Port Networks

Marine Wireless Equipment

Finally! Serious marine Wi-Fi gear that makes it easy to connect to the Internet while you're on the water.

Many boat owners try to use their computer's built-in Wi-Fi capability to connect to wireless networks in a harbor or marina, but soon discover that they can't stay connected. This is usually because their built-in Wi-Fi systems transmit at low power (to preserve the laptop's battery life) through inferior antennas (built into the laptop's case). Most built-in Wi-Fi systems were designed to connect to a wireless network in the next room, not one on the other side of a large marina, behind a forest of sailboat masts and powerboat superstructures. Just as with other electronics, a marine environment demands a special solution.

Our MWB products outperform built-in Wi-Fi by pairing a high-powered transmitter with an efficient antenna, in a weatherproof unit that can be deployed above-deck where the signals from wireless networks are stronger.

Portable vs. Permanent

Our MWB-200 is a portable wireless client that can be stowed while underway, then placed above-deck when you're in range of a Wi-Fi signal. When turned on, the MWB-200 automatically connects to the strongest wireless network available, acting as a bridge between that network and one or more computers on board your boat. Because of its unique design, the MWB-200 is 25 times more powerful than a standard Wi-Fi adapter, and can move data back and forth at up to 54 megabits per second.

Our MWB-250 series is a similar system designed for permanent mounting on larger vessels. Housed in a weatherproof aluminum enclosure, the MWB-250 is just as easy to use as its portable cousin, but works with a variety of powerful antennas. When connected to our optional 8dB fiberglass Wi-Fi antenna, for example, the MWB-250 is 32 times more powerful than a standard Wi-Fi adapter.

Ordering Online

All of our marine wireless bridges, antennas, cables, and accessories can be ordered through the Port Networks Online Store.

Support

While our Marine Wireless Bridge products are easy-to-use, we're here to help if you have any questions. Our support crew is on watch from 0900 to 2100 (GMT -5) weekdays, and 1200 to 1800 weekends and holidays. Click here for our contact information.

Because of the difficulty in obtaining older electronic parts and supplies, only Version 6 models manufactured during or after 2008 are currently eligible for support. If you're currently using an older model, please contact us for upgrade options.

Instructions for setting up and operating our Marine Wireless Bridge units:

Should you need it, our latest firmware can be downloaded here:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the range of a Marine Wireless Bridge?

Although some manufacturers make extraordinary promises (that's you, 5 Mile Wi-Fi), actual connection distances depend on the device at your end, the device at the other end, and the noise floor in the area.

Think of a Wi-Fi connection as a conversation in a marina. If you have a strong voice and the person you're talking to has a strong voice, and the marina is fairly quiet, you'll have a conversational range over a hundreds meters. Now, if you're talking to someone with a weak voice, and a dozen speed boats are idling nearby, your conversational range may be only a few meters -- even though you still have the same strong voice.

In general, you'll be able to maintain links up to a mile in low noise environments like the Carribean islands, if you're connecting to a properly installed access point and antenna. If you're in New York, or you're connecting to a Linksys router in someone's living room, that distance will shrink.

Can I use a wireless router behind my Marine Wireless Bridge?

Yes, the MWB units support single computers, or multiple devices connected to an Ethernet switch, or multiple devices connected through a wireless router. However, because the MWB provides many of the same features as a router, and managing routers in series can be somewhat challenging, we recommend using a simple Wi-Fi access point instead of a Wi-Fi router. (We offer a marine access point, the MAP-100, through our online store.)