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Old 01-05-2018, 10:12   #1
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Wifi Extender

Haven’t been able to find a recent discussion on WiFi Extenders so here goes.. We’re just back from 4 months in the Bahamas and don’t want to step back into $50/mo internet bill here at the marina (Carolina Beach, NC) and when we depart again this fall it would be nice to have connectivity when available at anchor. Can anyone lend experienced advice to a good WiFi extender? Looking at the “Shakespeare Wifi-2 Heavy Duty Wifi Extender” but can’t find any reviews. Any other dependable units with multiple miles of range? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:16   #2
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Re: Wifi Extender

That shakespeare WiFi extender looks like a rebadged Ubiquiti Bullet M2 HP to me. Might have a skin on the web gui to make it simpler. Its also priced much higher than just buying the Bullet+ antenna!
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:00   #3
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Re: Wifi Extender

Rob - CF member wrwakefield has covered what they use on SV Denali Rose pretty extensively. Here is a link to his blog spot with that topic:

Denali Rose: Cellular and WiFi Data [Updated May-2018]

He has a background in IT so he is fairly knowledgeable about what works - at least for them. Good read

Ron
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:12   #4
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Re: Wifi Extender

Brilliant. Thank you
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Old 01-05-2018, 13:07   #5
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Re: Wifi Extender

We purchased a wifi antenna from http://www.islandtimepc.com/marine_wifi.html along with the router. It’s a complete package. Sure you could buy it all separately cheaper but being away from land based sources much easier to bring the whole package to the boat.

I can’t tell you how many times we have used this device while cruising. Best range was 3 miles.

The other thing is we often buy prepay wifi time from a supplier in a French Polynesia. They will beam it out to the anchorage’s. It costs a bundle so using the Groove system insures rock solid connection and the best thru put.

Since installing 4 years ago in Panama we give it two thumbs up. Plus the tech support from IslandTime is second to none.

Good luck

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Old 01-05-2018, 13:41   #6
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Re: Wifi Extender

If your smart phone has coverage where you will be looking ok into just subscribing to unlimited data and using it as a hotspot. Unlimited plan costs have plummeted this year and Verizon at least does not seem to throttle you when you tether.

WiFi at marinas can be painful with the interference and competing signals. I usually often get better results using my phone. YMMV.
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Old 12-05-2018, 17:37   #7
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Re: Wifi Extender

Looking like the Wirie pro is the way to go. I have stuff all data on my plan, and it's very inconvenient having to log different devices on and off the hotspot. I want to be able to use cellular data sometimes, extended wifi when near marinas, and have everything attach to a single place including the XB8000 so might be going the Wirie way...
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Old 13-05-2018, 19:48   #8
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Re: Wifi Extender

For WiFi and cellular data, I set up my own system. It consists of a Bullet WiFi radio and antenna mounted about 10' up on the wind generator pole and a 4G LTE omni directional MIMO antenna mounted on the stern rail. The Bullet is connected to a POE injector (included with the Bullet) via an outdoor rated CAT 5 cable at the Nav station and then to a standard $50.00 router from Best Buy. The 4G antenna is connected via two small outdoor rated coax cables to a Netgear 4G LTE modem containing a data sim card, also at the Nav station. The two cables are required for optimum 4G data so tx and rx can occur simultaneously (MIMO=multi input, multi output). The 4G LTE Modem is then connected to the Router via a switch, so I can either have the WiFi Data or the 4G data going into the router with the push of a button. The router is the hotspot for the boat, so any device connected to the router will get data from either the WiFi or the 4G LTE modem, whichever is connected. When you want to connect to a different WiFi hotspot, you log into the Bullet and select the hotspot you want. The devices on the boat only have to log into the router always with the same password. When I'm in the Marina, I log into the Marina WiFi via the Bullet. When I'm out cruising (West Coast of FL so far), I switch to the 4G Modem. So far it has worked perfectly.

