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Old 20-11-2018, 10:50   #1
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Predictwind with Iridium Pilot/Sidekick

Hi there.
Has anyone used the Predictwind offshore App with the Iridium Pilot/Sidekick?
I've contacted Predictwind and they state the the Ocens Sidekick is a competitor product so they wont support it. Ocens suggested that its best to use their weather service instead of Predictwind.
The Sidekick is simply a hardware router like the RedPort Optimizer. I expect I just have to create a firewall setting to open a port. Has anyone done this?
This is for a friend who is currently offshore in Southern Chile. The ability to get weather would make them very happy.
Thanks
Gary
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Old 20-11-2018, 23:22   #2
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Re: Predictwind with Iridium Pilot/Sidekick

There are a couple of options....

1.) If your friend logs in to the Sidekick admin GUI they may be able to modify the firewall and open a rule to allow connection to predictwind.com. Then Predictwind Offshore will be able to connect through it using the "Web" download option.

2.) Since your friend has a SideKick from OCENS, do they also have OCENSMail service? If so, PredictWind Offshore can generate an email request, then send/recieve via OCENSMail, and then open the GRIB file in Predictwind Offshore when it is received a few minutes later.

3.) Can use OCENS Weather insted of PredictWind

4.) Can replace the SideKick with a Redport Optimizer

5.) Can plug the computer directly into the Pilot without the SideKick and download. BUT, this will allow the PC/Mac to directly access the Internet though the Pilot and burn TONS of data doing all sorts of background tasks. You *could* install something like TripMode (www.tripmode.ch), and block all applications except for PredictWind first, but either way it's risky.

OCENS SideKick manual is pretty sparse but they do show a Firewall configuration page screenshot in their online manual for configuring the SideKick to allow a different app. But that's all they show.

The most difficult thing about the firewall settings will be allowing Predictwind without allowing everything else. Predictwind servers are running in the AWS cloud (Amazon Web Services) along with a billion other services. So you might need to allow all of Amazon, which could open you up to a lot of other services burning data over the Pilot.

Safest bet is to use the Email option, or replace with an Optimizer. Incidentally, only Predictwind Standard and Pro subscriptions will work with Email Requests, an Optimizer, or an Iridium Go!. If your friend has a free or basic account, the Optimizer and Email options will not work.

Another option may be to send grib requests to Saildocs and open them in PredictWind Offshore app without using PredictWind to download them.
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Old 21-11-2018, 10:03   #3
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Re: Predictwind with Iridium Pilot/Sidekick

Thanks a bunch Richard.
Very clear and concise instructions. I expected these instructions from Predictwind but didn't get it.
Anyway, using Richards instructions, Ive got my friends sending email requests from predictwind through ocens mail which makes the process a bit cludgy but workable. The PC or mac version of the offshore app seems to force you to save the request somewhere and then create and address an email with the attachment. On the tablet it's a bit easier because the offshore app creates the email with attachment for you.
If they are up for it offshore I will probably try getting the firewall setup to allow for direct web requests. There is an option for some pretty obscure ports which shouldn't be all that dangerous to open on the firewall. Does anyone know if sending a request through predict wind via web method results in a bigger file size or download time? My understanding is that the Red port Optimizer or Ocens Sidekick do not do any hardware compression of the data so this would be a Predictwind offshore app thing.
Gary
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Old 21-11-2018, 10:21   #4
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Re: Predictwind with Iridium Pilot/Sidekick

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpeacock View Post
Thanks a bunch Richard.
Very clear and concise instructions. I expected these instructions from Predictwind but didn't get it.
Anyway, using Richards instructions, Ive got my friends sending email requests from predictwind through ocens mail which makes the process a bit cludgy but workable. The PC or mac version of the offshore app seems to force you to save the request somewhere and then create and address an email with the attachment. On the tablet it's a bit easier because the offshore app creates the email with attachment for you.
If they are up for it offshore I will probably try getting the firewall setup to allow for direct web requests. There is an option for some pretty obscure ports which shouldn't be all that dangerous to open on the firewall. Does anyone know if sending a request through predict wind via web method results in a bigger file size or download time? My understanding is that the Red port Optimizer or Ocens Sidekick do not do any hardware compression of the data so this would be a Predictwind offshore app thing.
Gary
Glad you got something working. You are right, the SideKick and Optimizer devices don't do any compression (although there are larger Optimizer models that do). I haven't noticed whether PredictWind does it's own compression on Optimizer/Go connections that is not done on Web downloads, I don't think so.

The size estimates provided in Predictwind Offshore app are the same as each other across the different download methods.

If your friend can get WiFi/Cellular briefly and download TripMode which costs about $8, then you can sort of do double layer protection. Use Tripmode to block everything except for Predictwind Offshore from accessing the Internet, then open the firewall on the SideKick to allow just what you think you need, probably something like the following..

predictwind.com
compute.amazonaws.com

You will also need some sort of DNS query capability to resolve those domains. The SideKick may forward DNS requests by default, so it may just work, but if not you might have to configure a DNS server on the PC and allow it thru the SideKick firewall.

the DNS entry for predictwind.com is below. You may not actually need to open the firewall to Amazon. Predictwind may only be using one IP address in Amazon, so opening up that one IP may be enough.

