Wifi BoosterWe Install WiFi Boosters Onboard


By Greg Nicoll

I am fortunate to have the ability to work from just about anywhere. A cellular signal and a Wi-Fi connection is about all I really need to put in a full day’s work. The ability to communicate remotely in real time is a true gift that the electronic era has given many of us. Unfortunately, sometimes the Wi-Fi connection can be a problem. This summer I purchased a boat and put it in a marina in Georgian Bay to take advantage of my unique position; work from the boat, live the dream!

Although the marina has spent a great deal of time and money putting in a Wi-Fi network, the 500 neighbours docked along side appear to be competing for limited ‘pipe’ space on the network. The result was my Wi-Fi connection was not up to the capacity that I needed to perform my duties. The poor service and inconsistency turned my plan to convert my boat’s navigation station into a floating office, into wishful thinking.

Back in the office the online search began. I listed my criteria for a successful wireless solution for my boat, and the first one was that it had to be marine grade waterproof and capable of managing the elements. Second, the system had to be one that I could easily install myself, being the frugal sailor. Next, it had to be a robust, stable system that had the flexibility for 3G and 4G data and that had a long-range adaptor. Finally, the most important criteria, had to be user-friendly.

Marinas and yacht clubs use their hardware to connect to an AP (access point) to broadcast a signal. Connections to these "hotspots” are often encrypted and require a password to enter.

Our personal devices search the surrounding area for an AP (access point) that will provide a list of available networks for to us connect to. The router helps your smart TVs, iPads, smart phones and navigation systems etc., find the best routes to avoid creating network congestion.
Sourcing the Internet has several options - Wi-Fi, cellular, or satellite each have limitations such as signal strength, range, and cost factors. Generally, Wi-Fi is cost effective, and the approximate range for a 5GHz is about 150 metres, at 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi is good up to 1500 metres. Cellular signals generally work up to 7-8 kilometres, and satellites are usable mostly everywhere, but at a high cost. As technology grows, so does its demand on everyday devices. Having an internet connection has become a necessity, not just a novelty.
Some tips on keeping your network healthy.

Probably the most overlooked practice is that all networks require downtime. Clearing out any electrostatic build up, killing undetected loops, clearing cache’s, etc., is always important when it comes to network health. This rule holds true even for your home networks. How many times have you just unplugged your router at home and plugged it back in, and whatever problem there was, clears itself up. This is important on a boat to obtain the best and consistent connection.

Also remember that absorption/water kills radio waves and therefore, rain greatly impacts it. Even high humidity has an effect.

Reflection is an issue. Materials like smooth dense metals, reflect signals. This means that when the signal hits the smooth dense object, it bounces off cleanly. Also hindering signals is when the signal collides with a textured surface that breaks the signal apart. This is referred to as scattering. Also, the signal can bend around objects. This is how you’re able to get a signal through large buildings, and narrow streets. It’s called “refraction”.

Refraction is when the signal penetrates an object and is still usable on the other side. Every signal works with some refraction and it is even utilized into antenna designs themselves. As the antenna propagates its signal, it penetrates its fiberglass, rubber, or plastic shell.

All these impedances are not exclusive. Nearly everything in this world will interact with these signals in multiple ways. Glass for instance has a heavy reflection quality, and refraction rate. Meaning that the signal not only bounces off it, but what does penetrate also will break apart, and refract.

The best signal is always a direct line of sight with no impediments.

The optimum connection is through open air. Even then, open air has impedances due to humidity (water particles), wave action, and air debris such as dirt, pollen and metal particles which all scatter a signal. The little antenna in your tablet or wireless device has a tough time competing with all the fibreglass, masts, and stainless surrounding you at the marina.

After my research, I concluded that I was unable to upgrade the marina’s signal, so the next best plan was to increase my reception of that signal, so I sought out a wi-fi booster that amplifies the signal at the maximum legal output, that could provide large coverage for the areas where I keep my boat moored and on the water where I cruise.

After looking at many products on the market, I chose the Wirie Pro from Island Consulting Inc., a company founded in 2003 and located in Newbury, Massachusetts USA. The owners of the company, after spending years cruising the seas, learned a lot through their experience and personal relationships with cruisers they met on the way. This experience along with their background knowledge of computer software and hardware resulted in the Wirie. The two-in-one Wirie Pro device allows users to connect using either a shore-based Wi-Fi network or cellular service.

The Wirie was simple to install right from the box. The antenna, radio device, local router and cellular data system are all one connected unit. I mounted the yellow box and omni-directional antenna on the support rod for my bimini top, drilled a hole through the deck coaming and ran the line to the panel box. I’m not the most knowledgeable electrical guy in the world and I chose to wire it into a 12 V cigarette lighter which preserves polarity and had it working right away. The instructions that came with the Wi-Fi booster were simple to follow and with a few passwords, my computer could lock onto a seamless strong signal and I was back in business. It was amazing that right after the installation, I went from not getting any Wi-Fi at my dock to being able to watch movies… oh, and to keep in contact with my business associates.

If I can do it, you can do it. More boat time and less office time is possible!

