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Old 23-02-2012, 15:33   #76
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Originally Posted by Jengordon
It looks as of the land and sea bullet is the way to go for offshore wifi? Is there any other manufacturer we should be considering? Thanks!
Mikrotik but you quickly go overkill on this.

cheers,
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Old 24-02-2012, 10:37   #77
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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You are mistaken. N-mode _can_ operate in wider non-standard channels, as well as narrower non-standard channels (5, 10 or 40 MHz instead of 20 MHz) but normally use exactly the same 20 MHz channels as b/g modes.

It is in fact the b-mode clients who hurt total air-bandwidth and which should be banned. When you want maximum number of standard clients on an AP, n-mode gives by far the best results. For Ubiquity hardware this is 30 simultaneously clients. If you use the Ubiquity Rocket with Airmax enabled (non-standard, clients must be Ubiquity M-series), you can have 60 simultaneous clients, because Airmax eliminates the "hidden node" problem, which is the source of all wifi evil
Nick, You're going to have to help me here.

IEEE 802.11n-2009 specifically cites 'n' as 40 MHz strapping multiple channels together. 'b' and 'g' are both 22 MHz wide. If the bandwidth changes it isn't compliant, correct?

I regularly see way over 30 boats hooked up to APs in popular anchorages using 'b' and 'g' with reasonable speeds. In places with a whole lot of boats (or iPhones, or iPads, or whatever -- check your local McDonalds or Starbucks) everything just works. 800 boats someplace like Georgetown Exumas just isn't the right fit for 'n'.

I don't have a spectrum analyzer with enough frequency coverage to look at the RF. Network analysis doesn't really help without a ton of manual work to figure out who is doing what to whom.

So what substantiation do you have the that IEEE standards aren't what is deployed?
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Old 25-02-2012, 05:31   #78
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Auspicious,

You are looking at standardized extensions to the n-mode protocol to enable speeds up to 600Mbps. I agree that this is not realistic in busy anchorages. But n-mode also has standard low speed connection modes and public AP's limit channel width to 20 MHz. These modes which, compared to same speed g-modes, performs better than all that came before n-mode. While b-mode hurts wifi networks that support n-mode, g-mode does not.

Besides faster networks, n-mode was also developed to provide more solid networks.

Public AP's with more than 30 concurrent clients can not perform well. Research the "hidden node" problem to understand why.

ciao!
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Nick, You're going to have to help me here.

IEEE 802.11n-2009 specifically cites 'n' as 40 MHz strapping multiple channels together. 'b' and 'g' are both 22 MHz wide. If the bandwidth changes it isn't compliant, correct?

I regularly see way over 30 boats hooked up to APs in popular anchorages using 'b' and 'g' with reasonable speeds. In places with a whole lot of boats (or iPhones, or iPads, or whatever -- check your local McDonalds or Starbucks) everything just works. 800 boats someplace like Georgetown Exumas just isn't the right fit for 'n'.

I don't have a spectrum analyzer with enough frequency coverage to look at the RF. Network analysis doesn't really help without a ton of manual work to figure out who is doing what to whom.

So what substantiation do you have the that IEEE standards aren't what is deployed?
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Old 26-02-2012, 09:20   #79
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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Old 17-03-2012, 11:17   #80
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Here's the typical marina access-point that I set up here in Shelter Bay Marina;

It is an Ubiquity NanoStationM5 at the bottom for 150Mbps AirMax 5GHz uplink to the main building and above that an Ubiquity NanoStationM2 pointed at the dock it is serving, supporting up to 130Mbps.

You can see the single cable to each, which is a Ubiquity Toughcable (direct burial shielded cat5)

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Old 17-03-2012, 11:47   #81
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Typical for Shelter Bay Marina perhaps, but very unusual in the world of cruising. I am impressed that someone was willing to throw that much money at it, and of course it does take expertise to do the job right. Still, one could cruise for years and not see anything close to this standard.

In my current marina, it took me a year to convince the owners to spend $200 for a single Bullet, sector antenna, and mount, and I did the installation for free. In Italy I offered to install a system there, including a backhaul to the office, for about €1000 in parts plus my free labor - they deemed it too expensive. At the other end of the scale, Yat Marin in Marmaris spent a lot of money on a system which barely worked (actually it mostly didn't) - whoever put it together didn't have a clue about designing wifi networks and made just about every mistake in the book. But most of the marinas I have been in simply didn't have wifi access.

The wifi scene has been changing fast in the last few years; still I would count myself lucky if a marina I happened into had even a functioning 802.11g network. I would be in hog heaven if I found one like Nick's. I might never leave.
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Old 17-03-2012, 12:03   #82
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Perhaps we could put together a "how to" manual of setting up wifi networks for marinas. If cruisers simply had it onboard or could direct a marina to it and "no-brain" it then they may be more likely to invest. Including real costs and numbers would also help. I work in IT and a lot of times clients are more afraid of the unknown than the costs. You get horror stories where people try to do the right thing and invest 100s or 1000s of money and then have tons of problems. If you were a business owner that wasn't IT savy, wouldn't it scare you?

Providing them with a powerful resource of proven results, real costs, and even feedback from marinas/groups that use working setups could lure them and provide them with confidence as well as ideas to market their great setups to get more business.
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Old 17-03-2012, 12:27   #83
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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Typical for Shelter Bay Marina perhaps, but very unusual in the world of cruising. I am impressed that someone was willing to throw that much money at it, and of course it does take expertise to do the job right. Still, one could cruise for years and not see anything close to this standard.
Yes, I'm known for installing outrageously expensive wifi systems

The system on the photo costs a whopping $ 178.00 list price, I don't understand where the marina got the money from...

FYI: this setup is installed massively all around the world, especially in 3rd world countries. There is no cheaper solution other than the ziplock bag methods.

Here's another mega investment:




ciao!
Nick.
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Old 17-03-2012, 22:19   #84
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

That's a little misleading, Nick. I remember reading one of your posts on another thread that counted up all the hardware put into your marina - $178 my @$$! For the two radios in the photo, sure, but that is just a fraction of your network. I would expect that it would be possible to put in a lesser network for a lot less cost. But the larger point I would agree with - the difference between a great wifi network and a pile of junk is not mainly money - it is the expertise that designed and tweaked a custom solution. Target9000's suggestion for a how-to isn't a bad idea; there is a lot of relevant information that would help a many people. I just fear that it is a sizable project. And it doesn't lend itself to a recipe approach; it would necessarily be a primer on the different dimensions of the problem - designing and optimizing the network requires understanding the technology and tradeoffs, and a bit of innovation to apply it to the specific application. I wonder if there is anything already available on the internet?
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Old 18-03-2012, 05:20   #85
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That's a little misleading, Nick. I remember reading one of your posts on another thread that counted up all the hardware put into your marina - $178 my @$$! For the two radios in the photo, sure, but that is just a fraction of your network. I would expect that it would be possible to put in a lesser network for a lot less cost. But the larger point I would agree with - the difference between a great wifi network and a pile of junk is not mainly money - it is the expertise that designed and tweaked a custom solution. Target9000's suggestion for a how-to isn't a bad idea; there is a lot of relevant information that would help a many people. I just fear that it is a sizable project. And it doesn't lend itself to a recipe approach; it would necessarily be a primer on the different dimensions of the problem - designing and optimizing the network requires understanding the technology and tradeoffs, and a bit of innovation to apply it to the specific application. I wonder if there is anything already available on the internet?
The expertise is available in every part of every country. When there is Internet, there's engineers who build it. Ubiquity is so hot that they can't manufacture enough of it... for years already. You can find companies that supply and install these everywhere. There are no secrets to the configurations, just requires IT education and long enough career to become good at it. You can't replace that with a document... for a couple of radio's may be, but certainly not for the router and hotspot login system. The marinas have to hire somebody or find a retired Internet geek like me... plenty of them aboard yachts after selling their companies.

The NanoStation units in the photo's are $89.- each and that includes internal antenna and power injector; add a piece of cable and that's it. Each access-point can handle up to 30 customers, so the only reason to buy more is when you have more customers. The marina here charges $40 a month for the service, so the access point in the photo can support a monthly turn-over of $1,200.- What I mean is that bigger, more expensive systems are for bigger marinas with more customers. You can setup a service for under $200.- hardware total for max. 30 concurrent customers in one small area.

For commercial service you need a hotspot router (MikroTik $100.-) and of course DSL service for the Internet link. One MikroTik with one NanoStation is the minimum setup. The MikroTik routers are as popular as the Ubiquity radios in the 3rd world (cost fraction of Cisco with more features).

I used extra radios for 5GHz uplinks because that is cheaper and easier than cables. That 5GHz technology with the Airmax mode that is inside every M-series Ubiquity radio is as good as a physical cable. I would use that for my marina, renting out small NanoStationM5loco's with the service to boats, and put some low power regular access around the hotel, bar, restaurant area. The risk is that customers kill the radios they get, don't return them etc. plus the initial cost of $69.- each.

The big thing with AirMax is that it deals with the hidden node problem which is the big limitation and problem source for all standard access points. Simply explained: every station must not only be able to communicate with the access point, but also with every other station that uses the same access point. This is what kills most amateur setups in marinas.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 18-03-2012, 12:40   #86
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

I agree. What I think makes the difference in your case is that the marina is charging separately for internet access, at a rate comparable to other sources. This means a higher expectation of service from the customer, and also the cash to pay for it along with a tidy profit. The problem I have seen is that most marinas feel that they have to offer wifi as part of the the service, and view it as an additional cost (i.e. something to be avoided, or limited). And the installation business does itself no favors by pushing expensive equipment (e.g. Cisco) when inexpensive equipment (Ubiquiti Bullets) works just as well. After all, they are mostly Atheros or Broadcom chips inside, regardless of price.

