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TOPIC: WIFI antenna

WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 11:35 #1

  • tbuck1678
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Anybody heard of this or familiar with it "RedPort Halo Long Range WiFI Extender

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 14:21 #2

  • mmichellich
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No but contact RadioLabs.com Tjey are the best in the business.

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 14:40 #3

  • Machog
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Not that brand, but I have Rogue Wave. Wavewifi.com

Machog

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 14:46 #4

  • Norton Rider
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I am very happy with the Wirie AP on my boat. It sets up its own mobile hotspot. The only wiring required is power. They also make a version with WiFi plus 2G/3G/4G/LTE.

www.thewirie.com/

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 14:55 #5

  • TenMile
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There are many alternatives very similar to this unit. What this unit really is is a WiFi repeater with a 9db antenna attached to it. They can be made yourself for less than $100 or there are kits available. They don't list the cost -- if it's $250 or less it's a good deal. Slap the word "marine" on it and the price tag usually hits $500 or more.

Many of the solutions out there are built using the Ubiquity Bullet and the appropriate sized antenna (the Wirie as an example). Personally, I use a $35 box I purchased off Amazon that runs an open source software program called OpenWRT and it pulls in/repeats WiFi when I need it.

<begin short rant> I'm in the IT business and while I'm not an engineer I have lots of background with wireless and WiFi. As soon as I read claims of being able to pick up WiFi signals from 7 miles away my BS meter pegs to 100%. Is it possible? Sure. Will it be common or even likely? No chance. WiFi is not designed to be a long range technology, it's designed to cover a distance of a few hundred feet, will often work to a few hundred meters. </end rant>

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Terry
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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 15:24 #6

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So not to start anything TenMile but I have the rogue wave pro and I can pick up and HOLD my marina from 5.5 miles away and still stream movies without any buffering. So yes, WIFI can go further than most people think. Also, just FYI I am a communications engineer with Raytheon for 28 years now so don't believe everything you read in books. What you think is not possible, Just MAY BE POSSIBLE.

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 16:50 #7

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billfnh,

What do you recommend in order to get a solid wi-fi signal? My marina has a metal roof and the signal only serves the guest doc, which is not covered. I end up using my phone's HotSpot, which works but I'm game to learn a better way.

Thanks in advance.

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 17:05 #8

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billfnh wrote: So not to start anything TenMile but I have the rogue wave pro and I can pick up and HOLD my marina from 5.5 miles away and still stream movies without any buffering. So yes, WIFI can go further than most people think. Also, just FYI I am a communications engineer with Raytheon for 28 years now so don't believe everything you read in books. What you think is not possible, Just MAY BE POSSIBLE.


I think I need to buy stock in something because the only way to achieve that distance is microwave. Otherwise you have some sort of revolutionary technology on your hands, or your marina has the worlds most powerful wifi. Standard wifi is 300 feet outdoors, max. No disrespect intended Captain.

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 17:41 #9

  • Norton Rider
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Snika wrote: billfnh,

What do you recommend in order to get a solid wi-fi signal? My marina has a metal roof and the signal only serves the guest doc, which is not covered. I end up using my phone's HotSpot, which works but I'm game to learn a better way.

Thanks in advance.


My marina WiFi signal is very weak and it is pretty much unusable if I connect directly with a phone, tablet, or laptop. The Wirie that I mentioned in my earlier post makes it possible to receive the marina WiFi strongly and connect any of my devices with no issues.

Incidentally, I've never tried to see what is the max distance I can get a WiFi signal. I have anchored 0.4 miles from a marina and been able to receive their signal strongly.

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 17:53 #10

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TenMile wrote: T.. Personally, I use a $35 box I purchased off Amazon that runs an open source software program called OpenWRT and it pulls in/repeats WiFi when I need it.
</end rant>


TenMile, as a long-time linux user (Ubuntu), I'd be most interested in more specifics about the name/brand of the $35 box that you used. As you are no doubt aware, there are many devices that claim to support OpenWRT, many with very problematic issues. Thanks.

