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Old 26-11-2014, 13:31   #61
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

When picking a wifi for a boat (or RV) it is best to stay far away from the USB units. Aside from the fact that they only connect to a single computer, they do require a driver appropriate to the OS used. Sometimes the drivers are available to the OS, sometimes they need to be downloaded. Some chips+drivers work better for one OS than another (e.g. RealTek is great for Windows but not Mac). And of course different versions of the same OS may require different drivers. It is a can of worms best avoided. Wifi units with ethernet connections are set up through a web page and support all OSes, as well as multiple clients. Personally I like the Ubiquiti products but there are many others out there.

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Old 26-11-2014, 13:47   #62
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Carina,

The Alpha setup Boatguy30 has does not require any drivers or a particular OS. It is in 2 parts. The router is a regular wi-fi router but it has a USB port that you can connect a USB modem (3G/4G/Wi-Fi). A common setup is to get the Wi-Fi USB modem. That modem talks to the marina access point and the router use NAT to make it available to any and all wi-fi devices inside the boat. It is a very neat setup, requires no drivers and works with any tablet, PC, smartphone or whatever. You control the whole thing through a built-in web server in the router. This is what most of the "marine wi-fi" systems have under the covers. They add some software to make it easier for the IT challenged and supply an outdoor antenna. They also mark the price up about 4X what the parts cost.
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Old 26-11-2014, 13:58   #63
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post
Ok, I found the network listed and put in the password for a know network. It goes to the please wait a moment page forever. Once it got past that, but it kept flashing not connected in the status. The box mentioned I might need to upgrade the firmware on the devices? Did you do this? Seems like they would ship the new stuff with the new firmware. Anyway, may just return all this to Amazon.

Thanks for the help.
You can't count on this having the current firmware. In many, many cases, these units have sat on a shelf for a long time before it was shipped to you, especially if it was not shipped directly from the manufacturer. Even then they don't install the most current firmware on units that have been sitting in the warehouse. Chuck
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Old 26-11-2014, 16:02   #64
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

I looked on Alfa's web site and could not find firmware for the USB modem. The R36 router needs to be at revision 1.2.1.3B6 or later. Amazon's inventory turns pretty quick. They sell a lot of these things. I got one about 3 weeks ago from Amazon and it works perfectly.

I have noticed a lot of access points are "slow" to connect when they are far away. I think the time delay involved due to the distance confuses some of them. Sometimes I have to just get a cup of Joe (or a beer if that's appropriate) and wait for the connection to clear up.

A really "smart" access point can be totally befuddled a high power WiFi device. The signal from the high power transmitter is so good that the access point thinks its talking to something close by. Thus it reduces its output power and the USB modem can't receive the access point. There are lots of reviews on the new Alfa where users are complaining that the 2W unit is worse than the older 1W unit and I suspect this is why. It doesn't do any good to have more power at your end if the access point cannot reciprocate the favor.
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Old 26-11-2014, 16:45   #65
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Distance per se shouldn't add noticeable delay - speed of light and all that...

There is a problem with high power, as noted above. When using a large antenna it is appropriate to dial the transmit power back a lot, but even with a small antenna it is rarely a good idea to use a high power device on high output. (The AP's input can get overdriven, among other things.) Instead of buying a high power device it is better to buy a large (8-12dB) antenna as it improves the reception as well as the transmit. Also, things work a lot better when your wifi can receive all of the other client wifi stations using your AP ("hidden node problem"). Simply blasting out your signal is not going to work well for anybody.

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Old 26-11-2014, 17:19   #66
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Distance affects the delay spread and if the delay spread exceeds the OFDM guard interval things start to break down. Wi-Fi wasn't designed for long distances and moving vehicles like mobile phone systems. It was designed for low hundreds of meters and many are trying to use it for thousands of meters. To get away with that it's important to have a straight shot between the antennas. That often doesn't happen. If it seems not to be working try moving your antenna which might change the reflection scenario.
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Old 26-11-2014, 19:58   #67
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

I certainly wasn't considering anything beyond a few hundred meters - that is all that is needed to cover even a large marina. While it is possible to make wifi connections out 10 miles that is certainly not a topic for amateurs (or for Alfa USB radios). Anyone trying to do that had better have cooperation from the operator at the other end, and modify the advanced settings to support it. Another beast entirely...

