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Winegard enters marine market

Winegard, a 64-year-old manufacturer of antenna products, has entered the marine market with three products. Two are broadcast television antennas, one the familiar indoor flexible, flat panel type, and the other an exterior omnidirectional antenna.  Their third launch device is the Winegard Connect, a combination WiFi bridge, cellular modem and router. All three products are made in Burlington, IA.

The Winegard Connect is unusual because the company also handles the cellular data service. While actual connectivity is provided by AT&T with North American roaming, Winegard sells prepaid bandwidth in 1, 3, 10 and 20gb packs.  When I sat down with the company they reported the bandwidth wouldn’t expire though I see their promotional material shows the bandwidth packs are good for 30 days.

The Winegard Connect has MiMo antenna arrays for both cellular and shore-based WiFi connections.  With the Connect mounted high and multiple high-gain antennas range should be much improved over the internal antennas of WiFi or cellular devices.  I’ve received an evaluation unit from Winegard and plan to compare the performance of the Connect with other similar products.

All three products are currently shipping.  The Wavu R1 indoor broadcast TV antenna has an MSRP of $69.99 while the Wavu W1 outdoor broadcast TV antenna has an MSRP of $129.99.  The Winegard Connect shows an MSRP of $479.00.

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Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of Panbo.com, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, completed the Great Loop in 2017.

8 Responses

  1. Jeff Harrison says:

    If the cellular data is affordable, this sounds great. At least until SpaceX gets their sat internet up and running.

    • Jeff, the Winegard site lists prepaid data plans starting at $20 for 1 GB, $35 for 3, etc…

      http://www.winegard.com/connect/marine

      There are less expensive 4G data plans for sure, but “no annual contracts, activation fees, or monthly bills” sounds good, especially if unused data carries over until it’s used up (which is still not clear as Ben S notes).

      There are somewhat similar products to this, like the Glomex WebBoat (that’s nicely appearing in the new “Similar Posts” section 😉 but they usually presume that you will get your own data service SIM card from the provider of your choice. That may work great for some boaters, but I’ve had trouble with it and think Winegard’s total solution may make sense for some of us.

  2. Ben SteinBen Stein says:

    This is a crowded space. I think it will be interesting to see how Winegard does entering. I’ve always thought the specialists, Wave WiFi, Island Time, Coastal, The Wirie, etc. have done better work here than the broader line vendors. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to test this, and a few other systems, and see how they compare. I’m confident all the solutions out there are going to improve on my kind of cobbled together home-grown system.

  3. Ben SteinBen Stein says:

    Also, kind of fun to see how far all of this has come since this was cutting edge: https://www.panbo.com/hotbox-a-cell-powered-wifi-hotspot/

  4. Colin says:

    Interesting. I have seen these already on RV’s. On that topic it would be great if Panbo did a a new round up of wifi extended bridges been a while I think. My in laws were looking for one for their camper and this one from Alfa looks interesting.
    https://www.technorv.com/rv-wifi-boosters/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwzIzWBRDnARIsAAkc8hGR27WbY6rHwJJ9c-V8tUzY2faVxkeDN2zf5Ef1yrrUy4BWqJkTdYoaAhXCEALw_wcB
    In the past I have used cradle point routers for an easy cell-wifi changeover but they seem to be changing their lineup away from this type use.

  5. FYI – WineGard has replaced the ConnecT with a mostly-improved ConecT 2.0, and hopefully they will soon have a marine version of that as well.

    Our first impressions of the ConnecT 2.0 here. and we also have a full review published now:
    https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/now-shipping-winegard-connect-2-0-roof-mounted-wi-fi-cellular-router/

    Perhaps the biggest improvement is that you can now use your own SIM and data plan, with support for AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.

    The crazy 5-legged stool design has also been eliminated.

    Cheers,

    – Chris

  1. June 20, 2018

    […] has previously looked at all-in-one systems from Glomex, Shakespeare, and Winegard.  Each of these systems has a little bit different spin on the basic concept.  Let’s get […]

  2. September 19, 2018

    […] cellular get-online system — with the cell service included — is Winegard’s first entry into the marine internet market, they’ve been at it in the RV world for quite some time and the rock-solid RF performance is […]

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