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REVIEW OF THE MIKROTIK GROOVE

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COMPUTERS by KRISS on 20 october 2018

For those of you who follow our Youtube channel you may have seen me struggling this summer with the Wifi on the boat.
Well, no more ! After a case of trials and errors (3 and thank you Amazon returns) I have finally found the holy grail of wifi on boats.
It’s called Mikrotik Groove.

But let’s start from the beginning shall we? Our problem was that we usually have Wifi reception at marinas but the boat is often docked far from the repeaters so it’s actually very slow.
The best option is to use an antenna connected to an amplifier to get a stronger signal and a faster Wifi.
And there are many options.

First you need what is called an omnidirectional antenna because a boat is never static and besides this will be most useful when you want to connect to the wifi of the bar by the beach when you are at anchor.
Other options are directional and are designed for static uses such as a building.
This parameter alone narrows down the list of potential matches to basically 3 options:

1) Alfa kit, which I would rule out because mine didn’t work and it also feels a lot cheaper than the other options; besides this system connects to a USB port and I’ll tell you later why you don’t want that.
2) Ubiquiti Bullet: it’s more or less the same thing as a Mikrotik Groove which is an amplifier but to my knowledge it doesn’t come as a kit so you need to purchase an omnidirectional antenna aside; also and more importantly the Ubiquiti Bullet either comes as a 2.4Ghz or a 5Ghz device (more on that later) but none of the Bullets are built with both options.
3) Mikrotik Groove which I chose because it comes with a dual band (2.4 and 5Ghz) omnidirectional antenna and seemed built like a tank.

Before I go any further, let me explain 2 things.
First, you don’t want a system that connects to a USB port such as the Alfa because it sucks.
If you connect it directly to your computer you need to set a USB port to that purpose and I am sure you already have enough USB devices to connect don’t you? Then if you want to connect the system to a router to broadcast your own network inside the boat (more on that at the end) you will be very limited in terms of options.
I think there is only one router that does it (even if you find it under different names), the Alfa R36 and having had one in my hands it feels pretty cheap.

Second thing, what are these 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands I was talking about? Well, to put it simply, internet is broadcasted over Wifi on either of these 2 bands.
The 2.4Ghz is the most widely used but newer systems use the 5Ghz band which is usually less crowded and a lot faster.
So having the option to choose between these twos makes a lot of sense !

Now back to the Mikrotik Groove! First it’s made in Latvia and it feels like a Russian tank.
It comes in a small box with the amplifier/router/repeater/call it whatever you want, an antenna, a POE adapter and a charger.
You need to order an ethernet cable aside but they are not expensive.
I am going to cover the simplest option which is to connect the ethernet cable directly to your laptop.
To do so, the set up is pretty easy: the antenna screws on top of the amplifier and the ethernet cable plugs under it.
Before connecting to your laptop you need to connect it the the POE which stands for (Power over ethernet).
Basically it will provide the Mikrotik Groove with juice through the ethernet cable.
Anyways, once everything is connected you just open your laptop and everything’s ready ! I am kidding, this is where it gets a bit complicated so I am going to tell you exactly what to do.

First you need to download a software called Winbox and if you have a Mac OS you can run it through Wine.
Then you need to set up the Mikrotik Groove in your network preferences using DHCP (it’s all automatic, it’s an option to select and you only have the IP address of the Groove to specify.
It is 192.168.88.3

Now open Winbox and look at the back of your amplifier, you will see 2 sets of numbers and letters called MAC.
It has nothing to do with Apple Mac, just so you know.
Try to connect to either one of these, one should work.
This will open a panel where you have to select “CPE” at the top.
Then select the mode “Router” between the options “Router” and “Bridge”.
Set Address Acquisition to Automatic.
Now under Local Network specify the IP address (192.168.88.1 this time) and select DHCP server.
The netmask should automatically be set to “255.255.255.0(/24)”.
In DHCP Server Range enter: “192.168.88.3-255.255.255.254”.
Check NAT and that’s it! Don’t forget to apply the configuration though.

Now you can select the network you want to connect in the list on the right and feel free to try all the possible options (2.4Ghz b/n/g, 5Ghz only g etc…) until you find the one that works for the network you are trying to connect to.

If everything went fine, you should be connected and everything should be working ! Don’t hesitate to comment if you need some help.

#mikrotik #wifi #sailboat

REVIEW OF THE MIKROTIK GROOVE

REVIEW OF THE MIKROTIK GROOVE

REVIEW OF THE MIKROTIK GROOVE

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