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Old 20-04-2019, 03:30   #1
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Upgrading WiFi

I broke the antenna of my Microtik Groove, with a halyard. This is a dual band, single antenna (so apparently no MIMO), POE bridge/access point.



Rather than replace the crappy antenna, I wonder if it makes sense to upgrade the device itself. I notice that many outdoor bridge/access points now have dual antennae.


Anyone have any tips on the current state of the art?


The device itself is probably less important than it used to be -- at least in my cruising area, where very many harbours and marinas now have very good WIFI installations giving quite good connections via modest USB wifi dongles. However, at the same time, our demands for bandwidth continue to grow -- I've become somewhat addicted to Netflix


I still have my trusty Ubiquiti Bullet from years ago, which I could put back up, but I'm getting much better connections over 5ghz these days, and the Bullet is 2.4 only.


What about something like this:


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wireless-Wa...gateway&sr=8-3


It looks like the management has become simpler, too, since the incredibly clunky Ubiquiti days.
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Old 20-04-2019, 03:44   #2
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

Why not switch over to a KVH V3HTS or KVH V3IP broadband system to solve all of your offshore communications needs as well? Phone, internet etc, then simply use your mobile (cell phone) with an unlimited data plan for everything else?

https://www.kvh.com/Leisure/Marine-S...one-V3HTS.aspx
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Old 20-04-2019, 05:05   #3
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

What about something like this:


https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wireless-Wa...gateway&sr=8-3


It looks like the management has become simpler, too, since the incredibly clunky Ubiquiti days.
That is just a repeater isn't it? it has a huge range but do you need this on a yacht. We have a similar little Netgear repeater at home to extend the wifi, but it just re-broadcasts the existing wifi.

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Old 20-04-2019, 05:08   #4
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Why not switch over to a KVH V3HTS or KVH V3IP broadband system to solve all of your offshore communications needs as well? Phone, internet etc, then simply use your mobile (cell phone) with an unlimited data plan for everything else?

https://www.kvh.com/Leisure/Marine-S...one-V3HTS.aspx

Well, for one thing, when there is 20-30gbps wifi, which we find more and more in Northern Europe, I can stream HD video. I'm sitting here in Cowes getting actually 50mbps. Only in Finland do I have an LTE mobile plan which gives truly unlimited data at such speeds; elsewhere you pay by the gigabyte.



So Wifi is relevant no matter what other data connections you have.


And anyway, how much does that KVH system cost per gigabyte, and what is the speed? Would be great for some areas, I'm sure, but I doubt if it makes much sense around here.
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Old 20-04-2019, 05:16   #5
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
That is just a repeater isn't it? it has a huge range but do you need this on a yacht. We have a similar little Netgear repeater at home to extend the wifi, but it just re-broadcasts the existing wifi.

Pete

Well, it's a bridge (or AP if you configure it like that) -- so it connects to the marina wifi and allows you to connect different devices on board via a router.


The classical Ubiquiti Bullet which so many of us used for years, also boosts power, but I'm not sure that's really important any more, now that we are connecting to harbour/marina wifi which is pretty close by, versus trying to war dial a random restaurant somewhere possibly a mile away. I think we use mobile data now in that situation. So I think the main thing now is to get a robust connection with a good antenna from a high position.
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Old 20-04-2019, 08:32   #6
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

Why don't you simply replace your broken antenna with a good dual band antenna at a lower gain such as this one from L-com. This will give you the ability to use both 2.4 & 5ghz while connecting to marina systems. I think the ability to use 5 ghz will easily out weigh any advantages of the mimo on the 2.4ghz TP-Link radio referenced in your amazon link.
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Old 25-04-2019, 06:38   #7
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Why not switch over to a KVH V3HTS or KVH V3IP broadband system to solve all of your offshore communications needs as well? Phone, internet etc, then simply use your mobile (cell phone) with an unlimited data plan for everything else?

https://www.kvh.com/Leisure/Marine-S...one-V3HTS.aspx
This seems like an extreme answer to a non-extreme question.. OP asking whether he should replace the antenna of his marina/harbor WiFi extender for $100 or buy a new extender for a few hundred and your recommendation is he spend $17K USD on a global broadband mini-VSAT system that will also cost hundreds to thousands per month to use. I'm sure how you leaped to that as the answer.
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Old 25-04-2019, 11:48   #8
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

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This seems like an extreme answer to a non-extreme question.. OP asking whether he should replace the antenna of his marina/harbor WiFi extender for $100 or buy a new extender for a few hundred and your recommendation is he spend $17K USD on a global broadband mini-VSAT system that will also cost hundreds to thousands per month to use. I'm sure how you leaped to that as the answer.
Dockhead has expressed an interest in satellite communications on other threads, I thought a KVH system would solve his issue and be a system that could be transferred over to a new boat if he decides to buy one. It only costs $49 per month for a basic plan, not “hundreds to thousands per month to use,” as you implied.
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Old 25-04-2019, 13:26   #9
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Dockhead has expressed an interest in satellite communications on other threads, I thought a KVH system would solve his issue and be a system that could be transferred over to a new boat if he decides to buy one. It only costs $49 per month for a basic plan, not “hundreds to thousands per month to use,” as you implied.
Ahh, that makes a bit more sense, but there was no relevant context in this thread, which is why I was a bit taken aback..

I like KVH for customers with certain needs because the data cost is relatively low and you can get decent speeds. That said, the lowest plan I have seen that includes any data is $99 for 200MB, then $0.99/MB after. Cheapest data cost on the KVH is $0.39/MB if you commit to 2GB or 5GB.

That said, if you plan on using lots of data, need truly coverage, and you don't need the absolute speeds that the V3HTS can provide. The high data plans of the Iridium Certus service can be lower cost per MB, and the hardware is less costly.

But there are places for every system, all depending on regional coverage needs, pure speed requirements, total data usage needs, and budget.
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Old 26-04-2019, 13:16   #10
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I still have my trusty Ubiquiti Bullet from years ago, which I could put back up, but I'm getting much better connections over 5ghz these days, and the Bullet is 2.4 only.
The latest bullet (ubiquiti AC) seems to support 2.4 and 5. This is an area I've been wondering about myself but deferring a decision on until I really need it. In the meantime I've been getting by on the UK south coast with LTE but I'm still not so impressed with marina wifi that I couldn't make use of a wifi repeater solution.
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Old 26-04-2019, 17:13   #11
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

Dockhead-


What don't you like about the Groove? I just installed one but haven't tested other than at the marina.
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Old 27-04-2019, 11:50   #12
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Re: Upgrading WiFi

State of the art is a mixed blessing. Right now I think that is 802.11 AX ("WiFi 6") but then the question is how old is the equipment at how many of the places where you will be connecting? Yes, 5GHz is (finally) fairly common now, but if you figure the average system out there may be 3? years old...and the new standards deploying slowly...

I suspect that simply having anything fairly recent with 5GHz capability will give you the best bang for the buck, since the standards keep changing and 5G threatens to deploy in a couple of years, depending a lot on whether Huawei is allowed to sell anything to the carriers.

If all that broke is the antenna, that should be repairable, or inexpensive to replace. If the system has been working for you, that will let you bide your time while some standards settle down.
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