Success with AIS/4G/LTE+ & Wifi combined

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Success with AIS/4G/LTE+ & Wifi combined

Postby hotstonp » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:28 am

Hi All

I thought I would let you know of a small bit of success I have had with creating a single wifi network that can off load to a marina wifi or switch to 4g/LTE+. It was far cheaper than a Digital Yacht equivalent which was the cheapest alternative I found here in the UK.

So firstly I installed a Vesper Marine XB-8000 AIS transceiver. This is a lovely piece of kit that is a complete doddle to install and configure. It can be configured over your mobile phone or plugged in via USB to a mac or windows laptop. The MAC configuration is the best tool in terms of quality, I found the windows one hard to use on Windows 10. The simplest and quickest to use is the iPhone - there is also an Android version but I couldn't test that.

The XB-800 can map itself to another wifi signal and take its IP address from that. It then provides the NMEA2k or 0183 via the wifi. It can be picked up by a whole range of products including VesperMarines own WatchMate.

I then added a Netgear Night Hawk M1. This is a very small box, powered over USB or cigar socket that provides 4g or the faster LTE+. IN the UK LTE+ is only provided by EE and since BT bought them their service is plummeting but it works quite well. The advantage of the M1 is that it can take USB old style sockets, USB C or Ethernet. It also has twin sockets for TS-9 aerial leads. These are really small connectors that are perfect for mousing through really tight holes. I then obtained an external MIMO OMNI antenna with the same TS-9 connectors and mounted that on my comms mast at the stern of Feronia. This looks like a police light that has been painted white (think the old Starsky & Hutch magnetic light).

So I now have the ability to boost the marina wifi and use it via the standard wifi name in the boat. If the AIS and instruments are on then I can receive that on Windows, Mac, iPad or iPhone and it can be used by programmes on all those devices simultaneously if you choose to. My daughter can use her iPad to pick up her emails or FaceTime her mum once we are out of the marina without having to piggy back on an iPhone.

That sort of set up seems to normally be silly money. So if you are looking at AIS and would like to connect up your slice of freedom then that is a cheaper way than I had found of doing it. Whats more I found it really quite easy and it works as it says on the tin.

Now... can I leave my desk and go sailing now? I can now work from the boat with fast enough wifi for work to think I am at home......

Have a great weekend.
Peter on Feronia
1986 Freedom 33 Cat Sloop (UK Hoyt), Hull # 001, Aluminium Needlespar rig, shoal keel.
hotstonp
 
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