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Old 30-01-2014, 15:17   #1
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3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

I need to purchase a 3G and wireless booster system for my boat and have homed in on Locomarine's Yacht Router Micro 3G/4G/Wifi system (http://www.yachtrouter.com/index.php/models/yacht-router-micro).
One of my criteria is as much international coverage as possible noting that many on the market are restricted in its GSM frequency coverage. From what I have discovered to date, is that YRM is able to its receive the widest coverage of international frequencies including LTE frequency bands (MHz): 800/900/1800/2100/2600 WCDMA frequency bands (MHz): 900/2100 GSM/GPRS/EDGE frequency bands (MHz): 900/1800/1900. YRM does not cover GSM 850 MHz however these countries are covered by other frequencies.

GSM World Coverage Map- GSM Country List by frequency bands

My other criteria is reliability/operability. Are there any users out there who have had any expereince with Locomarine YRM's?

Emerald Sea
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Old 09-02-2014, 20:38   #2
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

A good yagi is the best bet IMHO
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Old 09-02-2014, 22:24   #3
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

I have a cradlepoint router on my boat.

They have models that accept a USB based MIFI and some accept a SIM.

www.cradlepoint.com
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Old 10-02-2014, 04:39   #4
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

Dont know that product, but why not just get a router that accepts a USB modem and then you can change SIM/modem as needed rather that being stuck with a built-in modem you can't change?

I also run a cradlepoint (MBR900, now discontinued, but they have new similar products). Works great for me. Have used it throughout Central America swapping SIMs as needed. It supports a wide range of modems. And, it takes direct 12V power.

I have also used DC-UNLOCKER software to unlock modems, and phones, when needed.

https://www.dc-unlocker.com/
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Old 10-02-2014, 06:09   #5
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Dont know that product, but why not just get a router that accepts a USB modem and then you can change SIM/modem as needed rather that being stuck with a built-in modem you can't change?

I also run a cradlepoint (MBR900, now discontinued, but they have new similar products). Works great for me. Have used it throughout Central America swapping SIMs as needed. It supports a wide range of modems. And, it takes direct 12V power.

I have also used DC-UNLOCKER software to unlock modems, and phones, when needed.

https://www.dc-unlocker.com/
I agree. 900 euros or so plus VAT is a lot of sunk cost into a technical solution which is guaranteed to be obsolete in a few years. Without external antennas or boosters I don't see that there could be any great technical advantage over a more generic and much cheaper solution.

I have been using an Option GlobeSurger III for the last 4 years -- router with built-in cellular modem -- works great. But it's obsolete since it doesn't do LTE. Fortunately I only paid $200 for it. It also doesn't do anything to boost the signal, other than having a really good internal antenna -- same as the Locomarine, I think.

For something better, I thought about a Wibe: WiBE PRO Outdoor 3G Router with WiFi enabling rural and remote mobile broadband - Buy Online from Westbase Technology

and even put wiring up my mast for it. This would be greatly superior to the Locomarine since it has a very powerful directional antenna, and can be mounted up the mast.

But it's 3G only! And very expensive. So I don't think I'm going that route.

Another Forumite suggested buying a simple MIFI unit, like this: Unlocked Huawei E5776s-32 4G Mobile LTE WIFI Hotspot MiFi 150 Mbit/s: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories.

And on the odd occasions when you don't get a signal from inside the cabin, simply haul it up the mast on a halyard. Since it has an internal battery, you don't need any wiring. Brilliant idea.

That's probably what I will be doing this year. Less than $200!


Now the Locomarine does wifi -- redistributes a marina wifi signal, as well as mobile internet. I have a Ubiquiti Bullet mounted on my first spreader for that purpose. The Bullet has a quarter-wave high gain antenna on it, and the Bullet is highly sensitive and high powered. So with this, you can pull in wifi signals you couldn't dream about with a normal WIFI card or a setup like this Locomarine. And still -- I very rarely use it, and use it less and less. Marina wifi is almost universally carpy, with very rare exceptions. Open wifi nodes have become as rare as hen's teeth. If 10 years ago, finding an open wifi node was the connection of choice, nowadays almost all cruisers use mobile Internet, which has become orders of magnitude faster, and much cheaper, over the years.

So something like a Huawei 5776, or a wifi router you can plug a dongle into, might really be all you need.
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Old 10-02-2014, 10:13   #6
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

OP: First off, sorry for a bit of a tangential derail of your thread, but....

Holy Crap! 900 Euros! I paid about $50US for a brand new Cradlepoint MBR900 off of Ebay. A Huawei modem with SIM and some credit costs about Q300 (about $38US) back home in Guatemala. So my cost all total was about $88US (64).

And, in the end, I think you would have a more practical configuration for cruising.
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Old 10-02-2014, 13:43   #7
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

Yes, Euro 900 is a bit of dosh and while it may be redundant in years ahead I dont want to be in region to find out that it doesnt work as the frequencies are different and Im out of range. My frustration then would have been well spent! Besides - its budgeted! These are key objectives for me as I will rely on an overall coverage for some 40 countries Im likely to cruise into - I have my son and newphew both doing online uni courses hence part of the need. Coversations with a nr of cruisers says that range and frequency have hamperd their signals - particularly for 3G. Im willing to put a few esxtra bob into this to get good system.