4G LTE modem:
https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-LB112.../dp/B01N5ASNTE

4G LTE antenna:
https://www.semiconductorstore.com/c...dproduct=50314

Ubiquiti Bullet
https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-Bull...TTHS9S7Z1RZE78

Omni WiFi antenna
https://www.amazon.com/Engenius-Outd.../dp/B000VIA4CA

Network switch splitter
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

You will also need enough CAT 5 cable and coax to route to your Bullet and 4G LTE antenna.

I have a detailed write up on configuring the Bullet and router. If anyone wants it, send me a PM.
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Old 13-05-2018, 20:52   #9
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Re: Wifi Extender

Jerry, I just finished setting up a very similar system on my own boat. I also used the Netgear, the Ubiquiti, different antennas (cheaper, let's see how that goes), same switch and they all connect to a vYacht NMEA/Signal K router, which is connected to my Seatalk/NMEA2k network and spits out GPS, AIS, and instrument info to any device on the network.

Im very happy with the setup.

You claim the Ubiquiti came with a POE inyector (but it's AC, not DC). You can easily use this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And you can get the POE version of the Netgear (which I didn't and I regret it, but it does allow me to handle different on/off switches for the LTE and the Wifi modems/extenders).

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-LB112...oe+netgear+lte


The ubiquiti is a bit of a pain to setup, it DOES WANT a physical ethernet connection for the first setup. I only had my Macbook air which doesn't have an ethernet port, and had to buy one of those usb cheap ethernet adapters. :/

It's very nice to have vYacht running all the time, and having it be the center of my boat digital network. I just wish the Raymarine would use that same network for the Remote Control app, instead of wanting it's OWN wifi network. Oh well.
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Old 13-05-2018, 21:09   #10
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Re: Wifi Extender

Quote:
Originally Posted by gaucho View Post
Jerry, I just finished setting up a very similar system on my own boat. I also used the Netgear, the Ubiquiti, different antennas (cheaper, let's see how that goes), same switch and they all connect to a vYacht NMEA/Signal K router, which is connected to my Seatalk/NMEA2k network and spits out GPS, AIS, and instrument info to any device on the network.

Im very happy with the setup.

You claim the Ubiquiti came with a POE inyector (but it's AC, not DC). You can easily use this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

And you can get the POE version of the Netgear (which I didn't and I regret it, but it does allow me to handle different on/off switches for the LTE and the Wifi modems/extenders).

https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-LB112...oe+netgear+lte


The ubiquiti is a bit of a pain to setup, it DOES WANT a physical ethernet connection for the first setup. I only had my Macbook air which doesn't have an ethernet port, and had to buy one of those usb cheap ethernet adapters. :/

It's very nice to have vYacht running all the time, and having it be the center of my boat digital network. I just wish the Raymarine would use that same network for the Remote Control app, instead of wanting it's OWN wifi network. Oh well.
I was plugging in my Bullet POE injector into the AC outlet and running it off the inverter. I then bought a similar POE injector that you reference and was going to wire it directly to the boats 12V system. But then I noticed that the Bullet POE injector is sending 24V to the Bullet. So, I bought a 12V-24V DC transformer and hooked that up so the Bullet is receiving 24V. Are you powering your Bullet with 12V?
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Old 14-05-2018, 09:15   #11
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Re: Wifi Extender

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Woodward View Post
I was plugging in my Bullet POE injector into the AC outlet and running it off the inverter. I then bought a similar POE injector that you reference and was going to wire it directly to the boats 12V system. But then I noticed that the Bullet POE injector is sending 24V to the Bullet. So, I bought a 12V-24V DC transformer and hooked that up so the Bullet is receiving 24V. Are you powering your Bullet with 12V?
I went through the same doubt. Is the bullet using 24v or 12v. As with everything that has to do with DC voltage, it's all a matter of amps. You CAN use the Bullet with 12v, it just draws more amps

But I did go with 12v and had no problems at all with the device I posted. After much searching on the internet (without very concise or precise answers) I just bit the 8 usd bullet and ordered a 12v POE injector.

