Wi-Fi Congestion

WiFiAnalyzer

The range of 2.4GHz frequencies reserved for Wi-Fi is fairly limited and with so many Wi-Fi devices and networks these days, it is not unusual for wireless networks in the same location to share the same frequencies and this results in lower connection speeds and even connection drop outs in extreme situations.

The good news is that the wireless network(s) on your boat, once out at sea, will not be affected by the wireless networks on land or on other boats. That said, these days it is not unusual for larger yachts and powerboats to have two or more wireless networks and so it is really important to ensure that your own wireless networks are working at peak performance and not sharing the same frequencies.

The good news is that most Wireless Routers and Access Points can be configured to work on a specific frequency and so you should be able to ensure that each network is using its own frequency band without any overlaps.

There are affectively 13 frequencies in the 2.4GHz range and each wireless router will use five adjoining frequencies to setup its network. Looking at the diagram above, where each coloured curve is a separate wireless router/network, you can see that in general three frequencies are used; 1, 6 and 11. which allows three routers to work side by side with no overlapping/sharing of frequencies.

So how do you optimise the frequencies used by your wireless networks ? Well first you need to “see” what is going on by carrying out a wireless survey of your boat. This can be done using a number of free programs and apps. Unfortunately Apple do not allow iPhones and iPads to provide this level of Wi-Fi Information so you will need to use a Windows PC or Android device to do your wireless survey.

If you have an Android phone or tablet, then you are in luck as the free App “Wi-Fi Analyzer” is one of the best tools available and created the image above. For Windows PC users then “NetSurveyor” is very good or “WiFiInfoView” which is not so graphical but is only a few hundred Kilobytes in size and needs no installation, so can run straight from your memory stick.

Whichever tool you use, once you have conducted your wireless survey, you will be able to see what frequencies your wireless networks are operating on and decide if you need to change them. All Digital Yacht wireless products can be changed to use a different frequency and should you need to do this, please contact us for instructions.

A Very Concise Visit

photo

On a rather grey and damp afternoon, Paul Sumpner visited Class 40 race boat “Concise 8” which was being commissioned at Port Hamble. On board was Mark Wylie of Eastern Electronics who specialises in the supply and fit of marine electronics for high performance racing yachts. WIth NKE instruments, Adrena racing software running on Panasonic Tough Book Windows 8 PCs, AIS and Sat Comms, the installation was typical of the electronics that many serious offshore racing yachts are now fitting.

To link everything together Mark had installed a Digital Yacht iNavHub and Paul was there to check the final network settings and advise on how one of Digital Yacht’s latest WL450 long range Wi-Fi antennas could be added to the system.

With the Thrane and Thrane Fleet 250 Sat Comms, connected to the WAN socket of the iNavHub, the NMEA 0183 instrument and AIS data coming in to the NMEA input of the iNavHub and the Tough Books, iPads and smart phones connected wirelessly to the iNavHub network, it was possible for all wireless devices to receive NMEA data and connect to the Sat Comms to download weather data, etc. What is more, using a piece of software called Real VNC, Mark was able to run the main PC down below and fully control and repeat the Adrena racing software from on deck with the Panasonic Tough Book – all through the Digital Yacht iNavHub.

When Digital Yacht developed iNavHub we had not considered Racing Yachts to be a potential application and it was great to see Mark using our iNavHub in this new and exciting way. Despite the weather, the visit was a success and it was good to see everything working as planned.  For more information on Team Concise click here.

Using Fusion 700 Series with iNavConnect

Fusion 700

Recently a customer of ours asked us how to connect their new Fusion 700 Series entertainment system to our iNavConnect wireless router. Our first question was “Why do you want to do that ?” but then it became clear that the Fusion 700 Series is quite a sophisticated system. Using a wireless router and their Fusion Link App, you can fully control everything wirelessly from your iPad/iPhone.

So we immediately contacted Fusion UK and arranged to borrow a unit for testing. In fact it turned out to be much easier than we expected to hook the devices together and within minutes we had everything setup and the sound of sweet music echoed through the office, remotely controlled by an iPhone.

Our iNavConnect, directly connected to the boat’s 12v or 24v  DC supply and housed in an IP54 rated case that can be screwed/bolted down to a suitable bulkhead, is the ideal wireless router for connecting to the Fusion 700 Series and you can even hook up our WL510 and have one wireless network for controlling your AV system and getting long range wireless internet.

As always, we have published a new Tech Note to guide customers and dealers through the process of getting everything working and a copy of this can be downloaded by clicking here.

 

New iNavHub Manual

Manuals

Today we released a new quick start guide for our popular iNavHub wireless router and NMEA server. Thanks to feedback from Storm Force our dealer in Hong Kong, we have improved and corrected sections of the manual that could have caused confusion.

Storm Force were using an iNavHub to wirelessly connect instrument data to a PC running Expedition software, which after the initial confusion, worked very well and allowed them to have just one wireless network for NMEA data and long range internet.

At the same, time we have audited and updated all of the manuals on our website to make sure that they are 100% in-sync with our master copies. If you lose the supplied paper manual or want to get the latest manual for any of our products, please go to “Manuals” in the Support section of our website…click here for direct link.

Combining Wireless Networks on a Boat

Wireless Networks

With more and more wireless devices going on to boats, it will not be too long before your average medium sized pleasure boat has at least two or more wireless networks. One for the Internet, another for the Sat Phone, perhaps another in the new Multi-Function Display chart plotter, the list will undoubtedly keep getting longer. This is all well and good, but wireless networks have a tendency to interfere with each other and although this will not necessarily be obvious at first sight, odd packets of data will be lost, connection speeds will reduce and other degradations in network performance will occur.

With this in mind, Digital Yacht have written a new Tech Note that explains how to get your iAIS, WLN10 , WLN10HS or NavLink to connect to an existing network, rather than create their own network. This improves the performance of the main wireless network and has the added benefit of allowing you to password protect (encrypt) the wireless NMEA data with the same password as the main wireless network, which is not usually possible with these products. Click here to download a copy of the new Tech Note.

What’s more, once you connect to the main network, your wireless NMEA data is immediately available without changing networks, so you can be accessing the internet and keeping an eye on AIS targets at the same time.

For those people that already have a wireless network onboard, this is the best way to connect your wireless NMEA data and for those of you who do not currently have a wireless network onboard, but would like to have a wireless router that does both NMEA data and internet connectivity, check out our latest iNavHub that does all of this in one simple box.