Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 21

Thread: WiFi Antenna

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Grenada, boatless...
    Posts
    195

    Default WiFi Antenna

    Not strictly a multihull thing, or even a yachting thing, but I've recently bought a new WiFi antenna which works a treat and you might like to hear about it. In recent years of course it's become very easy to find internet access not just in marinas but also in anchorages all over the place but if you're not close to the transmitter the signal frequently isn't strong enough to provide a good internet connection. We've tried a number of different antennas with varying results, and varying cost, generally not great, but recently came across something made by EnGenius which is a cut above the rest. We bought an EnGenius WiFi adaptor ( NET-EL-362EXT) but went one stage further and got an extension cable and external antenna (8dbi whatever that means...) which now gives us a far stronger signal than previously and also picks up transmitters that were previously invisible to us - for example our previous antenna (Belkin, didn't claim to be a long range antenna but did have a USB extension cable that enabled us to pop the dongle out of a hatch to improve reception) when used in Prickly Bay, Grenada, would see maybe 5 different transmitters. The new EnGenius with external antenna sees 22! We bought the whole lot (WiFi adaptor, external antenna and 3m extension cable) from www.solwise.co.uk for just less than 75 including UK delivery, and Solwise incidentally delivered very quickly (and were also very good at answering stupid questions). As an aside, we've also recently got a Samsung NC10 netbook for a little over 300 (www.Amazon.co.uk) which I'm also very pleased with - perhaps I should get out more...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    panama, 2016: french polynesia
    Posts
    155

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    we use the antenna of
    http://www.radiolabs.com/products/wi...ne-antenna.php
    and we even get internet over a mile off the coast.
    the antenna is in the cabin as we found out that it makes no difference if its fixed on the top of the boat - we also have the gps/navtex antennas inside....

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Grenada, boatless...
    Posts
    195

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Actually I spoke too soon - the EnGenius part of my antenna setup failed last night! The socket that the USB cable plugs into has come adrift inside so that's that. Now I'll see how good Solwise are with their backup...

    Incidentally, our last antenna was the Radio Labs one mentioned above and we were never very happy with it. It eventually died when rainwater managed to find it's way inside and soaked the PCB, and what's more the water wicked into the cable that plugged into the USB port and was dripping out of the end! I asked Radio Labs if they could supply a replacement PCB and cable for me to solder in but the cost was prohibitive. I must have had a Friday afternoon antenna

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    liveabord brighton uk
    Posts
    439

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    could try somthing like this i am considering it

    http://www.wifi-antennas.co.uk/index...&product_id=10



    but at prescent get good results with this inside boat results up to 1/2mile

    http://www.hawkingtech.com/products/...=60&ProdID=308
    majika

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Grenada, boatless...
    Posts
    195

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    By the look of it the antenna shown at http://www.wifi-antennas.co.uk/index...&product_id=10 is just an antenna much like mine, but you would still need the USB WiFi adaptor to connect to the antenna

  6. #6

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Agreed - that is just the antenna.

    what you need is http://uk.wifi-link.com/product.php?...roduct_id=1157

    the Omni 8db, which is antenna AND receiver onto a USB plug for direct connection to the PC. Waterpoof, half the price of others I have seen, and on 5m of canle (use powered USB cable to extend by another 5 or 10 meters)

    MD

  7. #7

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Another good wifi setup is the Wirie.

    http://www.thewirie.com/
    MikeF....
    1994 Tobago
    "Lauren Marie"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Grenada, boatless...
    Posts
    195

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Yes, the Wirie apparently works very well, numerous friends of ours have them and are very pleased with them. The advantage of the Wirie apparently is that the electronic (amplifier?) part is located very close to the antenna, in a waterproof box, meaning that the coax cable run is very short resulting in less signal loss. The USB cable is the long bit, but apparently this is less important as far as signal loss goes. Our setup has a 3m coax cable and a shorter USB cable since the amplifier is not waterproof and has to be inside. Mind you, the Radio Labs antenna has the amplifier built into the antenna so only an inch or two of coax and that didn't work for me...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Pacific Ocean/N. American coast
    Posts
    432

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    I've pretty much decided to go with the Bullet2HP and a ~9db Omni. This setup will run me about $120 for a 1 watt wifi system. It's not directly plug-n-play (i.e. I some assembly is required) unlike some of these other boxed solutions, but it should be a really great system.

    The Alfa is another good decision and they've also got high-TX power units.

    Once I get my system ordered and together I'll post up some more info, though real-world testing will be pretty much limited to what I can pick up around the marina+bay for now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Worcester, U.K., Moraira, Spain
    Posts
    564

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Since I got a Bullet2HP I think I've got a signal in EVERY inhabited anchorage we've been to in the Windward and Leeward Islands. I can only think of a couple of totally deserted anchorages where we haven't got connected.

  11. #11

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Has anyone tried to use a WiFi antenna with a router (I think it might help with the wrangling over web usage!). Currently we have am ATT aircard and I am looking and a Mofi router that will accomodate it. We also have a radio labs antenna but I do not find the info on the specs of the router if it will support the antenna also.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Home port Chesapeake Bay; Cruising full time.
    Posts
    1,588

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Quote Originally Posted by yachtflame View Post
    Has anyone tried to use a WiFi antenna with a router (I think it might help with the wrangling over web usage!).
    Yes. Using it right now. That is, if you mean a wifi access point feeding a shipboard wireless router. We use an Engenius ECB3220 access point with a permanently mounted external 9db antenna that feeds a household Netgear wireless router. Conveniently, all these household gizmos seem to be 12v DC (output from the AC/DC adapter) which makes for easy use on a 12v boat.

