Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We are back in St. Maarten... So it goes... We stayed later in St. Thomas than we had planned because we were waiting for mail. We weren't feeling well but we had to set sail for Antigua because we were going to attend the Antigua charter yacht show. Well, by the time we reached Saba we thought that it would just be better to go to SXM as we were not feeling better and we wouldn't be up to snuff for the show. Too bad as we were invited for a 3-day sail aboard the new Sunreef charter catamaran Seazen II.

Also, our WiFi set up conked out on us the day before we left St. Thomas. This was an Engenius EOC-8610 which replaced our previous Engenius EOC-3220. The cool thing about these units is that they are made to be used outside and they are PoE (Power over the Ethernet) so you just hoist them up on a halyard as high as you need to and the the ethernet cable supplies power to the unit, plus you do not lose signal strength as you would if you were using an external antenna with a coaxial cable.

Our problem was that we could no longer do what I call "access the box". There was a power failure on St. Thomas so I had changed the hotspot or access point that we were using and I wanted to change it back to the one with a better signal. I went through the rigamoroll of changing my network settings, opening up my browser to the unit's IP address and I never got the login screen to access the unit. (Plus it was doing weird things before completel becoming inaccessible, such as changing the unit to an access point all by itself, etc.).

While in St. Thomas, I called Engenius and told them the problem. They suggested doing a reset which entails opening the box to access the serial port and using a serial cable (which nobody has now days), etc. BluePoint on St. Maarten did this on our previous unit (with no success) so as we are now in SXM, we hopped on a bus and went up there.

Since we bought it in May or June, it was still under warranty and they agreed to do a reset. Well... after hanging about the store for over an hour, they finally told us that their cable doesn't work. I'll spare you other frustrating details of promised phone calls that were never made, etc. Who knows when we'll get it back from repair.

When I spoke to Engenius, they recommended the EOC-2610. It is less expensive ($90), has 3 lights on the unit to show connectivity, and has a RESET button on the unit (what a novel idea!). Bluepoint said they would have this unit in 2 weeks but we've heard that before. 2 weeks becomes another 2 weeks and so it goes :) So, I went and bought one on and specified next day shipping so we can get it as quickly as possible. Even with the $35 shipping charge plus our additional shipping charge that Four Star Cargo will charge to bring it into St. Maarten via our mailing service, "The Mailbox" at Palapa Marina, it will probably still be less than BluePoint will charge. Although, if a local store would have had the unit we have bought it locally.

This will be our 4th Engenius bridge. The first one, a less powerful, internal non-weatherproof unit with an external antenna still seems to work, but then the two others are toast. We were hesitant to buy a 4th Engenius product but it seems to be the best solution to our wifi needs (when they work!). When our EOC-8610 returns from the shop we'll have that as a backup.

Let's hope we have better luck with the EOC-2610.