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Old 21-07-2011, 16:25   #1
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Internet Access ?

Is there any way to access the internet when offshore? Can a Sat phone be used in some way?

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Old 21-07-2011, 16:29   #2
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Re: Internet access?

You can use a SatPhone like Iridium or GlobalStar for very slow data connections in order to get email and such, but it is still too slow for surfing the Web.
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Old 21-07-2011, 16:29   #3
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Re: Internet access?

Yes, Yes. Expensive though, depending on what you want to do. Not to bad for email, very expensive for browsing. Also depends on where you are going. Check the different sat phone companies web sites for their coverage.
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Old 25-07-2011, 12:32   #4
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Re: Internet Access ?

Near shore, use wifi and cellular. These are both excellent options. There are inexpensive systems that give you quite a bit of range with each.

Offshore you can use satellite and high frequency radio. The dishes today are very small. But it's very very expensive. Think in terms of $10 per MB of data sent or received.
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Old 25-07-2011, 19:50   #5
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Re: Internet Access ?

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Originally Posted by LauderBoy View Post
Near shore, use wifi and cellular. These are both excellent options. There are inexpensive systems that give you quite a bit of range with each.

Offshore you can use satellite and high frequency radio. The dishes today are very small. But it's very very expensive. Think in terms of $10 per MB of data sent or received.
I keep seeing people posting šuse WIFIš.....not sure if its different in other parts of the world but where I am here in Spain I can see 9 WIFI connections, NONE of them have access without the password....or do cruisers share passwords??
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Old 26-07-2011, 00:12   #6
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Re: Internet Access ?

Here in a boatyard in the San Francisco bay I can see 10 networks and 2 are unsecured, that's what I'm using.
Nobody has mentioned an SSB radio with a Pactor modem yet, it does allow you to receive text files and maybe small picures (not quite sure about that yet) but it's very slow and you will likely spend at least $4000.00 for all new equipment plus installation if you can't do it yourself. You certainly won't be watching any youtube videos. I'll spend about $1500.00 for a hodge podge of used and homemade pieces.
For satellite I figured $10,000 for equipment and $1000.00 a month for service a couple of years ago. That was just too expensive and I haven't looked since, it might have changed but I doubt that it's changed enough to sway me.
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Old 26-07-2011, 01:02   #7
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Re: Internet Access ?

Unless you've money to burn, best forget internet when away from shore, get a booster antenna for wifi when close to shore, and check out all the close by buyng a beer to get thier access code.

We did have a pactor modem on our SSB which we used for short emails and grib weather files, but as others have indicated whilst the transmission cots are nix, the kit cost $4,000+. On reflection would have been better to rent an Irridium handheld for those passages and hand it back after.

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Old 26-07-2011, 01:07   #8
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Re: Internet Access ?

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Originally Posted by moussant View Post
Is there any way to access the internet when offshore? Can a Sat phone be used in some way?

Thanks
Gary Fritts
Hi Gary,
You can get it while offshore, we use Inmarsat, we get a little less than a gig of data with a couple of hours voice time for $2500 Australian per month, I'm writing this from the sat connection right now, our roll over date is in three days time, so we have a little extra capacity this month.. You have to be very careful with sat broadband you can get slugged with an excess data charge very easily.
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Old 26-07-2011, 01:20   #9
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Re: Internet Access ?

I think that slugged is the perfect word, JJB.
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Old 26-07-2011, 01:25   #10
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Re: Internet Access ?

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I think that slugged is the perfect word, JJB.
$2500 is just the standard access fee, not including any excess usage.
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Old 26-07-2011, 03:03   #11
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Re: Internet Access ?

Offshore you can use satphone or shortwave radio. These days many people overlook shortwave radios, but in an emergency they often outlive cell and satalite phones. Many boats who have a satphone or a ham radio and a license use sailmail for offshore email. As previous posts have said it is mainly used for sending and receiving emails, and receiving weather info, not for browsing.

As far as WiFi is concenerned, we have found more and more that everything is password controlled. Yes some cruisers spend a good deal of time sussing out passwords so they can have free access. It might be worth it if you intend to spend a good chunk of time on the hook in the same anchorage. Marinas often charge for WiFi access. In the Med we've paid up to $10 Euro a day for WiFi access and often found that we had to wander all over the marina to get proper reception. These days we use a net stick and buy the sim card for the country we are in. This seems to work out much better.
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Old 26-07-2011, 04:51   #12
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Re: Internet Access ?

Without getting all technical ..........can anyone give me a rough idea of how far it is possible nowadays to get WIFI access with basic (and cheapish!) technology? (I don't want an antenna array that can double as part of SETI ).

100 yards / 5 miles? (all things being equal, blah blah ).
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Old 26-07-2011, 04:55   #13
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Re: Internet Access ?

I got tired of weak, or inaccessible wifi connections (anchored in Potomac River wash dc) and decided to pay the extra 20 dollars to tether my iphone. I get 4 gigs for that $20 and for each additional gig after that it's $10 more. Virginia Girl can now work from the boat instead of spending the day at the library or starbucks. My bill for the past month was $180 USD. Worth every penny.
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Old 26-07-2011, 07:59   #14
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Re: Internet Access ?

David OJ, it really depends on a few factors... the router and how strong the signal is, the angle, where is your antennna... Here's a technical explanation. For us and I think for most sailors, the antenna is in our laptop. We were going to look into getting an extra antenna, but now find that in the area we are cruising the netstick works best.

Trying to pick up a WiFi signal at anchor or in a marina is often like this: Turn on the computer, find an accessible WIFI network, log on, find the strength falls to low, pick up laptop and begin to travel around the boat trying to get good signal strength... At this point you might get lucky or you might need to pack up the laptop and go ashore and wander around till you find good reception.

We have sat in the oddest spots because finally the reception is good, in order to send an email or call family via Skype. And the next time you try the same spot, the signal might be poor.

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Old 26-07-2011, 08:08   #15
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Re: Internet Access ?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Without getting all technical ..........can anyone give me a rough idea of how far it is possible nowadays to get WIFI access with basic (and cheapish!) technology? (I don't want an antenna array that can double as part of SETI ).

100 yards / 5 miles? (all things being equal, blah blah ).
I use this: Rogue Wave | Wave Wifi, the #1 Name in Marine Wifi, Yacht Wifi, Marina Wifi & Wireless Internet

There are cheaper versions of the same thing. You can expect to pay anywhere from 200-400 for one. Range depends a lot on obstacles and the shore side transmitter, but 3-5 miles is doable.

As for the person that was asking about "wifi spots", there are quite a few providers that sell wifi on a month to month basis. My marina does this, except residents get it for free.

Welcome to Beacon Wi-Fi

Basically you'd anchor out, turn on the wifi, get the signal from the above provider and then get a sign on website. You can pay for a few days access, go month or month or even pay for a full year. The benefit with places like this is they use 1 watt transmitters which give them quite a bit of range.
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