Wifi for NMEA on Boats: Enhancing Connectivity and Navigation

Wifi for NMEA on Boats: Enhancing Connectivity and Navigation

NMEA Networks and the Power of Wi-Fi

Boating enthusiasts know that reliable navigation is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience on the water. As technology continues to advance, boaters have access to a wide range of innovative solutions to enhance their navigational capabilities. One such advancement is the integration of Wi-Fi connectivity with NMEA (National Marine Electronics Association) networks on boats. In this article, we will explore the world of Wi-Fi NMEA and its significant benefits for boaters.

What are NMEA Networks on Boats?

NMEA networks are the backbone of modern marine electronics systems, enabling seamless communication between various onboard instruments and devices. These networks facilitate the exchange of critical data such as GPS positions, depth soundings, wind speed, and more. By connecting different components of a boat's electronic infrastructure, NMEA networks provide a unified and comprehensive view of crucial information.

Differences between NMEA2000 and NMEA0183

There are two primary standards for NMEA networks: NMEA2000 and NMEA0183. Understanding their differences is essential for selecting the appropriate devices and technologies for your boating needs.

  • NMEA2000: NMEA2000 is a modern, robust, and high-speed network standard. It utilizes a Controller Area Network (CAN) bus architecture to enable multiple devices to communicate seamlessly. NMEA2000 supports plug-and-play installation, making it easy to expand and integrate new instruments into the network.
  • NMEA0183: NMEA0183, on the other hand, is an older standard characterized by serial communication. It operates at lower data rates and requires individual point-to-point connections between devices. While NMEA0183 is still prevalent in many older boats and instruments, it is gradually being replaced by the more advanced NMEA2000 standard.

Why is Broadcasting Wifi NMEA Useful?

Broadcasting Wi-Fi NMEA brings a host of advantages to boaters, revolutionizing the way navigation data is accessed and shared. Here are some key benefits:

  1. Wireless Connectivity: Wi-Fi connectivity eliminates the need for physical cables, simplifying the installation process and reducing clutter onboard. With wireless access, you can connect multiple devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, to your NMEA network without the limitations of wired connections.
  2. Flexibility and Mobility: Wi-Fi NMEA allows you to access critical navigation data from any connected device, providing greater flexibility and mobility on your boat. You can check your navigation information, monitor instrument readings, and plan routes conveniently from the palm of your hand, wherever you are on board.
  3. Seamless Data Sharing: By broadcasting NMEA data over Wi-Fi, you can share vital information with multiple devices simultaneously. This means everyone on board can access real-time navigation data, enhancing collaboration and situational awareness among the crew.
  4. Integration with Navigation Apps: Wi-Fi NMEA opens up new possibilities for integrating your navigation data with popular apps like Navionics and AquaMap. These apps leverage NMEA data, including AIS (Automatic Identification System), to provide advanced features such as real-time vessel tracking, collision alerts, and optimized route planning.

Unleashing the Power of Wi-Fi NMEA

In our previous section, we explored the basics of NMEA networks on boats and the benefits of broadcasting NMEA data over Wi-Fi. Now, let's delve deeper into the advantages of utilizing AIS (Automatic Identification System) on popular navigation apps like Navionics and AquaMap, as well as discover some standalone NMEA to Wi-Fi options and integrated AIS solutions.

Amplifying Navigation Apps with AIS and NMEA Data

Navigation apps like Navionics and Aquamaps have become indispensable tools for boaters, offering comprehensive mapping, route planning, and real-time boat data on everyday Apple and Android devices. By harnessing Wi-Fi NMEA connectivity, these apps can tap into the power of AIS and provide even more valuable information to enhance your boating experience.

  1. AIS Integration: AIS is a system that allows vessels to exchange crucial information such as vessel position, speed, and course. By integrating AIS data with navigation apps like Navionics and AquaMap, you gain access to real-time information about nearby vessels, enabling you to make informed decisions and navigate safely.
  2. Enhanced Safety: AIS integration on navigation apps provides an additional layer of safety by alerting you to potential collisions and displaying the identity and details of nearby vessels. This valuable data helps you maintain situational awareness and avoid hazardous situations.
  3. Streamlined Route Planning: With AIS data available on your navigation app, you can easily identify congested areas, high-traffic zones, or navigational hazards. This information allows you to plan your routes more efficiently, saving time and ensuring a smoother journey.

