Ben Stein

Configuring a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X for WiFi and cell internet on your boat

2 May
My workstation for the configuration

My workstation for the configuration

In my feature Marine internet, a connected year on the water, I referenced a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter as the “heart of our boat network.” It manages multiple WiFi and cellular internet connections to multiple computers, tablets, etc. around the boat, and is remarkably capable for its cost. However, I also described configuring the EdgeRouter as not for the faint of the heart, which drew many requests for more detail. So this follow-up entry is the step-by-step guide to setting up this specific router on your boat, and fortunately it turned out to be easier than ...

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A (long) note on Ethernet connector weather protection, or lack of it

25 Apr

I’m noticing a trend and I don’t like it.  You see that nice, metal wrapped RJ-45 connector in the picture?  It’s junk now, corroded and unusable.  It’s sitting on the counter in my galley clipped off the Winegard Connect 4G1xM I’m starting to test.  I believe this is because of the cabling approach Winegard has used on this otherwise very well designed piece of hardware and Winegard isn’t alone.

As I promised I would in my recent marine internet article, I’m getting started testing WiFi and 4g internet connectivity devices.  So far today I’ve spent about an hour dealing ...

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Garmin addresses ActiveCaptain’s future in email, AC Community is coming to Navionics

20 Apr

Despite our phone conversation with Garmin cartography manager Ken Cirillo, the company had still not officially declared their plans for ActiveCaptain in writing.  That changed today with a  Garmin email to AC captains beginning: “ActiveCaptain Community will continue to be a free online site…”  That statement echoes what we were told by Cirillo, along with his assurance that Garmin remains committed to working with AC partners (i.e. independent app developers). And there’s more official good news in the email.

Since Garmin acquired Navionics the obvious question has been, will Garmin integrate ActiveCaptain Community into the Navionics Boating app?  ...

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Marine Electronics Forums, now presented by Panbo and SailBits

16 Apr

Ben and I are excited to report that we’ve teamed up with Steve Mitchell from SailBits to co-present the Marine Electronics Forums.  Steve brings a wealth of knowledge to the forums and if you haven’t checked out SaillBits, I encourage you to do so.   Steve, Ben and I will all be regular participants in the forums, and we encourage all of our readers to join us there for conversations about marine electronics installs , use, and troubleshooting.

We’ve expanded the number of major forums to four with dedicated categories for networking and projects.

The forums will be hosted on ...

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Marine internet, a connected year on the water

9 Apr

Diagram of boat, router and internet connections

My family and I just spent a year on the water.  When we left, some members of our crew were hesitant about the whole idea, so I knew we needed as many comforts of home as possible.  High on that list was an always-on (almost), always-available (almost) internet connection.  It turns out this isn’t a simple or one-size-fits-all issue.  It’s also something I’m most frequently asked about.  What follows is a primer on marine internet and the start of an article series about the myriad tech options to keep your boat connected.

There are three basic ways to get internet ...

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New Panbo Forum launched

9 Apr

We’ve launched a new Panbo Forum today.  It uses the same user membership as the new Panbo website, so if you’ve joined as a member since the migration to the new website you’re all set to post on the new forum.  You can get to the new forum using the forum link in the toolbar at the top of each page.

We will also keep the old forum around read-only so that all discussions will remain available.  If you’re wanting to continue a conversation started in the old forum you can start a new topic in the new forum and ...

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Aqua Map confirms new ActiveCaptain API integration!

3 Apr

Aqua Map’s Giorgio Ghiggini confirmed via email today that his company will modify their apps to support the new Garmin ActiveCaptain Community application program interface (API): “Yes, we are going to integrate the new ActiveCaptain APIs soon. At a first look it does not seem to be a huge rework.”

This certainly seems like good news for those who rely on Active Captain overlays for awareness while underway.  Since Garmin pulled BlueCharts Mobile from the Apple App Store, many cruisers have been looking for a good alternative with some assurance that ActiveCaptain Community data would remain available.

This has been ...

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Winegard enters marine market

1 Apr

Winegard, a 64-year-old manufacturer of antenna products, has entered the marine market with three products. Two are broadcast television antennas, one the familiar indoor flexible, flat panel type, and the other an exterior omnidirectional antenna.  Their third launch device is the Winegard Connect, a combination WiFi bridge, cellular modem and router. All three products are made in Burlington, IA.

The Winegard Connect is unusual because the company also handles the cellular data service. While actual connectivity is provided by AT&T with North American roaming, Winegard sells prepaid bandwidth in 1, 3, 10 and 20gb packs.  When I sat down with ...

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NAUTIC-ON, Brunswick’s smart take on boat monitoring

22 Mar


In the lead-up to any major boat show there are a lot of press releases flying around.  The 2018 Miami International Boat Show was no different, and one such announcement was from a new division of Brunswick called NAUTIC-ON.  While I made a mental note to see what they were all about, frankly my expectations were meager. But what I encountered was a style of boat monitoring that far exceeded my expectations.

When I sat down with  Adam Schanfield, NAUTIC-ON’s General Manager, and asked him to describe their product he said, “It’s about keeping you on the water.”  He ...

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ActiveCaptain: Data delivery changing, but free access assured

9 Mar

Within minutes of announcing Garmin’s acquisuition of ActiveCaptain in May 2017 commenters here and elsewhere immediately began to worry about its future. On Wednesday evening, the Polar Navy announcement above poured fuel on that fire, suggesting that the many non-Garmin charting apps and MFDs which display ActiveCaptain cruising information would lose access to the database this May. But that quote is not the whole story by a long shot. Actually, Garmin is emphatic that AC data will remain freely available to developers and users…

Let’s start with a little history. In 2007 Panbo enthused about ActiveCaptain as an innovative crowdsourced ...

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