When someone needs connectivity on their boat, there are several options available. They can use harbor Wi-Fi, cellular, Starlink, or more expensive traditional satellite. For robust connectivity, it’s common to utilize more than one. The result, especially when additional devices like a chartplotter and AIS transponder are added to the mix, is Wi-Fi sprawl. Beyond the hassle of switching devices between networks, this sprawl makes it challenging to keep operational expenses for connectivity down. It requires constant vigilance to ensure the most cost-effective option is always in use. Many boaters end up piecing together a complex and unwieldy solution to meet their connectivity needs and still don’t get the full benefits of all the components they installed.
Richard Anderson, owner of Sea-Tech Systems, identified these challenges and designed a turnkey solution that addresses them all. His company’s solution is called Narwhal Wi-Fi Onboard. It’s powerful and user-friendly, simple to install, and even simpler to use. It can be tailored to ensure unbreakable connectivity for voice and data communications on sail and power boats of all sizes.
Once clients decide which hardware option they prefer, they complete a survey questionnaire detailing their preferences and connectivity needs. Using that survey information, Anderson’s team builds a bespoke configuration, right down to the clients’ preferred Wi-Fi names. Since the solution utilizes Peplink routers, updates to those configurations can be pushed out to the devices remotely from InControl 2.
When the client brings their Narwhal system online for the first time, the configuration is automatically updated to the latest version. If a client realizes they need any additional customization after shipping, Wi-Fi passwords and outbound policies can be updated and pushed out to the device, even while it’s still in transit.
The end result is remarkable. Shore-based Wi-Fi, 4G and 5G cellular, and satellite networks are consolidated into a single onboard Wi-Fi network. The least-cost connection available is automatically selected, keeping operating expenses low. For critical business applications such as Zoom, Teams, and phone calls, bandwidth from multiple connections can be bonded together using Peplink’s SpeedFusion technology to create a single, unbreakable data pipe.
For those with onboard NAS devices, certain security systems, or other unique requirements, Sea-Tech Systems can optionally host and configure FusionHub with a dedicated internet public IP address. This enables port-forwarding and/or remote access to the boats network when not aboard.
Using Peplink’s InTouch, remote management and tech support can be carried out for the entire system. All of that is incredible, but there’s even more. Clients who choose the NarwhalDX option get a Peplink SpeedFusion Connect Relay to plug into their home router. If they are on their boat and want to access their bank or Google TV, the connection on their boat can be seamlessly redirected through their home internet. It’s even possible to watch their favorite local TV channels while at sea.
When asked what differentiates Narwhal Wi-Fi Onboard from other solutions on the market, Anderson had this to say: “The main thing they love is that it’s something that just works. They turn it on, and it just works. They also have support. If they need something modified, we can do it remotely. Everything is on one main Wi-Fi, with no need to continually change everything. It’s an always on situation.”
- Cloud-based endpoint management system
- Configures and updates the Peplink deployment
- Pushes customizations to the entire solution remotely
- Out-of-band-management alternative through InControl 2
- Provides remote access to interfaces of devices connected to Peplink
- Allows flexible offshore technical support for the entire system
- Plug-and-play device to connect to home router
- Adds an extra endpoint to your SpeedFusion Network
- Enables Internet access through home router remotely