Install a WiFi network onboard

Request more frequent from boat owners is for the installation of a WiFi reception onboard. The proliferation of computers, tablets and smartphones on boats incentive to maintain a connection with the Internet, even navigation. Exchanging emails, monitor social networks, receive weather files, and many other reasons lead to an uncontrollable addiction. C’est la vie !

I have already mentioned on my website, in chapter about means for receiving GRIB files, some available solutions :

  • You can choose an active amplified reception antenna, such as WaveRV by RadioLabs, distributed in France. Well known as excellent, it is provided with a direct USB connection. But the cable length is limited for reasons of line loss, and requires the installation of a driver Realtek no longer updated for Mac OS since 10.6. In addition it is planned to connect to a single computer. This is a simple but limited.
  • The other option is to choose a receiving antenna combined with an access point, with Ethernet connection. No limit to the distance of Ethernet cable, and the ability to connect to a LAN router (Local network) and WiFi provides a real solution to shared network onboard. I reported the model RogueWave distributed exclusively in the USA seems to be unanimity users. The same receiver is proposed by Ubiquiti company under the name Bullet and is now part of a kit available in France.

Shared WiFi Access Kit

The online store offers since a few days a complete kit for WiFi reception on board and installing an access point available to all devices in the boat.

kit wifi

Kit WiFi reception

  • An omnidirectional antenna by Mars Antennas MA-WO25-9 at 9 dBi (¹) and a vertical angle of 10 °. This antenna rather imposing 67 cm high is provided with a mounting tube (pulpit, stern hoist). It is sealed to IP65 and guaranted to resist 110 knots wind.
  • An access point Ubiquiti Bullet WiFi 802.11b/g with Ethernet interface, fixed under the antenna with waterproof N-plug connector. PoE 12 to 24V power with Ethernet cable. Operating temperature of -20 ° C to 70 ° C. Comes preconfigured to connect to public hotspots. All settings can be changed via a web interface accessible from any browser on Mac, PC or iPad.
  • A router LAN WiFi TP-LINK 150 Mbps 802.11/b / g / n with WAN RJ45 connector, 4 RJ45 LAN connectors and a WiFi antenna 5 dBi. The router allows simultaneous access by multiple devices on board to the Internet received by the antenna. In the absence of internet reception, the router allows exchanges between connected devices, eg. exchange of files between a PC and an iPad with Files Connect application.

For a price less than 260 €, This is a complete kit preconfigured and easy to install. We will see in a future entry that the router can also be used as a gateway to deport the screen of an iPad to a computer screen. Stay tuned !

(¹) dBi = decibels isotrope. Gain unit, power passive amplification, an antenna.


8 Replies to “Install a WiFi network on board”

  1. Bonjour,je viens d’acheter ce produit mais je voudrais savoir si l’antenne installée sur un portique mais assez près du tube a une influence sur la réception l’antenne etant omnidirectionnel.
    merci de me répondre

  2. I discovered at the time this article, and just in the past few weeks I've done multiple tests WiFi installation : omnidirectional antenna 8.5dbi, 19dbi directional antenna, wifi receiver super sensitivity, etc,, etc,.
    On paper, WiFi seems much better than 3G. But in practice, we see several negative points :
    – Most WiFi access point box are (livebox, freebox, etc,) inside the restaurant trade, and therefore their quality of transmission / reception is very poor.
    – box are as many, this is MUCH interference and it affects the quality.
    – zones WiFi ports usually have a strong emission, poor reception, and flows are deliberately slanted.
    Suddenly, 3G is a better solution although not very fast… but it is still much better than WiFi.
    This is my little findings.
    I welcome any advice or otherwise.

  3. Thank you for this information… This is exactly what I'm looking!

  4. Hello do you have any idea of ​​the scope of such a system installed on ? I guess it is only usable when in port or at anchor. But the free access points are sometimes far from our parking spot. Where a prior interest in making this investment, certainly reasonable, to know its real effectiveness. If a test has been done on your side or that of IPADNAV, information could be useful in deciding to purchase.

    1. Hello,

      Unfortunately, the scope is not a fixed datum. It depends in particular on the equipment which "emits" the signal., not to mention the obstacles. For example, it could be 100 m to connect to an access point inside a classic restaurant, or else 1 km to connect to an external antenna performance of a well-equipped harbor. In addition, the range depends on your needs in terms of instantaneous flow (simply sending email or downloading such) which conditions the number of signal "bars" required.
      This kit is certainly a way to obtain significant improvement since with a single PC or iPad, you know you're receiving a signal at a few tens of meters at most.

  5. Thank you Francis
    For information, we now offer also another kit with a mobile, intended for browsers that do not want (or can not) install an antenna remains.

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