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Old 29-07-2015, 07:39   #1
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On board Wifi Router Considerations

Now that Comcast's public Wifi network has proliferated throughout the Puget Sound, I'm considering installing a Wifi booster, probably something like the Island Time PC setup. I'll also need to install a router, again, probably something like the Mikrotik RB951ui-2HnD Wireless Router that Island Time sells.

I'm clear enough on using the router to enable Wifi internet access for my on board internet devices (such as phones and tablets), but what I'm less clear on is how the on board network can be used for other things, such as my Garmin 741xs MFD. For example, I use the Garmin's internal Wifi radio to connect to my iPad for Bluechart Mobile. Will the presence of an internet enabled Wifi router change the way I do that? Will I be able to connect my iPad to the MFD and the internet at the same time? Can I connect the MFD to the internet to download firmware updates?

Aside from the MFD, I don't have any other onboard electronics that are Wifi enabled, and my boat is not big enough to justify a second MFD. So is there likely to be other things that would utilize the router in the future? Maybe VHF and/or AIS? If I install a N2K network, does that have an internet connection capacity (Wifi or cabled)?

Thanks,
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Old 29-07-2015, 07:51   #2
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

I should mention: the primary reason that I'm looking into all this is so I can access streaming TV with my iPad (Amazon Prime and Netflix) as well as network TV via my Tivo Stream, without burning through my 4G plan.
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Old 29-07-2015, 08:18   #3
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

Just use the personal hotspot on your existing iPad, then you won't need a router.
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Old 29-07-2015, 08:30   #4
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

The Garmin wireless enabled chartplotters are essentially acting as a wireless access point and will not be able to integrate with another wireless access point without additional hardware and configuration.

Your ability to stream video will depend on the quality of the connection available. Sometimes you will be able and sometimes you won't.
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Old 29-07-2015, 09:15   #5
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Just use the personal hotspot on your existing iPad, then you won't need a router.

I'm not sure I follow. Isn't the hotspot function for 3g/4g connection, vice wifi? That's how I connect now, but data is expensive.
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Old 29-07-2015, 09:34   #6
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

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I'm not sure I follow. Isn't the hotspot function for 3g/4g connection, vice wifi? That's how I connect now, but data is expensive.
Yes, and yes that can be expensive.

However, next gen LTE is on the way (in devices starting september 2015), it's at least twice as fast as the current LTE and it's got so much bandwidth that US carriers (including T-mobile and Verizon) are now offering unlimited 4g roaming data with no additional charges. Unfortunately, the Bahamas is not yet one of them.

If you care to look I did a short series on my experience using LTE and VoLTE in the Abacos. I also talked about some of the technology you might want to consider.

Staying on the Grid - Part 2 - Tiki Trek Sailing

IMO - wifi in its current incarnation is going away. The next gen wifi will have a usable range of about 30 miles but that's going to be a few years out. If I were to focus on a communications solution for your boat, I would focus on LTE first and wi-fi second.

Also a few years out (but closer than most assume) are the LEO wi-fi satellites. These will offer LTE speeds at about half the price of existing telecom or current LTE solutions and it will be available anywhere you can currently get satellite connections. There are several companies competing in this sector including Elon Musk and Facebook, Onenet, and a bunch of others. There is going to be a bidding war for those orbits.

We have a wi-fi booster but most of the wifi is so crowded that they do not work very well.

No, you cannot currently use your 741xs (I have one as well) in the way you think - at this time. You can connect to it to play music on your fusion stereo and you can use a couple of iPad enabled apps but that is all. Its better to think of the Garmin as being a server than a router.

Garmin does make a Sirius satellite tuner that works on NMEA 2K but you only use the MFD to control the tuner and stereo.
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Old 29-07-2015, 09:48   #7
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

Be careful what you ask for...
I go sailing to get away from all of that, TV included. Are you really sure you want to bring that aboard? Pandora's Box... once opened...
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Old 29-07-2015, 09:52   #8
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

[QUOTE=... but what I'm less clear on is how the on board network can be used for other things, such as my Garmin 741xs MFD. For example, I use the Garmin's internal Wifi radio to connect to my iPad for Bluechart Mobile. Will the presence of an internet enabled Wifi router change the way I do that? Will I be able to connect my iPad to the MFD and the internet at the same time?...

Thanks,[/QUOTE]

I think the Island website may answer your question, if I understand it correctly. They appear to have some beta software for this:

If you have one of the Garmin 4xxx through 8xxx MFD's with the ability of providing data out over an ethernet link to a router and would like to use our router for connecting your iPad or iPhone to this data using the BlueChart Mobile App, let us know when you place your order and we will include our beta configuration for this function. The configuration appears to be working but we need reports from more users.
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Old 29-07-2015, 10:15   #9
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

The IslandTime Garmin config will work for the 4 digit Garmin models that have an ethernet output on them but not the Garmin models that only have a wireless output.
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Old 29-07-2015, 13:57   #10
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

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Be careful what you ask for...
I go sailing to get away from all of that, TV included. Are you really sure you want to bring that aboard? Pandora's Box... once opened...
This is true... but right now many people, including myself, are not in a situation where we can just leave it all behind. So, being in touch allows us to both enjoy cruising and also still be in touch.

Like a lot of folks, we look forward to the day where we don't have to worry about email!
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Old 29-07-2015, 14:07   #11
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Lightbulb Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

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The IslandTime Garmin config will work for the 4 digit Garmin models that have an ethernet output on them but not the Garmin models that only have a wireless output.
There is an ethernet output on the 741xs but I've not played with that. My understanding from the instructions is that it is not active. Any info on that you could share?
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Old 29-07-2015, 14:30   #12
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

Zboss - The closest I've gotten to a 741xs is to download a manual. There wasn't any info about ethernet, only wireless.
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:20   #13
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark0808 View Post
Be careful what you ask for...
I go sailing to get away from all of that, TV included. Are you really sure you want to bring that aboard? Pandora's Box... once opened...

That's a great point, and is part of the reason I'm trying to do this with a tablet and wifi. I have no interest in installing a permanent TV.
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Old 29-07-2015, 17:27   #14
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

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Yes, and yes that can be expensive.

However, next gen LTE is on the way (in devices starting september 2015), it's at least twice as fast as the current LTE and it's got so much bandwidth that US carriers (including T-mobile and Verizon) are now offering unlimited 4g roaming data with no additional charges. Unfortunately, the Bahamas is not yet one of them.

If you care to look I did a short series on my experience using LTE and VoLTE in the Abacos. I also talked about some of the technology you might want to consider.

Staying on the Grid - Part 2 - Tiki Trek Sailing

IMO - wifi in its current incarnation is going away. The next gen wifi will have a usable range of about 30 miles but that's going to be a few years out. If I were to focus on a communications solution for your boat, I would focus on LTE first and wi-fi second.

Also a few years out (but closer than most assume) are the LEO wi-fi satellites. These will offer LTE speeds at about half the price of existing telecom or current LTE solutions and it will be available anywhere you can currently get satellite connections. There are several companies competing in this sector including Elon Musk and Facebook, Onenet, and a bunch of others. There is going to be a bidding war for those orbits.

I was not aware of any of this. I would actually prefer to use a cellular connection, if only the data price were lower. Looks like i should hold of for a while.

I assume this new cell tech can be connected to a router input, or can come in the form of a hotspot (like a mifi). Which solution would be better on a boat? (Might depend on whether the MFD can connect via LAN, as discussed in this thread).
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Old 30-07-2015, 02:00   #15
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Re: On board Wifi Router Considerations

Get a house in the 'Burbs.
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