TCP Connection Problems on Apple iOS 10

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Since Apple’s release of iOS 10 for iPhones and iPads, we have been getting a number of calls and emails saying that various navigational Apps that read wireless NMEA data from our products have stopped working, including our free iAIS app.

There are two modes/protocols that our wireless NMEA products can work in; TCP which is a reliable one to one type connection supported by most apps and UDP which is a broadcast protocol that allows multiple devices to all receive the same data.

When we started to investigate, we found that TCP communication on all Apps no longer worked with iOS 10 and UDP only worked on some apps. At first we thought this might have been an Apple API type change that had caused the problem, but then we discovered that changing the IP address of our wireless NMEA products from 169.254.1.1 to 192.168.1.1 fixed the problem.

The 169.254.1.1 IP address range is usually reserved for Ad-Hoc networks where there is no DHCP server and dates back to our first iAIS product (released in 2011) that only supported Ad-Hoc networks. With the release of Android, which did not support Ad-Hoc networks, we updated our wireless NMEA products to the more common Access Point mode but retained the 169.254.1.1 IP address, to avoid changing too many Apps and Documentation.

Now it seems that Apple are clamping down on TCP connections on Ad-Hoc networks and this means that all customers who have updated their iPhone or iPad to iOS 10, will need to change the IP address of their wireless NMEA product, if they have one of our; iAIS, WLN10, WLN10HS, WLN20, NavLink, PilotLink or AIT3000 units. Please note that our iNavHub and Sonar Server products are not affected by the iOS change.

To make this procedure as easy and simple as possible, we have created a new Tech Note that explains what needs to be done. Click here to download.

 

iNavX featured in Apple Developers presentation

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Tuning in to the live stream from yesterday’s Apple Developers Conference (WWDC), we were pleasantly surprised to see iNavX being used on a yacht in one of the presentation videos. It is not often that marine products are part of such a high profile event and it was great to see an app that we know so well, get worldwide visibility in the Apple video.

The video showed lots of people and the apps they use and at around 1min 40secs in Emily Penn appears and tells us how she uses iNavX aboard her yacht as part of the work she does with Pangaea Exploration

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The video was very well put together (it was Apple after all) and anyone that missed it can watch it again by clicking here but you will need Quick Time installed to view it.

It was fitting that iNavX was featured in this video as it was the first marine app to appear on the Apple Store and has continued to be one of the most popular marine navigation apps. Using Navionics charts, it provides a number of advanced features above and beyond what the hugely popular Navionics App does, including full support for wireless NMEA, instrument displays and a very good AIS implementation with CPA and TCPA alarms.

For anyone wanting to do serious chart plotting and navigation on their iPad or iPhone, iNavX is well worth considering and coupled with our wireless NMEA products such as the WLN10HS, NavLink or iAIS, it really does make iPad boat navigation a reality. For more information download our White Paper guide here iPad Navigation Afloat – a Digital Yacht White Paper

Configuring our Wireless NMEA Products for Wi-Fi and 3G connections

Wireless NMEA Products

 

Recently we have received a couple of reports that when customers are connected to one of our wireless NMEA products, that they can no longer access the internet via 3G on their iPhone/iPad. This is due to the device thinking that it has a good wireless internet connection and so defaulting to this connection rather than the 3G connection.

This is only present on units produced between Sept 2012 and now, which have our “Access Point” mode firmware (V2.45 or V4.00) in the wireless adaptor.

As it turns out, the fix is fairly simple (just changing one setting in the wireless module) and we have produced a Tech Support Note on how to carry out the fix using a PC, Mac or using a free App on the iPhone/iPad. Please download the Tech Note by clicking here.

We will be incorporating this change in all of our production units in the new year (Jan 2014) but if you already have a unit which is not allowing you to connect to the internet via 3G when you are connected wirelessly to one of our wireless NMEA products, we recommend you to follow the procedure outlined in this Tech Note.   

Updating our WLN10 or WLN10HS

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It is almost 2 years since we released our popular WLN10 and WLN10HS wireless NMEA servers and in that time the number of mobile wireless devices has sky rocketed. Originally most customers used these products with iPhones and iPads but with Android devices now outselling Apple products, we get more and more customers wanting to use our products with Android apps like iRegatta.

