Geek Alert: ngrok remote tunnels make connecting to devices on the boat easy

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, 100-ton USCG master.

17 Responses

  1. Evan says:

    Ben – this is a great bit of info. Like you, I’ve been stymied by the private IP’s that are used with marina wifi and my AT&T cellular modem. Would love to get my Maretron N2KView screens available while I’m away from the boat. Will check out ngrok and see if that’s possible.

  2. Robert says:

    Ben, Please do post the particulars when you get ngrok working for iKommunicate. This is a short-term goal for me as well.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      Hmm… So far I’ve had success getting the iKommunicate web page to load and the test apps on the iKommunicate to load. But, WilhelmSK is thus far unimpressed. I’m not sure what’s wrong but I’ll ask Scott Bender, the developer, if he’s got any ideas.


  3. Justin says:

    The website seems to be down currently 🙁

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      I just checked and everything seems to be fine both with ngrok and the tunnels to my YDWG. But please do check your URL, there’s no trailing S, it’s just

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Ben, yes the URL I typed was not the one I was trying. It seems to be coming and going for me for access now. Sometimes working, other times timing out.

  4. sunnycoast greg says:

    another low cost (zero) alternative as a suggestion..
    Use a router on board that supports “openVPN” (free ) & dynamic DNS service (both are inbuilt to modern routers and free)
    OpenVPN clients (free) are available for Windows, IOS and Android – so you can access
    the onboard router using a VPN (with a certificate – generated by the router) on any of your devices – “just like being on the onboard LAN”
    .. to access remotely – click on the OpenVPN client (which accesses the dynamic DNS to get
    current IP) & opens the protected VPN tunnel.
    Then just browse using the internal LAN IP address/s as if you were on the boat.
    simple, secure, and free.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      I believe the solution you describe requires a public IP, something most boat connectivity options lack. A dynamic DNS based solution doesn’t work if there’s public (routable) IP for the DDNS to point to.

      If you do have a public IP this will work well. But, your router must support it. The Wave WiFi MBR I’m currently using won’t, though the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter I also use does.


  5. PA says:

    I wonder if it would possible to make it run directly off of an iKommunicate instead of a Pi or other computer.

  6. Denis says:

    Is this dependent on having a wifi connection or do you have to leave the cellular modem on while off the boat?
    I was using a verizon hotspot with the wifi floathub but afraid of the cost of leaving it on or having it throttled late in the month. SInce I switched to the 3g version of the floathub I have access from any web browser. The cellular cost is included with the enhanced monitoring.
    As you point out the floathub is less of a diy solution, but with the cellular connection it is working well and I no longer need to worry about hotspots or longish range wifi.

  7. Andy says:

    Yet another low cost (zero) alternative as a suggestion.

    Use TOR and make your boat Raspberry Pi act as a hidden TOR service. Either expose HTTP/HTTPS directly or rather if you want layer of even more security just expose SSH (or OpenVPN or something you like) and then tunnel everything through that.

    Works from anywhere to anywhere, and the whole concept is just so elegant it makes you smile.

  8. Steve says:

    So, this requires an onboard router, correct? The computer is not connected to the marina wifi, it is the router that is connected to the marina wifi. Then the computer and the YDWG are in the routers onboard wireless network. Ie: the computer can’t connect directly to the YDWG and the marina wifi at the same time, unless a second wireless ‘radio’ is added to the computer through, say, a USB dongle. That would allow simultaneous connections to both the marina wifi and the YDWG without a router. Do I understand this correctly?

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:


      I believe you do understand this correctly. I’m an advocate for establishing an on-boat network to which all on-board devices are connected and then connecting the entire network to your source of connectivity. It avoids complexities like you mention of having to use two network adapters, etc.

      Ben S.

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