Actually that injector will pass on whatever power you put into it (12v, 24v, etc). So it doesn't really care, it will pass thru what you feed it. This proves useful if at some point you migrate to 24v (for whatever reason).

To go with it (and other devices I had to power like the venerable LTE modem (remember mine is not POE), I ordered this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I suggest you solder them to your power cabling, the wires are just too thin to crimp.

Everything works perfectly!
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Old 09-06-2018, 03:18   #12
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Re: Wifi Extender

Would definitely not recommend the Wirie. Ours has never worked as promised and there is an absolute lack of after sales service form the company. ours cost over $1200 Aud and is basicallya pretty box on a stick at the back of the boat 90 % of the time. It fails to hook up even if we are in sight of a cell tower and does not get wifi past about 400 yards from the source. Not sure how they get away with stating 20 NM. They are just cheap parts in a pretty box. we use our cells now with a dat share plan and bluetooth the ipads to them
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Old 11-06-2018, 16:22   #13
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Re: Wifi Extender

Stay away from The Wirie extender for wifi. Basically you spend almost 1,000 usd to buy plus install costs .... and you get insulted in return when there is a problem. This outfit is really a one man show which I didn't know until now. I bought a unit last week and it arrived when they said they were on Holiday. I contacted customer support, thereby interrupting their holiday .... not a good idea .... ! Find another system. I see Cobweb and BOKKIE on this forum had similar experiences with this company. So far the system is not working, an antenna is missing (not delivered) and I will supply one. Then we shall see.
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Old 11-06-2018, 17:51   #14
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Re: Wifi Extender

With regards to Cobweb, I would suggest people read this thread to get a complete picture of the claims Cobweb is making: Wirie Pro


Here is the entire ticket thread between meridian010 (Ignacio) and our company. People can reach their own conclusions (note we were on a scheduled and announced vacation from Jun 4-8):



06/08/2018 12:15 am Fwd: Help pls Ignacio
Hi, I just got delivery of the wirie pro and as you can see there are no remote wifi networks, which is not correct because I am sending you this email from it. What now?

[IMAGE OF 10.10.10.1 Network Information page showing an error message "No WiFi System Detected"]

06/08/2018 12:38 am Ignacio
Also,

I installed the extra antenna. Incredibly I am inside my boat about 9 feet under the antenna with hardly any obstructions and I get fewer bars on that signal than I do on the Marina's signal which is 100% bars. In fact, when inside the boat I can't log onto the network, I have to step outside to do it.

So far ... not very impressed with this product ... at all.


The 10.10.20.1 address is not working either when logged onto the wirie

06/08/2018 1:53 pm Mark [The Wirie]
We are sorry you are having an issue.

That message "No WiFi System Detected" is an error message. It means the two components in The Wirie are not communicating, which typically indicates the Bullet device is not powering on.

Since you are a new installation, the #1 cause for this issue is a wiring problem. Do you have The Wirie wired to a plug of any type, or direct wired to a 12V power distribution point on the boat?

We would recommend removing any plugs, fuses, switches and wiring the DC cable from The Wirie direct to a known good 12V source. Then check the 10.10.10.1 page for the Remote WiFi section. If it works, you had a wiring issue somewhere you need to resolve. If it still does not work, there is a chance of a hardware failure, however we do test all units before shipping so it was working when it left our office.

With the No WiFi System Detected, you will not be able to access 10.10.20.1. And in turn, the system will not allow your to scan for and connect to remote WiFi networks.

Let us know how you make out.

06/08/2018 1:58 pm Mark [The Wirie]
We are also not clear on "I installed the extra antenna."

Assuming the "extra antenna" is the 6dBi xG antenna, it has no impact whatsoever on WiFi networks (which is what you imply in your email), so I am not sure what you mean with regards to that.

With regards to not being able to access the admin pages from inside the boat, please let us know the following:

1) What size boat?
2) Brief description (or photo) of where The Wirie is mounted.
3) Where you are on the boat when unable to load the admin pages.