To take advantage of AIS integration, ensure that your navigation app supports AIS functionality. Navionics and AquaMap are two popular apps that offer seamless AIS integration, enhancing your navigational capabilities.

Standalone NMEA to Wi-Fi Options

Suppose you have an existing NMEA network and want to add Wi-Fi connectivity to it. In that case, standalone NMEA to Wi-Fi devices offer a convenient solution. These devices act as bridges between your NMEA network and Wi-Fi-enabled devices, allowing seamless data transmission. Let's take a look at some notable examples:

  • Digital Yacht NavLink 2 NMEA 2000 to Wi-Fi Gateway: The NavLink 2 gateway provides a wireless connection between your NMEA 2000 network and Wi-Fi-enabled devices. It allows you to wirelessly access and share navigation data with multiple devices on board, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops.


  • Digital Yacht WLN30 Smart Wireless NMEA Multiplexer: The WLN30 acts as a smart NMEA multiplexer, combining various data sources into a single Wi-Fi output. With its multiplexing capabilities, you can connect multiple instruments to your NMEA network and transmit the data wirelessly to your preferred devices.


  • Digital Yacht WLN10 Smart NMEA to Wi-Fi Converter: The WLN10 converter is designed to bridge the gap between older NMEA 0183 devices and Wi-Fi connectivity. It allows you to connect NMEA 0183 devices to your Wi-Fi network, enabling wireless data transmission and integration with modern navigation apps.


By incorporating these standalone NMEA to Wi-Fi devices into your boat's electronic setup, you can enjoy the benefits of wireless connectivity without replacing your existing instruments.

Continue reading the final part of the article to discover integrated AIS solutions with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.

Integrated AIS Solutions with Wi-Fi

In the previous sections, we explored the concept of NMEA networks on boats, the differences between NMEA2000 and NMEA0183, the usefulness of broadcasting NMEA data over Wi-Fi, and the benefits of AIS integration on popular navigation apps. Now, let's turn our attention to integrated AIS solutions with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.

Integrated AIS with Wi-Fi: Several manufacturers offer AIS transponders with integrated Wi-Fi, providing a seamless solution for transmitting AIS data to your Wi-Fi-enabled devices. These integrated systems simplify installation and streamline the sharing of AIS information across your boat's network. Let's take a look at a couple of notable examples:

    • Vesper Cortex M1: The Vesper Cortex M1 is a powerful AIS transponder that combines AIS functionality with smart features. It not only transmits and receives AIS data but also acts as a hub for connecting and controlling other onboard devices. With its integrated Wi-Fi, you can access AIS and vessel data directly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
    • SI-TEX MDA-5: The SI-TEX MDA-5 is a high-power Class B AIS transceiver that comes equipped with a built-in Wi-Fi module. It provides reliable AIS data transmission and reception while offering the convenience of wireless connectivity. The integrated Wi-Fi allows you to access AIS data on compatible devices without the need for additional adapters or converters.
    • em-trak B952: A well known class B 5w SOTDMA - AIS transceiver with both WiFi AND Bluetooth. This is yet another example of a feature rich NMEA to Wifi integration with the added bonus of Bluetooth. Excellent performance when matched with a tablet featuring Navionics or Aquamaps. If you prefer an integrated VHF splitter see the em-trak B954.


    These integrated AIS solutions offer a seamless and efficient way to incorporate AIS functionality into your boat's network while simultaneously providing Wi-Fi connectivity for data sharing.

    By embracing Wi-Fi NMEA capabilities and integrating AIS solutions, boaters can unlock a new level of connectivity and enhance their navigation experience. Whether you choose standalone NMEA to Wi-Fi devices or opt for integrated AIS systems, the power of wireless connectivity opens up a world of possibilities for accessing and sharing real-time data on board.
    To explore a wide range of marine navigation instruments, including NMEA cables, sensors, AIS systems, and more, visit 
    360 Boat Supply's Marine Navigation Instruments collection
    Continue to stay informed about the latest trends and technologies in boating by checking out our helpful guides and articles:

    At 360 Boat Supply, we offer a wide selection of products from renowned brands such as Digital Yacht, em-trak, Garmin, Raymarine, Vesper, SI-TEX, and more. These brands provide innovative solutions for wireless NMEA connectivity and integrated AIS systems.

    Enhance your boating experience with reliable and efficient NMEA connectivity, seamless AIS integration, and the convenience of Wi-Fi data sharing. Stay connected, stay informed, and navigate with confidence on your next boating adventure.


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