How to Connect our WL70+iKConnect to a Marina Hotspot

Our WL70 long range Wi-Fi Antenna and iKConnect mini wireless router are a great combination for cost effective long range Wi-Fi connection on a boat. We have tried to make the process of connecting to a marina hotspot as simple as possible but if you are not doing this every day, then it is easy to forget the steps involved.

With this in mind, we have created a new “How to Video Guide” that gives you a step by step guide on connecting to the two different types of wireless Hotspot that you will encounter, using the web interface of the iKConnect.

This video is also applicable for our other popular combo; the smaller WL60 long range Wi-Fi adaptor and iKConnect, when used in caravan or RV sites.

New set of “How To” Videos on our Long Range Wi-Fi Products

WL510+iNavConnect

Getting a good long range Wi-Fi connection in a marina can be a challenge, particularly if you have not used the equipment for a while and cannot remember the steps involved.

To try and help make this a little easier, Digital Yacht have created a set of “How To” videos that explain how to connect to the two main types of wireless hotspots that you will come across on your travels; the “Open” captive portal type hotspot favoured by most marinas these days and the “encrypted” password protected hotspot that most bars and restaurants still operate.

At the same time we also created a third video that covers the important process of securing your boat’s wireless, by changing the default wireless network name and password, so that only the people you want to connect, can join your network.

We recommend watching them in the order shown below and simply click on the link to take you to the video on our YouTube channel…

  1. Connecting our WL510 to a Captive Portal type Marina hotspot
  2. Connecting our WL510 to a Password Protected type Restaurant/Bar hotspot
  3. Changing the default SSID and Password on our iNavConnect/iNavHub/iKConnect routers

IMPORTANT NOTE
After Apple changed the way their auto login feature of iOS and Safari behaved earlier this year, we now recommend installing the free Google Chrome web browser for maximum compatibility when connecting to hotspots, on your iPad or iPhone and this is also true on Windows PCs as Internet Explorer does not always seem to trigger the re-direct to the marina’s welcome/login page.

New Mac OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) drivers now available for WL60

OS-X-Yosemite

We are pleased to confirm that we have now released a new set of drivers for our popular WL60 long range Wi-Fi adaptor.

With the release of Mac OSX 10.10, Apple made a few small changes to the way drivers are installed and registered and it was necessary to create a new installer for our WL60 drivers.

For anyone with a brand new Mac that wants to have a simple long range Wi-Fi solution for use on their boat or in their caravan, the WL60 is one of the few solutions that are Yosemite compatible.

To download the latest drivers please click here.

Note – these drivers can also be used with our older WL410 products.

What’s in a Name ? – Good and Bad SSIDs

Bad SSID

We have noticed that quite a few of our WL450 and WL510 customers are using their long range Wi-Fi installation to connect to a “personal hotspot” or “tethered phone” depending upon whether they are an Apple or Android user. If you have a good or unlimited data plan on your phone, then this is a very useful way to get internet in places where the Wi-Fi is not so good but the 3G signal is strong. Normally it is the other way round, but if you find yourself in this situation, it is a “good tool to have in your tool box”.

The long range performance of the WL450/WL510, means that you can place the phone anywhere on the boat to get the best 3G signal and the WL450/WL510 will connect to it. If you also have the WL450/WL510 connected to a router like our iNavConnect then everyone on board connected to the router, will also be able to use the 3G internet connection.

Last week we were contacted by a customer trying to do just this with his iPhone but he could not get his WL510 to connect to his personal hotspot. After a bit of head scratching, we realised that he had an apostrophe in the SSID like the one in the image above “Paul&Kay’s iPhone” and this use of a special character was stopping the WL510 from connecting to it.

Looking online there did not seem to be a definitive Specification or RFC that stated what characters must or must not be used in an SSID, but the general recommendation seems to be that SSIDs should use standard characters, avoiding the use of special characters and spaces. So in our example above a much more compatible SSID would be “PaulandKays_iPhone”.

Once we changed the iPhone’s name (SSID) to a more compatible set of characters, the WL510 connected first time and he was able to get a very good 3G connection in the Norwegian Fjord he was moored in !

WL60 the Ideal Wi-Fi Solution for Narrow Boats

WL60 on Narrow Boat

 

Our WL60 has always been a popular long range Wi-Fi adaptor for Yachts, but now it is also finding its way on to Inland Waterways and particularly on narrow boats, where having an external Wi-Fi antenna outside of the steel “Faraday cage” hull significantly increases the Wi-Fi range of your PC or Mac.

With its simple suction cup mounting and 5m USB cable, it’s really easy to stick it to the side of the hull when moored, feed the cable down through the hatch or in through a window. plug it in to a spare USB port on your computer and in seconds you can be connected to a local hotspot and start browsing the internet or reading emails. With many marinas and canalside pubs/restaurants now having Wi-Fi it is becoming much easier to get online and the WL60 is a great way to increase your Wi-Fi range and therefore chances of finding a hotspot signal. With typical “clear line of sight” Wi-Fi ranges up to 1Km, the WL60 will not only increase your Wi-Fi range but also maximise signal strength and therefore connection speeds.

For more information click here.

The Challenge of the “e-Enabled” Boat

The e-Enabled Boat

Our CTO Paul Sumpner was recently asked to write an article for the Marine Electronics Journal, a trade magazine for all NMEA Dealers, on the challenges faced by those of us who want to stay connected whilst on our boat. The article has now been published and can be found at http://www.marineelectronicsjournal.com/content/blog/blog.asp?show=VIEW&a=40