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Old 08-05-2014, 03:40 PM   #41
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Just about anything beats the Laptops built in antenna.

When I travel on business, I was looking for a small simple solution for marginal wireless hotspots. I found this small USB wireless adapter with built in modem, 6' cable and magnetic mount antenna triples the range of my notebooks wireless reception. I bought a 10' USB extension for the boat which gives me enough cable length to set the antenna on the flybridge if necessary and use the notebook from the comfort of the lounge table. The magnetic base is strong enough to hold the Antenna solid on a cars roof at highway speed. $15 from Tiger Direct
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Old 08-07-2014, 12:35 PM   #42
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It's helpful having a wifi extender like that one. I'm sitting here on Mildred Island, a flooded tract of land in the CA Delta, miles from civilization and 2.7 miles as the crow flies from Tiki Lagun Marina. I can pull in their wifi signal and am using it now to access the internet with my Rogue Wave Wifi Extender.
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:17 PM   #43
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Your solution is here:
Marine WiFi Systems

Especially if you're not very comfortable in this WiFi world, Bob will provide the help you need whenever you need it.
I too hesisated all year to get one, constantly incresing my data plan.

The Island PC solution is great, it works great, even here in the Azores and Bob has the patience of a saint

It's the best money I ever spent.
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Old 08-07-2014, 03:30 PM   #44
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Hello Richard, when you are offshore and away from the internet how and what are you using to get up to date weather data? I saw you mentioned OCENS, are you using their software and getting files that you can open and view on your computer via SAT phone batch download? Or?
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:36 PM   #45
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...miles from civilization and 2.7 miles as the crow flies from Tiki Lagun Marina.
Ah, you city boys! A mile from Starbucks and you think that you're in the wilderness.
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Old 08-07-2014, 09:19 PM   #46
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Just to throw some options into the mix...

I've recently switched from using the ubiquitous Ubiquiti Bullet to a MikroTik Groove. It provides the same performance and has some nice features (user-interface/price) while having almost the exact footprint of the Bullet.

I've also been playing with the MikroTik router. There's a lot to like about it as well. It's a POE router so one power connection can power it and the high-gain Groove. It also allows the creation of multiple sub-routers (whatever they're called) so you can have guests segmented from your traffic. It also allows IP filtering which allows it to connect to the Garmin network to share data over a single network. I'll be hitting it hard this fall.
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:37 AM   #47
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Viking Star you made that look so simple, thanks,
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:18 AM   #48
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Jeff, I just got a MikroTik Groove but I haven't had a chance to play with it. It looks promising.
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Old 08-10-2014, 06:56 AM   #49
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Jeff, I just got a MikroTik Groove but I haven't had a chance to play with it. It looks promising.
Bill
MikroTik looks like nice offerings per spec sheet. Nice to see comp for Bullets. I noticed IslandTime is also offering a kit based on them to go along with their Bullets.. Will be interesting to see what you come up with!

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Old 08-11-2014, 03:04 AM   #50
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MikroTik looks like nice offerings per spec sheet. Nice to see comp for Bullets. I noticed IslandTime is also offering a kit based on them to go along with their Bullets.. Will be interesting to see what you come up with!

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Thinking of getting a MikroTik Groove as a backup or replacement for my Bullet. Have you compared the two enough to know if they are equal or is one better than the other?
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:47 AM   #51
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Thinking of getting a MikroTik Groove as a backup or replacement for my Bullet. Have you compared the two enough to know if they are equal or is one better than the other?
I own both - one is at home and one is on the boat though. The Groove at home definitely works and provides significantly more range than normal WiFi. I've had it at home learning it and experimenting. In another couple of weeks I'll be back on my boat (for good!) and will be doing head-to-head comparisons between the Bullet and Groove in identical locations and environments. I hope to write all about it in September.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:17 AM   #52
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Al

Thinking of getting a MikroTik Groove as a backup or replacement for my Bullet. Have you compared the two enough to know if they are equal or is one better than the other?
On paper they look about equivalent, though the Groove claims a bit better sensitivity in some modes - which could be an noticeable advantage. Talk power looks equivalent and I like that MikroTik has more complete info/specs available. They are a bit lower cost IIRC.

But other then looking at the spec sheets I have no experience with the Groove. However, I if I was doing things today I likely would give them a try.

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Old 08-11-2014, 01:56 PM   #53
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Microtik Groove

I got the Microtik router and Groove radio transmitter from Islandtime PC. I find it very frustrating to use. I called Bob several times, and he is kind and patient, but that doesn't help the fact that his kit has horrible user interface. The installation was easy and clear. But the software is way too user unfriendly. First of all, there is not adequate user manual details on what the various settings are for. I know it is a powerful machine that can do more than I will ever need. But why do I have to bother with a thousand settings when all I want is to connect to an AP. I have a cheap USB wifi at home to connect to my main computer there. It is easy and works every time without having to worry about gain, IP address, MAC, username, password, SSID, and a myriad of other settings.

