Whether you are at home, work, shopping, or just relaxing on a boat, you will naturally want to access the internet. If you are on a boat, you will want to use the best marine WiFi extender possible to get the best connection possible.
If you are thinking that no one needs WiFi on a boat, think again. Having WiFi access can keep you safe in the event of an emergency while keeping you connected.
But, in order to buy one, you need to know what to look for in an extender and which extenders are worth the cost.
How Does A Marine WiFi Extender Work?
Before you can understand how a marine WiFi extender works, you have to realize that they are not WiFi access points, like with a mesh system. Instead, the extender works by boosting the strength of a WiFi signal. It does that by increasing the connection range.
Of course, depending on where you are on your boat, there are some places that do not have access to a signal at all, so an extender would not really be able to help you. Instead you need to be smart about where you are trying to connect to the internet.
Ideally, an extender is best for small to medium-sized lakes, and some rivers and streams, where the extender would be able to reach an access point to bring the WiFi to your boat. Lakes are definitely easier to get a connection from, but it is still possible with moving waters as well.
Benefits Of Using A Marine WiFi Booster
If you are still wondering what the benefits are of using a marine booster are, let’s go over them quickly.
Essentially, your marine WiFi booster will allow you to have a wireless connection onto your boat from a router that is on land. It will also allow you to boost your cell phone reception, increasing your signal.
Some boaters might be thinking that it is silly to need internet access from a boat, but consider all of the safety benefits that you can get from it.
If you are able to use the internet, you can look up information if something goes wrong or if you come across something that you need to know more about. Most importantly, with a boosted cell signal, it will be easier to contact someone if you run into trouble.
While they will not help you if you are out at sea, they can give you more security on smaller bodies of water.
5 Best Marine WiFi Extenders (2020)
1. Alfa WiFi CampPro 2
2. C. Crane CC Vector
3. Bearifi BearExtender
4. Halo Marine Extender
5. Shakespeare Galaxy
1. ALFA Network CampPro 2 Universal
Best Marine WiFi Extender (Editor's Choice)
Our choice for the best marine WiFi extender is the ALFA CampPro 2 Universal extender. This extender is ideal for camping, hanging out on a yacht, or in an RV. It works by retrieving a remote hotspot WiFi signal to bring internet access to where you need it.
There is a QR code setup that is easy to use and will help you set up internet access in a matter of minutes. While it looks like it might be daunting with the amount of components that come with the device, it really is as simple as you could hope for with an extender.
You can set it up with either a laptop or another wireless device, but keep in mind that each time you move to a new location, you will need to re-establish the connection. Since it is an extender, it will only amplify the signal that you are receiving internet from.
This WiFi extender can also easily be powered by your vehicle through its power supply adapter, making it very easy to take with you, regardless of the vehicle that you are using. If you like boating, it is versatile enough to take anywhere.
2. C. Crane CC Vector Marine WiFi Extender
If you are looking for something a little more high performance, then a great marine WiFi booster for you is the C. Crane CC Vector extender. This extender is a great choice for big rigs as well as boats and RVs.
This extender comes with an omni-directional outdoor antenna that can receive distant signals up to one mile away. It will boost and repeat the new WiFi signal to all of your connected devices as long as they are in range. It covers about 400 feet.
The C. Crane CC uses the 2.4 GHz WiFi band, which is the most-used and also has the heaviest traffic, but it is the band that travels the greatest distance, so it is the best choice possible. Performance-wise, it is reported to be able to support two users streaming standard quality videos simultaneously. Any more than that would overload the system, but on a boat, it is unlikely you would be doing anything more.
This is a heavy-duty system that can easily be mounted on a roof or ladder, or wherever you have an open spot available to connect to. The freer the mount, the better chance it will have of grabbing a signal.
3. Bearifi BearExtender Marine WiFi Extender
A marine WiFi booster that is a little easier on the budget is the Bearifi BearExtender. This is really made to handle only one device at a time, so it will not work to transmit a stable internet connection if there are a lot of people within your party.
The extender comes with three versatile mounting options, including a detachable tabletop tripod, a Velcro pole mounting strap, and an adjustable metal pole mounting band. Make sure that you mount it wherever you will get the clearest signal to ensure that you can get the strongest signal possible. It also uses the 2.4 GHz band.
This extender is also water resistant, which means that it can handle a little bit of rain and water without losing its signal. It also has an anti-UV and anti-corrosion protective coating, so you will not have to replace the extender anytime soon.
The Bearifi extender is compatible with Windows systems, but is not compatible with iOS, Mac OS X, or Android, so it will not be the right choice for everyone out there. Make sure that your devices are compatible before you commit to buying this one. Heads up, this is also not a cell booster.
4. Halo Long Range Marine WiFi Booster
Another great choice for a marine WiFi extender is the Halo Long Range Marine & RV Extender System. This extender operates through a Halo WiFi app, making it easy to set up and get going with.
To get the best signal possible, the Halo will need to be mounted between 12 and 15 feet off of the ground, hopefully unobstructed by any large objects around your boat. If you mount it too high or too low, the device is less likely to find a signal and be able to transmit it well.
This extender is powered by an AC adapter or a vehicle adapter, depending on what kind of options you have on your boat. You will need access to a power source to get it to work at all. It does come with an Ethernet cable so you can hook it up directly to a laptop.
You should also be aware that leaving it out in the elements over time will break it down. When you store your boat, make sure that you are taking good care of the extender and ensuring that it is dry in order to get the most life out of the device.
5. Shakespeare 5230 Galaxy World
Our final review is for the Shakespeare Galaxy World Band WiFi antenna. This device will provide coverage for 2G/3G/4G as well as WLAN for your cellular devices. It also works well for WiFi signal, naturally.
Even though this is a smaller looking extender, since it is only 9.25” high and 2.6” in diameter, remember that looks can be deceiving. It is merely a compact device that is still capable of much of the work that you get from a larger extender. It works well on any watercraft and is fitted with a stainless steel ferrule and N-connector.
It is compatible with an 802.11n WiFi setup. It is also easy to install, so you will be up and going with it in no time at all. It also has an omni-directional antenna with a 3-4 dB gain.
The most important factor in getting the signal that you are hoping for with this extender is to consider where you have mounted it. You will need to put it up high enough to catch the closest signal to extend it to your boat, so do not put this down low and hope for results.
Ultimately, the best marine WiFi extender on the market is the ALFA CampPro 2. This extender not only provides a reliable amount of range and coverage, but it also is simple to get set up and versatile enough to be used in more than just a marine setting.
The C. Crane CC extender does provide a higher level of performance than the CampPro 2 does, going so far as to allow two devices to stream at the same time. This might be too much performance for some users.
Regardless, remember that an extender is only as good as the signal that it is boosting. If you have it mounted poorly with a lot of obstacles, you will never be able to achieve the wireless signal that you are aiming for. Mount it well and consider how far you are from the nearest WiFi source, and then you will get the best signal possible.