A big thank you to Jeff Graham from Wave WIFI in Oakland Park Florida who gave a very informative presentation at the 2017 International Boat Builders Exposition on Networking and Wireless Connectivity Overview for Today’s Vessels, and Marinas.

Related Articles

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Classic boat restoration expert and wooden boat builder Stan Hunter recently sent us this great ...
In Mid June, a floatplane plunged into Constance Bay on the Ottawa River after two planes collide ...
Winter is a fun time for sailmakers in Canada. We grind through mountains of repairs and have an ...
The seasoned sailor mapped out an ambitious course around the world — aboard his 28-foot ...
Clean wake: A concept amongst cruising sailors that stresses the impact that individual behaviour ...
This line-up of Beneteaus can to us from our friends at RCR Yachts in NY State where they are ...
As another harsh Victoria winter came to a close, the deck repair and refinishing continued with ...
The Peterborough Canoe Company was formed in 1892 and began production the following year after ...
On one of the sunny days we had recently, Kyle MacTaggart in Honey Harbour ON fired up the Merc to ...
For all those OnBoard subscribers who have followed along with the maintenance, repairs and ...

Cobourg Yacht Club - 2015 Sailing instructorsKatherine Stone

Like many other harbours on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has seen its fair share of changes. Screams used to be heard from kids piled into a toboggan on wheels that went hurtling down a wooden slide into the harbour. Above it all was the bustling din from the waterfront of ship’s whistles, train engines, foghorns and thundering coal cars. It is now a rather serene place for the locals and visitors to enjoy various watercraft. Fortunately, the beautiful beach that lines the waterfront is still a star attraction for the town.

Located 95 kilometres east of Toronto and 62 kilometres east of Oshawa on the north edge of Lake Ontario, United Empire Loyalists first starting arriving in the area as early as the 1780s. The first settlement in 1798 was called Buckville, later renamed Amherst, then called Hamilton (after the township) and also nicknamed Hardscrabble. It wasn’t until 1819 that they finally settled on the name of Cobourg, which was incorporated as a town in 1837. In the late 1820s large schooners with passengers and cargo had to anchor well off shore, as there was only a landing wharf. A group of Toronto businessmen formed the Cobourg Harbour Company which built the wooden Eastern Pier from tolls charged for the use of the harbour.

Read more: Cobourg Yacht Club...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Wrapping your hull with marine vinyl wrap instead using traditional marine paint seems like a new ...
Boating safety is always—always—a critical consideration whenever you push off the dock, but with ...
Building on our last two editions (Sealants, and Fibreglass, respectively), Gelcoat is the next ...
After a successful R2Ak and regatta season in 2019, I felt that Pitoraq was due for a major ...
Pause for a moment and ponder this question. How much is your life and your safety at sea worth? ...
Last edition we talked about sealants to perform tasks like bedding and sealing. Other tasks like ...
Over the winter, a many-thousand pound fiberglass, wood or metal shell is held in position by only ...
Since the late 19th century, a debate has raged on the relative merits of diesel fuel over ...
This bag does more than hold your anchor and rode in one tidy little pile. After you’ve anchored ...
Purchase your copy of the BRAND NEW Ports Georgian Bay 2020 Edition at the Toronto International ...

Andrew AlbertiIn the past two issues we have been doing an overview of the right-of-way rules. In the first, we did a review of Section A of Part 2, in the second we did a review of the definitions. This issue, we will look at Section B of Part 2, General Limitations, which is essentially limitations applying to boats that have right of way according to Section A.

GENERAL LIMITATIONS

14 AVOIDING CONTACT

A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room or mark-room

Read more about the right-of-way rules.......................

 

  

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...
No wonder this is one of Regal’s best-selling boats; the Regal 33 Express offers amazing ...
The newest member of Beneteau’s Gran Turismo line is the GT 36 and this yacht brings the style and ...
With a philosophy of quality and 'doing things right Ranger Tugs launches the all new R-25 at the ...
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 renews the spirit of the practical seaworthy cruiser. The ...
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. Our Virtual Show will continue to grow so visit frequently and check it out. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

Beneteau Oceanis 30.1As boat builders clamber to create ever-bigger platforms for ever-more generous budgets, the entry-level cruiser has become an elusive animal. Sure, if you want to daysail, there are plenty of small open boats from which to choose, but if you want a freshly built pocket cruiser, you’re in for a long search. Enter French builder Groupe Beneteau, which identified this gap in the market and set about creating the Oceanis 30.1, an adorable little cruiser that resembles her larger siblings in all but length and price. With all she offers, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call her a mini yacht.

Read More about the Beneteau Oceanis 30.1..................

Destinations

  • Prev
On May 19, the New York State Canal Corporation today announced an updated opening schedule for the ...
If you have four hours to enjoy a fine tour of one of Canada’s most interesting waterways (let’s ...
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...

KingstonBy Amy Hogue

Cruise into the city of Kingston, Ontario, and it will quickly become clear that this city and surrounding waterways have something special. Built around the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Kingston is the place to go if you love to explore new waterways, fantastic views, and exceptional boating opportunities.

Sitting at the intersection of three world-class Canadian bodies of water, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal (Cataraqui River from Kingston to Newboro), the water’s influence is deeply woven into Kingston’s culture and history. 

Read more about Kingston...........