So you’re cruising around the bay trying to listen to some tunes. Only there’s no cell service, you can’t reach the marina’s wifi, and none of your favorite music is already downloaded on your device!
Thinking about giving up and just singing the “99 bottles” song to avoid the awkward silence? This is exactly the type of situation where a marine wifi extender comes in.
These small yet powerful antennas boost the signal of nearby wifi signals. They make it so can pick up signals from hundreds or even thousands of feet away (depending on the strength of the antenna). While they don’t provide the wifi themselves, they amplify existing signals coming from the coastline.
These wifi extenders can also come in handy if you already have a wifi router or 4G/5G connection on your large sailboat or yacht. Often, the routers themselves aren’t able to provide consistent service across the boat. By installing a marine-grade wifi extender, you’ll ensure reliable service across your boat.
In today’s article, we’ll look at some of the top-rated wifi extenders on the market. We’ll start with the best marine wifi extender, the C Crane Long Range WiFi Repeater. We also include a buyers guide and several other options in this article.
Best Marine WiFi Extender
Our Top Pick: CC Vector RV/Marine Long Range WiFi Repeater
Key Points at a Glance
- Maximum Range of 1 mile!
- Supports speeds up to 150Mbs!
- Uses long-range 2.4Ghz bandwidth.
- Capable of supporting 2 streamers at once.
- Features a 1-year warranty and U.S.-based technical support.
- 2 ethernet jacks for those who want a faster hardwired connection
While there were certainly a lot of options that we looked at, the overall top pick for boaters was the C. Crane CC Vector long-range wifi repeater (just a fancier term for wifi extender). This powerful antenna is able to detect wifi signals that are up to 1 mile away, making it the perfect option for sailors, recreational boaters, fishers, and pretty much anybody who spends a lot of time out on the water.
The antenna itself is made of a durable polymer material that’s able to withstand high-speed winds and saltwater. This is particularly important when it’s screwed onto the top of your boat and you’re hurtling along at 20 knots. A lot of the cheaper wifi extenders we came across would be easily blown off and lost forever the second the wind picked up. The C Crane antenna also features a heavy-duty stainless steel mounting system that can be secured with 4 screws to ensure maximum stability.
As far as the technical specifications go, the C. Crane wifi repeater truly excels. It works by taking 2.4Ghz long range wifi signals, amplifying the signal, and then is able to provide boaters with speeds of up to 150Mbs. Of course, if you’re really far from the shore the speed will be reduced, but if you’re close to the shoreline, then you can kick back and stream as much Netflix as you want!
One really neat feature that we like about the CC Vector extender is that it features 2 ethernet ports should you wish to hardwire your computer, game system, or other devices for maximum speed. This can also help to increase your speed if you’re starting to approach the 1-mile limit of the antenna’s reach.
This is the best marine wifi extender available.
- The omni-directional outdoor antenna receives a...
- Repeats WiFi signal to multiple devices such as:...
- The heavy-duty system mounts outside of your RV...
- The CC Vector Long Range is capable of supporting...
- Includes the CC X Mile Long Range Omni 8dBi...
Our Runner Up: Tupavco TP551 Omni Antenna
Key Points at a Glance
- Large 3-foot-tall antenna for maximum reach.
- Features an omni-Directional antenna that can detect and project a signal 360 degrees!
- The antenna features a high-gain 12db signal for maximum speed and amplification.
- Includes a heavy-duty double-sided mounting system to ensure that the antenna remains secure in a high-wind environment.
- Can detect and amplify signals from up to a mile away.
Tupavco has a long history of making high-quality electrical equipment and heavy-duty antennas, signal amplifiers, and other radio/wifi-related equipment. One of the reasons why their TP551 Omni Antenna is one of the best on the market is that the company has realized the value of specializing. Instead of trying to do it all, they’ve focused on making a few really good products. The TP551 is no exception.
Like the C Crane Vector repeater that we reviewed above, this antenna is able to function and detect signals from up to a mile away. One of the main reasons why this wifi extender didn’t make the top choice was that its antenna is a little bit bigger and bulkier. However, in terms of overall functionality and reliability, it’s very similar.