I would recommend you first correct the likely power issue, as it may be effecting the local WiFi network as well. Once that is resolved, if you are still having issues accessing the admin pages from inside the boat we can then address that issue.

And, you are welcome to return the product back to us within the 10 day return policy, no problem at all.


06/08/2018 2:30 pm Ignacio
Ok thanks
I logged into 10.10.20.1 by doing manual IP address. In there all the networks show and wirie is connecting but cannot get internet passed through.

When I change to 10.10.10.1 network still no remote networks.

A pro electrician connected this with a switch toggle into my control box. He confirmed wires good.


06/08/2018 2:43 pm Mark [The Wirie]
To be clear, you are stating you can access 10.10.10.1, and the message No WiFi System Detected is showing? Please be specific in what is showing on 10.10.10.1 next to Remote WiFi Networks if it is something else.

But, you can then access 10.10.20.1 directly and Scan for networks?

If that's the case, we have never seen nor heard of anything like this, and does not make any sense to me since if you can get to 10.10.20.1, then the 10.10.10.1 router can also get to 10.10.20.1 (which right not it cannot based on the error message).

Or what do you mean by doing "manual IP address"? Did you set a static IP on your computer/device?

06/08/2018 3:10 pm Ignacio
Can you please call me on 1 242 XXX XXXX. Easier.


06/08/2018 3:13 pm Mark [The Wirie]
On vacation, can call you on Tuesday the 12th. Or, can try to help a bit over email while away.

06/08/2018 4:00 pm Ignacio
OK,

I just hang up with electrician. He said the polarity is right and he is aware that the unit would melt if otherwise, he said he has installed many systems before but not this one brand. The system is installed direct onto 12v onto the dc board. I have spent 1,100 usd to have this installed plus 900 on your unit. I set all this up to have it ready for our cruise with our kids/family in August when we get back from Europe. I cannot accept to be told that I can return it within 10 days when we can't even trouble shoot the unit properly until Tuesday (when I'm not here). I am back in Bahamas and it will cost 200 $ to ship from here which is more than 20% of the cost plus the cost to get it back with a replacement as there is also 50% import tax plus 12% VAT in Bahamas. The second problem is that I am leaving for Europe on Sunday and back in August. Even if I return it in order to just get my money back it still costs me the shipping and import of the a different brand which I do not want to do. Basically this is a mess. I have a brand new useless unit 2,500usd unit on my mast now.

I guess it's my mistake for trying to save 500. I should have gone for the more expensive unit that the marina recommended.

Forget it ... I give up.

06/08/2018 4:07 pm Mark [The Wirie]
I never said or implied the polarity was incorrect. If it was incorrect, nothing would work at all.

The wiring issue that typically causes this is a bad crimp connection, which results in a voltage drop, causing one of the components not to start up.

We can be flexible with the 10 day return policy because of our vacation. Not a problem.

We are sorry for all the scheduling issues/plans you have, and we are willing to work around them as best we can to sort out the issue.

Are you available right now for a call? I can try to call you from where I am now. Please confirm ASAP.

06/08/2018 4:10 pm Ignacio
I am

+1 242 XXX XXXX



[Called Igancio on the phone. Discovered customer has re-wired internal wiring of Wirie pro for some reason and that was why The Wirie was not functioning correctly.]



06/09/2018 11:10 am Ignacio

Mark,

I am sorry to report that I have not been having much joy with this system since we fixed the connection. The broadcast signal is very poor. Constant drops. As you can see in one pic barely 30mts from my boat "plan du fou" in background and can't connect (ch1 max power, tried 6 and 11 as well with same results ... In fact I also tried the others). Even down below decks 3 meters away from the antenna and still very poor reliability or really struggling to connect. There are lots of networks here (64) on the 2.4ghz as you can see and some broadcasting at almost 2x power of this router. I'd like to think that this is the issue but if so then this product is not performing as advertised in real world conditions because it's getting stepped on by more powerful systems everywhere. My concern is the constant drop off even at close range. If that's the case when underway .... Then not very useful.

