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Old 18-11-2011, 17:06   #1051
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Re: WiFi Devices for harbors

Apologise upfront for my entry level knowledge. I own an older sailboat and want to boost signal strength in anchorages to access internet hotspots for my one laptop (web-browsing/skype/skype phone/emails). Cost is an issue so I am trying to work around the "kits" like "5-mile" etc. that seem way overpriced.
My thinking is a Bullet M2 HP by Ubiquiti Networks, www.ubnt.com a 6 dBi omni antenna for maximum vertical signature, as the boat will be swinging on it's anchor. If this makes any sense, are Tough Cable and a POE adapter worthwhile/necessary add-ons? As an "old guy" struggling with simple internet issues, is installing the drivers and utilites straightforward or should I just "bite the bullet" and pay extra $$$ for a complete commercial kit like Bitstorm's Badboy Xtreme? Any ideas? Thanks, Mike
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Old 18-11-2011, 18:18   #1052
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Re: WiFi Devices for harbors

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Originally Posted by m1ke View Post
Apologise upfront for my entry level knowledge. I own an older sailboat and want to boost signal strength in anchorages to access internet hotspots for my one laptop (web-browsing/skype/skype phone/emails). Cost is an issue so I am trying to work around the "kits" like "5-mile" etc. that seem way overpriced.
My thinking is a Bullet M2 HP by Ubiquiti Networks, www.ubnt.com a 6 dBi omni antenna for maximum vertical signature, as the boat will be swinging on it's anchor. If this makes any sense, are Tough Cable and a POE adapter worthwhile/necessary add-ons? As an "old guy" struggling with simple internet issues, is installing the drivers and utilites straightforward or should I just "bite the bullet" and pay extra $$$ for a complete commercial kit like Bitstorm's Badboy Xtreme? Any ideas? Thanks, Mike
Go for a kit from IslandTimePC or wififorboats.com. You want a 12V POE adapter, not the 120-240V ones that Ubiquity sells. The two suppliers I mentioned will provide you with a complete kit at reasonable price.

ciao!
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Old 19-11-2011, 08:37   #1053
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Thanks for the advice Nick!
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Old 19-11-2011, 18:50   #1054
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

As of 2010 The Bullet kit with wireless router from Island Time PC is becoming the default wifi system for cruisers here in the Caribbean. It provides a goos signal to shore and the wireless router distributes wifi to iphones and other devices besides your laptops. Solid saltwater resistant construction makes installation a breeze with no setup software at all.
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Old 21-11-2011, 07:14   #1055
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by silverheels3 View Post
As of 2010 The Bullet kit with wireless router from Island Time PC is becoming the default wifi system for cruisers here in the Caribbean.
What's really meant is that as the dawn of 2012 approaches, the defacto standard for wifi on your boat is an ethernet based wifi receiver that includes a boat hotspot. This allows for connection with portable devices such as iPads, Blackberry, iPhone and other tablets that are now on the market and do not have ethernet (or USB) connectors. Pretty much every wifi vendor now offers something to meet this characteristic.

The important point is to review the product specifications from vendors and make an informed choice based on your needs and kit features. For example, acrylic conformal coating prevents moisture from damaging the PCB - not all vendors may offer this. Does the vendor offer the kind of mount you need? Are they using standard vanilla firmware that came with the receiver or did they create firmware that offers a user friendly experience? Also keep in mind that some product kits are capable of greatly exceeding the maximum legal power output of 36dbm (in North America) and you should be prepared to accept the risk of disrupting communications for others - including some brands of VHF wireless mics. Another consideration might be whether the kits are being carried by large resellers. Stores, like Budget Marine, research and verify regulatory compliance and product claims to prevent customer returns.

Certainly, anyone can cobble together the necessary components (Bullet, antenna, mount, cable, etc) and learn networking skills (DNS, DHCP, gateways, ports, etc). Or one can get a complete tested kit with all of that done for you. The choice will be yours.