As far as durability goes, Tupavco knows how to make weatherproof antennas. The outer layer of the antenna is coated in fiberglass which prevents it from being damaged by saltwater, heavy wind, and even light flying debris. There’s also a thick, stainless steel mounting rack to keep the antenna solid. The inside of the mounting rack even features a thin layer of rubber which helps to prevent the system from rattling or snapping off in choppy weather conditions.
As long as you’re okay with the slightly larger setup, then the TP551 is just as technically sound as our top-rated C Crane marine wifi extender!
- Extend your existing wireless network with...
- Fiberglass weatherproof radome material made to...
- Pre-installed N female connector - mounting...
- Make your own private or public WiFi hotspot -...
- Frequency - 2.4Ghz; Gain - 12dBi; Polarization -...
Best Budget: Bearifi BearExtender
Key Points at a Glance
- Features anti-water, anti-rust, and anti-UV coating to ensure that rain, salt, and sun don’t damage your new antenna.
- The sleek low-profile design fits perfectly with most boat setups. It doesn’t even look like an antenna!
- NO A/C power necessary! You can power this wifi extender with a phone, laptop, or portable charger.
- IP65-Certified antenna meets standard regulations.
- Designed for use with 1 device.
If you’re looking for a small, durable, low-cost marine wifi extender, then you can’t go wrong with the Bearifi “BearExtender”!
Bearifi isn’t your typical wifi extender. It doesn’t have a large 3-foot antenna, bulky brackets, or 1-mile functionality. However, it also doesn’t require a plug-in A/C power source or you to drill a bunch of holes in your brand new boat.
The neatest feature of this small antenna is that it’s designed to plug in and be powered by your device. It features a 16-foot-long, insulated, tear-resistant USB cord that connects straight to your laptop. This is perfect for boaters who have small skiffs, sailboats, or other boats without a large power supply.
The range is about 4 times greater than that of today’s top laptops which means that you’ll be able to connect to nearby wifi signals that are up to hundreds of feet away. It’s perfect if you’re fishing or boating close to the shore, bay, or marina. In fact, the most common use of this antenna setup (apart from RVs) is for people who are having an extended stay at their marina or drydock.
The one caveat (and an important one for some buyers) is that the Bearifi BearExtender only works with Windows devices. It doesn’t work with iPads, iPhones, Macbooks, Linux devices, or even Android/Google devices. As long as you have a windows computer, though, this little wifi extender is a real powerhouse!
- WIFI EXTENDER FOR SINGLE COMPUTER - Extends the...
- 2.4 GHz BOOST, NO AC POWER SUPPLY NEEDED - Long...
- IP65 CERTIFIED, WATER RESISTANT - IP65 Certified...
- 3 VERSATILE MOUNTING OPTIONS - Detachable tabletop...
- COMPATIBILITY - Compatible with Microsoft Windows...
Best for Easy Installation: ALFA Network WiFi CampPro 2
Key Points at a Glance
- No expertise needed to setup! Comes with easy installation instructions from a scannable QR code for your smartphone or install wizard with larger computers.
- Features an ethernet port for highspeed connections.
- Can install over wifi!
- Features a small 6.5-inch antenna for easy mounting and a 26-foot power cable for ease of routing.
- Features a fiberglass-coated antenna that is resistant to saltwater corrosion.
- Comes with a 1-year warranty on all parts.
One of the more common complaints from boat owners is that a lot of the top marine wifi extenders are a bit of a pain to install. This is especially true when it comes to large heavy-duty antennas that need to be secured with multiple bolts and screws to the top of your roof, which isn’t exactly an easy task.
If you’re looking for a light, easy-to-install wifi extender, then the Alfa CampPro 2 is an excellent choice. Although the name implies camping, the durable waterproof antenna is designed to stand up to saltwater, UV rays, and moderate wind speeds.
Apart from the lightweight design of this antenna, one of the things that makes it simple to install is the easy “idiot-proof” instructions. Your 5-year-old could probably figure out how to make it work! All you need to do is scan the QR code on the side of the box and an install wizard will pop up on your phone guiding you through the entire setup process. If you’re working with a laptop, then just visit the convenient setup link provided to get the same install wizard.
Unlike the Bearifi BearExtener we just looked at, the Alfa Camp Pro 2 works with all devices and operating systems. So if you had to scratch that off the list due to owning a Mac or iPhone, then this is probably going to be your next best option!
