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Old 29-01-2010, 07:58   #16
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There is a new class of WiFi systems that can be created using Ubiquiti's products. That is what Wi-Fi for Boats is using. There are others doing the exact same thing with the exact same products. One person I've worked with (no affiliation other than a purchase that I made) is Island Time PC. He operates his business from his boat too but has lower prices for the exact same things. If you're looking for longer-range WiFi, Island Time should be checked out.
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Old 29-01-2010, 09:42   #17
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I had a look at the WiFiForBoats site. I gotta say that a 15dBi andtenna has way too flat a signal radiation pattern. Just the rocking of the boat will be enough to cause the connection to drop in and out (personal experience just using an 8.5dBi).

I also wonder whether the maximum power allowed by law is being exceeded. It doesn't state on the site anywhere whether he's turned down the output power of the radio as required by regulation when using anything greater than a 6dBi gain antenna?
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Old 29-01-2010, 10:23   #18
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Just a quick note about this... the 802.11 protocols are one thing. The frequencies used (the channels) fall in the Amateur Radio Bands (believe it or not).

So... those of you who are hams can use higher power levels to begin with, but there are some limitations on you (can NOT use encryption, etc if you're setting something up).

But you could use a higher power (modified unit) legally and help get others onto the internet if you liked

BTW the Pringles can is a good idea - it's a directional antenna. Only issue I'd have on a boat would be being anchored out and drifting in your radius and losing the link because you're not pointing at the AP after a few minutes.

But in a slip where you have no lateral movement... it's a great idea.
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Old 29-01-2010, 10:38   #19
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I also wonder whether the maximum power allowed by law is being exceeded.
Oh, I'm sure it is. On the Ubiquiti WiFi radios, there's a checkbox that literally says "Obey Regulatory Power". But uncheck that and you can up the power to what I assume isn't legal. Checking the box again will lower the power slider automatically.
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Old 29-01-2010, 11:53   #20
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There is a new class of WiFi systems that can be created using Ubiquiti's products. That is what Wi-Fi for Boats is using. There are others doing the exact same thing with the exact same products. One person I've worked with (no affiliation other than a purchase that I made) is Island Time PC. He operates his business from his boat too but has lower prices for the exact same things. If you're looking for longer-range WiFi, Island Time should be checked out.
We've had excellent results with this system from Bob at Island Time PC:

Marine WiFi Systems

No affiliation, just a happy customer.
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Old 29-01-2010, 12:25   #21
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That is what Wi-Fi for Boats is using. There are others doing the exact same thing with the exact same products
That is just incorrect. The price difference is because you get a cheaper antenna.

cheers,
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Old 29-01-2010, 12:48   #22
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I had a look at the WiFiForBoats site. I gotta say that a 15dBi andtenna has way too flat a signal radiation pattern. Just the rocking of the boat will be enough to cause the connection to drop in and out (personal experience just using an 8.5dBi).
Well, your experience is different from mine and many others then. I never had any trouble with my 8.5dBi omni from Hyperlink. The antenna he sells has a 7 degree vertical opening angle so unless you are "rocking" more than 7 degrees it works fantastic.

I do agree that the high gain antenna's are not usable while sailing or wild rolling. But it's not meant for that.

In marina's we use a 15 dBi Yagi directional antenna. Yes you can make something similar from a Pringles tube but a Hyperlink Yagi costs just $25 and lasts for ever.

When you can use directional, it is better to use directional. Let's take my Yagi which has a 60 degree horizontal opening angle. That means that 5/6 of it's horizontal view is attenuated which translates to an 83% noise reduction when you are in the middle of a group of boats using wifi. What counts is the signal-to-noise ratio so dB's less noise is as good (better really) as the same amount of dB's in extra gain or amplification.

ciao!
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Old 29-01-2010, 13:33   #23
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That is just incorrect. The price difference is because you get a cheaper antenna.
You're right. The picture looked the same and I assumed it was the 8 dB antenna.

I've had an 8 dB, 11 dB, and 15 dB antennas from Hyperlink back in the days where you had to put the whole thing together yourself. There is some difference between the 3 but to be honest, I wasn't able to connect to sites any better with the larger antenna. You could "see" more sites often but those lower signal power valued sites never gave good connections.

