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Even though we have been very happy with the WirieAP Wi-Fi booster that we have used in the past, when it came time to purchase one for the new boat (we left the Wirie on ZTC for the new owners), we decided to go a different route this time around.

Outside of the cellular service offered by the local telephone companies, I believe the largest internet provider in Grenada is Cruisers Wi-Fi. At least it’s the one that we’ve always used. Rikky Knowles, the owner of the company, also sells Wi-Fi antennas, and when I contacted him to discuss our needs, we opted to purchase one of the Bullet-based systems that he had in stock.

Even though the guts of the system is different from what we’ve used in the past, it functions very similarly. In addition to the antenna and booster, there is a small wireless router that creates a network, and we can connect to that network with any of our laptops and iDevices.

In spite of the fact that I’ve had this setup for weeks, until just now I had yet to try it out. The hurdle preventing me from doing so has been running the wires to the location that I want to permanently mount the pieces (antenna, router, etc.). I decided this morning though that prior to investing the time to run any wires, it would be prudent to first test the antenna to see how it works.

Well, I am happy to report that even with the antenna simply sitting on the nav table, leaning up against a bulkhead, the system works as advertised. With very little configuration, I was able to connect to our Cruisers Wi-Fi account, and post this info to our blog. Now I can’t wait to get it installed properly!

23 Comments

  1. What sort of range did you get with your setup?

  2. You may want to consider the rocket version of this product:

    http://streakwave.com/Itemdesc.asp?ic=RocketM2&o1=0

    With this omnidirectional antennae:

    http://streakwave.com/Itemdesc.asp?ic=AMO%2D2G13&o1=0

    While this will cost a bit more you will now have a system that will pick up horizontal and vertical signals.

    Your local WISP owner should have a line on this. I gave the URLs above for reference.

    • Did you note that I said that I already purchased a system, and was using it? Why would I spend more money to buy something else?

      • I did note that you purchased a system. I would assume you could return it to your WISP friend in exchange for a better but more expensive system. 😛

        • I may be wrong but I believe people put WAY too much time and effort into finding the “best” system. The limiting factor in the connection is seldom the booster. Rather it is the quality of the signal that you are connecting to. In my mind, having a system that is 1) available here on island, and 2) sold by a local that will stand behind it, is much more important to me than purchasing something that may or may not be better.

          • RF links work best when both ends have similar transmit power, receive sensitivity and antenna type.

            You *can* do highly asymmetric links (eg. transmitting 400,000 W from the 70 metre dish at Goldstone, and the spacecraft on the other end transmitting 13 W from a 2 metre dish in reply). Ideally, though, you keep them as similar as possible unless power limitations dictate otherwise.

            Dumping more power into one end doesn’t solve much unless the other end is designed with this in mind.

            WiFi uses a shared medium – one RF channel is shared among all the devices connected to a particular access point. More often than not, trying to stretch the limits of range and power just makes it hard for other devices sharing the channel to determine whether a carrier is present and thus whether it is OK to transmit, degrading the performance for everyone.

  3. We’ve used a Ubiquiti Bullet for years. For $90 (from Amazon), there’s nothing out there that performs better. We have it directly coupled to an 8dB antenna from Engenius (another $30), and we use dedicated outdoor-rated Cat-5 from the mast to the pilothouse.

  4. What antenna did he set you up with? I’m guessing an omni directional?

  5. How often did you use the 3G/4G portion of your WirieAP (especially if/when you were on the move) ?

  6. Must it be line of sight?
    Understand a mountain in between wouldn’t work 🙁
    But what if trees, a couple of houses, etc.?

    • I’m not an expert. It’s not true line of site as I’ve got it inside right now. I suspect that the less objects in the way, the better it would be though.

    • Both of the WiFi bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) are line-of-sight. They will penetrate some lightweight materials (fibreglass, drywall) with significant but usually tolerable signal attenuation. They will not penetrate metal, rock or forest.

  7. Hey Mike,

    I worked on the America’s Cup technical broadcast and was on the boats daily. We used this system on every boat to report it’s position back to us. It was all PC based and not very Mac friendly then (about 2-3 years ago). Stan Honey gave me one of the set-ups that was on a boast that capsized and and I’m a mac guy and never could get the set-up right and then just put it away in the closet. Do you have a set-up guide that works with your mac?

  8. What do you use for POE? 12v or 24v?

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