Whatever the case. So far, as you can understand, and leaving yesterday's connection issue aside, I can only say that this system is quite disappointing. I'm not going to return it at this time because like I said before we need to trouble shoot it. This won't happen until I get back. It's only fair that you allow me to return this unit when I get back from Europe if the trouble shooting doesn't work in August.

I have attached a bunch of pics for your perusal.

Thanks

Ignacio


06/09/2018 12:00 pm Antenna missing? Ignacio
Is there an antenna missing top left thus the connectivity issues?

[Photo included of installed Wirie without local WiFi antenna installed]

06/11/2018 12:52 pm Mark [The Wirie]
What is disappointing to me Ignacio is every time you have an issue you immediately put the blame on us instead of just asking for some assistance about what the problem might be. Treating people with respect is an important part of forming a good relationship.

We interrupted our vacation (which you should have known about as it was posted on our website well before you placed the order), to diagnose an issue that was created by either you or your installer, yet, all the emails and conversation put blame on us and our product. There was no explanation from you about why someone changed the internal wiring of our product, but this problem should not even remotely be blamed on us as the product was not shipped to you in the state it was when we spoke on the phone. Your frustration was severely misplaced.

Now, on a Saturday, you contact us with another issue, again, putting the blame on us and how disappointed you are with our product and asking for us to extend our return policy because of a trip that you have. This again is not a great way to have a conversation. Did the thought even cross your mind that perhaps if you read the manual, and confirmed the installation was performed correctly, you might discover the issue and not blame us? I assume not. Maybe next time. Maybe the $1100 spent on a "pro installer" is where the frustration should lay. Often installers will contact us directly to discuss the installation if they have not worked with our products before. Perhaps that might have been a good idea since the installer does not seem to have read the installation manual either (not that it is overly complicated).

So, to answer you questions. Yes, based on your photo you are indeed missing the local WiFi antenna. Your description of the issue you are having was not clear, but assuming you mean that your connection to the local Wirie network keeps dropping (as opposed to a remote WiFi network or xG network), certainly not having the antenna installed would cause that behavior. Have you read the installation and user manual for The Wirie pro? If not, we would strongly suggest you review this as it has full installation instructions (and how all the antennas that should be installed). Also, based on the limited view in the photo, The Wirie is mounted far to close to your KVH dome and you will more then likely have interference issues because of the large metal sheet inside the dome being so close to both WiFi antennas (I cannot see the xG antenna). Also note that the radios in The Wirie pro can be damaged if they are operated without antennas attached, and this damage would not be covered under warranty.

Regarding the return, no, we will not honor the return in August when you return. Our return policy is 10 days. Certainly if our vacation interrupted diagnosing or sorting out an issue we would be happy to extend that as I mentioned in a previous email. But you contacting us on a Saturday, and then leaving the boat for 6-8 weeks, is in no way our responsibility. I don't even understand how you would think that to be honest.

Anyway, hopefully when you get back to the boat, and read the manual, you can get the unit properly installed. At that time, you are welcome to contact us again with any questions or issues, but perhaps your should adjust your attitude a bit and not just assume every problem you have is with our product (there are many reasons for issues with long range WiFi/Cell connections, and believe it or not, they are not our fault). We are happy to help resolve any issue any customer has with our products, but relationships work better when there is some mutual respect between the two parties.

Have a good trip.


06/11/2018 3:55 pm Ignacio
.... A 900 usd price tag item and the message is ... Don't disturb me on my holiday ....... RTFM and drop the attitude.

No need to continue this conversation.
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Old 11-06-2018, 17:59   #15
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Re: Wifi Extender

Quote:
Originally Posted by meridian010 View Post
So far the system is not working, an antenna is missing (not delivered) and I will supply one
We are quite confident the antenna was shipped to you. All shipments are checked three times before being sent out. I suspect the antenna was misplaced somewhere between the United States (where it was shipped), the Bahamas (where your boat is), and your third party installer. If you contact us directly we can certainly supply a replacement.
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