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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys/gals,

I need to buy a Wi-Fi extender for the boat. I can mount it on my solar arch.

I don't really want to run it up th mast if I can help it. I also considered putting it on the end of a pole, much lik a SSB antenae or VHF Antenae that can be raised and lowered.

I have had the Bullet 2hp reccomended to me by a knowledgeable sailor with it. It is on the short list. Has anyone used 5 mile Wifi or one of the others mentiond in this PS article:

http://www.bitstorm.com/downloads/PS0410_WiFi_Article.pdf

Thoughts? Need to get one quick or I will not be able to get on easily and we will have to make Smackdaddy a moderator. Place will go down hill quickly. Can you say Mayday??

J/K, but serious about getting one very soon. Thanks for the ideas.

Brian
 

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Any of the Ubiquiti Bullet solutions are excellent. You can do your own or buy a kit from islandtimepc.com or wififorboats.com or any number of other vendors.

My experience with the Alfa based solutions is not nearly so good, although I do carry an Alfa in my go bag on trips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Any of the Ubiquiti Bullet solutions are excellent. You can do your own or buy a kit from islandtimepc.com or wififorboats.com or any number of other vendors.

My experience with the Alfa based solutions is not nearly so good, although I do carry an Alfa in my go bag on trips.
What is an alfa based? What does that mean?

Brian
 

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What is an alfa based? What does that mean?
Alfa: Amazon.com: Alfa 1000mW 1W 802.11b/g USB Wireless WiFi Network Adapter With Original Alfa Screw-On Swivel 9dBi Rubber Antenna: Computers & [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@31rwgwm3FNL

If you open up most (98% or more) marine wifi solutions you'll find a Bullet or an Alfa inside repackaged. The Wirie is an Alfa in a box. IslandTimePC.com and WiFiforBoats.com are Bullets.

My experience with Bullet-based solutions is much better than Alfa-based solutions. Once you chose between those two it comes down to customer service.

IslandTimePC has a great reputation among cruisers. I have met the owner and think well of his expertise based on our discussion. I haven't bought anything from him. I put my own system together. If I was starting over I'd probably just buy one from Bob.
 

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SVAuspicious:900637 said:
Any of the Ubiquiti Bullet solutions are excellent. You can do your own or buy a kit from islandtimepc.com or wififorboats.com or any number of other vendors.

My experience with the Alfa based solutions is not nearly so good, although I do carry an Alfa in my go bag on trips.
+1 Simple solution.
 

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I just installed a Wirie AP last week, mounted on the stern pulpit, this one has a hotspot built in so you just need a 12 volt connection, not USB, then you have your own wireless network on the boat.
I've only tried it in the marina but before I could only see 5 networks and none were strong enough to connect. Now there's hundreds but I just connected to the nearby Marina Inn.
Install was comparatively easy, just run the power cable thru transom and up to the panel with a 2 amp fuse.
You could put one together yourself no doubt, but when I started pricing out components it didn't seem too bad.
 

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Brian, depending on how technologically impaired you feel and how fat the budget is...

That Alfa sells for $35 on Amazon then all you need is a longer USB cord to get it out of the cabin. Yes, the USB cord length limits position but for $35 versus 250+, I'd try it first.

Which also means you'll need to use the Wifi tools that come with your computer, to choose and connect to a network. Which isn't such a big deal these days.

The many folks who repackage it...OK, they're entitled to a profit if they make life easier but really, how badly can you lose by trying the $35 solution first? And at that price, you can carry a spare and sell it to the next hapless cruiser. :)
 

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So $35 for parts, a 15 foot USB cable and a roll of duct tape and you got WiFi for 1 laptop, tape it to your forehead and you can have WiFi all over the boat.
Just thought of a new product, mount the whole shebang in a straw hat with a solar panel and you are a mobile extended range hotspot.:)
 

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Brian,
Where are you using it? Are you trying to reach your marina's wifi from the end of the dock or a mooring? Are you cruising the FLA coast and trying to hit open wifi connections from anchor?

I had played around with re-configuring a router as a repeater and using a larger antenna with mixed results (this was two years ago)

I ended up getting a MiFi unit that uses the cellular network. Basically I can get online anywhere I can get a cell signal. When I first got it speed was good enough to stream NetFlix to my 12v TV when anchored out. But Comcast started making an orphan out of these units and throughput fell through the floor - Comcast assures me this is a coincidence.

