Do you want more Wi-Fi range for your boat? Well, you’re the client, and to get what you want, you need to create a bridge to your local network.
Most modern marinas boast a powerful local network using commercial routers and a high-gain antenna, such as the Shakespeare 5248, but if you’re moored at the network’s outskirts, you may have a problem. Or if you’re one of those lucky backyard boaters, getting your house Wi-Fi to the dock isn’t easy either. We tested these Wi-Fi range extenders to solve your problems.
How We Tested
We took each system out of the box and studied the manual to make Wi-Fi connections. Then we followed directions to connect them to Wi-Fi, while keeping an eye on the clock.
We contacted each technical support service, gauging the ease with which we received answers to our questions.
Overland Test Range
Range is completely dependent on line of sight and uncontrollable variables like radio interference and atmospheric conditions at the moment. A Wi-Fi range extender may reach out 10 miles one day and only 1,000 feet in other conditions. We moved away from our home Wi-Fi hub, measuring the distance we could receive Wi-Fi signals as we moved down the street. Our home router was behind a concrete block wall. Because these were not line-of-sight distances, as one would have on open water, we didn’t expect our devices to reach their potential range. But our test made a good relative gauge of how well each device pulls in a signal.
Though our tests gave us impressive neighborhood range, and convinced us these router bridges were well worth the investment, we didn’t experience the full benefit that we might find on open water in direct line of sight of a Wi-Fi signal. Both The Wirie AP+ and Rogue Wave users boast working Wi-Fi ranges of miles, not fractions of miles.