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 18:27 #11

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The marinas in my area have an antenna for their WIFI routers on the roof to allow for the dock to receive WIFI signals. With my Rogue Wave hooked to my router on my boat I receive WIFI from any of the marinas from Amesbury to Newburyport. Some marinas have no key so I can connect to any of those but I like to stay connected to my marina even when far away from it (3-5 miles away) but still have the option of connecting to others somewhere else. No grated the testing I have done at long distances were not during rainstorms or bad weather but on a normal day being out on the end of my dock (which is much more than 300 feet away) I have solid WIFI. I would recommend the Rogue Wave Pro with the stainless antenna. It works awesome for me and I have recommended it to several dock mates at my marina and they love it.
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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 19:15 #12

  • TenMile
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djhinca wrote:

TenMile wrote: T.. Personally, I use a $35 box I purchased off Amazon that runs an open source software program called OpenWRT and it pulls in/repeats WiFi when I need it.
</end rant>


TenMile, as a long-time linux user (Ubuntu), I'd be most interested in more specifics about the name/brand of the $35 box that you used. As you are no doubt aware, there are many devices that claim to support OpenWRT, many with very problematic issues. Thanks.


I've been using this little guy: www.amazon.com/GL-iNet-GL-AR300M-Pre-ins...-17&keywords=openwrt

It can be a bridge/repeater, standalone AP or can tether to your mobile phone via USB and use your LTE.
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Terry
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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 20:39 #13

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There is a major challenge when it comes to using repeaters with Marina WiFi networks.

Most WiFi repeaters connect to the marina WiFi network at using the 2.5Ghz band on one channel and then repeat the signal in your boat on a different channel using the same 2.5Ghz frequency. Repeaters usually have a much stronger transmitter/receiver than your laptop or smartphone. As you add more repeaters in the marina they end up cluttering up the airwaves.

Think of it like an open VHF channel (for example 66a used to hail local marinas). The "best practice" is to call your marina on 66a on "low power" when you're close, have your quick conversation and then get off the channel so others can use it. If you're in a busy area with lots of marinas all using 66a, you may have to wait several minutes before you can call your marina, and it's highly likely that someone else will step on your call while you're waiting for a response or in mid-discussion. Now, add in "that guy" who leaves his VHF on "high power" with his high gain antenna at the top of his mast (damn sailboats). He will step on every conversation for several miles in his line of site and disrupt communications across that channel for everyone.

WiFi repeaters more or less turn you into "that guy". They transmit at higher power than the typical laptop and nail up a connection full time (your mobile/laptop essentially turns its radio on when needed and off when not needed in order to save battery life). Add in an extreme high gain 9db antenna and the radio is literally screaming across the channel. If there is only 1 repeater at a marina, the problem is negligible , but the more repeaters you add, the more amplified noise you add to the limited WiFi spectrum and it can kill WiFi for everyone. Get into a marina with a poorly designed WiFi network with a bunch of boat owners who have purchased repeaters and the experience will be crappy for everyone. Not to suggest getting a repeater is bad (hey, if you're the only one it won't really matter) just go in with eyes open.

Ideally, what you want is a marina with multiple controller-based AP's spread out along the docks. The controller manages the radio frequencies, switches AP transmit channels, and helps devices connect to the device with the best signal. I had our marina purchase a Meraki-based network with a mix of Indoor and Outdoor AP's so as you move across the facility (in and out) your device roams. Works great for everyone.

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WIFI antenna 06 Sep 2017 20:52 #14

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TenMile wrote: Ideally, what you want is a marina with multiple controller-based AP's spread out along the docks. The controller manages the radio frequencies, switches AP transmit channels, and helps devices connect to the device with the best signal. I had our marina purchase a Meraki-based network with a mix of Indoor and Outdoor AP's so as you move across the facility (in and out) your device roams. Works great for everyone.


This is similar to what we will be setting up at our marina. Once it is in place I will turn off my WiFi repeater and will no longer be "that guy."