Due to the smaller antenna, this wifi extender isn’t meant to work at mile-long distances like the C Crane or Tupavco options. However, it’s perfect for boosting signals that are a few hundred feet away and is an excellent option if you’re docked at the marina or fishing in the harbor close to shore.
- WiFiCampPro 2 is a professionally tuned and highly...
- Intuitive QR Smart phone/Web Configurator device...
- Improved wireless performance & Signal Coverage:...
- Simple to scan & find network: Scans and connects...
Best Compact Extender: Alfa WiFi Camp Pro 2 Mini Version
Key Points at a Glance
- Easy install with a QR code (just like the larger version)!
- The lightweight router and antenna can be mounted with a small suction cup which means that you’ll never have to worry about drilling holes.
- Features a 1-year limited warranty and free tech support.
- Comes with a 10-foot USB cable.
- Provides a signal boost from up to 300 yards away!
If you’re a fan of the Alfa brand, but you’re looking for something smaller and more compact, then the Camp Pro 2 “Mini Version” is a perfect choice.
Before we get into all of the details, it’s important to note that the Mini version is not an outdoor wifi extender. The antenna is connected directly to the small router and is not meant to be mounted on the exterior.
This style of wifi extender is best for those who either live in a boat at their marina or for those who have a large interior cabin space or an existing 4G hotspot or satellite internet connection. The problem with a lot of people’s 4G hotspots is that they only reach a few feet. However, when they’re combined with the Alfa Camp Pro 2 Mini, your hotspot will suddenly be able to provide service to your entire boat!
Unlike some of the omni-directional exterior antennas that we’ve reviewed, this wifi extender uses a “directional” antenna that must be pointed towards the general direction of the signal.
While the Camp Pro Mini may not be the choice for the long-distance sailor or crazy outdoor weather conditions, it’s a high-quality, lightweight, and well-reviewed option for those looking for something small to use in their boat’s interior.
- Includes Alfa R36A Wi-Fi Router and AWUS036NH USB...
- Suction cup/clip mount for AWUS036NH & 10 foot USB...
- Booster for WIFI only, not a 4G/Cellular Booster....
- Ideal for Airstream coaches where mounting an...
- One year warranty and free phone technical support
Marine Wifi Extender Buyer’s Guide
Who Should Buy a Marine Wifi Extender?
If you spend a lot of time on your boat, offer charter services to clients, or you just enjoy being able to use your internet and listen to music while you’re cleaning the boat down at the dock, a marine-rated wifi extender is an excellent investment!
Important Features to Consider
Here are some of the more important features you should consider when purchasing a marine wifi extender:
While most long-distance antennas aren’t compatible with modern 5g speeds, some of the short-distance ones are able to take advantage of modern high-speed internet.
Antenna Size/Signal Pickup Distance
Large antennas are bulkier and more expensive, but can work from up to a mile away. Small antennas are better for short distances and usually cap out at half a mile.
Outdoor vs. Indoor
If you’re installing a wifi extender on your boat, it’s better to pay the extra money and get something that’s able to withstand water, wind, and salt.
Sometimes technology fails us! Make sure your wifi extender at least comes with a 1-year limited warranty to cover manufacturer’s defects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Wifi Extenders Provide a Secure Connection?
Yes! Wifi extenders only extend an existing Wifi service connection. Whichever network that you connect to will feature the same exact security as the original network router.
Are Wifi Extenders Durable In The Ocean?
Marine-grade wifi extenders are durable in the ocean environment, but home wifi extenders are not.
This is a common question as many wifi extenders are installed on the exterior of boats. While the smaller wifi extenders should usually be kept inside of your cabin, larger metal-plated antennas are usually designed to be able to withstand the salty air, wind, and water.
That being said, it’s certainly a good idea to clean them down with some fresh water from time to time to prevent salt from building up.
Other Products We Looked At:
The Redport Halo Long Range wifi extender is a well-reviewed large antenna that’s fairly similar to our two top options (the Tupavco TP551 and the C Crane Vector) in terms of functionality. The main reason why it wasn’t listed in our top choices is that it has a very high price point that’s almost double that of its competitors.
The antenna is just over 2-feet-tall making it slightly smaller than the C Crane, and it’s is able to detect and amplify signals from almost a mile away. However, according to some of the reviews we found, it works better when boaters are closer to the shore.
