Wifi questions resurrected

Jan 22, 2008
34
Catalina 2005 36 MK II (1656) Lake Texoma
All,

First and foremost, I hope that the 2016 sailing season brings each of you a safe season filled with memories.
Now, in my most sincere effort at martial harmony, I am responding to my wife's request that we get wifi on our boat. We sail at Cedar Mills on Lake Texoma (2005 310 hull 299). Our slip is just far enough outside the free wifi zone to be teased by an occasional internet connection. However, whenever attempting to upload or down load the connection usually "drops". So, I am looking to install a wifi setup that will allow us to have a reasonably reliable internet connection while at the dock and hopefully under sail.
I have reviewed many of the earlier posts regarding wifi (primarily 2012 and 2013) and I have also read the The Trawler Beach House Blog http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot.com/2015/04/wifi-on-boat-part-4.html that is excellent and covers 2008 - 2015.
Technology seems to move faster than than the speed of sound. So, if anyone can offer any help on how to set up wifi on a boat it would be very much appreciated.

Thank you very much,

Jay Acquaviva
s/v Doctor's Orders
P.S. This is a copy of my post on the "Ask all sailors" forum. Hope hat doesn't violate any posting protocol.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Many of the cruisers we have met in the Bahamas and points south use the Wire units. You purchase a complete unit but pay a premium for them. Typically around $400-800 depending on what you get (cell data capable, etc.).

However we recently started buddy boating with a catamaran and the owner was formally in IT. He said the problem that most people have is that fixed mounted units don't really account for how wifi signals travel. We have been anchored with him and two other boats with Wire units. The Wire units couldn't get a signal but his home made system had a really strong signal. So much so that he doesn't mind sharing it with us. It's how I am typing this right now in Luperon harbor. He said the key is to not make the antenna fixed. He raises and lowers the antenna to hit the cone of the wifi signal at the best point. The wifi we are using now is 4 miles away. He said his best was 6 miles in Key West harbor. His whole system cost under $250. He is supposed to be emailing a list of components. I will post them when I have them.
 
Jan 22, 2008
34
Catalina 2005 36 MK II (1656) Lake Texoma
JK,
Thank you very much. Like many others, I have been following your wonderful blog of your adventures.

I look forward to your future postings.

Fair winds.
Jay
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Ok, here is the list of equipment I got:
  • Bullet Titanium (2.4 GHz)
  • iCreatin Passive POE Injector or Gigabit POE Injector (B0135STO2S)
  • Trendnet 8dBi Outdoor Omni or Amped Wireless High Powered Outdoor 8dBi (he said 8 dBi is better than the higher powered ones for this use, so don't go bigger)
  • TPLink AC1200 wireless router (you can just cut off the power cord at the inverter box and wire direct to the 12 volt system on the boat with a fuse in line)
  • ethernet cable (length depends on install but a 100 foot cord would be fine with all the components)
I just priced it up on Amazon and it's about $230.

I think I will be ordering this soon.

Good luck,

Jesse
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Ok, here is the list of equipment I got:
  • Bullet Titanium (2.4 GHz)
  • iCreatin Passive POE Injector or Gigabit POE Injector (B0135STO2S)
  • Trendnet 8dBi Outdoor Omni or Amped Wireless High Powered Outdoor 8dBi (he said 8 dBi is better than the higher powered ones for this use, so don't go bigger)
  • TPLink AC1200 wireless router (you can just cut off the power cord at the inverter box and wire direct to the 12 volt system on the boat with a fuse in line)
  • ethernet cable (length depends on install but a 100 foot cord would be fine with all the components)
I just priced it up on Amazon and it's about $230.

I think I will be ordering this soon.

Good luck,

Jesse
 
Jan 22, 2008
34
Catalina 2005 36 MK II (1656) Lake Texoma
Jesse,

Thank you very much for your response. I appreciate your help, your contributions and willingness to share all of your experiences. To show my appreciation and help with your travel adventures I would like to purchase these items on your behalf and have them shipped to your preferred location. Hopefully that will provide some assistance to you and maybe some measure of safety on your adventures. My time for such adventures has passed. So I, like many others, will be living the adventure vicariously.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Jay
Jtacqua@aol.com
 
Jan 22, 2008
34
Catalina 2005 36 MK II (1656) Lake Texoma
Jesse,

Short follow up. If you will send me the specific Amazon part numbers for each of the items I will be sure to order exactly what is necessary. Frankly, I am going to order 2 of everything so I will have the correct parts.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Send me a private email and we can discuss the details.
Fair winds.
Jay Acquaviva
S/v/ Doctor's Orders
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
Jay,

That is such a generous thing. Thank you.

