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Old 17-06-2013, 09:56   #1
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Ethernet Cable

All,

I have a ubiquiti with the Engenius 8 DB antenna that I plan on installing at the mast head to an apple router somewhere in the salon. When I get the mast down for refit I plan on installing an Ethernet cable to do so.

I'm not sure if there is a racetrack to install the cable or not so I may need to add a new one to accommodate that and maybe a bundle of backup cables just in case.

I already have the ubiquiti/apple setup running at home.

Couple of questions:

1) What ethernet cable has a good rep in the marine environment?

2) I looked at the ubiquiti toughcable... is it worth it?

3) I'm not familiar with installing new racetrack inside an aluminum mast. I assume you use aluminum rivets and what - pvc tubing?

4) Any Recommendations on website with pics of someone doing a mast wire install?

Thanks,

- z
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Old 17-06-2013, 10:43   #2
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Re: Ethernet Cable

i have regular ethernet cables for marina interweb access---it has so far lasted me 2 years. no problemo. ethernet cables are cheap to purchase here in mexico--last on i bought was 2.50usd in a used stuff store in mazatlan...lol....so worry about durability?? buy spares. my spare was found in a 25 peso store in bucerias....now is 1 1/2 yrs of age...
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Old 17-06-2013, 10:51   #3
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Re: Ethernet Cable

Generally, I would agree with you... but the cable will be snaked up the inside of the mast so replacing it wouldn't be trivial.
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Old 17-06-2013, 13:11   #4
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Re: Ethernet Cable

I'm a bit confused, are you placing the Ubiquiti router at the top of the mast? It would seem to make more sense to me to place only the antenna up there, and keep the electronics down in the cabin.

If that is the case, then you don't want an Ethernet cable, but rather an appropriate antenna cable. I'd suggest getting the recommended cable specs from the antenna manufacturer, then finding an appropriate marine grade cable. Mis-matching cable impedance can cause poor reception or transmission. Just because the cable can accept the same connector doesn't mean it will work, Arcnet and 10base2 ethernet both used the same BNC connectors, but the cable was very different for each application.

Hope this helps.

Greg
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Old 17-06-2013, 13:37   #5
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Re: Ethernet Cable

Your router will require an ethernet cable, a power wire and need to be sheltered from the elements. It's simpler and more reliable to keep the router in the cabin and just have to run a coax up the mast. That is what I do on my boat for my Wifi antenna. The signal attenuation is very minimal.
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Old 17-06-2013, 13:43   #6
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Re: Ethernet Cable

I've helped install a couple of "Bad Boy" wifi systems, which are Ubiquiti units with custom software. Bitstorm supplies the antenna unit ('Xtreme') with a long run of burial-grade ethernet cable, I presume because it has a more weather-resistant jacket. Other than being stiffer, it's like normal ethernet cable.

You don't necessarily get better performance from the masthead. Unlike your VHF radio, the biggest limiter of your range isn't antenna height, it's the signal strength of the wifi access point you're trying to hit, and that will be less than a mile away in most cases.

On sailboats we often see good results with installing the Xtreme unit on a radar arch, or at the first spreader. If you have the time, try your new wifi antenna unit in different places, including hoisted on a halyard, to see if the masthead position will actually be better.
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Old 17-06-2013, 13:44   #7
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Re: Ethernet Cable

zboss-
In the little I know of it, outdoor rated "CMX/CMR Ethernet Cable" is different mainly in that the PVC outer jacket is UV and cold resistant. That shouldn't matter much inside your mast, although I would run a sleeve over the portion that is exposed to UV. The RJ-45 connection at the end of the cable probably should be silicon (grease, jelly) filled for external use and if you are not familiar with those connections, you'd really want to practice making one a few times on the ground before you tried making one aloft. Or, make the end that will be aloft, and then thread the cable down.
Ubiquiti's toughcable spec goes (perhaps excessively) beyond normal cable, with each pair apparently internally bundled and insulated, and a ninth wire just for static discharge. I think it is probably intended for longer commercial installations but if it buys you peace of mind...Probably could be used as a spare halyard, too.<G>

David-
Just how many feet of what kind of cable do you find has "minimal" attenuation at microwave frequencies?? Seems like even a 50' run of any cable at 2.5-5GHz is going to be soaking up power like a sponge, but then again, some of us consider even a 3db loss to be excessive.
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Old 17-06-2013, 13:50   #8
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Re: Ethernet Cable

How very true Lake, wifi is not limited by distance to the horizon because it does not have the power to reach the horizon. Therefore antenna height (distance to the horizon) is irrelevant.

If you get a high gain directional antenna and place it on deck you will be able to point it towards the source. If you mount it on the mast you then have to get a omnidirectional antenna which have less gain than a directional, more focused antenna.
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Old 17-06-2013, 16:11   #9
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Re: Ethernet Cable

"wifi is not limited by distance to the horizon because it does not have the power to reach the horizon."

