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Old 18-08-2016, 08:58   #1
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Wifi Radar ??

Have finally gotten round to upgrading my electronics, which includes a new digital radar from Raymarine. The old radome is down and the new ready to go up. Of course the cable connection is different for the new product !

I now have the exciting task of taking out the old cable from the mast (up at the first spreader) and trying to rerun the new cable - which is actually a larger diameter. The alternative is to run only the much smaller power cable - which should be a doddle and go wifi. The newer full cable will require enlarging the access hole at the base of the mast and drilling out a guide plate up top.

Whilst running the new cable for both power and data is my preference. The new Quantum radar has a Wifi option. I have bench-tested this and it seems to work just fine. But i am sceptical as to how reliable this would be underway. During storms and such - when radar may be most important.....

I have wifi for other elements - wifi internet and 4G alongside, wifi repeating for data to iPads and such ... but ..

Interested to get others view points on using Wifi for critical instruments around the boat when underway.

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Old 18-08-2016, 12:04   #2
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Re: Wifi Radar ??

Take it from an network engineer who's worked with Ethernet since the late 1980's and WiFi since 2001. WiFi is wonderful. It works great.

Would I trust it on a cruising sailboat for transmission of radar imagery from the radome to my chartplotter during a storm? No. friggin'. way.

WiFi uses what the industry calls unlicensed spectrum. Commercial AM and FM radio broadcasts worldwide require the broadcasters to license the spectrum (frequency range) they broadcast on - otherwise another broadcaster in the vicinity may use the same frequency and interfere with their broadcast. The same principal applies to marine VHF and MF/HF SSB, aeronautical HF/VHF/UHF, satellite, television, etc.

With unlicensed spectrum, anyone can manufacture and operate devices in that range. Granted, WiFi spectrum, like VHF, is limited to line-of-sight (and in WiFi's case, very low transmit power). Consumer microwave ovens operate in the same range (2.5GHz) and can very well interfere. Even with the higher frequency WiFi bands used by IEEE 802.11a/g/n/ac (5GHz), you can't use the full spectrum because (here in the US, at least), doppler weather radar overlaps some of the channels used.

Don't get me wrong - I love WiFi. I use it at home - but I also ran Category 6 UTP cabling to every room when I built my house last year, and run all the devices I can over it rather than WiFi. I architect and build secure WiFi networks for my clients at work.

On my boat, I use the built-in WiFi on my Raymarine e125 chartplotter - but only with the RayRemote app on my android phones and tablets. I use hardwired NMEA2000, 0183, SeaTalk and 100Mb ethernet for interconnecting all our navigation equipment. It works without interference.

I know that the WiFi capability of Raymarine's new radar array is neat, as is the TackTik line of equipment they acquired a few years ago. But if at all possible, I hardwire everything. It's much more robust in the end.

Cap'n Jon (KB1HTW)
S/V Beausoleil -1979 Formosa 51 Ketch
"If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there." - Captain Ron
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Old 18-08-2016, 13:51   #3
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Re: Wifi Radar ??

Ray is I think the second with Furuno wifi radar available for about 3 years now.

I remember reading about one of them using doppler effect being able to show the moving targets with a different color. I think this is on Ray, which gives it an edge.

I would have zero reservations to the technology. We have been using mobile phones, radios and wireless routers in all kinds of conditions. Why worry for a radar things would suddenly and unexpectedly take a dramatic turn for the worse?

You can always email the maker, ask for their stand.

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Old 18-08-2016, 14:20   #4
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Re: Wifi Radar ??

Would you be able to reboot quickly it if there's an odd system error?

My experience with wifi is that router/client performance eventually suffers and a quick reboot is essential. On my router at home, i use Dd-WRT and setup a 3am reboot everyday.
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Old 19-08-2016, 07:53   #5
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Re: Wifi Radar ??

Correct me if I am wrong but I think both Furuno wifi radar and Ray wifi radar are the new technology things. There is no "warm up" lead-in time.

You simply switch it off/on and it is reset. You can test this at any boat fairs.

Let me know what you find. I bet my beers on less than 30 seconds from on to on.

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