These days an Internet connection is a luxury we all take for granted. Wherever we are, we expect connectivity and, usually, these expectations are met. WiFi and cellular data connection speeds are increasing all the time, with the advent of gigabit download speeds and 5G mobile phone connectivity already over the horizon. We can travel from city to city without ever losing connection to the internet. You can upload the evidence of your adventures to social media, check traffic reports before your journey and have a quick video call with your significant other all before breakfast.
High-speed WiFi is now even available at ten thousand feet, with more and more intra- and international airlines offering free wifi onboard. Living in such a world day-to-day, it can be easy to believe that you may never experience a drop in connectivity again. Even the comparatively slower connection speeds of yesteryear may seem to lurk at a safe and forgettable distance. But what about those remotest of locations, far and away from the hustle and bustle of cities and airports? What about the ocean? Unless you’re sailing around the world, you should be near enough to the coast to be within range of a coastal base station or marina WiFi hotspot. Even when 10miles offshore there will be a signal, but it will often be particularly weak. How can you ensure that you’ll receive this signal and that the base station will receive your transmissions in return? For that, you’ll need a powerful, capable antenna, robust enough to withstand the harsh conditions of the open sea. Enter Poynting.
Poynting are a leading, global antenna manufacturer known for creating products that boast high performance, wide bandwidth and exceptional quality as standard. In addition, their rigorous product testing model targets specific use cases to bring you confidence that, when you need extreme performance in extreme conditions, you have it. Such extreme performance may be just what you need if you’re finding yourself braving the seas on a sailboat, managing a transatlantic shipping company or brainstorming ways of keeping demanding tourists happy on your coastal cruise line. In all of these cases an internet connection can make all the difference. A connection to the internet is useful for checking in with everything from navigation apps and weather forecast to friends and family or transmitting data back to your mainland team. Having a connection that is strong, reliable and fast can give you the edge you need.
What Kind of Antenna Will I Need?
For coastal waters, omnidirectional marine antennas with medium-high gain will be most applicable. An omnidirectional antenna will be able to receive and transmit a signal in all directions, making a carefully considered, persistent orientation a non-requirement. Omni-directional antennas are best for vessels on the move because, by virtue of being mounted on a moving ship, the orientation of the antenna in relation to the base station will be variable, rendering directional specificity useless unless you have complicated systems in place to continuously alter the orientation of the antenna towards known base stations or, when far out to sea, satellites in orbit. In other words, unless you can ensure a constant and direct ‘line-of-sight' from the compressed beam of a directional antenna to the opposing receiver/transmitter (base station or satellite), then you will be looking for an omnidirectional marine antenna. The medium-high gain will increase the range of the antenna’s signal to maximise the mileage at which you’ll be able to enjoy a strong connection out at sea.
A product like the Poynting OMNI-291-V2 would be a good first look for coastal seafarers
It was purpose-built by Poynting when they discovered that many people were using their omnidirectional high gain antennas on yachts and, as of late 2016, was being used by the German round-the-world sailing team in a dual configuration (two units) in order to get strong MIMO LTE performance on their sailing boats. It is mechanically and electrically optimised for use in a marine environment, is waterproof IP68 rated as well as UV and Saltwater protected and has an ultra-wide frequency band covering all contemporary LTE operating frequencies (450-2700MHz). The wide frequency range will have you covered for the vast majority of operators worldwide and is also 5G compliant, so will be able to keep you connected at the cutting edge for years to come. Since this is a SISO (single input, single output) antenna, in order to get the fastest possible 4G LTE speeds, you will want to use two antennas and mount them, ideally, 3-4m apart, though you will experience performance benefits from a setup with two antennas mounted just 1m apart. The OMNI-291 truly covers all bases, improving the strength and reliability of a WiFi signal in a marina or harbour on the 2.4GHz band as well as an LTE data connection where WiFi is not available.
If you are concerned only with improving the strength and quality of your WiFi signal in/from a marina, rather than with improving 4G LTE connection strength, the Poynting OMNI-496 may be of interest to you. A dual WiFi band omnidirectional marine antenna, the OMNI-496 can connect to any WiFi access point. IP68 marine safe, this antenna operates in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands to improve WiFi coverage across the deck of your vessel, If WiFi is all you need, the OMNI-496 is the specialist antenna for you. The antenna will provide reception even when the data signal is poor and can improve data transmission connection reliability and stability. This solution is perfect if there is already a WiFi source available and are looking to boost its coverage.
If you want MIMO performance with a single antenna, there are multiple options available to you. The MIMO-3 V2-15 is a 5-in-1 antenna system offering 2 x LTE cellular elements, 2 x dual-band WiFi elements and a GPS element. Unlike the SISO OMNI-291, the dual antennas for both cellular and WiFi enable MIMO capabilities. This connectivity solution will enhance WiFi signal reception and throughput, as well as increase signal reliability and stability, across an ultra-wide band of frequencies including 4G LTE and 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi bands. Like other antennas discussed here, the MIMO-3 is IP68 rated for corrosion, water and dust resistance, making it perfectly suited for marine applications, whilst its GPS capabilities make it an invaluable asset in seafaring navigation.
The Poynting OMNI-402 also provides this MIMO capability with a single unit by way of its vertically separated radiating elements within a single housing.
The highly effective design of the OMNI-402, featuring a new antenna configuration using multiple dipoles and Poynting’s unique patented feed network makes it suitable for all marine applications and guarantees signal reception almost everywhere. Like the XPOL-1, your 4G LTE connection reliability and strength will be improved with the employ of this antenna and you will be able to use it as a WiFi antenna on the 2.4-2.5GHz band. Though it is not compatible with the 5GHz band, this antenna is extremely well optimised and specifically designed for marine applications.
The extended shape of the antenna (shared by the other OMNI antennas discussed here) lends itself to better performance across all frequency bands.
REELING IT IN
If you prefer taking to calmer waters closer to land, Poynting’s range of highly versatile PUCK antennas may also serve you well. Small in form factor and price, but big on capability, the Poynting PUCK 5 offers dual-band WiFi, MIMO LTE and also GPS capabilities that could be perfect for river boating applications. For true long-range performance at sea, though, the OMNI-402 will serve you the best.
View the Poynting product page for more Poynting products. If you are interested in a specific product that you do not see listed, we will be able to source it for you. Please call us on 0330 043 3000 or email at email@example.com