On the boat I use the Microtik to connect to the internet through the iPad. I think Bob mentioned something along the lines of OSX not being fully compatible with the Groove. My most frustrating thing is when I see the list of available SSIDs and click on the one I think is unlocked, and then just wait and wait, and wait. The machine doesn't respond with what is going on, and then after a long time it comes back with the login page with the words "Internal Error." And when that happens, it takes a lot of trial and error to even get back to the page of available SSIDs. My first reaction is to do something like "Disconnect." Failing that, I try "log out;" failing that I recycle the power to the system and start all over. It takes literally half and hour to connect to a hot spot. Sometimes after all that, the hot spot comes back and ask for a password even though it was supposed to be unlocked, and the process starts all over again.

Am I doing something wrong? Is it supposed to be so difficult to find a free hot spot while cruising to save a few megabytes of cellular plan? I hear people raving about Rogue and Islandtime, but I am not having the same success. Please help.

One time the system worked when I was tied to the free town dock at Elizabeth City, NC. It worked well. But then, I think that it would have worked even without the external antenna. IOW, I think the iPad's internal antenna was picking that strong signal without the need for any Microtik and Groove.
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Old 08-11-2014, 02:51 PM   #54
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<SNIP>

Am I doing something wrong? Is it supposed to be so difficult to find a free hot spot while cruising to save a few megabytes of cellular plan? I hear people raving about Rogue and Islandtime, but I am not having the same success. Please help.

<SNIP>
Just my guess - you are not doing anything wrong, and I would say do not let your experience with the new to the market Microtik / Groove based systems cast a bad shadow on repeaters and/or IslandTime.

Till now many all repeats used the Ubinti Bullet as their base, the Microtik Groove is a new device and on paper looks like a nice unit. However, it does have a higher level of flexibility in its firmware - and hence more opportunity for complexity...

Both the Bullet and the Groove were designed for light-commercial use, and as such have a lot of options in their firmware. The Bullet has been out there long enough folks have published some step-by-step instructions for configuring and using it, but the Groove is too new. And it may be more complex to begin with anyway

My suggesting: Contact IslandTime and see if he thinks switching out to their Bullet based unit would be simpler to use - Or perhaps find someone local who can sit down with you and make up a simple cheat sheet on using the Groove. . . .

This firmware is one of the big advantages offerings like Wave Wifi have - with is custom firmware wrapper, hides all the complexity. But as with most things in life, everything comes with a $ sign.


And of course the USB based offerings (many of which have been posted about prior in this thread) are also very simple to use. Just hang them outside when you need them. But they may not get the full range one can get out of a bullet type solution, and they are limited to one computer at a time w/o getting back into extra levels of complexity... (BTW, if you really want dirt cheep WiFi extender that actually works rather well, Google up "Wok-Fi")


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Old 08-11-2014, 03:31 PM   #55
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I think the Groove user-interface is more complex - you're right. Some of that is what you're used to but they really packed the features into their box and exposed controls to all of it. People are going to find it harder to use.

Developers are able to write their own front end to it. I would hope that someone would do that to make it easier to use. For most boating setups, there are really very few settings needed and 90% of the junk on those admin pages could be removed.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:44 PM   #56
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Groove firmware

I don't mind having to steer clear of the 95% of the settings that the Groove provides and that I don't need. What bothers me is the fact that it just doesn't do its job very well. Like not informing me what it is doing, while I wait. Like suddenly stating that there has been an internal error. Like not being able to disconnect from a hotspot I was trying to connect to (I just keep hitting the disconnect button and nothing happens). Like disconnecting from a hot spot, and failing to subsequently scan for the available hot spots. Like asking me to log in, when I was logged in already. If it cannot connect to a hotspot for some reason, just say it can't, and don't beat around the bush. I try to fiddle with the gain, and recycling the power, etc. Very frustrating when I can't tell what it is doing. I am not a computer wizzard, but I am no computer fool either. Why is this thing so user unfriendly? Is it just incompatible with the iPad's Safari which is only one year old?
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:03 PM   #57
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Is it just incompatible with the iPad's Safari which is only one year old?
That might easily be part of it.

For what it's worth, I use a Mac as my main computer (it's what I'm typing on right now). I almost never use Safari. You should be using Firefox. I have yet to see any of the issues you're seeing with the Groove.
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:17 PM   #58
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Has anyone used the PDQ booster? It's Ubiquiti based. It came complete with bullet, antenna, poe, router and front end software. Just assemble and follow instructions for assigning a site.

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