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Old 10-12-2018, 18:28   #1
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Best Cell, WiFi and TV Booster ???

We are thinking of the PDQ One source is it decent or should we use independent units and if so .. Who's is the hot set up we see many for Wifi but not much for cell 3G/4G.. or tv that claim what PDQ does....Thank you CaptAlie & CptBoot
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Old 11-12-2018, 10:21   #2
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Re: Best Cell, WiFi and TV Booster ???

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Originally Posted by captalie View Post
We are thinking of the PDQ One source is it decent or should we use independent units and if so .. Who's is the hot set up we see many for Wifi but not much for cell 3G/4G.. or tv that claim what PDQ does....Thank you CaptAlie & CptBoot
The PDQ kit is interesting...
Basically it is a cellular booster kit with a splitter to allow a WiFi extender and a TV to share the same antenna. I would argue that you would have much better signal going with separate antennas.

The PDQ antenna is 2-4db gain depending on the frequency. When you add the splitter and the extra cable you have probably several DB of loss in the cabling between the WiFi Extender unit and the antenna. So you are getting effectively zero gain from the WiFi antenna. Compared with a typical WiFi Extender that has an 8-9db antenna directly attached. That they can claim 20 miles for WiFi is ridiculous.. The best WiFi Extenders on the market claim 7nm and even that is a stretch.

The rest of the system is a standard Cellular booster from SureCall, but adding the splitter creates some loss in the external antenna connection, and the antenna is not particularly high gain (though it's fairly average in the cellular booster antenna space). The Idea of the splitter is that is amplifies the signal between your phone/tablet/jetpack/etc and the cellular towers outside the boat. The SureCall booster will improve signal for North America and parts of Central/South America/Caribbean. If you are elsewhere then it will not help you, and a different booster or solution is necessary. The booster model in that particular kit is one of the least expensive units SureCall provides. (I resell SureCall and in general I like them, I am just trying to provide some context).

---

As far as what to do..

First start with your Cruising Area. If you are North America/Central America, and that's about it, you have more options than if you are more global. Second, for Cellular, do you want a router with it's own SIM card that you can use rather than using your phone as a hotspot? Or do you just want to boost the signal for your phone. This question depends alot on what devices you have on your boat that may want to access the Internet. TV with Netflix, etc? New MFDs with weather overlay download GRIB files over WiFi (which could be connected to cellular).

For USA only, there are domes from Shakespeare and Glomex that provide WiFi and Cellular routers (you put a SIM card right in the dome for cellular) and it's a simple install. Shakespeare even has a version that has an HDTV antenna built-in. So it does all 3, less expensive than the PDQ kit, and simple to install.

A decent cellular booster kit (with antennas, cables, and amplifier for a boat application) will run you about $750 USD. WiFi boosters on their own run anywhere from about $200 to $800 depending on brand, features, and your ability to DIY vs looking for a simple, ready made, easy to use solution.

HDTV antennas are pretty cheap. Under $100.

The Shakespeare WebWatch is currently the cheapest kit that would provide cellular/wifi/hdtv in one unit, but again it's really a USA-ish only system.

If you want something that's global. The next full solution is going to be Redport Optimizer LTE + Halo combo, about $1100. This is a full onboard router/firewall with Global cellular (uses any SIM Card) and a WiFi Extender. The WiFi Extender goes outside and an external cellular antenna is also installed outside, but the router lives inside the boat. An HDTV antenna would have to be added separately but again those are pretty inexpensive.

For a super easy to use solution that also supports dual-band WiFi, Wave WiFi has an LTE Cellular router that you can combine with their Rogue Pro DB or Rogue Reach DB WiFi Extender. That will be a bit over $2K all-in.

After that, it's gets more expensive.

I hope that gets you started, let me know if you have some ideas of what you need and maybe we can narrow it down for you.
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