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Best Wireless Bridge / Repeater to extend WLAN from Marina to Yacht

Posted on 2013-06-03
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Last Modified: 2013-06-07
Hello,

I need to install a wirless repeater to extended a network from the marina. I would like to stay with Cisco. But I havent heard of them emphasizing in the marine industry. What would be a real good solution in order to do the following:

I want to be able to go out as far as possible and be able to extend the Marina/Dock 802.11n wireless signal onto a yacht out in the waters.

Please correct me if i am wrong, but i am under the impression that i could install a wireless repeater/antenna that can extend my network up to 5 miles..but..

if there is a boat or anything in the way - which will likely be the case once you are a 1/4 miles out of the marina - will the the powerful repeater be useless?

please help
thx
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Question by:tobe1424
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by:MrC63
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It sounds like you're trying to create a long-range WiFi bridge.  We've used products from Ubiquiti Networks that are reasonably inexpensive to purchase yet offer excellent range and performance.  We recently installed a system at a golf course that allows their beverage cart to travel throughout the property with the POS station connected via the wireless bridge.  The furthest point of coverage is about 1/2 mile, and is fully omnidirectional.

If you need coverage across greater distance, you can blend a directional antenna at the Marina with an Omnidirectional antenna on the yacht, or directional antennas at both ends for even greater distance (+10 miles).
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by:tobe1424
ID: 39217702
So in reality all that matters is a powerful antenna?
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MrC63 earned 500 total points
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Yes, to a certain extent.  Line of site is important -- so don't expect it to go through the water.  However the occasional ship passing through the WiFi stream wouldn't normally cause any big problems.  

I referenced our previous solution with the golf club, and you must keep in mind there are trees on a golf course that will slightly block the signal to the remote device (in this case, a beverage cart).  In your case, unless you had a battleship or an aircraft carrier between you and the marina, you should have no problems getting signal.

Also remember that these units are proprietary.  If you use a Ubiquiti antenna at the Marina, you'll need a compatible Ubiquiti device on the yacht. Once the signal is the yacht via the long-range bridge, then a standard WiFi Access point can distribute it to the various devices on the yacht itself.  Both devices should be located as high as possible to ensure best performance.  Given that it's a marina and a yacht, I would have to think there are masts where the antennascan be located that would be 10 - 20 feet high (or more).
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by:tobe1424
ID: 39219460
I see what you mean. Thanks for elaborating. The golf course is a great reference. But i just find it hard to believe that in an urban area unless the yacht goes out into the sea and stay parallel to the marina, the signal strength will probably be poor.

I was in the Marina yesterday and asked a gentlemen who has been working on marine entertainment media installations for a long while, if he recommended a solution and he pointed me to these guys:

http://www.syrens-at-sea.com/

But my issue is trusting anything else not is not Cisco. The Ubiquiti devices seem very durable and shrewd.

Also, this yacht will be traveling all over the world if possible. So a proprietary unit will not work ( or be as efficient) when i am nearby a different marina with a different antenna?

Best
T
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by:MrC63
ID: 39219647
Travelling to different locations across the world introduces a whole new set of issues that are much different than the original question.  :)

You are correct that virtually all long range WiFi defices are proprietary.  This renders them useless unless other marinas have similar equipment.  It is typically the best way to get maximum range however, since they are designed specifically to work with each other.

The Syren solution is a reasonable solution, but would not have the range of the Ubiquiti simply because you have no control over the remote antenna and/or its capabilities.  It may be worth exploring due to its flexibility if you can accept its range limitations.
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by:tobe1424
ID: 39223700
i see..so i would need everything to be from the same mfg?

For example i can't use a Cisco repeater attached to a Ubiquiti antenna transmitting to a Ubiquiti antenna at the Marina? I would need a Ubiquiti Access Point with a Ubiquiti Antenna at both ends?

Does Cisco offer any long range solutions? I was hoping to stick with them since i am comfortable with their appliances.
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by:MrC63
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As soon as you have the long range point-to-point connection established, you can use any equipment you wish behind the points.  Think of the Ubiquiti devices as a really long Ethernet cable.  :)  Once they are connected, you can do anything you want at either end, with whomever's equipment you prefer to use.

I agree that Cisco makes great equipment, but long-range Wi-Fi is not in their arsenal, or at least not to my knowledge.  On the other hand, it shouldn't introduce any significant problems from a client side, since the long-range WiFi is merely there to establish connectivity between two distant points.
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by:tobe1424
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thx so much
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