Here are the parts with links to Amazon. Just click on the part.
I will email you to discuss some details.

Thanks again,

Jesse
 

Br3nt

.
May 14, 2011
23
C&C 39 San Francisco
You may want to think about the Groove over the Bullet. I used the Bullet for awhile but it's limited to 2.4Ghz. I've found that's limiting with the many 5Ghz networks out there and the Groove linked below claims to do both and is very similar to the Bullet. That said, I have the Groove in my possession but haven't tested it yet. I've been on a terrible streak lately of sailing and doing less work on the boat so I haven't installed it. ;)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1EA11G1780
 
Aug 13, 2012
531
Catalina 270 Ottawa
I would also think about a more directional antenna. Nothing radical (not a yagi), but something in the 120-180 degrees. Unless you have no idea from whom you are stealing the signal.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
I would also think about a more directional antenna. Nothing radical (not a yagi), but something in the 120-180 degrees. Unless you have no idea from whom you are stealing the signal.
With the price of antennas as cheap as they are, we might consider having both. But we have talked to many cruisers that have both and most don't bother putting up their directional antennas because you often either swing with the wind and tide or don't know where the strongest signal is coming from.

It's kind of like solar panels you can direct at the sun. It works great until you forget to move it and then leave the boat to go to shore.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
You may want to think about the Groove over the Bullet. I used the Bullet for awhile but it's limited to 2.4Ghz. I've found that's limiting with the many 5Ghz networks out there and the Groove linked below claims to do both and is very similar to the Bullet. That said, I have the Groove in my possession but haven't tested it yet. I've been on a terrible streak lately of sailing and doing less work on the boat so I haven't installed it. ;)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1EA11G1780
I will ask my cruising buddy about it but based on his previous thoughts on this its a matter of where you cruise. If you are in a highly urban area then you may get some more benefit but in the islands it won't make much of a difference. You may actually cut yourself off from many of the open networks. People advanced enough to put in a 5Ghz network will likely password protect it.

Put I will check and see what he says.
 
Nov 18, 2010
2,441
Catalina 310 Hingham, MA
You may want to think about the Groove over the Bullet. I used the Bullet for awhile but it's limited to 2.4Ghz. I've found that's limiting with the many 5Ghz networks out there and the Groove linked below claims to do both and is very similar to the Bullet. That said, I have the Groove in my possession but haven't tested it yet. I've been on a terrible streak lately of sailing and doing less work on the boat so I haven't installed it. ;)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1EA11G1780
I spoke to the guy who helped me design the system I put the parts list up for above. He had two reservations about dual band over the single band. First, the number of dual band outdoor antennas are very limited. I did a quick search and only found two manufactures and they weren't the best name.

Second, interference. He runs the wifi router at 5GHz so that you don't get antenna interference.

But if you were of the more techy type and were willing to constantly switch between the two bands on the Groove and the router then this would give you more options. For most cruisers the more simple setup will be more functional for daily use. Sounds like this will be a more common component in the future.

Also, we aren't seeing very many 5GHz networks in the islands. So again, if we were back in Boston this would get much more consideration.

Something others may want to research more.

Thanks for the link.
 
May 20, 2016
36
Clark San Juan 30 Blaine WA
I have one that is called ALFA Networks it works Awesome and if My Memory serves me right I didn't pay that much for it. I bought it a few years back when Moored at Shilshole Marina in Seattle. I was quite a ways from the free Wi-Fi and needed a Boost it came with 50' of cable so I mounted it just down from the Radar and when I would Sail in View of the Marina sometimes as far as Bainbridge island and Blake island I would have 5bars of signal the manual said up to 25 miles but I doubted that. I worked great while in the slip never missed a Movie from Buffering issue's Check it out and Happy Sailing to you all.
 

BayMan

.
Sep 12, 2012
203
Hunter 450 Unspecified
I am not a techie but I am also not completely ignorant in these tech matters. But my eyes glaze over when I read these posts. The solution above lists a bunch of parts but how would I configure it all and make it actually work? Why isn't this as simple as going down to Best Buy and buying a device (one) that will reach out and grab wifi from a hotspot or marina and bring it to my boat where I can then connect wirelessly to it with my mobile and laptop devices?
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,705
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
I can then connect wirelessly to it with my mobile and laptop devices?
I got this free from AT&T for signing up.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/191868789805

The owner of all the ATT outlet stores, near me, told me for weak signals, put it in a iPhone water proofer and haul it up my flag/pennant line to about 30' in air. Practical range is about 20 miles off shore.
Jim...

