Features

January 2011 Issue

By Joe Minick

Marine Electronics: Build an Inexpensive Wireless Network

A Wi-Fi network paired with an external antenna amps up the contemporary onboard nav station.

Practical Sailor contributor and bluewater cruiser Joe Minick details the benefits of an onboard Wi-Fi computer network on a cruising boat, and explains the easy DIY setup that connects multiple electronics to the Internet via a client router. Beyond the usual benefits, one that is particularly useful to sailors is that an onboard network allows networked devices to share GPS, NMEA instrument information and other navigation data using software like GPSGate from Franson Technology and Handheld for Mariners. Minick used the Engenius EOC2610 from Keenan Systems and the D-Link DWL G700AP in his setup, which has served his crew well as they cruise the Med. The ethernet-based system is similar to the the Bullit2 systems PS tested from Bitstorm and Wave Wi-Fi.

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