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.
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Re: Success with AIS/4G/LTE+ & Wifi combined

Postby Castaway » Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:19 am

Hi, Peter,

This sounds like a handy setup> I was thinking of getting a new AIS transceiver, now that I have upgraded my chart-plotter to one that will show it. I also need to convert NMEA 0183 to 200 (? and back) somewhere in the system. When I looked at the specs for the Vesper 8000, I couldn't see if it had a hard-wired 0183 connection (WiFi won't do with my old instruments); perhaps you could enlighten me?

We usually use a MiFi for internet connection, and swap out the sim card if need be, though Three seems to work fairly well in Scandinavia, but we usually only get 3G. Do you get free roaming, AND LTE+, with your EE card in Europe?

When our daughter joins us on board, she has such an enormous data contract that we piggy back onto her phone, but she's not with us very often!

Regards,

Gerald Freshwater
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland
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Re: Success with AIS/4G/LTE+ & Wifi combined

Postby hotstonp » Sun Sep 16, 2018 3:47 am

Hi Gerald

I am certain that the Vesper does do NMEA0183. The Spec has the following in it:
"Connectivity: NMEA 2000, NMEA 0183, USB, Wireless 802.11 b/g - All input NMEA 0183 sentences are repeated to the NMEA 0183 output, USB and WiFi. Selected NMEA 2000 PGN's (heading, wind, depth, speed, temperature, and log) are translated to NMEA 0183 sentences and repeated to the NMEA 0183 output, USB and WiFi. This allows a wide variety of NMEA 0183 and NMEA 2000 instruments to be interfaced and output to all other connected devices."

I will check later when I am back on board but I am pretty certain it had a separate nmea0183 port.

The EE sim gives me LTE+ on the Night Hawk and we do get free roaming with the EE sim in Europe at the moment - who knows what will happen in March when the UK leaves the EU. I am still hoping common sense prevails.

Having spent the summer with he Vesper I am very happy with it. I t now shares the data network with the Garmin kit I al ready had on board so an old iPad is now a second MFD on the chart table providing access to VESPER data or Garmin Data protocols (same data just different apps really)

Keep well
Peter
1986 Freedom 33 Cat Sloop (UK Hoyt), Hull # 001, Aluminium Needlespar rig, shoal keel.
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Re: Success with AIS/4G/LTE+ & Wifi combined

Postby Castaway » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:13 am

Peter,

Thanks for the info in your latest post. I'm looking for a way to interface my old B&G instruments (wind, depth, speed) with my new B&G plotter, and also to add AIS, presently running on an ancient IBM laptop with a NASA receiver, quite separate from other systems. The Vesper sounds as though it might do most of this. Unfortunately, I am 1000 km from the boat, so testing stuff before installation is quite tricky! I have, at least, got the plotter screen to show up on my iPad, though the screen resolutions are very different; in fact, the iPad is better as a plotter for pilotage, but battery life and lack of waterproofing make it impractical for continuous use on deck. Handy when approaching an anchorage or marina, however, since two different scale charts can be seen at once.

Kind regards,

Gerald
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland
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