wifi booster

The wifi on a laptop or tablet does not have a long range, hanging a wifi adabter on an extension USB  cable from the boom or spray hood helps a bit. A better solution is to install a wifi booster antenna with a wifi access point.

Copyright welkin.no

A stainless tube was bent in a U-shape and two pieces of stainless steel was shaped into antenna support.

The U was fastened just below the radar. The black antenna is for AIS and the white antenna is the wifi antenna. It has a 9db gain, which is ideal for a boat. A higher gain and the useful beamwidth will be too narrow and a little wave would make you lose the connection.

The wireless access point is a TP-LINK TL-WA7210N configured as a repeater. The APis placed below deck under the radarmast in order to have a short antenna cable and less loss in power.

Testing it for the first time in the harbour, showed more than 50 wifi hotspots - on the laptop only 7! An open wifi router about 80 meter away provided enough bandwidth to watch movie on Netflix!

smart phone as 3g/4g wifi hotspot

On the way back from North Cape, the speed of the ICE internet (see below) and the coverage got so bad that the captain bought a prepaid data SIM to be able to get on internet. Using a smart phone as a wifi router works fine! Once the data roaming costs are removed in EU in 2016, a wifi router with 4G and an external antenna will be installed permanently in the boat.

ICE in Scandinavia

ICE is a company using the old NMT (Nordic Mobil Telephone) infrastructure to provide internet access in 75% of Scandinavia and up to 150nm offshore. It has been working nice in southern Norway, Sweden and Finland. In Denmark the coverage is poor. The ICE wifi router is installed just under the doghouse deck and would probably benefit from an external antenna.