1- The bullet is cost effective, performant, and convenient (it does not require a coax cable, instead using a cheap
and lossless network cable, allowing mounting it as far up and away as you like).
2- Antenna required, usually a high gain vertical omni, or else a directional for those who need it. The higher the gain (omni), the narrower the vertical beam width. It's very unlikely however that the beamwidth will ever be too narrow (assuming you are not healing under sail). Antenna mount required, network cable (use outdoor cable if exposed to sun and elements), passive POE injector for 12V.
Optional: network switch (to share wired network with several computers
, printer, network storage); WIFI access point (to share wirelessly), needs to be low power
and sometimes need to change channel so as not to interfere with Bullet above. Note: the Bullet should be configured as router, hence the network switch rather than another router below decks.
4- Power Over Ethernet allows DC power for the Bullet to be fed via the network cable, along 4 unused conductors of the 8. The POE (passive) injector goes between the Bullet and the switch (or PC) and has a connection for 12V from the boat. An active POE injector would use 110/220VAC as a source and might inject 24V to the Bullet.
5- Today 2.5Gz is the public standard for WIFI access worldwide. 5Gz may begin to appear with time.
6- 600mW is plenty of power and may be more than legal
when using a high gain antenna. High power might get your transmission
to go further, but if you cannot receive the public access point signal, what's the point? Transmitting with 1W or more (as some do) probably make the conditions worse for everyone in the harbour, without actually gaining range. There is more to gain from a higher gain antenna, as you improve both send and receive.
7- N connector: yes standard everywhere.
8- Many miles, if line of sight and no interference
from other WIFI. We have connected 3-4 NM in remote
places. Depends as much on the shore access point as on your setup.
9- 3G: Switch off the Bullet and install an additional 3G router on your onboard network (switch) when required. International 3G routers exist (mostly in Europe) for GSM networks. Or cheaper, get a 3G USB dongle in local country, with prepaid service
, and use on one PC.
We have been using both the Bullet+12db omni and Ubiquiti's NanostationM2 (which has a built in directional antenna). The Nanostation, being directional, has the advantage of filtering out alot of interference
in busy harbours (with 30-40+ WIFI signals). It also creates less interference, as it only transmits/receives over about a 60° horizontal angle. Off course it has the great disadvantage that it must be rotated when the boat swings, and this is sometimes tedious. However having compared the two antennas many times, we have concluded that the Nano is almost always better. In noisy harbors the Bullet+omni is often hampered by interference but the Nano will connect. In weak distant signals the Bullet+omni sees nothing, but the Nano connects. In strong signals the Nano connects fine regardless of it's direction, since WIFI radio waves bounce off buildings, steel
pilings or vessels, plus it does actually receive somewhat all around. Our Nano is mounted on a telescopic aluminium pole on the stern, at a normal height of 10ft. Raising it to about 17ft sometimes helps for very distant signals, or if docked alongside tall motor
yachts. The NanostationM2 has two network ports
, so if you prefer, you can share it with two wired computers
by running two network cables
to the Nano, rather than using a network switch (only one cable would have the POE).
All Ubiquity devices are made for commercial/professional use, and have a good price/quality. Their user interface is however not very end-user friendly, and configuring it the first time is tricky for the unsavvy. Some enterprising resellers have rebranded the Bullet and supply it with antenna, cable, and a more convenient user interface, at a premium cost. For those (like us) who would rather pay less, I have written an illustrated Beginners Manual for Mobile Users, available on the Ubiquity website, or by request to me at email@example.com
Originally Posted by eddhewett
I have been doing my best to trawl through this thread and find the answers I want but unfortunately at this length its getting difficult. Therefore I have decided just to join in myself and make it longer :P
Basically I am looking to fit out a boat with a WiFi system. An antenna to be fitted about 6 or 7 meters off the deck
with a cable running into the boat where it would be fitted to a router to provide an in-boat wireless network or wired network. Obviously the longer the range the better. Unfortunately, after spending the hours skimming through this thread I now have more questions than when I started! Perhaps one of you could help me out.
1) It all seems to be bullet, bullet, bullet by now. Is the bullet really the best? What advantages does it have over other devices?
2) If you were building a system from scratch, what do you need as well as the bullet. additional antenna, router. . . anything else?
3) I am under the impression you need an antenna to plug into the bullet. Therefore what does the bullet actually do? and what different types of antenna are there and what are their benefits?
4) What is PoE?
5) What is the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz and what is preferable?
6) How much effect does the power have? Ubiquiti boast about their 600mW power for the bullet but why is that so boast worthy?
7) Is the N-type connector a fairly universal connector for all countries?
8) What ranges can you realistically expect from this system?
9) Is it possible to integrate a 3G simcard into the system somewhere for when WiFi is simply out of range? Can that simcard be swapped, depending on what country your in, so you can always get the best rates?
I actually do think I know the answers to a couple of these questions but I included them anyway as I thought it would be helpful to others if there was a sort of summary which could be referred to in future.
I realize this is a fairly big ask but there seems to be a couple of really knowledgeable folk here.