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Old 05-03-2012, 11:57   #46
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Re: Wi-fi on board

Has anyone fitted one of Marine WiFi systems coax cable with a waterproof deck plug ? I have a removable radar arch for passing under low bridges when cruising the European canal network. I have previously used a brand called Bulgin and I'm not particularly impressed with them.
Thank in advance for any info.
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Old 05-03-2012, 16:40   #47
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Re: Wi-fi on board

Just curious, but are you using "coax" cable for a WiFi antenna? Or are you using a "powered" external Wifi antenna system like those discussed in this thread? These systems use Cat5E type exterior type network cable rather than any form of "coax."

Conventional coax or Cat5E network cable can pass through a deck/bulkhead with a simple rubber grommet fitting like shown below in the first two pictures. However, one end of the cable needs to without any connector.

Another version is simply a circle of plastic which is in two parts and encloses the cable and is then screwed down to the deck (3rd picture). You don't need to remove the connector at an end for this type.

All are available at West Marine or other marine parts stores. I have used all three from time to time but like the center one the best for coax and the 3rd one for difficult cables that cannot be taken apart.
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Old 05-03-2012, 19:05   #48
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There's no inherent issue with a co-ax connector in a wifi antenna , I've installed many. Loses at that frequency do build up rapidly. So cable runs are limited to about 1 metre. Everything else is an active antenna with typically cat 5 cable running down. That can take a connector also if you wish.

As to good quality co-ax connectors. You need a IP67 rated connector and I agree that bulgin are not high quality though they are ubiquitous in the UK and elsewhere. The deck glands mentioned in the previous threads can be used but are not great if you needs to pass a big connector through.

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Old 06-03-2012, 11:17   #49
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Re: Wi-fi on board

Thank you for your help osirissail and goboatingnow,
At the moment I'm using a Wi-Fi 'Dongle' but the reception is limited and I'm researching fitting an external aerial on the radar arch. When I transit the canals I have to demount the radar arch to pass under bridges. What I'm looking for is a Deck Plug that can be disconnected when I demount the radar arch and re-connected when moored up or out at sea.Something better than a 'Bulgin', that's neat and tidy.
Thanks.
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Old 06-03-2012, 16:14   #50
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Re: Wi-fi on board

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Originally Posted by Irish rambler View Post
. . . What I'm looking for is a Deck Plug that can be disconnected when I demount the radar arch and re-connected when moored up or out at sea.Something better than a 'Bulgin', that's neat and tidy.
Thanks.
Why not consider the "other way around" - mount the Wifi antenna system on a removable mount. Remove the antenna from the arch, remove the arch, put the antenna on a deck mount or other mount within cable reach. The Wifi cable does not get detached.

Another alternative, if you use Cat 5E cable is to have a second cable rigged at someplace other than the arch and just move the antenna body.

Just curious, what do you do when you "demount the radar arch?" Does it tilt or fold back to lower its height? Or do you unbolt the whole thing and take it off the boat? ? ? ? What do you do with the radar cables?
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:02   #51
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

Hi ossirissail, at present all the thro' deck cables are fitted with plugs. We mostly cruise the med but when we go inland, for example the canal du midi or similar the bridge clearance varies, most are arched bridge and generally have 4 metres over a 3.5 metre width, most we can get through with the aerials folded down, if we go back to Ireland we have to unbolt the radar arch and place it on the aft cabin roof, on a couple of bridges we have to get half a dozen guys out of the pub to stand on deck so we can limbo under the bridge then we all go back to the pub for a wee celebration, that's cruising, Irish style !
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Old 07-03-2012, 19:56   #52
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

I think you might consider switching your WiFi to one of the antenna systems that are connected to you computer via a Cat5E cable situation. Then you might position a POE injector with RJ-345 plugs near the other detachable plugs for stuff on the arch. Then you could "unplug" the Wifi whenever you needed to take down the arch.

