas or one with dual polarity to get all the true benefits of the 2.4GHz N standard. You can use a component called a 4 port combiner to feed a dual input 2.4GHz bridge unit with a single polarity antenna but you will not achieve true diversity during receive and without both streams transmitting and receiving using a dual polarity antenna you will never realize the full potential of a shore based 2.4GHz N Hot spot.
This goes for all the marine based or RV based WiFi vendors well most but none use a 5.8GHz N access point for inside and around the boat coverage.
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Old 06-29-2014, 10:56 PM   #38
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Alfa 9 dBi gain ARS-N19 indoor dipole antenna RP-SMA connector

Amazon.com: Alfa AWUS036NH 2000mW 2W 802.11g/n High Gain USB Wireless G / N Long-Range WiFi Network Adapter with 5dBi Screw-On Swivel Rubber Antenna and 7dBi Panel Antenna and Suction cup / Clip Window Mount: Computers & Accessories

We have this exact setup and it works really well. I often pull signals from a half mile away. 2 bars in this marina without, 5 bars with.
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Old 06-30-2014, 07:57 AM   #39
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We use one as well. You can't beat the price.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:55 PM   #40
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What a fun conversation! I often say, ask 5 boaters how to solve a problem and you will get 7 answers, half of which will be right!

In my opinion I like the Bullet based solutions. One problem with the Alpha USB products is they are designed and rated for indoor use - including their speced temperate range of 0-50c. A slip mate of mine had to bring his expensive 'marine' unit inside to warm it up last winter :-)

You mentioned limited computer skills, FWIW I would offer either the Island-time or the Rouge Wave as good solutions. The major difference between the two is Rouge has done a nice custom firmware to make it simple to manage the whole setup, but to be honest, the default firmware in the bullets is not that hard to learn - and the Island-time unit is much less expensive.

And if you are interested in rolling your own, I put a post in our blog about our Bullet based system, including steps for configuration of each component. We have used it for many years now, most when in marinas to get reliable access to their 'marine WiFi'. Total cost is around $150 or so..
mv.VikingStar: WiFi Repeater for the boat - An Update
(FYI: I have an idea to make it simpler to configure things and will be adjusting this posting in a few days, if anyone who really knows what they are doing has some hints - pass them on!)

Good luck with which ever you end up picking!

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