GL-iNET mini router setup
A small simple commercial mini travel router can also do the work of providing local wifi from a chore connection using a long range wifi antenna. There are several antennas available, some unidirectional which provide 360 degrees while others like Yagi style antennas provide higher gain by being more directional. A router connecting to the shore station (a wifi hotspot etc) can then provide a local wifi zone onboard with nice strong signal for mobiles and laptops. In addition only one login is needed to the shore station and all other just connect to local wifi zone. Most small routers are set up to connect to the internet via a cable, a mobile phone via cable or a 3G/4G USB router. Connecting to the internet via a USB dongle or more typical a high gain wifi USB antenna it not normally an option. Many of the small routers run a piece of software called OpenWrt. This provide a very nice web interface and can be tweeked into accepting a USB wifi connection to the internet instead of the cable. This is what I have done to achieve a simple and user friendly interface to the setup on board. You can of course buy the redbox from mailasail, a bit costly hence my wish to use a travel router.
Set up of the GL-iNet mini router
Below is a set of screen dumps to provide documentation on how this is set up. It's organised in a top-down way, so the details of drivers are at the bottom. Some knowledge about Linux administration is needed. The little box run a small distro of Linux and most users will feel at home. Most of the settings can be done at web interface level, but a shell is useful at times. The router can do repeater mode, but settings normally use the same interface for for both remote connection and local wifi. Care need to be taken to force it to use wlan1 / radio1 to be used as remote connection and wlan0 / radio0 as local wifi. I am still working on how to get this to work in an optimal way. The extra packages called "travelmate" are doing this. More on this soon, I have problems with the small dongle as the long-range antenna is still onboard.
The final step was to set a hostname on the web interface so that the interface can be accessed with a name instead of an IP number. getting crew members to remember 192.168.8.1 is not as easy as algol, but due to automatic application of search engine n modern web browsers one need to enter "algol/" in the URL field.
Config files are available at github.