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051L LANBridge

We have a new product here at Ockam, as you may have noticed on our main web site. It’s called the LANBridge, model number 051L.

What does this product do? It attaches to the Ockam bus with the standard BNC connector, and provides all the data available on the Ockam bus (Ockam format and NMEA 0183) to a connected Ethernet LAN by UDP broadcast. This is similar to what the OckamSoft 4 driver could do, but no computer is required. The system can send the data out by UDP itself! It can also accept data input from a device attached to the LAN.

What is special about this? First, if you have a PDA running Ockam Eye, you no longer need a PC running below deck. All you need is a wireless access point (either dedicated WAP or integrated with a router) to provide the WiFi radio. Second, it eliminates many of the common problems found using RS-232 on board a boat if you are using a PC.

As usual, this new interface is backwards compatible. It will work with all previously produced Ockam Instrument systems. How about that… You can put this on a system built in 1983 and expect it to work! It will work with both the older 001 Unisyn based systems and the newer T1 Tryad based systems. The interfaces already in the field have been working flawlessly since first power-up! Tactical and navigational programs such as OckamSoft 4, Expedition, and Nobeltec VNS can accept UDP broadcasts as data sources.

We are also investigating a wireless (WiFi) version of this interface, as well as many other “flavors” of the concept. So far, the interest has been resoundingly in favor of the wired LAN version, but I expect to see the wireless version take off as well. We will continue to produce and support the 050 RS-232 interface and the RS-232 connection on the T1 processor, as the RS-232 signal format is robust and well-established in the electronics world, and is not expected to disappear any time soon.

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