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WIFI antenna 07 Sep 2017 00:38 #15

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I've been using Alpha Networks Camp-pro WIFI for 5 months. I paid CAN$173, the price has gone up a little. I'll find out how waterproof it is over the winter. So far it's been a great deal.

www.amazon.ca/Alfa-Networks-Camp-Pro-boa...ywords=Wifi+camp+pro

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WIFI antenna 07 Sep 2017 05:15 #16

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billfnh wrote: So not to start anything TenMile but I have the rogue wave pro and I can pick up and HOLD my marina from 5.5 miles away and still stream movies without any buffering. So yes, WIFI can go further than most people think. Also, just FYI I am a communications engineer with Raytheon for 28 years now so don't believe everything you read in books. What you think is not possible, Just MAY BE POSSIBLE.

The problem is that if your omnidirectional (whip) antenna is able to connect to a hotspot 5.5 miles away, then it's able to pick up every hotspot within a 5.5 mile radius. So the signal from all the other hotspots within that radius act like noise to the desired hotspot you're trying to connect to. Your problem doesn't become the signal being too weak. It becomes the signal being drowned out by all the other signals (SNR, signal to noise ratio, is unusable).

The only way you can get it to work at these ranges (without directional antennas) is if the hotspot you're trying to connect to is also running some sort of signal boosting antenna. Then when you're 5.5 miles away it's the only hotspot with a strong signal (on that channel). The noise from all the other (unboosted) hotspots is much weaker, so you're able get enough signal-to-noise ratio to connect to the one boosted hotspot. So what you're reporting is certainly possible. But people shouldn't expect to use one of these devices to connect to any old WiFi hotspot at these ranges.

I'll also add that you should avoid the U.S. version of the 5 GHz Ubiquiti Bullet. Its firmware is crippled to only allow you to use channels 149-165. Most 5 GHz hotspots can use channels 36-165, or 36-48 and 149-165. So the 5 GHz Bullet at best won't be able to connect to half the 5 GHz hotspots out there. From what I was able to gather, the International version of the 5 GHz Ubiquiti Bullet does not have this problem (basically they did a half-assed job implementing the DFS channel block to protect doppler weather radar in the U.S).

On channels 149-165, its performance is stellar though. I've been able to use it to connect to and maintain a strong connection with -86 dB signal, -94 dB noise, which is almost like picking out noise from noise - typical WiFi connections are around -65 dB signal, -95 dB noise. So I'm sure the International 5 GHz version performs beautifully. The 2.4 GHz version probably does as well, if you can live with only 3 independent channels and being subject to interference from thousands of hotspots.

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WIFI antenna 07 Sep 2017 19:14 #17

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Solandri - so, are you saying to stay away from any 5Ghz antenna equipment unless it's directional? I'm just getting involved in putting up an antenna to go with the Vesper XB-8000 that I have on the boat and I'm still sorting through what I want compared with what I need. Would appreciate some sage advice. Currently, I like Vesper's antenna but I'm seeing quite a few out there for the 2.4 & 5 Ghz bands. Guess I need some sort of router too, huh? or can I just plug it into the computer (laptop)?

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WIFI antenna 08 Sep 2017 01:18 #18

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I have an Aigean wifi extender that does both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. It is designed to get both those lower channels that Solandri talks about and the upper channels.
I used to have a RogueWave (2.4Ghz only), but went with Aigean to have the option of 5Ghz.

The Aigean is much better than Rogewave with its user interface and well as system data/diagnostics.
If I'm able to connect to a 5Ghz signal, I get much better performance than competing with other signals and other users on 2.4Ghz

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WIFI antenna 08 Sep 2017 04:49 #19

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I think this forum might want to go back to boating. While several folks have mentioned decades of experience in the field, I have to mention several departures from the laws of physics. First, if someone is catching a marina's wifi at 5 miles, I am the pope. Second, 5ghz may offer increased perceived "speed" but it only works over very short distances, and it does not penetrate walls, boats or other objects very well. If you don't believe me, connect to both one at a time, and run a speed test. Note, they will be identical, maybe even lower on 5GHZ depending on your location and obstacles. The higher the frequency, the shorter the range. Both frequencies have been around forever, but only recently have they started marketing 5ghz, and that's exactly what it is. Marketing. Your end point equipment may not be designed to take advantage of dual band, even so - in most cases who cares. You can repeat a wifi signal endlessly, it doesn't create "interference" it creates local signal strength. That is exactly how all wifi is repeated through the world, it all goes out through one pipe regardless of the frequency, your marina, a Starbucks or your house. A basic understanding of TCP/IP and radio frequencies will back me up. I just mention all this because you can pour money into marketing, but you can't deny physics.