I like the smaller antenna now. Perhaps Wi-Fi for boats can offer a smaller antenna and have a lower price.
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Old 29-01-2010, 14:07   #24
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Our company installs Wi-Fi systems in marinas and yacht clubs. A typical installation will see 6-8+ APs, installed high (40-50' up) and pointed down onto the harbour area from above. This is to give everyone a good opportunity to get as much of an unobstructed line of sight to one or more APs. When we tested with different antenna gains, we found anything over 8.5dBi didn't connect with the closest APs. This was because their radiation pttern was too flat and the APs they connected with were on the other side of the harbour. They were going through the metal forest and would experience dropouts.

In our experience, most people do not want to hoist antennas up a halyard or tinker with parabolics, etc. (I truly appreciate those who do - makes my job easier.) Users don't want to carry different antennas to accommodate for different locations. They don't want to know about attenuation, SNR, noise floor or dbs. They just want to get on the net. Truth is that the majority of the time, people are going to be less than 1 mile from the AP. A 6dBi antenna has an unobstructed range in excess of 3 miles (we've tested to almost 5nm) when coupled with a 1000mW radio and connecting to a suitably capable AP. That's why we only offer a 6dBi. I just returned from the Grenadines where we logged in everywhere using a 6dBi omni - no muss, no fuss... just turn on and go. Anything over 8.5dBi may be OK when you'll be staying anchored for a long time and need the extra bit of range.

Regarding Ubiquiti "Obey Regulatory Power": That checkbox is only to limit the power based on the restrictions of the country selected. Changing antenna gain will have no effect on this value.

BTW: How do you recognize a 'cheaper' antenna?

Sorry for the long post. This is a great forum!
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Old 29-01-2010, 14:20   #25
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I am a low tech person but to me the simpliest solution for your specific problem is to work on the source of the signal. Can the marina direct the signal more or add another unit to what ever it is using to broadcast the signal. You might be cheaper off to buy them an additional unit and help your dock mates at the same time. You might get to be the nicest guy on the dock.
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Old 11-04-2011, 06:33   #26
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Re: Hate to Even Ask, But . . . Extending WiFi Range ?

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If you're just looking to boost the signal a little in the way you described, here's a pretty Mac-friendly solution:
BearExtender n3 - Mac USB Wifi Adapter - Home

It costs $45 and will give you a little more range. It won't provide miles of access in remote anchorages but it should give you a much better signal in a marina.

If you wanted something to greatly extend your range, then you're talking about something more complex - remote amp/modem with antenna, low-attenuation cabling, etc. There are a few solutions for that. I just switched to a Ubiquiti 2HP on an 8 dB antenna connected to a boat wide WiFi router. It isn't that expensive to accomplish ($300?). Island Time PC has a good set of products that work well together. I'm currently in Charleston waiting for the weather to warm up to head south and I'm seeing 2-3 miles of range in this busy area. I expect it to give 4 miles in the open/Bahamas.

No affiliation with any of these products - I've seen the Bear Extender at work and I have the Island Time solution.
How's the system from Island time working out?

We're cruising and need to update our old WiFi network as it no longer is supported by the maker (Alfa Network Bridge doesn't work with Snow Leopard). So I'm looking for something with a router for whole boat connectivity.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:04   #27
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Re: Hate to Even Ask, But . . . Extending WiFi Range ?

We are using flat directional antenna that helps a bit. It is biggish.

Our problem is local 'technicians' who installed marina equipment so that it beams on local (and unoccupied) boats. Meanwhile, cruising boats are sitting on the edges of the beam. Ye, Spain is great.

b.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:29   #28
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Re: Hate to Even Ask, But . . . Extending WiFi Range ?

Thanks for the reply. We're in Florida heading to the Bahamas soon and I need to get a long range WiFi system in place. had no idea that what I had wouldn't work when we upgraded Macs.

Spain - sounds wonderful!
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Old 15-04-2011, 09:14   #29
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Re: Hate to Even Ask, But . . . Extending WiFi Range ?

Thanks for this info. Island Time prices do look good. When installed will post comment on how good it is.
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Old 16-04-2011, 01:49   #30
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Re: Hate to Even Ask, But . . . Extending WiFi Range ?

EnGenius 2611p £69.95

These guys are well regarded by people on ybw.
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