Background

So I'm apparently the resident tech guy around here. My friend Rik and his wife just bought a new boat and were planning on sailing her the 1000 miles home this spring. Now there's never a shortage of Wifi at yacht clubs and marinas but often the signals are too weak to pick up on a mooring far out from the shore. So Rik picked up Ubiquiti NanoStation2 on some advice from folks over at Sailnet. The device is actually a CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) which is used by telcos who are providing wifi to the home. But of course its has a very powerful feature set, and can be used for many things. After fighting with it for several weeks, he handed it off to me once he returned home to "make it simple for the average sailor". My goal was it figure out how to make it as simple to use as a home gateway/router. Read on for the details. This is written in a sort of HOWTO style. I'm going to make the basic assumption that you know your way around your computer. If you've managed to get your GPS talking to your computer you'll probably be fine reading this.

List of Equipment

For this project you'll need the following parts:

Hook up the Wires

Before we begin, hook everything up:

Inital Setup

Before doing anything, Turn off the wifi on your laptop!. This will save you much pain and suffering.

You'll need to configure your ethernet adapter's TCP/IP settings in order to talk to the NS2 for the first time.

Once the IP settings are made you should be able to connect to the NS2.

Configuring the NS2 as a Router

NOTE: Depending on the firmware level of your NS2 the screens will be slightly different that what I'm describing. I'm using firmware 3.4. You may want to upgrade your firmware as the first step.

Now that you've setup your NS2 as a router you can put your laptop's ethernet settings back to the defaults. This way if you happen to take it someplace else it will still work correctly.

Connecting to a Network

You should now have an IP address assigned by the NS2. Go back to your web broswer and enter the address http://192.168.1.20, and login if necessary. Now we need to establish a link to a remote wirless network. The best place to do this for the first time is at home. That way you can be sure that the network you're trying to connect to will accept your connection. Depending on the security settings on the remote network you may not be able to connect. Remember that in some places it is illegal to use a wireless network you do not have permission to use! To establish a link to a remote site do the following:

Adjusting the Antenna Position

You're almost done! Now we'll try to adjust the antenna to get the best signal possible

If all went well you should now be able to browser the Internet. Give it a try!