By the way, that Chinese mini router gizmo only uses Chinese DNS. Don't ask me why this is something to worry about.

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WIFI antenna 08 Sep 2017 06:57 #20

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Dadrock33 wrote: Solandri - so, are you saying to stay away from any 5Ghz antenna equipment unless it's directional?

No, I'm advising people to stay away from the U.S. version of the 5 GHz Ubiquiti Bullet. From what I gather, a lot of these long-range WiFi units just stick a big antenna onto a Ubiquiti Bullet. So I felt I should warn people of their (IMHO) defective 5 GHz product.

And you probably don't want to use a directional antenna on a boat, as keeping it pointed in the right direction is probably going to be difficult without some sort of gyro-stabilized platform. You could use one while you're docked in a marina though. Check out the Ubiquiti Nanostation loco M2 and M5. They're directional but with fairly wide lobes (30-60 degrees if I remember right) and a signal strength meter built right into their back, so are easy to aim.

Guess I need some sort of router too, huh? or can I just plug it into the computer (laptop)?

The Ubiquitis incorporate a router. You can plug the ethernet cable coming from them straight into your computer, or into a switch or even a WiFi router if you need to connect multiple devices. As for other brands, you'll have to research exactly how they work.

iceclimber wrote: I think this forum might want to go back to boating. While several folks have mentioned decades of experience in the field, I have to mention several departures from the laws of physics. First, if someone is catching a marina's wifi at 5 miles, I am the pope.

Older FRS radios (the generic handheld walkie talkies you could buy from department stores) were limited to 0.5 Watts, and were advertised as having a theoretical range of 9-15 miles over open terrain (e.g. the ocean). Broadcast strength on the open WiFi frequencies is limited to 1 Watt. So I have no problem believing 6 miles is attainable under the right circumstances with the right non-directional WiFi equipment.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Radio_Service

Second, 5ghz may offer increased perceived "speed" but it only works over very short distances, and it does not penetrate walls, boats or other objects very well. If you don't believe me, connect to both one at a time, and run a speed test. Note, they will be identical, maybe even lower on 5GHZ depending on your location and obstacles. The higher the frequency, the shorter the range.

This is true. 5 GHz is absorbed much more readily by obstructions than 2.4 GHz. However, if you're on the ocean, there should be no obstructions between you and the marina's WiFi antenna (assuming it's mounted at a good location). Higher frequencies are attenuated more by the atmosphere. But due to the way signal strength is measured (in dB - a logarithmic scale), 5 GHz signals lose about 8 dB of strength relative to 2.4 GHz regardless of distance.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-space_path_loss

Both frequencies have been around forever, but only recently have they started marketing 5ghz, and that's exactly what it is. Marketing.

802.11n works on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. 802.11ac is 5 GHz-only. n will give you about 10-15 Mbps, while ac will give you about 25-40 Mbps. ac also incorporates some signaling improvements (including multipath) which can increase speeds even higher.

As I mentioned (at least I hope I mentioned it - I also post answers on a couple computer support forums so it's easy to lose track of what I've said), the main reason for going with 5 GHz is less interference. The 2.4 GHz band only has 3 independent channels (channel 1 actually broadcasts on channels 1-5, channel 2 on 2-6, 3 on 3-7, etc, so only channels 1, 6, and 11 don't stomp on each other). On top of that, not only is 2.4 GHz used for WiFi, it's also used for bluetooth, baby monitors, certain cordless phones, and wireless microphones. Microwave ovens also operate just outside the 2.4 GHz band, and can obliterate all 2.4 GHz signals in the area.