They're also going to stop supporting them in August. I hate Comcast :hothead

I'm going to get a new SIM card and convert it over to the Sprint network. If that doesn't work I'll pick one up from Verizon. Current cost is $40 a month, but it's reliable anywhere I can pick up a cell signal. It's a third smaller than a Blackberry. Best of all up to five people can share the connection. So far I've never even come close to the 5GB monthly limit.

YMMV depending on where you're cruising.

 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Brian,
Where are you using it? Are you trying to reach your marina's wifi from the end of the dock or a mooring? Are you cruising the FLA coast and trying to hit open wifi connections from anchor?

I had played around with re-configuring a router as a repeater and using a larger antenna with mixed results (this was two years ago)

I ended up getting a MiFi unit that uses the cellular network. Basically I can get online anywhere I can get a cell signal. When I first got it speed was good enough to stream NetFlix to my 12v TV when anchored out. But Comcast started making an orphan out of these units and throughput fell through the floor - Comcast assures me this is a coincidence.

They're also going to stop supporting them in August. I hate Comcast :hothead

I'm going to get a new SIM card and convert it over to the Sprint network. If that doesn't work I'll pick one up from Verizon. Current cost is $40 a month, but it's reliable anywhere I can pick up a cell signal. It's a third smaller than a Blackberry. Best of all up to five people can share the connection. So far I've never even come close to the 5GB monthly limit.

YMMV depending on where you're cruising.

Use will be US, Bahamas, and other destinations. We have the ATT Wifi card which is awesome!! Used it a lot of the last few week, even anchored out at cabbage key. However, I am limited to 5 gig/month before I start getting charged.

Kids need homeschooling and we need internet connections for office and personal stuff. Let's not even discuss Sailnet!!! So we are trying to minimize our time on the wifi card. BTW, the 4glte is as fast as broadband.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Brian,

I was using a Bullet on a omni antenna that I would haul up the backstay using a halyard. This uses power over ethernet so only one cat5 cable to run which I connected to a router for distribution in the boat.
Hey DOn!! How are you guys!?? Tried to find you last time I was in Marathon. Which brings up the question: How did it work at Marathon Marina? We will be spending smoe time there.

Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Brian, depending on how technologically impaired you feel and how fat the budget is...

That Alfa sells for $35 on Amazon then all you need is a longer USB cord to get it out of the cabin. Yes, the USB cord length limits position but for $35 versus 250+, I'd try it first.

Which also means you'll need to use the Wifi tools that come with your computer, to choose and connect to a network. Which isn't such a big deal these days.

The many folks who repackage it...OK, they're entitled to a profit if they make life easier but really, how badly can you lose by trying the $35 solution first? And at that price, you can carry a spare and sell it to the next hapless cruiser. :)
I am not opposed to trying that, but really need smoething fairly robust. I hope to be places where getting it replaced will be difficult or expensive. However, maybe this would be a good backup too? Wasn't that your point also?

Brian
 

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Use will be US, Bahamas, and other destinations. We have the ATT Wifi card which is awesome!! Used it a lot of the last few week, even anchored out at cabbage key. However, I am limited to 5 gig/month before I start getting charged.

Kids need homeschooling and we need internet connections for office and personal stuff. Let's not even discuss Sailnet!!! So we are trying to minimize our time on the wifi card. BTW, the 4glte is as fast as broadband.

Brian
Out of interest Brian .... how much do you expect to use on a monthly basis ?
 

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That Alfa sells for $35 on Amazon then all you need is a longer USB cord to get it out of the cabin. Yes, the USB cord length limits position but for $35 versus 250+, I'd try it first.
You aren't giving the resellers credit for the weatherproofing and technical support.

I experimented with an Alfa, a Bullet, and a Port Networks bridge before landing on my own solution. I've also installed some Bullets and some Wiries (Alfa) for clients.

On Auspicious I have a Bullet with 8 dB omni mounted above the radar on an aft radar pole. The Cat 5 Ethernet goes to a POE injector behind the electrical panel. A Linksys WRT-54GL is under a locker nearby. Everything runs off 12VDC on a "network" breaker on the panel.

Between laptops, iPhones, iPod Touch, and other odds and ends I've had up to eight devices sharing the boat WiFi network. At the moment it's just my boat computer, my lab laptop, iPhone, and the iPod Touch streaming Netflix to the TV (*grin*). The community wireless AP I'm hooked up to is about half a mile away.

I do still keep a standard Alfa in my boat bag for trips. It works okay but isn't anything like weather-proof and keeping the drivers working is a pain.
 
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