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Old 17-06-2007, 12:47   #1
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Access to Internet

We went to Key West for 4 days, lived aboard, and brought my laptop. However, we could not get any kind of access to the internet. You folks are miles and miles away from shore, yet you are able to communicate with your computers. How do you do it? Is there something we need to purchase to allow this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 18-06-2007, 00:39   #2
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I have a mobile broadband for my laptop. Costs $53 per month Kiwi for 1GB. You need to buy a sierra wireless card and sign up with an IP. Works wherever you can get mobile phone coverage.
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Old 18-06-2007, 00:40   #3
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Works in a few bays in the Marlborough Sounds, the marina, the train, the car, at home etc
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Old 18-06-2007, 11:57   #4
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Internet access thru a cell phone provider is a good way to stay connected in US coastal waters. I have my phone with T-mobile and get unlimited internet access at dial-up speeds for an additional $20 a month. On a trip from Fort Myers, Fl to Appalachicola a year ago I had access up to 10 miles offshore with the phone down on the chart table. Higher speed access is available from the major cell providers at a greater cost. Googling "EVDO" will get you information on the high speed cell phone access.

If you don't want to get involved with monthly charges for a service you don't use all the time and only want to get online when your in port you can get a wifi adapter that will let you connect to any Hotspot available in the harbor, either free or thru subscription. These adapters provide the same function as the adapter built into your laptop except they will provide a more powerful output signal, have much greater receive sensitivity and have an antenna jack that permits use of a variety of high gain, exterior antennas. The EUB-362ext is a USB device that will meet most boaters basic needs. They cost around $60 and with a 15 foot extension cable they can be placed topside and plugged into a laptop below. They can use a variety of antennas and it's a fairly simple DIY project to put them in a waterproof case for permanent mounting.

For the most flexible system you can get a wifi router/bridge in an outdoor enclosure for permanent mounting topside ($200-$300). These use a Cat5 network cable to carry signal and 12 volt power (POE). Down below you can plug the network cable directly into your computer or you can plug into a wireless router for internet access anywhere onboard. Many people that use Vonage or other VOIP service use this setup to take their business or home phones with them for use whenever they have a wifi hotspot available. Once you connect to the hotspot you can turn off the computer and just leave the phone adapter connected to the router.

Bob Stewart
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Old 18-06-2007, 13:40   #5
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While we're on this subject I've been looking into wifi antennas but the more I look the less I know. Anyone know a good supplier that will make up the whole unit. The confusing part is all the connectors required. I would prefer a usb connection as I don't need or like the idea of a wireless card. Something like a 10dbi omnidirectional with about 25 ft of cable.
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Old 18-06-2007, 15:43   #6
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This thread might help.

Whats the best offshore internet connection?
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Old 18-06-2007, 15:45   #7
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I use Verizon Wireless, which gave me coverage for all of Florida (west and east coast) except for a stretch between Marcos Island and Lower Matecumbe Key. Together with my cellphone, it runs me around $106 a month. Advantage over wifi is that the signal is stronger and not as directional.

Currently at 35 01 29 N 76 41 43 W
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Old 19-06-2007, 12:02   #8
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I also use Verizon Wireless. The difference for me is that I use their free dial up. The cable and program cost about $60 USD (one time cost). Attach the cable from the computer to the phone. Use their dial up program - tadaaaaa. Speeds are ONLY 56K. Costs me only air time; weekends, and weekdays between 2101 and 0559, are free. Oh .. and did I mention that I don't need a "service provider"? It is a 'dial in' to Verizon's access to the internet.
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Old 19-06-2007, 16:50   #9
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Thomas, a friend of mine has Verizon and they won't let him do dial-up to the internet unless he uses a data plan. What exactly are you doing, just using the cell phone for "unlimited nights and weekends" and dialing into a regular ISP?? And they don't block that?
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Old 19-06-2007, 17:16   #10
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It may be because of several things. I've had this service for about 4 years. It may not be offered anymore. One of my friends locally also tried recently to USE the plan that I'm on. The Verizon twits told him it doesn't exist.

As for WHAT I have ... I have my computer, my phone (has to be compatible with using the internet - ie. attached to computer using special cable), the cable, the software. Connect it all together and use the software to 'dial' up and I have access to the internet. I do NOT have an SP - none, zip, nil, don't pay no extra for anything. Since I paid for the damn cable and software, and remain under the same plan, they have to keep letting me access what ever the hell I'm accessing.
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Old 20-06-2007, 04:49   #11
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Rick I,

Here are the necessary parts to build an outdoor USB wifi adapter based on an EUB-362ext.

EUB-362ext
currently available at a better price at this Link

RP-SMA to N-Female pigtail

Watertight Cable Pass-Thru

5-12dbi omni Mesh antenna for mounting directly to N-female jack

15 FT USB A to Mini-B 5 Pin Cable
I've found that up to 15 feet of additional quality, passive USB cable can be used with the EUB-362.

Outdoor electrical junction box.
I used a 4 x 4 box made by Carlon and sold at Home Depot. A slightly larger box might be easier to deal with.
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I took the case off this EUB-362 because it did not have a removable antenna and I had to solder the antenna pigtail to the board. The antenna shown is an inexpensive 5.5 dbi outdoor antenna from Mini-box

I have use the vendors mentioned above for the purchase of various hardware. I have not dealt with the vendors listed below.

Marine kit based on EUB-362ext
Netgate
This kit allows you to mount the adapter inside and run coax to an antenna. I would discourage this setup because of the losses that occur in the coax. If you did use this kit I would have them provide LMR400 coax rather than the LMR200.

Complete system from Radiolabs
This is an attractive design. The downside of it is that it uses an earlier generation chipset and has lower receive sensitivity than the EUB-362 and I believe that the receive sensitivity is the most important factor when dealing with weak signals assuming the same antenna and coax run.

Bob Stewart
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Old 20-06-2007, 06:23   #12
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Thanks Bob,

Going to get onto this towards the fall. I have been getting by with using the laptop in the cockpit but have seen the improvement a good antenna makes. More and more we're using wifi and Skype rather than cell phones.
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Old 22-07-2007, 00:22   #13
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evdo

Evolutionized data optimization or EVDO for short.

In a word ....cellphone

you aquire a cellphone that doubles as a modem....achieving at least 1x and if the phone is evdo ,up to 480kbs

The upside is obvious the downside is cell coverage.

you can also aquire direct tv and utilize microsofts internet access package


or sat.
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Old 22-07-2007, 07:28   #14
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Kyocera EVDO router:

Kyocera KR1 Broadband EVDO Router with WiFi : EVDOinfo.com
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Old 05-01-2012, 15:36   #15
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Re: Access to Internet

Looking for an economical offshore interenet provider .We will being cruising to the Bahamas in May,2012. I want a decent WIFI system as well.Any recommendations? I have T-Mobile but only good in the States.
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