What matters to the router and your receiver is the signal to noise ratio. If you're getting -75 dB of signal and the noise floor is -95 dB, then your SnR is (-75) - (-90) = 20 dB (they're logs, so division is accomplished by subtracting them). Using 5 GHz will lose you 8 dB relative to 2.4 GHz, dropping this to a SnR of 12 dB. But if other stuff broadcasting at 2.4 GHz increases the noise floor at 2.4 Ghz to -87 dB, then your 2.4 GHz SnR will also be 12 dB. So yes all other things being equal, 2.4 GHz will get you greater range than 5 GHz. But the noise floor is rarely equal between the two bands.

You can repeat a wifi signal endlessly, it doesn't create "interference" it creates local signal strength. That is exactly how all wifi is repeated through the world, it all goes out through one pipe regardless of the frequency, your marina, a Starbucks or your house.

This is correct locally. If the the main WiFi router is 100 yards away and the WiFi repeater 10 yards away, then the repeater's signal strength is 100x stronger (inverse square law so (100/10)^2 = 100x the signal strength). So the main router's signal does not interfere with the repeater.

However, if you're several miles offshore trying to pull in a weak signal, now suddenly that WiFi repeater is almost the exact same distance from you as the main WiFi router (5 miles vs 5.05 miles). And if they're on the same channel, their two signals will interfere with each other and your ability to distinguish them. That's why it's super-helpful if your marina sticks a high-dB antenna on their one WiFi access point and broadcasts at the max limit of 1 Watt. Its signal will be substantially stronger than neighboring signals which are about the same distance from your offshore boat.

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WIFI antenna 08 Sep 2017 18:48 #21

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As a retired Army Signal Officer this thread brings back fond memories of my commo guy days - antenna theory, frequency propagation, atmospheric bounce, diffraction, IMC, building field-expedient antennas out anything we could find to see if we could make it work, etc.. Good times. :)

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Thanks. And happy boating!
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WIFI antenna 09 Sep 2017 02:49 #22

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Unfortunately this thread became the victim of a user who has a vested interest in selling the product that was being endorsed without disclosing the nature of his relationship. The user has been banned.

IceClimber: that OpenWRT box doesn't use Chinese DNS, it uses any DNS that you program into the OpenWRT OS-- by default, I always use OpenDNS. However, it does use a Chinese based Dynamic DNS if you want to remotely access the box. Agreed -- don't recommend using that as these services have been a know attack vector. You have to enable the DDNS service and can completely remove it.

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WIFI antenna 13 Sep 2017 02:02 #23

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TenMile wrote: Unfortunately this thread became the victim of a user who has a vested interest in selling the product that was being endorsed without disclosing the nature of his relationship. The user has been banned.

IceClimber: that OpenWRT box doesn't use Chinese DNS, it uses any DNS that you program into the OpenWRT OS-- by default, I always use OpenDNS. However, it does use a Chinese based Dynamic DNS if you want to remotely access the box. Agreed -- don't recommend using that as these services have been a know attack vector. You have to enable the DDNS service and can completely remove it.


Sound advice Captain, cheers.

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WIFI antenna 13 Sep 2017 14:47 #24

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Ice Climber wrote: "I think I need to buy stock in something because the only way to achieve that distance is microwave. Otherwise you have some sort of revolutionary technology on your hands, or your marina has the worlds most powerful wifi. Standard wifi is 300 feet outdoors, max. No disrespect intended Captain. "

I read this and curiosity has gotten the best of me. What authoritative test data is this statement based on?

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WIFI antenna 13 Sep 2017 19:51 #25

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Trying to stay quiet - but I just can't.......

We use a large (like 20 inch) Wilson Omnidirectional Antenna attached to a Wilson Signal Booster and then create a personal hotspot from our cellphone onto our boat. With data rates so low on phones nowadays I cannot think of any logical reason why anyone would want to mess around with wifi unless it were point to point.
We stream Netflix, movies etc 20 kms away from the nearest wifi signal.
Cheap to buy (whole set-up was less than $400 CAD) and super easy to set up.

Save yourself the wifi hassles and go cellular

BTW I do not work for Wilson, I am not in the Wifi Business nor am I in the cellular business. But I do have over 25 years experience in the communications industry and have learned that simple is the best solution 99% of the time !!

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2002 2859 "Liquid Therapy"
Moored at Reed Point Marina in Port Moody BC
Last Edit: by B95054.
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