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Old 14-09-2008, 16:56   #16
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I had wanted to have the full coverage also. When I looked into it, it was as I expected and has been mentioned here - far too expensive for mere man to afford.
I decided that wifi at the marinas would do until I broke down and subscribed to Verizon for internet ( I would never consider AT&T after the problem that we have had with the last thirty units of theirs, but that is a personal opinion).
I bought a cheap (well, about $50) Alfa wifi adapter that claimed 500mw output. I was pleasantly surprised when I had full scale reception at about 1 mile with it. That was with the antenna down below in the cabin.
The little unit will take an external antenna with a TNC connector (not to be confused with a Terminal Node Controller). I suspect that if I used a good quality, low loss coax with a reasonably short run, I would be able to get wifi from a fair distance (maybe two or three miles?). Who knows.
With that, and being reasonable, We can still make a decent living via the internet with my current work.


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Old 15-09-2008, 09:15   #17
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I just wanted to correct a couple quick things.

Iridium satellite is probably your best option from what I've found. Maybe SSB but I dont know a whole lot about that.

Globalstar has seen widespread failure of their satellites and is essentially no longer useful for meaningful communication.

Iridium is 1.50$ per minute (not 6$) and gives you roughly 1 kilobyte per second speeds. This is roughly 1/4 of dialup speeds. The handsets can also be had for a somewhat reasonable price.

Iridium is also handy because it provides actual global coverage (including the poles).

The others like inmarsat are VERY tough to use properly on a boat since they point at a geosync satellite (like your sat tv). Also like your satellite TV this means they must be pointed VERY precisely or it will not work. Supposedly you can get auto-pointing stabilizing rigs for the dishes, but I've heard very mixed things about them working on boats and the rigs are VERY expensive. The upside to these is a MUCH larger bandwidth.

If you want Wifi to shore, your best bet is probably a Yagi type antenna as its beam is not so narrow that gentle rocking will knock you out of the LOS to the transmitter. My favorite way has always been having a small repeater when I go camping. That way my laptop is not tied to a big honking antenna. I simply repeat the faint signal to be much stronger in my local area then walk around as I please.

To accomplish this, I know most cruisers usually like bottom dollar for their stuff, but a company called Deliberant makes some amazing weather-sealed outdoor equipment.

Deliberant AP Solo

There is an outdoor access point which I have personally deployed in some very forbidding conditions without a single weather related failure yet. It has a N type connector to connect any type of wifi antenna, has mounting points to mount it wherever you want, and again will outlast your boat on the water.

Disclaimer: I have no interest in the financial well-being of these companies other than that I have used them and found them to be reliable.

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