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Old 01-06-2021, 09:11 AM   #1
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Router Placement

I’m getting ready to upgrade Stella’s WiFi capabilities with a new Pepwave router and Poynting LTE external antenna, connected with LMR400 cable. (Hats off to Steve Mitchell’s SeaBits site for excellent counsel.)

I’d like to minimize the cable run from the antenna on the radar arch down to the router. One option is locating the router under the fly bridge console, behind the “eyebrow.” I know it gets hot in there, but the Pepwave is rated to 149 degrees F. I’ve never had a water intrusion or moisture problem in there. This would be somewhat forward of the boat’s midpoint, but I can’t imagine our WiFi network wouldn’t reach all corners.

Has anyone else mounted a router similarly? Any downside, other than having to crawl in on my back to access it?
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:13 AM   #2
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In my mind, anywhere that stays dry, won't overheat the thing and where it fits should be fine. Most of our boats aren't so large that we have to worry about wifi coverage, especially as fiberglass is fairly RF transparent.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:22 AM   #3
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The length of the cable run should not matter as much as you think. Ten or 15 feet of more cable is not going to affect you.

I would be more worried about heat and placing it central in the boat for good coverage. But thats me.
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Old 01-06-2021, 09:27 AM   #4
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Thanks.

I forgot to mention another goal would be to get the router’s on-board WiFi antennas as high as possible. Not planning on an external WiFi antenna until I see there’s a need.
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Old 01-06-2021, 10:46 AM   #5
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My router is in the brow (along with lots of other equipment -- a POE switch for security cameras, an amplifier for the tower speakers), all work fine, and wifi coverage is great everywhere on my boat, including the engine room.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:02 AM   #6
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Great. Thanks, MYT.
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Old 01-06-2021, 11:44 AM   #7
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Make sure it's easy to cycle the power to the router (maybe put it on its own breaker so you don't have to go up there) and change SIM cards if you'll need to do that with any frequency.

I've been using Peplink routers for years onboard. Speedfusion Cloud is worth every penny if you have multiple WAN connections since it seamlessly bonds them together and eliminates the previous near-constant need to reprioritize WAN sources. No more dropped Zoom calls! It has probably doubled my satisfaction with the router.
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:30 PM   #8
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I've got a bunch of electronics in the brow of my boat, including stuff that uses wifi (but not my router). No problem.

The length of the cable matters little to the signal -- but in my life, longer cables are often more of a pain to run!
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Old 01-06-2021, 12:51 PM   #9
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Yep, I installed our AIS transponder in the brow - it emits a good wifi signal - strong signal all over our 42' boat
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Old 01-06-2021, 03:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by angus99 View Post
I’m getting ready to upgrade Stella’s WiFi capabilities with a new Pepwave router and Poynting LTE external antenna, connected with LMR400 cable. (Hats off to Steve Mitchell’s SeaBits site for excellent counsel.)

I’d like to minimize the cable run from the antenna on the radar arch down to the router. One option is locating the router under the fly bridge console, behind the “eyebrow.” I know it gets hot in there, but the Pepwave is rated to 149 degrees F. I’ve never had a water intrusion or moisture problem in there. This would be somewhat forward of the boat’s midpoint, but I can’t imagine our WiFi network wouldn’t reach all corners.

Has anyone else mounted a router similarly? Any downside, other than having to crawl in on my back to access it?
Thanks for the kind words!

I would consider both LMR 400 and LMR 400 Ultraflex - the latter is much easier to run around corners and through conduits and tight spaces on the boat.

I've installed Peplink routers in brows, cabinets, and even in fake satellite domes up exposed to the sun and without much circulation. It should be fine in your brow, but you could also add a small fan or vent somewhere in the future if you have any issues.

For WiFi coverage, you should be OK for most parts of the boat (knowing DeFever 44s) except for potentially your master stateroom. You could add a Peplink AP One Rugged which is an additional access point that can be controlled and managed off of the main Peplink device in a more central or stern facing area.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Iggy View Post
The length of the cable run should not matter as much as you think. Ten or 15 feet of more cable is not going to affect you.

I would be more worried about heat and placing it central in the boat for good coverage. But thats me.
I wouldn't necessarily agree with this, having installed hundreds of LTE antennas. The difference between a 5' cable and 15' cable is significant in terms of loss. LTE antennas only provide a max of about 6dB of improvement, and on some bands only about 1dB. Extra feet of cable can negate that, especially if they run by interference of some sorts, which can often be in the same chases where the antennas are going.

The shorter the better, and no converters or connectors, and especially no field installed ones - buy one cable with the correct ends as short as possible.
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