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Old 27-11-2014, 10:42   #68
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Ok, I sorta got it to work. I found a network near my house maybe a rental condo on the beach. It was unlocked and I was able to connect to it and then a webpage loaded to enter a guest password so if I was staying there I assume it would work.

However, I can't connect to my neighbors wifi which is my primary Internet. (We have an arrangement) I use a Netgear range extender for this which then provides it own locked network. I can't connect to this network with the alpha either.

I'm thinking maybe there is something with the security protocol or something not being right, but I have double checked everything and checked a bunch of other sites for alpha info.

Interestingly my connection was when I swithced over to my 7 y/o alpha extender not the new one. Need to try that network on the new one and take it all to the library and try that network. I guess if for some reason I can't connect to lock networks it will still be mostly useful?
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Old 27-11-2014, 10:57   #69
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Your post is a little confusing to me as to what your really trying to do. You will not connect to any password protected access point if you don't have the password. This is much different than connecting to an open access point that will need a password to gain internet access. Chuck
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Old 27-11-2014, 16:53   #70
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

No, I can't connect to anything except that one unsecured network. I have the password to my neighbors and my own home booster/ router. I'm just guessing something is wrong with my R36 settings as I enter the correct password and it won't connect. As a test I also entered a wrong password, but still the same. No connection no error message.

I seeded around with it yesterday a bunch of hours. Will try it at the library and if it won't connect there I will return the stuff to Amazon and keep banging rocks together and using winlink.
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Old 28-11-2014, 06:55   #71
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Boatguy, I haven't used mine with secure networks. But there are different flavors of wifi security. I think you may have to tell the router the correct flavor of security (WEP/WPA/etc.). We are spoiled a bit by computers that just try every flavor until something works with the supplies password. I'm not sure if the Alfa router is set up to automatically figure out the security protocol on its own. So my suggestion is to find out what flavor of security they are using and select in Easy Setup exactly what kind it is.
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Old 30-11-2014, 12:48   #72
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Still having issues with the R36. I have been able to connect to a few other unlocked networks, but unable to get online anywhere. Ironically the iPad will automatically dump the R36 and connect to another network instead so you think it's maybe working, but then check the network and it's not!

Anyway, I guess I need to either call Amazon and see if they'll send me another one or just return this one and get a bullet.

It seems somewhat more hardware is needed for the Bullet so would be nice to get this going.
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Old 30-11-2014, 15:31   #73
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

This does not appear to be a hardware issue. It probably isn't a firmware issue either, although you should check to see that you have the latest for both the R36 and the USB dongle. I am betting that it is a setup issue. It is a little difficult to troubleshoot like this, and particularly given the minimalist tools in the R36 and a lack of documentation (no user guide available on Alfa's site - apparently it is on the included CD).

Things that would be useful: screenshot of status page, screenshot of site survey, and a copy of the log (only for recent entries - i.e. restart, try to connect, then dump relevant log data). I know that a log is available but can't see how to access it from the little info online. If you could include them as attachments that would be helpful.

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Old 30-11-2014, 15:39   #74
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

From the product page of one of my favorite suppliers (Data-Alliance):

Quote:
The R36 requires specialized skills to setup. Therefore in order to purchase the R36 on our website, you first must discuss with our customer service delartment so that we can determin if you are a technical person with the skills to setup this product: We are taking this step of requiring special authorization due to a high number of RMA requests from customers who were unable to configure the device to work properly.
That is probably a good indication of where the problem lies. But perhaps we will be able to help...

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Old 30-11-2014, 15:53   #75
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Re: Best marine WiFi antenna?

Well Amazon certainly doesn't describe it that way. I can connect to networks just no data transfers. So maybe it's me, but other seem to have shot in the dark luck with it following the same steps as me.

Anyway, I need to get something that works and this doesn't (for me)
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