Part of the problem in my marina is that the harbormaster/yacht broker shares his access with the wifi AP, and doesn't like to share. We have a Comcast 20MB/s connection, which can often drop to less than 10% of that rating. Since the harbormaster is using a cheap home router he doesn't have proper Quality of Service (QoS) features, and has simply limited the wifi to 64kB/s - 24/7. I want to scream... As you said, $100 buys a decent router, which would allow him to prioritize his traffic without otherwise limiting the marina. To do that, he has to 1) give a damn, 2) convince the owners to spend the money ($100?), and 3) have a clue. None of the above applies.

The 5GHz uplinks are pretty standard fare these days - I can't understand why some people (including "professionals") don't use them. At Yat Marin they used the same (very cheap) 2.4GHz wifi radios for the uplink as they did for the APs - and even on the same channels. Needless to say, it didn't work very well. And yes, it was installed by "professionals", and managed by a full-time IT guy on the marina staff.

Which brings me to my last point: while you are correct that the expertise is widely available, unfortunately there are a lot of people in the business who clearly don't have it. Clearly to an engineer, anyway, if not to marinas hiring to have the work done. Trawling through the forums (fora?)/wikis on Ubiquiti, DD-WRT, etc, and reading the relevant Wikipedia articles will yield up the relevant information, given a basic radio/computer expertise to start with. Still, the body of knowledge required is not small nor quickly acquired. I could imagine easily filling a class for a term with it, and have prereq's for networking and radio technology.
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Old 18-03-2012, 14:24   #87
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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while you are correct that the expertise is widely available, unfortunately there are a lot of people in the business who clearly don't have it.
That's an understatement 99% of them are like "the kid of the fellow he knows, who is good with computers". Amateurish is amateurish and when marina's decide that this is what they want, then I know I need a 3G link

Shelter Bay has 8Mbps DSL uplink for the Wifi now. There is no traffic prioritization but every customer has upper limits of bandwidth available (128Kbps average, 256Kbps burst, enough for Skype with video if the Internet in Panama handles it). Also, web browsing (all http port 80 traffic) is limited to 4Mbps (50% of total). This leaves bandwidth for Skype, email, https etc. as well as DNS, NTP and other "invisible" traffic

ciao!
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Old 18-03-2012, 14:43   #88
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Interesting QoS settings. The problem here is that the harbormaster is accessing with several computers in parallel with the wifi AP, all connected to the twinkie router. So the router's abilities tend to limit things. The alternative is to flash DD-WRT onto the AP; the commercial version has good QoS capabilities but costs about $25 - again, no stomach for investing in quality - easier just to limit access. Really dumb, as it wastes most of the bandwidth.

Personally I use VPN into my brother's server farm in Bend. It solves lots of problems besides insecure hotspots and messed up priorities. The geo-aware web sites don't transfer me to the local importer's site in the local language (e.g. C-Map).

Greg
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Old 22-07-2012, 15:45   #89
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

This thread has been dormant for a while I know, but I just wanted to share my real world experience about antenna placement, especially since I ignored the science and just did what fit right and easily on my boat, and figured if it didn't work I'd adjust next winter.

Heresy I know but now at the top of my mast I have my VHF antenna, and 3' 4" away my AIS antenna, and halfway between the two my bullet wifi antenna, all on the same plane. They are all working fine and I can't say I've experienced any practical problem between them at all, although maybe some sort of scope would prove differently. The VHF works as it always has with no noticeable new noise in he system. I'm receiving messages from Coast Guard transmitters very are away, and seem to have no problems reaching anyone around Narraganset Bay. The AIS is picking up targets 15+ miles away, and I know I'm being seen at least close in as I have received one direct call from a freighter. The wifi works better than I imagined in my marina (who uses Beacon Wifi services). Haven't really tested it for distance as I don't care much while underway.

So as a practical matter all is well and my antennas are all out of sight, out of the way and always available.

Since I was worried about all this I first talked to Shakespeare support and they told me 3+ feet would be fine, but 6' would be better. The guys at Island PC say their Wifi antenna placement can go close to VHF/AIS without issues. Finally, my electronics supplier says he has seen some interference problems but in his experience it depended on the VHF brand. Some bad, some fine. I have an Icom which is fine.

Your milage may vary, but this is all good for me.

JR
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Old 22-07-2012, 17:41   #90
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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3' 4" away my AIS antenna, and halfway between the two my bullet wifi antenna, all on the same plane.
How did you make this happen? I would love to see a picture if you have one. This is on my list of winter projects.
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