Having a reliable internet setup is key to staying connected while on the water, but being able to work from the boat adds some additional challenges. I've done it for years, and have found a number of things that help make it easy to do while providing a quality experience.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://seabits.com/working-remotely-from-the-boat/
Curious, how big is the boat in this application that you are adding wireless access points connected to the modem? I’m wondering if in a campervan I could use the rooftop Poynting antenna wired to the Peplink Transit Duo and be ok? It’s not a big bus or RV.
It’s not 100% tied to size. Boats can have various types of materials within them that block or degrade WiFi signals to the point of causing performance issues.
For your application, you should be able to place the router inside and run the cabling outside and have decent WiFi signal within.
Thanks! Your reply is appreciated and helpful!
A post was split to a new topic: HD1 Dome additional WAN source
Thanks for this invaluable website and discussion forum! We are in the process of buying (hopefully) a 37’ sailboat and will be needing to set up proper internet for remote work, etc. I happen to have an unused TP-Link Archer AX50 Dual Band WiFi 6 Router – I’m wondering if this could serve as a router. I like your Peplink et al. “ecosystem” description, as you provide good detail on that – but out of curiosity, could the TP-Link work as well? Not sure how familiar you are with the various routers, I know there are lots out there. Thanks for any enlightenment! --Carolyn
TP-Link’s Archer series has been one of my favorites for a long time because they are well built, have a good feature set, and many can run directly off of 12v DC power. I mention one in my Best Boat Internet Systems article, which is a bit older…
You could use what you have for the local WiFi network, but you would need a source of Internet, what we usually call a WAN source. If you are at a dock, you could get this from a local internet service provider who will provide a modem that can plug into the TP-Link Archer.
To use it to grab remote WiFi is a little harder, but possible, although it would not likely work very reliably. To get cellular connections would require another device, or tethering it to a phone, both which would add some complexity and cost.
Thanks, Steve - that’s right, I forgot about the modem, as this is only a router. I have managed to make an old modem/router combo work with the Archer but it did seem a bit like a house of cards. Well, by the time I’m actually ready to dive in on this project, the tech may have evolved, as it does. I’ll stay tuned to see how things go. Thanks again!
In one of the photos of your PepLink setup I saw that you had “home” as a pepvpn location. I wasn’t aware you could connect to a home vpn with speedfusion. I thought you had to go through PepLinks servers. How did you do this?
SpeedFusion has been around for a long time at Peplink and was actually called PepVPN originally. SpeedFusion Cloud is a specific service, which I think might be what you’re more used to, and uses a specific feature built into newer versions of Peplink firmware to route your traffic across multiple WAN links to Peplink’s cloud service, and then out to the internet.
You can still use SpeedFusion or PepVPN to connect to other Peplink devices, which is what you see in some of those screen shots. I have a large Peplink router at home that has two 1Gbps fiber connections, and my boat connects to that device so that I can manage things at home, and have access to my boat when I am sitting at home (rare!).
I also have a product called Fusion Hub which is a virtual machine of SpeedFusion running in a cloud provider (AWS) that all of my Peplink devices connect to. This is similar to connecting to a dedicated router, and it likely was the inspiration for Peplink to create SpeedFusion Cloud over the last few years.
So the short answer is that you can’t connect directly to non-Peplink routers. You could buy a Peplink router for home, or run a piece of software on a server if you wanted to and have a connection between all of those devices using a private VPN.
Hey, Steve! Thanks so much for all this great information! Quick question about a statement in your article:
“Overall, I don’t think the OMNI-402 is worth the $400+ price for what you get. It would likely be better for diversity to have two OMNI-400’s mounted apart from each other at the same cost.”
I have a MoFi 4500 and had planned to purchase a 402, but it sounds like I could use two 400s to better effect, but I can’t find any information about how to configure such a set up. Would I need different connections at the router? Where to position the 400s, what orientation, etc.? Any advice would be much appreciated!
That review was written when most of the cellular modems only required a 2x2 MIMO antenna, or two elements/antennas. At the time, if you had a single CAT12 radio or less, then two OMNI-400s were the best choice because they were separate antennas which provided more diversity and better performance than the 402.
I actually would wait a few more weeks while I finish my testing of the new Peplink 20G antennas which are looking to be quite a bit better than even the OMNI-402.
There are a number of versions of the MOFI-4500 - not sure if you have the older 4G one, the newer 5G one, etc. Each of them have slightly different cellular modems and might change a recommendation for antennas and how to connect them.
In general, antennas should be separated by 3’ at a minimum. They should not have cabling longer than 20’ from the antenna to the router, and you should try to use (if they come with it) factory cabling that is directly attached without any extensions.
There are a lot of other recommendations or design I’m sure depending on the specific boat, spaces to mount it, and the specific router.
Thanks, Steve! I have a 4G LTE MoFi4500. I’m checking out the Peplink 20G Maritime now. The description states ‘made for 5G’, but it still looks like it’d support my 4G router, right? Unfortunately, I have to make a purchase decision in the next few days because I’m moving aboard in early December.
There are a couple different versions of the 4G LTE model, but most of that has to do with the modem. That could change whether you need a 2x2 or 4x4 antenna, so you will want to check the specs.
The Peplink 20G will work with 4G and 3G as well. All they’re saying is that it has support for some of the newer frequencies that are specific for 5G.
Hi Steve, have you had any luck creating an outbound policy or SpeedFusion setup that picks up FaceTime for WAN Smoothing? I’ve been able to get my Teams and Zoom traffic routed through there, but haven’t had luck with Apple/Facetime. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I actually haven’t tried FaceTime with a policy. I noticed recently that a number of new Microsoft applications showed up in SpeedFusion cloud, so I suspect Peplink are figuring out more of these and adding them as people request them. However, this is specific to SpeedFusion Cloud - are you using that, or just SpeedFusion standalone? If the former, it might be good to put in a feature request for FaceTime.
We are going through SpeedFusion Cloud and I use their Optimization for Zoom. Prior to them having Teams available I had found some info on the Peplink forums for an Outbound Policy that’s worked great. I haven’t changed to the built in one yet (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it). I thought you might have figured out something similar for FaceTime. I’ll put in the feature request for FaceTime…great idea.
Let me know if you hear anything about the feature request, and how you put it in. I can pile on as well!
Hi guys sorry to revive an old thread but I need some help. I purchased peplink equipment for my boat and I need some tips on installation. I have 1 MAX Transit 5g router, 1 Maritime 40g, and 1 maritime 20g. My current issue is finding a good place to put the router.The cables that come with the antennas are 6’7" long so I don’t have much room to work with. I am mounting the antennas to the hard top of my boat. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.