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Old 21-11-2011, 08:34   #1056
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

The points you make are all valid. I have read the favorable review about your "Xtreme" in Practical Sailor, visited your website and contacted your sales team with questions that were responded to quickly. As my knowledge base on this issue grows, I can see the benefits you claim with your kits. For me, as I'm sure for many other wanna-be liveaboards, cost is an important consideration in all purchase decisions. Thanks for your advice.
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Old 21-11-2011, 08:36   #1057
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

I was recently contacted by someone offering a solution for internet on the boat. Here's the message I received "We had your email forwarded to us and thought you might want to take a look at this for the Boat. www.floridamarineav.com We have had a lot of success -- it provides internet throughout the boat without all the cost of the crew paying for air cards. If your running Vsat or immersat you can turn it off most of the time and switch over to this. Its a high powered tranciever that works with the cell towers but not the way an air card or phone does. Its called PTP protocal and can currently only be installed on boats. Works great to about 30 miles off shore with a tri-deck an 20 with smaller boats.
I asked: is a contract required: Yes --- its about $50 a month with most of the cell tower companies -- att, batelco, ect,ect --- we set up and configure the unit to run with their systems.
For technical details, your welcome to call me. Bruce Everett 954-790-1515"

A few e-mails later I've found that it uses cellular technology. He's a bit evasive about what make the equipment actually is. I'm wondering if anyone else has checked into this?
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Old 21-11-2011, 08:52   #1058
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

If you go to most of the big phone stores by the major players like AT&T you will find that they have the "next generation" of what was formerly known as "aircards." Since the new computers/lapbooks/netbooks/etc. do not have "pcmia" or card slots and only have USB connectors, they old "aircards" don't work. So they have a small device with a USB connector (sort of like the new "hockey-puck" GPS's) which you plug into your computer.

- - They also offer a form of "MIFI" or miniature router device that when combined with their internet "data device" to allow you to access your internet account with multiple computer devices including tablets and smart phones utilizing their built-in WiFi.

- - At the local AT&T store here in central Florida the price of the data device is about $50 and the "MIFI" or router attachment is $65. Monthly service is about $50 but you can use the system anywhere AT&T has coverage. That is very attractive for coastal cruising especially on the ICW where you can anchor in a back creek and still get "cell coverage" but cannot get city or marina WiFi.

- - The "MiFi" or local routers are getting simpler and more compact and can be used with most any form of powered WiFI system.

- - The biggest advantage that I see in the "Bullet"-type systems is the removal of the antenna cable. The antenna is connected right onto the "Bullet" and then a simple network cable is used to connect the device at the top (or other place) of the mast to your computer system down below. Running an actual wifi antenna cable 50 to 80 feet through and up the mast introduces a lot of complexity that is avoided by using a system like the "Bullet."
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Old 21-11-2011, 09:17   #1059
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Susan,
When they say it is not wifi and not an Aircard...well, Aircard appears to be one trademark from one vendor (Sierra Wireless) that has been appropriated like Kleenex for tissue. Translation: Either they stole exotic quantum transceiver technology from Area 51, or they are indeed using an "Aircard" by any other name, a cellular radio.
They seem to imply their's is a special one made by Sony, woo-hoo, Sony isn't much of a leader in quality or technology these days.
Personally I'd look askance at any claims from one vendor that refuses to be specific when it comes to questions like "what technology are you using?" when their product is, after all, supposed to be simple technology. Might be a good product, might be a reasonable price, might be they've got phenominal rates and roaming. But the smoke and mirrors attitude usually means "there's no there there".

Can only be installed on boats? Ahuh, sure. Last time I heard a story that good it was from a satellite internet dish provider, who swore that you couldn't install it yourself because you needed an "FCC satellite installer license". Which, oddly enough, the FCC had never heard of, and was fairly sure had never existed.

Would you go to a fishmonger who would only sell you "FISH! It is FISH!" without being a little more responsive about the product? <G>

Everything today is about putting the hocus in the pocus. Even with cellular...AT&T rushed into data services, using the same two bands they use for voice. Ooops, ran out of bandwidth. Which is why they are buying T-Mobile, who waited and paid a fortune for space in the (auctioned at a later date) 1700MHz band. While both are GSM...that also means equipment from either one cannot run at full speed on the other service, because they don't share their highest-speed bands.

