Monday, January 3, 2011

Following Up on the Wifi Thing

2011 01 02
Still in London, mercifully not stuck

We have had valuable feedback on the long range wifi topic.

Doug and Vicki from Oshawa, Ontario commented:

Hi Bob
Thanks for the Wi-Fi info. We looked at this in the spring of 2010 and went with the Bad Boy Xtreme,
I liked the fact that you can mount it at the top of your mast and forget about it. We are located at the back of our marina and have all the boats and their mast infront of us so a deck mounted Wi-Fi just would not work. They say this system will reach out five miles but I have not tested that yet. 

Poll Van der Wouw out of Monnickendam, Nederlands provided fabulous first hand comparison of the Alfa and the Bullet 2HP:

Thank you for your latest blog on wifi. We wholeheartledly agree with your
praise of the Alfa wifi adapter. As you probably know, we have been using
the Alfa since november 2008 with a much better succes rate then all the
other devices we used before. We are using the 500 mW version. We tried
also the 1000 mW version, but that one is less sensitive and seems to be
worse compared to the 500 Mw version. Our friends from Dutch Link have the
same experience.

However, the reason I am going on about this, is the fact that we bought

the Ubiquity Bullet M2 HP last week. With a 8 dB omnidirectional antenna
we have a much better signal in the same postion on the boat, compared to
the Alfa! We can judge this especially when viewing streaming video from
YouTube. Normally it will halt a few times to load more images, but with
the Bullet we can now watch video forever!

A word on installing the Ubiquity: it never got easier. No drivers to

install, as the device works via your LAN/Ethernet connection. Setup is
easy and is done via a browser window, just as you would setup a router at
home. We did it in under three minutes, including upgrading the firmware
on the Bullet. So no drivers and no problems when using a Mac (and we are
Apple fanatics).

However, you are also very right about the difference in price!

A last word about drivers for the Mac for the Alfa. For a while, we

haven't been able to use the Alfa on the OS-X on the Mac (only while using
Windows on the Mac, which feels like using a tractor engine on a
Masserati), because the driver would not work. Last year two new drivers
came available, one for OS-X 10.4 and one for 10.5. I am using OS-x
10.6.5, and contrary to intuition, de 10.5 driver does not work, but the
10.4 does!

Driver Installation on a Linux Machine

Since Poll raised the issue of installing the Alfa on a Mac I am going to pony two cents on Linux compatibility.  I have converted my brace of Acer Netbooks to Linux (Ubuntu 10.10).  Driver installation for the Alfa adapter was as mindless as such things can be.  I plugged the Alfa into the USB port, booted the little Netbook in Linux and everthing worked.  Just like that. 

Website Reference

I gave the url for data-alliance, a fabulous online vendor of wifi stuff.  Not only will they sell the alfa but they offer all the Ubiquity Bullet 2HP parts you could ever want.  Their prices are reliably low.

I am closing the wifi discussion now.

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