And if you had a second duplicate Wifi antenna system you could plug it in and use it mounted on a convenient location near to where the arch connectors are located.
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Old 07-03-2012, 23:16   #53
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

Thanks for the info, I'll check it out. I want to keep the whole thing as simple as practically possible, simplicity and space are always a priority on a liveaboard.
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Old 07-03-2012, 23:24   #54
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

Get yourself a small satellite dish from a second hand store,,,mount this to your boat,,then where the LNA horn is usually mounted, mount your wi-fi antennae there,,,plug it in and run a search for networks,,,when you have a selection to choose from adjust the wi-fi antennae out and in until you have the strongest signal or loudest db rate. this should take care of all your Wi-Fi needs.. Good Luck
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Old 08-03-2012, 21:11   #55
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

I have a wifi network through my smartphone that I transfer to my laptop. It is really easy and only $10/month in addition to my plan.
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Old 08-03-2012, 21:51   #56
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

No one has suggested hoisting the user + laptop up the mast in the bosun's chair for better range?
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:45   #57
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

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Originally Posted by bblaisen View Post
I have a wifi network through my smartphone that I transfer to my laptop. It is really easy and only $10/month in addition to my plan.
Things are getting a bit complicated these days what with smartphones and tablets. But basically accessing the "web" via a smartphone of tablet is done through your cell phone provider like ATT, Sprint, Verizon, etc. The result is the same as you are connected to the "web" but WiFi is a bit different - basically.

Wifi is the access of the web through the 802.11 system of short range RF signals between your computer system, tablet, netbook, etc. You are connecting to a "Access Point" computer server on shore that is itself hooked into the "web." Marinas, hotels, internet cafe's, airport terminals, etc. offer these types of WiFi access. Wifi is "non-specific" in that your computer system can connect to a wide variety of different "providers" of the "web." These access systems can be "free" or require payment for an hour, day, week, month, etc.

The complicated part comes in that the major telephone companies also run parallel data access services using their proprietary "dongles" or plug-in adaptors for your various types of computers. You can connect your mobile phone (cell or smartphone) to your computer/tablet via a cable or "blue-tooth" or other IR system. This form of access is specific to that telephone company and you cannot access some other telephone company's data service. You have to subscribe and pay for this type of "web" access as part of or in addition to your telephone service.

What is even more complicated now is that some "Tablets" and "smartphones" have dual systems in them so you can select to either use "Wifi" from whatever is available around you - or - your telephone company's data access system.

Generally speaking "Wifi" is thought of as the "free" or short term pay system for accessing the "web" via your computer/lapbook/netbook/tablet.

And moving yourself and computer to the masthead or moving your amplified antenna system to the masthead works great to get the maximum amount of choices of "access points."

However, the OP is interested in how to be able to connect and disconnect his WiFi antenna from the boat's hull when he removes the radar arch for inland canal cruising. Basic problem is - as other mentioned - pure WiFi RF signals attentuate (decrease in strength) dramatically with coax cable length and especially if you interrupt the cable with an intermediate connector. This is where I believe a CAT5E LAN cable type antenna system can solve his problem.
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Old 11-03-2012, 18:44   #58
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Re: Wi-fi On Board

Is anyone here a remote IT worker living aboard? If so, I'd be interested in hearing what you use to handle the larger amounts of data you need. The 3G/4G modems seem to all have relatively low data limits, and stealingborrowing wifi -- so I would assume -- wouldn't offer the speed or reliability necessary.
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Old 11-03-2012, 19:01   #59
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Right now in the EU many 3G networks have quite cheap unlimited data plans. Of course roaming complicates things. In fact there are very few free Wifi spots any more and in fact with my current 3G provider it's cheaper then Wifi hotspots and often faster. I regularly test out to 3mb/s on 3G. Hence the rise of providers offering home broadband via 3G routers.


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Old 11-03-2012, 19:07   #60
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Hi, I am an it worker who gave up on shore based wifi. I use a cradlepoint wireless/cellular router with a cellular modem (verizon). The cellular modem plugs into the cradle point and it creates wifi network on the boat. I run the unit up with a halyard and an extension cord from the inverter. Works great. $60 a month to Verizon. 100 bucks for the cradle point & 15 for a light extension cord. I do con calls, press, power points with shared desktop.
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