So even with a cellular data sharing box (i.e. MiFi) you need to make certain the particular box you buy, will work well with the services of the carriers you will be using. Which for the Carrib would probably match the AT&T products that use both US and "world" (EU) bands, quad-band.

Or maybe that fishmonger has a new box that is really the first to use all bands, all modes, and really is a cut above the rest. You'd think they'd speak openly and proudly about that, if it were the case.
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Old 21-11-2011, 16:13   #1060
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Susan,

This is smoke and mirrors, like Hellosailor says. PTP protocol is a timing protocol to sync signals between communicating devices. All packet communications is done with these timing protocols.

The smoke they are blowing here is by suggesting that they incorporate devices with PTP protocol that let you use the cellular system for data. Well, they are telling the truth because there is no other way to use the cellular system! ALL cellular devices communicate this way now.

The protocol was developed specifically to allow circuit-switched telephonics to transfer to packet communications (i.e. talking "internet speak"). So there is nothing special or new there - it has been around for many years now.

I looked at that website and think it is a couple of kids who are trying to make money off of rich boat owners in FL. Nothing wrong with that, but they seem to be crossing an ethics line in selling their services by using misleading and alarming copywrite.

My personal favorite from their website is this quote: "Ipod (sic) integration into a music system is without a doubt on the cutting edge of desire for most boat owners and crews."

They then go on to explain how they can integrate your iPod into your music system. I'm sure that resonates well with 70yr old Florida megayacht owners, but almost any kindergartener today can plug in an iPod and all stereo systems today from cheap car stereos to high end audio come with built in iPod integration. Heck, for many of these systems you insert your iPod in the unit like a CD!

And anyone using that many exclamation marks in their writing (really, EVERY sentence?) should always raise a flag on the BS detector.

Mark
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Old 21-11-2011, 18:24   #1061
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post

Can only be installed on boats? Ahuh, sure. Last time I heard a story that good it was from a satellite internet dish provider, who swore that you couldn't install it yourself because you needed an "FCC satellite installer license". Which, oddly enough, the FCC had never heard of, and was fairly sure had never existed.


.
GEEZ, that was funny!!!! And needed from the FCC.


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Old 21-11-2011, 20:25   #1062
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Took another look at the website and lo and behold, there are no links to anything that describes what the stuff is or even who the outfit is. No "About Us." No address or anything other than a telephone number. And the price is outrageous.
- - So I agree with "colemj" that it is probably a less than reputable operation or if it is even an business in the first place.
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Old 01-12-2011, 14:55   #1063
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

A new record for us today! 10 miles minimum from here in Black Sound of Green Turtle Cay over to Bakers Bay on Great Guana. Of course, it was only because a power outage took away all the "noise" at this end I'm sure. Still...

George
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Old 05-12-2011, 05:22   #1064
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

[QUOTE=Waterwayguy;205270]Stay away from radio Labs. Lots of positive comments on this unit although the 5 mile claim seems a bit exaggerated. We use the Engenius EUB 362 with their omni-directional 8db outdoor antenna and we pick up signals up to a couple of miles away. I am typing this using it at our marina right now. We put the entire unit in a waterproof electrical box and haul it up when we need it.

Attachment 5066

It's good to hear that the Engenius EUB362 actually works for someone. I bought one from WestMarine in San Diego and tried to install it but due to poor wifi signal during first install it failed to do its thing. The instructions say " ensure you are connected to the internet before plugging in the device, as soon as your computer identifies the unit follow the prompts". Well, since my laptop running windows7 failed to identify it the first time there seems to be no way of trying it again as far as I can see...still not working!
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Old 05-12-2011, 06:19   #1065
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Sounds like the typical never ending usb driver trouble. Trouble that doesn't exist with the Ethernet products nor with the wireless products.

cheers,
Nick.
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