Venezuelans set new WiFi distance record: 237 miles

A mere 237 miles, on WiFi. Unlikely on your boat, but way beyond the typical six mile horizon, too.
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Old 18-06-2013, 06:19   #10
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Re: Ethernet Cable

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregoryK View Post
I'm a bit confused, are you placing the Ubiquiti router at the top of the mast? It would seem to make more sense to me to place only the antenna up there, and keep the electronics down in the cabin.

If that is the case, then you don't want an Ethernet cable, but rather an appropriate antenna cable. I'd suggest getting the recommended cable specs from the antenna manufacturer, then finding an appropriate marine grade cable. Mis-matching cable impedance can cause poor reception or transmission. Just because the cable can accept the same connector doesn't mean it will work, Arcnet and 10base2 ethernet both used the same BNC connectors, but the cable was very different for each application.

Hope this helps.

Greg
Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
Your router will require an ethernet cable, a power wire and need to be sheltered from the elements. It's simpler and more reliable to keep the router in the cabin and just have to run a coax up the mast. That is what I do on my boat for my Wifi antenna. The signal attenuation is very minimal.
No! This signal loss in coax at 2.4ghz is horrendous. The Ubiquity Bullet attaches directly to the antenna to eliminate coax loss.

As others have said, no need to put WiFi on the masthead, put on the stern rail or radar arch. If the Ethernet cable is exposed, use the Ubiquity Tough Cable or similar.
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Old 18-06-2013, 19:59   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
All,
1) What ethernet cable has a good rep in the marine environment?

2) I looked at the ubiquiti toughcable... is it worth it?

3) I'm not familiar with installing new racetrack inside an aluminum mast. I assume you use aluminum rivets and what - pvc tubing?

4) Any Recommendations on website with pics of someone doing a mast wire install?

- z
Classic boating thread. Lots of people who knows how it something should be done without even knowing what you're talking about

Buy the green wire, my friend told me it's the best!!

Jokes aside:

1. Based my Ubiq. Bullet HP2 installation on the second spreader 50ft up I recommend a shielded CAT5 cable with thick leads inside.
I installed a cheap thin cable myself and regret not buying a nicer one. The downside with the cheap ones are that the cable is more fragile to external friction and the voltage drop is greater in the thin wires. I have compensated the latter by installing a 24V voltage booster down by the POE (power over Ethernet) injector)

3. I used an existing conduit. It was a pain but after getting a rat line through and applying lots of dishwashing detergent on the cable it was easy.
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Old 18-06-2013, 20:03   #12
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Re: Ethernet Cable

I was aware of the coax issue. I much prefer a digital signal over a known distance vs. an analog signal, hence using the ubiquiti titanium router at the mast head.

The reason I intend on putting it on the mast head is because I have had previous instances where a deck to level antenna signal was blocked by other boats. I hadn't thought about the spreader level. Probably just as good.
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Old 18-06-2013, 20:36   #13
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Re: Ethernet Cable

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
I was aware of the coax issue. I much prefer a digital signal over a known distance vs. an analog signal, hence using the ubiquiti titanium router at the mast head.

The reason I intend on putting it on the mast head is because I have had previous instances where a deck to level antenna signal was blocked by other boats. I hadn't thought about the spreader level. Probably just as good.
We have installed a ubiquity omni-directional antenna/router combo on a friends sv that has a mast close to 100' off the water. We used a halyard to hoist it up to different levels. What was quite surprising was that the higher it went, the weaker the Marina signal was. Investigating further showed that the marina uses directional antennas pointing DOWN from their mast to the boats.. so.. by going too high we were getting out of the path. Hoisting to 12 feet off the deck was perfect. After this event, we have a loop of cable, a waterproof ethernet conector going into the cabin to the wifi router that distributes the ubiquity signal on board. When he needs to get internet (at anchor, or in the marina), he plugs in the cable, hoists the ubiquity on a spare line to the level appropriate and viola.. works perfectly.... and doesn't get in the way when sailing....


so.. sometimes the higher is not better, and other times you want it as high as you can.......

parts shown below....

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Old 18-06-2013, 21:13   #14
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Re: Ethernet Cable

Quote:
Originally Posted by zboss View Post
1) What ethernet cable has a good rep in the marine environment?
Get outdoor-rated, shielded, CAT5e cable. See Product List - Data-alliance.net
Quote:
2) I looked at the ubiquiti toughcable... is it worth it?
It is outdoor rated shielded CAT5e cable. Probably very good, certainly expensive. I didn't get it for my setup.
Quote:
3) I'm not familiar with installing new racetrack inside an aluminum mast. I assume you use aluminum rivets and what - pvc tubing?
That should work.
Quote:
4) Any Recommendations on website with pics of someone doing a mast wire install?
Sorry, haven't seen one.
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Old 19-06-2013, 11:10   #15
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Re: Ethernet Cable

Quote:
Originally Posted by SV_Inspirare View Post
my Ubiq. Bullet HP2 installation on the second spreader 50ft up
Inspirare, can you provide a bit more info on the spreader installation? How did you secure the antenna and run the wires?

Thanks
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