Originally all of our wireless NMEA devices created an Ad-Hoc network, which is where devices connect directly to each other, automatically self assigning themselves an IP address in the same network range. Windows PCs, LINUX PCs, Macs and all Apple devices supported Ad-Hoc networking, but unfortunately Android devices did not.   The new V4.00 now works in Access Point Mode, which is both Android compatible and more stable/reliable than Ad-Hoc mode.

Customers wishing to update their WLN10 or WLN10HS, need to be aware that the process does require a certain level of technical ability. Please consult our Tech Support Note 00051-2013 for information about the procedure and if you are in any doubt as to your ability to follow these instructions, it is probably safer to send the unit to Digital Yacht for updating. If though, after reading the Tech Note, you are confident to give this a try, then I suggest you also watch the “How To” video below which shows the process you follow on the PC.

Finally, the TeraTerm “Macros” that are mentioned in the Tech Note and Video can be downloaded by clicking here.

Wireless NMEA on steroids !

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When Graham Sunderland (professional navigator and author of Winning Tides) contacted us about configuring our WLN10 Wireless NMEA server to work at a baud rate of 115200, three times the normal high speed NMEA0183 data rate, we were slightly taken back. It turns out that Graham wanted to connect his B&G Hydra 3000 instrument system to Expedition the highly regarded tactical and navigational racing software.

Connection via USB is slightly problematic on modern PCs as there are no 64bit drivers for the Hydra USB interface, but by connecting the RS232 output to our WLN10 configured for 115,200 baud, Graham was able to wirelessly stream the large quantity of raw B&G instrument data around the boat. Data update rates were very fast and Expedition was able to receive, process and analyse the data to drive all of its performance racing calculations that it is renowned for.

We do not currently intend to release a standard version of our WLN10 that is set for 115,200, unless we suddenly get a large demand for it, but anyone wanting a “turbo charged” WLN10 for a similar application can contact us and we would be happy to pre-configure one for you.

Wiring details for Wireless Class B Transponder

AIT2000 NMEA Connections to WLN10HS

A customer asked us for a wiring diagram to show how one of our AIT2000 Class B Transponders connects to our WLN10HS to create a wireless AIS transponder solution. We were happy to oblige and thought that it would be good to publish this diagram online, as this AIT2000+WLN10HS combo is proving very popular this season.

It is a simple two wire connection between the AIT2000 and WLN10HS and the wire colours are shown in the diagram. I have not shown the power connections, but the Red(+) and Black(-) wires on both the AIT2000 and WLN10HS need to be taken to the boat’s 12v or 24v supply – we recommend on the same circuit/breaker/switch.

The diagram also shows how the second NMEA output on the AIT2000 can be taken to a DSC VHF radio to provide a GPS position to the radio and how additional NMEA0183 data, such as from an Instrument System, can be connected to the AIT2000. This data is then combined (multiplexed) with the AIS+GPS data so that a single wireless stream of data is sent to the iPad/iPhone.

In order for the data to be received and displayed correctly on the iPad/iPhone, you will need a suitable app such as iNavX, iSailor or iRegatta, but as you can see from the diagram it is a very simple installation and one of the reasons why going wireless is attracting so much attention.

Digital Yacht Wireless NMEA Products now Android Compatible

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Since the beginning of 2013, we have been shipping our iAIS, WLN10 and NavLink products with new Access Point enabled firmware. Previously our wireless NMEA products operated in “Ad-Hoc” (also known as “Peer to Peer”) networking mode and this was fine for Apple and Windows products but did not work with Android devices.

Now with the new Access Point mode firmware, Android devices are fully supported and customers can use a couple of popular Android apps; iRegatta and droidAIS to read and display the NMEA data from our products.

Even Apple or Windows customer can benefit from the new firmware as it does provide a more reliable connection over long periods of use, as “Ad-Hoc” connections have been known to drop out after a few hours of use for no apparent reason.

Existing customers can update their units to the new firmware, although this is best done by returning your unit to Digital Yacht, unless you are experienced in networking and using terminal programs to configure embedded devices. There is a small charge for updating the firmware, please contact support@digitalyacht.co.uk for more information.

To tell if your unit already has the latest firmware, the easiest way is to try connecting an Android device. Failing this, Windows and Apple users can look at the connection status and if there is a Router/DNS/DHCP/Gateway Address shown of 169.254.1.1 (see images below) then they have the new AP Mode firmware.

Apple AP Mode Status                Windows AP Mode status