PS: It needs to be recharged every 12-14 hours.
 
Aug 13, 2012
531
Catalina 270 Ottawa
this device (ATT Unite) does not solve the problem. This is a cellular to WiFi router. There are many devices that do that (Sierra Wireless has a whole line of them, but others do, too (e.g. Novatel's MiFi). But to use it you need to have access to a cellular data network (LTE, HSUPA, etc.) and you have to be a subscriber. This is not a solution for "free" Internet access.

The WiFi to WiFi routers do exist. They are normally sold under a name of "travel routers". I could not offer a suggestion on a specific model (I don't use one), but there are many, they cost around $50, you need one that can connect to a WiFi network (some use only wired connection), preferably you want a 12 V supply (though many offer a huge battery that can last for hours), and if you want a long range, an external antenna connection.

I hate to say this here, but one should be aware that connecting to someone's wireless network without the owner's permission is frowned upon in most jurisdictions.

mdz
 
Feb 14, 2014
5,705
Hunter 430 Waveland, MS
So, I am looking to install a wifi setup that will allow us to have a reasonably reliable internet connection while at the dock and hopefully under sail.
That little dinky, Netgear made, hot spot, router, works for me (post #16). My internet signal is 2/5 bars strength when anchored at Ship Island, South of Gulfport MS. (≈12 km), inside our cabin at water level.
We route at least iPads (2), iPhone (1) and MacBook Pro Laptop (1), link into iTunes, download music, movies, do email, yahdah yahdah with no worries.
I will be testing my set up, at 18+ km out, later this summer by raising the HOT SPOT, not at current at water level inside our H 430 cabin...
But...

30' higher, giving line of sight signal increase.

A ROUTER, is a local, normally wireless these days, private network (the list of our above 4 devices) are linked locally in and outside of my boat. Signal strengths to Router is 5 out of 5 bars.

A HOT SPOT is a single high speed internet link, from my boat to the cellular tower ≈ 12 km away.

So my free ATT, cigarette package sized, device is both a Router and Hot Spot combined.;)

eMail ( example) is sent from my iPad to local Router (ATT) and is then transmitted by Hot Spot (same ATT device) to the internet cellular tower and then receives internet downloads, by that same path, back to my iPad.

If you really want a bigger boost of that HOT SPOT signal (in/out) the ATT device has and external antennae connection to add at least 8 times more strength to the wireless signal.
https://www.wilsonamplifiers.com/marine-antenna-kit-w-mount-20ft-cable-sma-male-318430/
I read their specs, not going to use the marine antennae, unless my raising of the ATT device doesn't work at ≈18 km. BTW that Wilson antenna link was given to me by the ATT region sales offices owner.:)

With the ATT device, I can cruise the entire USA Gulf Coast with a reliable internet connection.:waycool:

FWIW I didn't order or spec it, when our office signed up for new ATT they sent it to us free. Now we pay about $35/mo for minimum plan, that has been used for 1 year as I describe. There are newer devices now.
Jim...

PS: I can only relate what I know is true for me and maybe you can get that mobile/marine access with other plans and devices.
 
Oct 1, 2015
63
Clark San Juan 30 Blaine WA
This is mine and it has worked very well I even get the Wi-Fi while I'm out crabbing as long as I can see the Marina it is not expensive 39.99 and another for 50 of cable 15.00 I mounted it on the side of my mast at the mast light height about 10 feet of the deck I get 5bars in port and 4 bars while i'm out works very well here is the description of it
UBDo-nt is the long-range wireless 802.11n outdoor USB CPE. UBDo-nt provides users to launch IEEE 802.11n wireless network at 150Mbps in the 2.4GHz frequency, which is also compatible with IEEE 802.11g and 802.11b wireless devices at 54Mbps / 11Mbps. You can easy to install and enjoy the internet connection by just simply plug USB into the Notebook and Desktop. UBDo-nt also includes a convenient Utility for scanning available networks and saving preferred networks that users usually connected with. Security encryption can also be configured by this utility.
I hope this might work for you I got it from amazon built by Alfa networks 39.99