Group: Forum Members
We have used a Mailasail Redbox in conjunction with their Wifi Bat aboard Destiny for 4 years now. It works well but with some caveats;
Dealing with the owner and main technical response Ed Wildgoose is a nightmare. He is verbose, unhelpful and never answers a question directly. For that reason alone I would suggest finding another product. But if you have one;
In Wifi mode we have had good positive experience, the aerial picks up signals from approx. 500m away, but you need a signal strength of at least 60% so this really means closer contacts. As I write this we are streaming from a Bistro 300m away, a connection that we are using every day for most of the day.
The Redbox interface choosing between Wifi, Sim or Satphone works very well. As does the “Firewall” that allows you to sign in just your current device or all devices. There is then another level of filtering that allows open access or various restrictions but these all depend upon having a paid for Mailasail account. This is fine in theory but we discovered that their server automatically stripped our ice reports out as spam and required 2 sat phone calls every time to work, likewise Nobeltec email GRIB files were stripped.
We use a SIM card in a dongle with the Redbox, it works well, the only snag is we are unable to monitor how much data we use, which we can if we bypass Redbox.
We use our Iridium Sat phone as well directly with Redbox, this works better than Iridium’s own modem but is no faster. We did have one very expensive problem, one that Ed tried hard to blame on us, but even when confronted with the facts he refused to acknowledge the problem. Basically if you connect the Sat phone to Redbox AND use the proxy settings Mailasail recommend to reduce data usage some flaw in the software allows the Sat phone to automatically dial out for just a few seconds every few minutes, the calls do not connect but are still billed so we ran up a bill of £180 in less than a week. The only solution was to remove the proxy settings and as a backup always remove the USB plug from the phone if not required.
As a multiplexor Redbox works well, provided your NMEA data is USB or network based, failing that you require serial to USB adaptors. But we have our radar, AIS and instruments all connected and Redbox automatically streams the data over the wired network and broadcasts it as wifi signal that our tablet can use.
Just to note all the components were recommended and supplied by Mailasail, so there should be no excuse regarding the problem we had on the sat phone dialling out.
We are now trying Redport a Satellite Optimiser produced by Global Marine Networks that works in conjunction with their own email compression service Xgate. We will try to comment on this in due course.