    2 Hulls Dave

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    currently Columbia/Panama
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    If you are talking about sharing cellular access through your air card, yes there are routers that will work. CradlePoint and Zoom are two companies that come to mind. There are also Mifi units that accept a SIM card and route signals to up to 5 wireless connections. Zoom and Huawei are two companies that come to mind for this.

    I'm sure there are many other companies and options. Cellular data access is far more prevalent than wifi outside the US.

    Mark
    Mark Cole
    Manta 40 "Reach"
    www.svreach.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    currently Columbia/Panama
    Posts
    352

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    If you are talking about sharing cellular access through your air card, yes there are routers that will work. CradlePoint and Zoom are two companies that come to mind. There are also Mifi units that accept a SIM card and route signals to up to 5 wireless connections. Zoom and Huawei are two companies that come to mind for this.

    I'm sure there are many other companies and options. Cellular data access is far more prevalent than wifi outside the US.

    Mark
    Mark Cole
    Manta 40 "Reach"
    www.svreach.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Me Germany / Boat Spain
    Posts
    324

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    For accessing WiFi we use a router / access point called Bullet2hp which sits outside directly under the external antenna. Bullet2HP and antenna cost was around 50 EUR off ebay. Plus around 5 EUR for a PoE (Power over Ethernet) adapter to feed the boats 12v directly to the Bullet2HP.
    Right now I have around 30-40 WiFis to choose from where my laptop with external only shows 4.
    Beware: A bit hard to setup. Not for a novice but more for the tech guy.


    For GPRS / UMTS / 3G network I use an old android smartphone (Google G1) with a tool named "Barnacle WiFi" which allows sharing the connection.
    The good point is that you can use the relatively cheap smartphone plans instead of the dedicated laptop data plans. E.g. we currently pay 8 EUR per month for unlimited data access (up to 500 MB at high speed, reduced to 128 kbps after that).
    The G1 was 60 EUR second handbut sometimes you find offers around 100 EUR for similar new smartphones.

    The android is also my backup-backup chartplotter using Navionics charts (charts and program are around 10-15 EUR per region). And it provides access to windfinder / windguru, holds all music, entertains the kids during docking maneuvers, etc. Best gizmo ever purchased :-)

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Tampa Florida
    Posts
    888

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabbi View Post
    For accessing WiFi we use a router / access point called Bullet2hp which sits outside directly under the external antenna. Bullet2HP and antenna cost was around 50 EUR off ebay. Plus around 5 EUR for a PoE (Power over Ethernet) adapter to feed the boats 12v directly to the Bullet2HP.
    Right now I have around 30-40 WiFis to choose from where my laptop with external only shows 4.
    Beware: A bit hard to setup. Not for a novice but more for the tech guy.


    For GPRS / UMTS / 3G network I use an old android smartphone (Google G1) with a tool named "Barnacle WiFi" which allows sharing the connection.
    The good point is that you can use the relatively cheap smartphone plans instead of the dedicated laptop data plans. E.g. we currently pay 8 EUR per month for unlimited data access (up to 500 MB at high speed, reduced to 128 kbps after that).
    The G1 was 60 EUR second handbut sometimes you find offers around 100 EUR for similar new smartphones.

    The android is also my backup-backup chartplotter using Navionics charts (charts and program are around 10-15 EUR per region). And it provides access to windfinder / windguru, holds all music, entertains the kids during docking maneuvers, etc. Best gizmo ever purchased :-)
    GEEZ - Im trying to get away thru my boaty from all the land based BS>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sant Carles, Spain
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Quote Originally Posted by yachtflame View Post
    Has anyone tried to use a WiFi antenna with a router (I think it might help with the wrangling over web usage!). Currently we have am ATT aircard and I am looking and a Mofi router that will accomodate it. We also have a radio labs antenna but I do not find the info on the specs of the router if it will support the antenna also.
    I have personaly used the Alfa card in conjuntion with Alfa's R36 wifi router. Both are excellent, the alfa card can plug into your pc directly or into the router giving you multiple access and saving having to have cables all through the boat if you want to use the laptop in a cabin etc.
    Proud owner of a 1994 Catalac 900

  18. #18

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    A decent wifi antenna was high on the list for this year so a few weeks back I started researching all the options... As usual in boat-land there are a thousand options and a million opinions. I didn't have the stomach for fact trawling so on the advice of a mate picked up one of the Alfa units off ebay for thirty quid. I can report that it is fantastic! I'm writing this using the wifi of an overpriced restaurant half a mile away that served us with flat lemonades yesterday. They owe me.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sant Carles, Spain
    Posts
    153

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Love it, good to get something back eh?
    Proud owner of a 1994 Catalac 900

  20. #20

    Default Re: WiFi Antenna

    Quote Originally Posted by shirepig View Post
    I'm writing this using the wifi of an overpriced restaurant half a mile away that served us with flat lemonades yesterday. They owe me.
    Brilliant

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •