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Old 22-01-2011, 09:04   #76
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Search the board for information on different wifi solutions. Your choices essentially boil down to either an ethernet client bridge systems like the Bullet 2HP sold by several vendors or a USB client adapter like the Alfa, also sold by several vendors.

Against my better judgement, but to get you started on what to look for, here are a couple of vendors for each type of system - THIS IS NOT A COMPLETE LIST OR ENDORSEMENT OF ANY SPECIFIC VENDOR OR SYSTEM:
Marine PC's & WiFi by IslandTime PC
The Wirie: Marine WiFi and RV WiFi solution
Bitstorm - Home
Home Page

(three of these companies are owned and run by fellow cruisers)

These two types of systems, each have their pros and cons and people on this board can help you understand those if you want. You will need to decide which path is best suited for your needs.

These systems can be bought as complete plug and play systems with good technical support, so you won't need to know much about how they work. You will need to make some technical modifications to set them up, but those modifications will be detailed with specific and concise instructions (ie plug this into that, check this box and type these words here - that sort of thing).

Stay away from systems relying on separate signal amplifiers and long runs of coax cable to an antenna. In other words, if the system consists of more than an antenna directly connected to a box (or similar piece) with a single wire connecting directly to your computer, you do not want that system (note that ethernet-based systems will have the option of connecting to a router, in which case there would not be a wire connected directly to your computer).

Mark
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Old 22-01-2011, 09:06   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailor View Post
I actually do know what an RJ45 connector is, and how to solder one to my coax. There may be hope for me
Uhhhhh - I'm going to leave this one for someone else!
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Old 22-01-2011, 09:15   #78
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BTW, Canuk...
On that Alfa antenna... I also have a (about 15') "USB extension cord". Sometimes I have to climb the ratlines and hang the antenna as high in the shrouds as the extension cord, run through a porthole, allow. If it's raining, I just tie a plastic bag over the antenna unit. This set-up has gotten me signals where, when using it down below, I found absolutely nothing.
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Old 22-01-2011, 11:58   #79
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"btw, I actually do know what an RJ45 connector is, and how to solder one to my coax. "
If there is some hope...it is a light at the far end of a tunnel. RJ45 connectors are always crimped, never soldered. And never used on coax cables, either.

Or as we say without using any of the technical bits that might be mistaken for jargon: "No, that stuff can't be used with that stuff that way."

Just buy it premade from Bob.
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Old 22-01-2011, 19:24   #80
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One of the reasons these threads can get technical is that there isn't one single answer or immediate solution. If there was these would be short threads

Dave
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Old 26-01-2011, 22:08   #81
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Question for those with movable systems/antennaes such as alfa and EUB. Do you have a particular piece of freeware that you would recommend to "sniff" all the available signals and accurately give levels?

More importantly is that this function is fairly close to real time so you can move things around to get a max signal.



CNET Downloads has oodles of them but which is best?
Recommendations?
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Old 27-01-2011, 00:41   #82
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Let me second, or third, the Alfa Wireless Adapter with a USB extension cable. It may not be the best or the most technically advanced, but it is easily done and very effective and best of all inexpensive.

The Alfa Adapter comes with a software cd containing both the drivers and a utility program to control the adapter, see the networks nearest you (showing you both encrypted and not encrypted networks) and allowing you to select and connect to a particular network.

Alfa makes several adapters your looking for the 1000 mW (1 watt) unit not the 2000 mW unit, for some reason it does not work as well as the smaller unit. I think the model number is AWUS036H for the 1000mW unit.

Some of the Alfas are sold with a standard 2 or 5 db antenna and the 9 db antenna, (those numbers relate to the gain the antenna is able to develop) get the one with both sizes of antennas if you can and experiment with how well you can connect. Sometimes the higher db gain antennas are a little directional and the boats movement and antenna placement can affect how well the antenna works. Start with the smaller antenna, if it works well your done. Always have an antenna connected to the unit if it is powered up. Also, try to keep the antenna for the Alfa as far from the mast as you can, it will interfere with the antennas ability to receive and transmit, that is why I use the backstay.

Do something to protect the unit from water it is not waterproof. I used an exterior plastic electric junction box, drilled a hole for the antenna to stick through the top and a second hole for the usb cable on the bottom, then siliconed around both. Liberal silicone. Snap ring on top and bottom, both go around the backstay. The top ring connects to the main halyard and the bottom to a down haul, run it up the back stay and run the usb cable into the cabin. You should put a drip loop in the cable to keep rain from running down the usb cable and into your computer. You should also seal up any exposed connections, that self sealing tape would work great I think, I just used silicone.

Do an internet search for that alfa (around $35) and find the cheapest price. You may also find the extension cables there too. I have no connection with this product, other than the one I get on Wi-Fi. (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun).
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Old 27-01-2011, 01:26   #83
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Did not mention the USB extension cables. I know of two kinds, one is a standard usb cable and the other is an 'active' usb cable. The active supposedly has an amplifier built in. They both come in a 16 foot length. I have used both. The active does seem to work better than the standard, especially if your using more than one extension. I have an active cable connected to the adapter and then a standard cable connected to the computer's usb port. A total of 32 feet of cabling and this is working well for me.

Oh, the snap rings connect to the back stay and the halyard and down haul to position the antenna up the back stay.

Hope this helps.
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Old 27-01-2011, 04:32   #84
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Not sure if anyone has already mentioned these, but . . . You can make a cheap parabolic antenna reflector with cardstock and tin foil that will significantly improve your wifi reception at a distance.

Ez-12
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Parabolic Reflector Free WiFi Booster | Do-It-Yourself Wireless Antennas Update and Wi-Fi Resource Center | WiFi Wireless Q & A

They're easy to make and helpful when you're just out of range, or dealing with an unreliable signal. I've made a few of them and for use at home and on the boat. The cardstock does tend to warp in the humid environment of the boat, so one of these days I'll make one with a wire mesh reflector.

I should add that they're really only for use at anchor, when you're not swinging too much, nor rocking too much.
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Old 27-01-2011, 06:56   #85
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I'm also planning a wifi setup from Island Time and considering a backstay antenna mount. Is there any reason not to mount the antenna permanently rather than hoisting for each use? Is there any meaningful difference in performance between mounting the antenna vertically vs. tying it off to the backstay top and bottom? Is there any loss of signal from backstay shadowing?
Thanks.
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Old 27-01-2011, 07:58   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canucksailor View Post
What is it about people who 'get' radio stuff, such as wifi antennae, SSB and HAM, that they have to default to 'jargon mode' when asked a question?
Note to you guys: most of us DON'T GET IT and none of us want to hear it - we hate being reminded how stupid about this stuff we are. I'm one of those btw. When I ask a question about this stuff, I don't want the technicalities. I want a solution. I don't care if it's 337.578 gigadoofuses connecting to a hi speed dingbat - a brand name and model that do the job are all I need.
End of rant.
Marinas with Wi-Fi; wireless Internet for boats; Connect at your marina or boat slip
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Old 27-01-2011, 08:34   #87
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"Do you have a particular piece of freeware that you would recommend to "sniff" all the available signals and accurately give levels?"
Try inSSIDer if you're using a Windows OS. There are many "sniffers" online.
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Old 01-04-2011, 11:19   #88
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Re: Antenna for WiFi

A bit late but...
I purchased a BEAREXTENDER (for Mac) and it has boosted my signal from unusable to good while the unit is inside the cabin, and, I get excellent (81 signal strength) when I move it outside. $49. Google it.

Planning on adding an exterior 6-9dbi antenna-I will leave the unit inside and use low loss cable (400).
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:39   #89
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Re: Antenna for WiFi

I bought a Captifi antenna from Radiolbas and mounted it on top the roof of my 50' sailing boat in June 2010.
I used it in till August 2010 then let the antenna installed for the winter period.
When I tried to run again the antenna in June 2011, it works for a short period and then went to a status of "unknown device" when I tried to run it on my computer.
After many contacts with Radiolabs support I returned the device to them since it seems that there might be a hardware issue.
The issue was really a hardware failure, but as the warranty period was over. Radiolabs refused to replace my antenna even if the effective using period was ridiculously small.
I would say that I do not recommand at all this device due to its poor reliability in a marine environment, its limited reception range and an unfair customer support.
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Old 01-10-2011, 08:47   #90
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Re: Antenna for WiFi

my wave-rv had a disc, which, when i went to install it into another laptop, was unreadable.
i found another antenna similar to that antenna, and found drivers online for it an di am using that one now.it identifies the available signals and their strength. it actually works.
i want to find a booster kind of device for longer distances as some places are half mile fr om boat for signals and i dont always wanna go to shore just to play with you guys or send momma an email. is much more convenient to do so from comfort of my own dinette.
what do you guys recommend for this .....
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