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WiFi Access

Discussion in 'Boat Electronics' started by Rusty, Jul 7, 2006.

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  1. Rusty

    Rusty Guest

    I have a non-laptop Shuttle computer on my sailboat. I would like to be able
    to access marina and other WiFi points when available. I have talked to some
    of the marine WiFi providers and they only provide hardware that works with
    laptop computers. At the Oakland boat show the provider I talked to wouldn't
    even look at me after I said I had a desktop computer instead of a laptop!

    I would like to set up an external antenna and the necessary hardware to get
    WiFi access into the Ethernet port on my computer. I have no laptop PCMCIA
    slots, no PCI bus slots, only a high-speed Ethernet port. I am not looking
    to have secondary wireless access for other devices on the boat.

    I would like to be able to install a wired router on the boat and share the
    internet connection among more than one on-board wired computer. This would
    eliminate USB wireless adapters that connect directly to the computer.

    Can I use a bridge, like the Linksys WET54G, for this application or is
    there a better solution? Recommendations for an external antenna would also
    be appreciated.

    Thanks, Rusty
  2. You might try a EUB-362(EXT) high power (200mw) USB wireless adapter with an
    8.5db marine antenna on the Shuttle, hard wire in the other PCs through a
    workgroup switch and use the Windows ICS facility to share the connection.

    The EUB-362 is especially attractive because you can run the USB cable up to
    15' and locate the EUB362 close to the antenna. With a powered hub at the
    end of the USB cable you can go another 15' and take the load off the
    Shuttle all together.. At 2.4Ghz LMR200 coax will loose more than 50% of
    the signal over 20' but only 15% over the 4' that comes with the antenna.
    Also working off the USB port the Shuttle will own the adapter so you can
    scan for access points and control which one it connects to using the
    standard wifi utilities. You can't do that very easily with a wireless

    To give you an idea of the performance, using a 200mw Senao card connected
    through 16' of LMR100 an 8.5db antenna I could get a usable signal from the
    500mw BVI Marine Wifi access points out to about 900 yards. The thin LMR100
    lost 75% of the signal so a shorter length of LMR200 should get you out to
    1,500 yards or better.

    Glenn Ashmore

    I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
    there of) at:
    Shameless Commercial Division:
  3. Rusty

    Rusty Guest


    You make a good point about being able to scan for access points. I think
    the bridge comes with software for scanning, but a USB adapter would make
    that very easy. It would also make for a simpler setup until I decide to add
    a router.

    Any recommendations for an external antenna?

    Thanks, Rusty
  4. You might consider this whole kit from Netgate: It comes with the
    EUB-362(EXT), an 8.5db marine antenna with mount and a 20' LMR200 cable.
    The antenna is pretty well built but it comes with a deck mount rather than
    a rail mount and will not fit some rail mounts. There is a guy on eBay with
    a store called "War Driving World" selling 9db marine antennas. They are a
    little more expensive but you have a choice of deck or rail mounts

    Depending on how you want to mount the EUB-362 I would ask for a shorter
    cable to minimize loss. I am running USB to right under the antenna and
    just using the cable that comes with the antenna to get the least possible
    loss. Both antennas and the 362 have RP-SMA jacks so you have to use a male
    to male RP-SMA gender changer to connect then directly. (about $5 on ebay)
    Glenn Ashmore

    I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
    there of) at:
    Shameless Commercial Division:
  5. Bill Kearney

    Bill Kearney Guest

    I would like to be able to install a wired router on the boat and share
    Yes, I do this now in our boat. I have a Linksys WRT54GS with the dd-wrt
    firmware loaded on it. It's configured for "wifi client mode" and handles
    making the connections to shore sources. To that I have a PC wired. I also
    have another access point wired to it providing an on-boat Wifi SSID. Our
    laptops connect to this. This way the laptops always connect to the same
    SSID. I only have to visit a wireless client status page and make a
    connection to the on shore SSID. Works pretty well. I'm about to
    permanently install some antennae for it, probably some 8db sticks on
    ratcheting marine mounts.

    -Bill Kearney
  6. Larry

    Larry Guest

    Just stop buy any computer shop and get a Wireless PCI Adapter. It does
    the same thing for the desktop that the PCMCIA wifi card does for the

    Of course, the best ones say NETGEAR on them....(c;

    Get the MIMO RangeMax with the bigger transmitter and wider coverage than
    802.11G. You can even outboard the antenna with a Wifi antenna like the
    homebrew Pringle's can antenna:

    or put up a microwave reflector like:

    One nice-looking antenna comes from the satellite TV business. It
    combines the Pringle's can antenna as a feedhorn for a small satellite
    dish as the reflector. I'm currently using a Dish Network larger
    reflector and homebrew Pringles feedhorn to shoot wifi to a friend's
    house over 2 miles from here with great success.

    Fooling with 2.4Ghz homebrew antennas is nearly more fun than playing
    with the internet.....(c;

    Here's a good pointer site for lots of different wifi antenna projects
    anyone can build.

    To find all the open networks anyone can connect to, get Network Stumbler
    for free from Just install it. There's
    instructions for it on the website. If you plug any handheld GPS into
    the computer, too, Net Stumbler will not only log the information from
    all the systems it scans, but will save the GPS position of all of
    them....then, couple that with Google Maps and Google Earth to create a
    wifi map of any place on the planet....great fun and of use when away
    from home...(c;

    Get the computer a Skype phone for the internet so you can make free
    calls until 2007 to any phone in the USA or Canada...FROM ANY INTERNET
    Talk as long as you like. Rates to most civilized countries in Europe,
    again from any place on the planet you can get wifi service, is
    EU0.017/min from your precharged Skype account. Skype-to-Skype internet
    calls from any place to any place, with full motion color video from your
    webcam if you like, is always free. I just got off Skype to a friend in
    Japan a while ago. Anyone with Wifi should have Skype. The phone is
    about 80-90 US Dollars on the net, now.
    My review of Skype Phone is on:
  7. Larry

    Larry Guest

    NetStumbler free from

    Connect your GPS to the computer and NetStumbler will log GPS position
    where it finds each wifi point, automatically, then will interface with
    Google Maps and Google Earth to draw you a Wifi map of any place on the

    Did I mention Free??
  8. Rusty

    Rusty Guest

    Glen, Larry and Bill,

    Thanks for all the good info. I should be able to figure this out now. My
    cable company ended their broadband line just after my house. I'm also
    sharing my access with a neighbor about a half-mile away. I reprogrammed a
    spare WRT54G and added a beam antenna. He has a Linksys 'B' bridge at his
    end. Works great.

    By the way, the Shuttle computer does not have any PCI slots so wireless PCI
    adapters won't help. It only has two PCI Express slots, 1X and 16X. These
    are completely different from standard PCI. The 16X slot has an ATI graphics
    and video capture card. The mother board has all the rest of the needed
    features on it.

    Thanks again, Rusty
  9. Larry

    Larry Guest

    The USB adapter is an external box that just plugs into the USB port I
    assume it has, right?

    That'll work just as good...(c;
  10. Rusty

    Rusty Guest

    Yes, it has several USB ports. That is probably the way I will go.

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