> predictwind.com
Server: 10.0.0.1
Address: 10.0.0.1#53

Non-authoritative answer:
predictwind.com text = "v=spf1 a mx include:sendgrid.net ~all"
predictwind.com nameserver = ns3.dnsmadeeasy.com.
predictwind.com nameserver = ns0.dnsmadeeasy.com.
predictwind.com nameserver = ns2.dnsmadeeasy.com.
predictwind.com nameserver = ns4.dnsmadeeasy.com.
predictwind.com nameserver = ns1.dnsmadeeasy.com.
predictwind.com
origin = ns0.dnsmadeeasy.com
mail addr = dns.dnsmadeeasy.com
serial = 2008010464
refresh = 43200
retry = 3600
expire = 1209600
minimum = 180
Name: predictwind.com
Address: 52.34.221.160
predictwind.com rdata_99 = "v=spf1 a mx include:sendgrid.net ~all"
predictwind.com mail exchanger = 10 alt3.aspmx.l.google.com.
predictwind.com mail exchanger = 1 aspmx.l.google.com.
predictwind.com mail exchanger = 5 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.
predictwind.com mail exchanger = 5 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.
predictwind.com mail exchanger = 10 alt4.aspmx.l.google.com.

Authoritative answers can be found from:
ns3.dnsmadeeasy.com internet address = 208.80.125.2
ns3.dnsmadeeasy.com has AAAA address 2600:1801:3::1
ns0.dnsmadeeasy.com internet address = 208.94.148.2
ns0.dnsmadeeasy.com has AAAA address 2600:1800::1
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Old 21-11-2018, 12:47   #5
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Re: Predictwind with Iridium Pilot/Sidekick

Just played around looking at the ports and IP addresses predictwind uses for their web query in the offshore app.
Today it seems to be pretty stable using 50.19.118.89 with a dynamic local tcp port of 50xxx and remote port of 80.
No idea how long the ip address will stay the same but it works today for anyone else trying to sort what firewall rule to add to the sidekick.
Thanks
Gary
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Old 22-11-2018, 13:34   #6
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Re: Predictwind with Iridium Pilot/Sidekick

I did some testing the last couple days using PredictWind Offshore on my Mac.

First, using the Iridium Go, Optimizer, and Globalstar options are pretty much impossible without the corresponding hardware. PW Offshore makes API calls looking for those devices and if they don't respond there is no way to get PW to bypass and just connect anyway.

For Web Download however I had some success getting the information needed for a manual firewall configuration.

I did a packet capture today from the PredictWind Offshore app on my Mac. When the connection is initiated, PW-Offshore connects to "forecast.predictwind.com" over HTTP port 80.

The DNS entry for forecast.predictwind.com is a CNAME record that points to elb1.predictwind.com, another CNAME pointing to an A Record with two IP Addresses.

pw-elb-01-2012180857.us-east-1.elb.amazonaws.com
174.129.195.3
50.19.118.89

These records all have a TTL of 60 seconds so if you query after a few minutes they could theoretically change. However I tested a few times and got the same two IPs each time.

In my test, PW Offshore downloaded the GRIB files from 174.129.195.3 over HTTP port 80.

Using all that information, and depending on how advanced the firewall rules can be on a particular device.. You could do one of the following...

1.) Allow outbound connections to forecast.predictwind.com:80
Ideally the firewall allows established connections inbound and this just works.

2.) If you can't do dns names in the firewall, then you could try allowing the following..
174.12.195.3:80
50.19.118.89:80

You may also have to create the corresponding DNS record in your computer or router. In a computer you can edit the HOSTS file and create forecast.predictwind.com adding the following two lines.

174.12.195.3 forecast.predictwind.com
50.19.118.89 forecast.predictwind.com

It's possible there are more IP addresses used by Predictwind but so far I haven't seen them in the DNS requests. I tested from a few different networks (T-Mobile LTE, home broadband, and using webdnstools.com) and got the same records every time.

To keep data usage to a minimum, I'd edit the HOSTS file as above, and only allow the two IPs over port 80 at first. Adding a DNS server allow rule to the firewall opens that up for ALL DNS requests that your computer feels like issuing. I have had issues with DNS being open through my Optimizer Firewall (due to misconfiguration) over my Iridium Pilot and constantly consuming a small amount of data 24x7, which costs money.

Hopefully this helps.
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Old 22-11-2018, 13:50   #7
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Re: Predictwind with Iridium Pilot/Sidekick

Quote:
Originally Posted by gpeacock View Post
Hi there.
Has anyone used the Predictwind offshore App with the Iridium Pilot/Sidekick?
I've contacted Predictwind and they state the the Ocens Sidekick is a competitor product so they wont support it. Ocens suggested that its best to use their weather service instead of Predictwind.
The Sidekick is simply a hardware router like the RedPort Optimizer. I expect I just have to create a firewall setting to open a port. Has anyone done this?
This is for a friend who is currently offshore in Southern Chile. The ability to get weather would make them very happy.
Thanks
Gary
I am not at all network sophisticated... so if I wanted to use Predictwind on something other than the supported hardware, I would just use the email function and get my files that way.

Simple, maybe not quite as efficient, but simple.
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