Locomarine have an external antenna for improved signals.

However it seems none have used this system (yet) but i will look into the other systems mentioned above.

Thanks
Steve
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:43   #8
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

I have presently a Huawei E5776 with external antenna (steel boat). So I have my own hotspot on board. Inside and outside perfect reception.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:00   #9
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald Sea View Post
Yes, Euro 900 is a bit of dosh and while it may be redundant in years ahead I dont want to be in region to find out that it doesnt work as the frequencies are different and Im out of range. My frustration then would have been well spent! Besides - its budgeted! These are key objectives for me as I will rely on an overall coverage for some 40 countries Im likely to cruise into - I have my son and newphew both doing online uni courses hence part of the need. Coversations with a nr of cruisers says that range and frequency have hamperd their signals - particularly for 3G. Im willing to put a few esxtra bob into this to get good system.

Locomarine have an external antenna for improved signals.

However it seems none have used this system (yet) but i will look into the other systems mentioned above.

Thanks
Steve
For excellent range and reception, think about hoisting a Huawei E5776 up your mast in a waterproof box. For ultimate range and reception, just mount a good quarter-wave antenna directly to the Huawei without a cable, and hoist the whole lot up.

The problem with external antennas is that at these frequencies (can be over 2 gigahertz), you have huge attenuation in any antenna cable, so you either need to mount the device up with the antenna to eliminate the cable, or you need a huge fat ultra low-loss coax cable (like LMR400) which is extremely hard to install (probably impossible with the mast up). I doubt that the Locomarine unit is going to offer any particular advantage in range or reception -- that's much more a question of the antenna and mounting position, than it is the radio unit itself, which anyway is probably the exact same radio unit you will find in much cheaper systems.

Alternatively, if you really want to spend the money you have budgeted, you could try the Wibe Pro, which can be mounted up the mast, on a spreader, say, and can be remotely administered. The only cable you need to pull is an ethernet cable (the unit is powered by POE so it gets power from the ethernet cable, too). This unit has an extremely sophisticated high-gain directional antenna built into it, and there is no antennuation over any coax cable since the unit and antenna are in the same housing. Your chances of getting superior range and reception with this will be vastly greater, than with the Locomarine, which offers no obvious advantages over much cheaper domestic-type solutions. If I were going to splash out on a mobile internet system, that's the one I would go with, personally.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:01   #10
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacG View Post
I have presently a Huawei E5776 with external antenna (steel boat). So I have my own hotspot on board. Inside and outside perfect reception.
photos of how you mounted the antenna?
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:30   #11
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

The red square shows where the WIFI is mounted.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:33   #12
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

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The red square shows where the WIFI is mounted.
And where is the Huawei unit? Is it mounted with the antenna, or somewhere else? If somewhere else, what kind of cable did you use?
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:41   #13
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

The unit is inside the cabin, the antenna cable + USB is supplied with the antenna as a whole. Length 5 or 10 mtrs. The antenna consists of two parts: the amplifier en the antennapole. The amplifier and cable are one solid unit. The USB fits in the hotspot which is inside fixed to a rotating post so that I can face the unit outwards. If there is a strong enough WiFi transmitter available I can just plug the antenna into my laptop.

Costs together about US$ 320,- Huawei 3-4G unit and the antenna, the price of the antenna separately is about US$ 150,- (calculated from Euro's to US$)
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Old 11-02-2014, 15:06   #14
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
For excellent range and reception, think about hoisting a Huawei E5776 up your mast in a waterproof box. For ultimate range and reception, just mount a good quarter-wave antenna directly to the Huawei without a cable, and hoist the whole lot up.

...
Ha, did that last season in the San Blas with a long active USB cable and a discarded peanut butter jar...worked well.
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:30   #15
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Re: 3G/Wifi: Locomarine Yacht Router Micro Reviews?

Last season I have purchased a Yachtrouter 3G.

Before my setup was a Huaway Router with external antenna and an Alfa Long Range WiFi USB Adapter with external antenna. This worked fine, but it was difficult or impossible to provide the marina WLAN to all devices on board (phones, tablets, laptops). Ok, with free WiFi no problem, but if you have to pay for every device....

Now with the Yachtrouter we have ONE boat WiFi and only switch from marina WiFi to 3G. Once I had a problem with the configuration of a prepaid SIM-card. I could not access the internet. But since I had marina WiFi, the Locomarine support could connect remote to my Yachtrouter and fix the problem.

Last autumn we made the upgrade to the Yachtrouter 4G/LTE. Apart from the technical improvements from 3G to 4G/LTE, I can easy control now the Yachtrouter via WiFi. Previously this was not so, a ethernet-cable was necessary.

Bottom line, yes it was expensive, but we need good internet connection. We are happy with the Yachtrouter. For me it was worth the money!

Karl
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