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Old 22-07-2012, 18:18   #91
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Here's a picture of my masthead before I made the change but it's pretty much the same now. The antenna to the left is the VHF. It hangs on the rod about 2 ft aft of the mast. The old whip you see past the tricolor light is where the AIS is now. It is mounted to top/side of the mast over there. The hard antenna you see in the middle is an old cell phone unit. I've use the same mount location on the top/side of the mast there for the wifi antenna. So actually my wifi antenna is much closer to the AIS antenna than the VHF.
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Old 01-08-2012, 18:25   #92
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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Originally Posted by jr_spyder View Post
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

JR,

My marina also uses Beacon wifi. I'd like to setup a router to connect to it (linksys with ddwrt) so I can share my connection throughout my boat. But I'm stuck because they use a browser based login screen. I can't find any information about bypassing the splash screen and logging directly to their routers with my username+password via ddwrt (or any type of router).

Does the ubiquity router allow for the spash screen, or are you able to bypass it?

Any info would be helpful.

Thanks.
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Old 01-08-2012, 18:57   #93
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

here in mexico is mikrotik...is bad wifi with weak signals--is in marinas in mazatlan and in la cruz--may also be at other marinas....needs booster--wish i had one--and the signals are allergic to lightning within 20 miles.....always needs repairs after even lightning without rain....my wifi antenna is not on masthead--is close to my comapnionway--

the dickie type antennae do attract lightning. neighbor got hit only on wifi antenna...was only thing damaged.
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:08   #94
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

I'm using a Netgear router - it's not specifically ubiquity. I have a similar login problem that I haven't really dug into yet. I will see if I can automatically login next time I get a chance. I saw a feature either in the Bullet software or the Netgear software asking if my ISP needed a login. Can't open either of those now since I'm not on the boat, and not sure if that's the right feature anyway. Right now I power up the bullet and the router and wait for them to boot. Then I open a browser in any device - iPhone, laptop, etc. and do the Beacon login. Then all other devices are all set and no additional logins are needed of course.

JR
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:03   #95
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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Originally Posted by jr_spyder View Post
I'm using a Netgear router - it's not specifically ubiquity. I have a similar login problem that I haven't really dug into yet. I will see if I can automatically login next time I get a chance. I saw a feature either in the Bullet software or the Netgear software asking if my ISP needed a login. Can't open either of those now since I'm not on the boat, and not sure if that's the right feature anyway. Right now I power up the bullet and the router and wait for them to boot. Then I open a browser in any device - iPhone, laptop, etc. and do the Beacon login. Then all other devices are all set and no additional logins are needed of course.

JR
Thanks.

Last time I tried I got frustrated and gave up. I think I'll mess with it again this weekend...
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:04   #96
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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Originally Posted by callmecrazy View Post
My marina also uses Beacon wifi. I'd like to setup a router to connect to it (linksys with ddwrt) so I can share my connection throughout my boat. But I'm stuck because they use a browser based login screen. I can't find any information about bypassing the splash screen and logging directly to their routers with my username+password via ddwrt (or any type of router).

Does the ubiquity router allow for the spash screen, or are you able to bypass it?
I don't quite understand the issue. If you're router connects to Beacon wifi the first browser from any device inside the boat should get the splash screen. When you log in any other device that is internally connected will share that same connection.

The router connects to the shore-side AP. Anything that comes from any computer on your side of the router looks like the router to the AP. No problem.

I run a Ubiquiti Bullet through a switch to a WRT-54GL and have no trouble with log-in splash screens. You don't even need the switch, just the Bullet and a WiFi router.
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Old 02-08-2012, 13:02   #97
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

One thing that might reduce this issue is for the folks with the AP to use cookies with a long duration. Basically when a client logs in with his/her browser a cookie can be set which will then be used to log in later. Of course the browser still has to have this interaction first before mail is checked, etc, but it minimizes logins. Mikrotik has cookies as an option, but defaults to expiring in 3 days - easy for an admin to change.

Greg
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Old 02-08-2012, 14:08   #98
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

mikrotik offers ability to change only to marina and only to the 2 individuals in the marina allowed to repair the mess after lightning storms. we are not granted ability to do anything other than sign into the network to use it for our signalz for internetz. would be nice if there were that option.
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Old 02-08-2012, 14:21   #99
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Yes Zee, as always the hardest thing to do is to get admins to actually care enough to make their systems user-friendly. And restrain their instincts to secure the AP from use by customers...
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Old 02-08-2012, 16:31   #100
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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I don't quite understand the issue. If you're router connects to Beacon wifi the first browser from any device inside the boat should get the splash screen. When you log in any other device that is internally connected will share that same connection.

The router connects to the shore-side AP. Anything that comes from any computer on your side of the router looks like the router to the AP. No problem.

I run a Ubiquiti Bullet through a switch to a WRT-54GL and have no trouble with log-in splash screens. You don't even need the switch, just the Bullet and a WiFi router.
It's possible I was just trying too hard... I thought I needed all the login information along with the ip information. I was trying to do the router/bridge mode....The problem I was running into is that beacon uses several routers plus whatever server handles the login webpage (all different IP's) and I don't know which one handles the actual wifi login. Plus, the wifi security protocol isn't username based (just a password). but their login page is username/password.

But it sounds like You guys are saying I should just connect to the open wifi, and handle it in the browser. Sounds simple enough

I'll give a go again this weekend.
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Old 02-08-2012, 17:55   #101
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

To be a little more specific, the protocol is for the router to not pass any data until a page request shows up on port 80. Port 80 is the http port used by browsers. The router then responds to that request with its own login web page. At the same time the router may request any saved cookie in order to automatically log in. After login the router should redirect to the originally requested page, and open the other ports. The redirect from your requested page to the login page can be blocked by some anti-malware software, which spots the switch. If that happens the login IP address will need to be added to a whitelist, or simply use a different browser without the feature. This one bit me...

I hope it works well for you.

Greg
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Old 03-08-2012, 12:43   #102
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

The whole cookie thing is a red herring.

When your wifi extender (Bullet or whatever) tries to connect it gets "provisioned." That means an IP address is assigned by the DHCP server and DNS addresses are provided to you. The DHCP communication means the shoreside AP has the MAC address of your Bullet (or whatever). Network address translation (NAT) in the Bullett makes any client on the boat side look like the Bullet (same MAC). When you fire up a browser and log in that log in is associated with the MAC of the Bullet. All your clients are now logged in.

On all the systems I have worked on and with it works this way. Cookies aren't relevant. No one would sign up to a WiFi system that didn't work with IM and e-mail, which don't have cookies.
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Old 03-08-2012, 13:29   #103
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

I'm not clear what distinction you are making. The point is first that a browser requesting a page is needed to bring up the login, and second that sometimes it is automated after the first time, with a cookie which has an expiration date. The essential precondition is a page request. That is not always obvious when it happens automatically using the cookie, so when the cookie expires it is also not always obvious that the IM and email failing to work is fixed by running the browser and requesting a page (which both logs in and sets a new cookie). Mikrotik's default of 3 days for cookies is just long enough to get used to not logging in, and then suddenly the other services fail if the user doesn't happen to use the browser first.

So, the point with the cookie is that it can result in confusing behavior for logins, and to be aware of such.

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Old 03-08-2012, 13:57   #104
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

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The whole cookie thing is a red herring.

When your wifi extender (Bullet or whatever) tries to connect it gets "provisioned." That means an IP address is assigned by the DHCP server and DNS addresses are provided to you. The DHCP communication means the shoreside AP has the MAC address of your Bullet (or whatever). Network address translation (NAT) in the Bullett makes any client on the boat side look like the Bullet (same MAC). When you fire up a browser and log in that log in is associated with the MAC of the Bullet. All your clients are now logged in.[...]
Not always

While it is true that IP configuration is done across the link, the shore side access point may still be configured to forbid any outbound traffic until user authorises with their credentials. The authorisation service may be either built into the AP or provided externally, in which case AP will redirect to it.

In almost all cases user interface to such authorisation services is presented as some form of a web page.

Many commercial APs in the Mediterranean are set up that way. Often with external authorisation service configured, so the same provider may offer service on a wide geographical area using many APs.


I notice that writing about computer related gear makes my 256th post. How very appropriate...
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Old 03-08-2012, 14:19   #105
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Re: WIFI Amplification, Feb 2012: How Far , How Fast , How Much ?

Now if you can get the forum to start numbering the posts from 0, you would have the more appropriate 255.

Probably a nuance just for geeks...
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