Long-range WiFi antenna “BAD BOY Xtreme” (bitstorm inc., www.bitstorm.com)
We bought a BAD BOY Xtreme three months ago and have had it in use almost permanently since then. We haven’t installed it permanently (yet), but only hoist it with a halyard about 10 m high and take it down for passages.
The BAD BOY Xtreme consists of a high-gain antenna directly attached to the transceiver unit. An Ethernet cable (which can be up to 90 m long, 23 m are included) connects to a 12 VDC-power injector and your computer’s LAN port. The BAD BOY Xtreme is meant for a permanent installation aboard (clamps for rail mount or flat-surface mount are included). In comparison to USB-powered alternatives, you need to supply the power injector of the BAD BOY Xtreme with 12 VDC. For more convenience, you could combine it with your own WiFi hotspot (the bad boy extreme has a built-in router, DHCP, etc.). Then, several laptops, smartphones etc. can share the internet connection without any annoying cables.
Our experiences, what we like and dislike
++ Its superb reception (-98 dBm) and high-power transmission (36 dBm, 4 W) give indeed long-range WiFi.
++ The web browser-based configuration, hot-spot selection, and monitoring does not require any drivers or extra software, so any operating system is supported. (– Even though for our version, a firmware update of the badboy was necessary to make it work with newer firefox or google chrome browsers.)
– Build quality could be better:
* After only a couple of weeks, the aluminium tube of the antenna showed already signs of corrosion even though we rigged the antenna only when in anchorages. I don’t want to imagine what it would look like after an ocean crossing…
* The housing of the transceiver unit is made of very thin and brittle plastic.
* The electronics of the badboy is very sensitive to DC power irregularities and bouncing. E.g., powering the unit via plugging into a cigarette lighter socket or using a cheap switch causes multiple short on-off instances which in turn cause the badboy to hang. A proper debouncing circuit may solve the problem. However, this is not an issue if you choose it for a permanent installation.
Even though the material could be better and we had some initial problems, we are happy with its performance and can recommend it to other cruisers.