Once it’s setup, it works with a wide range of different devices and operating systems, but you will need a larger iPad or laptop device to set it up. While some phones are capable of handling the initial setup, most reviews stated otherwise.
Probably the main reason why the Redport Halo is still such a top seller despite its higher price point is its appearance. The antenna is skinny, durable, and features a snow-white coloring that blends in with most white boats. The base of the antenna also features a beautiful chrome-plated design that most of our other options just couldn’t compete with.
If looks are important- then this is a great option with a high-quality, industry-standard design. However, if functionality and quality are your main concerns when buying a long-distance marine wifi extender, then you’re probably better off with the first two options.
Key Points at a Glance
- Includes a 10-meter antenna cable that’s perfect for larger boats.
- This wifi extender can support multiple devices being used at the same time.
- Sleek all-white design blends in perfectly with most boat exteriors.
Weighing in at just over 10 ounces, the “Superboost” wifi extender is a decent option for interior use. It features four small directional antennas to maximize the input signal all over your boat.
Like the Alfa Camp Pro Mini that we reviewed earlier, this setup is only designed to be used in your boat’s interior and is better suited for boats with a large cabin space that’s safe from water or excessive knocking around.
One of the reasons it made our list is partly because of how easy and simple it is to install. The lightweight design allows it to be easily mounted on your ship’s wall to prevent it from sliding around with the waves and it comes with easy-to-follow setup instructions.
Key Points at a Glance
- Features coverage up to 2,000 feet away!
- Has no problem connecting to smaller phones and tablets.
- Designed for interior use in large boats, RVs, and homes.
WAVLINK’s outdoor weatherproof wifi extender is a versatile, lightweight, and durable wifi extender ideal for short ranges. In terms of overall functionality, it’s very similar to the Alfa Camp 2 outdoor version.
While it’s not designed for amplifying signals that are miles away, it’s perfect for shorter distances 1,500-2,000 feet away. This means when you’re docked at the marina, fishing off of your boat, or hosting a marina yacht party that the party doesn’t have to stop.
It has a fair price point that’s similar to other small and mid-sized wifi repeaters, but the main reason it didn’t quite make our top list is that it’s not able to withstand high wind speeds meaning that you would have to install it in your boat’s interior.
The antenna housing is meant to be mounted with small zip ties, and as soon as you get up to a decent speed, it would probably fly off. It’s designed to remain stationary.
Key Points at a Glance
- Can withstand temperatures as low as -20 degrees or highs of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cylindrical weather-proof antenna housing can be easily mounted on a fence post, roof, or another high area on your boat.
- Features 3 operation modes: Wifi repeater, access point, or router. The device can be used with multiple devices and operating systems.
The Dionlink outdoor wifi extender is very similar to the Bearifi BearExtender that we reviewed early as our best budget option. It’s powered directly by your laptop and is meant to be used with only one device at a time and is designed to work with Windows operating systems only.
The one neat advantage of this particular wifi extender is that it can be used with both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz signals. Most of the competing outdoor wifi antennas only work with 2.4Ghz. The Dionlink wifi antenna is able to work outdoors and is water and wind-resistant, but it’s not a long-range extender by any means.
It’ll work great if your boat is parked at the dock or marina, but once you get more than a couple thousand feet out into the water, the signal will be significantly reduced.
Key Points at a Glance
- Works with both 5GGhz and 2.4Ghz signals.
- Can be powered with your laptop and doesn’t need to be plugged in.
- Features a no-questions-asked replacement on any malfunctioning parts
Ultimately, you’ll have two main choices when picking a wifi extender. If you’ve got a larger boat and you’re looking for something that will be able to amplify a signal from up to a mile away, then you’ll definitely want to go with the CC Vector by C. Crane. It’s the Best Marine Wifi Extender, and is designed to withstand extreme conditions and keep on going.
As an alternate, you can also check out the much cheaper Tupavco.
However, if you’re just looking for something small to boost your signal while parked at the marina, then one of the smaller outdoor antennas or even interior wifi extenders are decent choices as well. These smaller ones are also a little bit cheaper and price-friendly if you’re on a budget. Just don’t expect them to provide high-speed internet access once you pull off the dock.