Marine electronics and navigation specialist, Errol Cain has supervised the installation of marine electronic systems into thousands of Riviera luxury cruisers in his 27 years experience. In this issue, Errol talks about the Sierra Wireles AirCard device.
With the popular Ericsson W35 marine pack data system having come to the “end of life” in production, the challenge was on to find a replacement. We thought we had found a new product called a Robustal. However, this proved to bring as many problems as it solved.
The Robustal would have worked a treat and it proved very reliable and fast when located within 4G range. However, not all telecommunications networks allow for this functionality.
After testing several other options, the best solution we have found is the Sierra Wireless AirCard device with dock and marine antenna. The Sierra wireless air card unit is a mobile 3G/4G device that sits in a cradle. The cradle has twin antenna inputs for better coverage and features goodies such as:
• Connects up to 16 devices on Wifi
• Connects 4 ethernet and 2 USB devices
• Charges the Sierra AirCard devices
The only downside is that the Sierra Wireless AirCard is a data device only and has no walk around phone connection. However, this is overcome by connecting your phone via wifi and using Skype for free phone calls.
R Electronics offers a marine pack compatible with the Sierra AirCard and dock, which features a marine cell phone antenna, LM400 low loss data cable and SME antenna adaptor cables.