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Old 21-07-2014, 12:08   #1
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Crappy wifi Solutions?

Hello guys,
I am at a marina now that has a garbage internet connection. I can't connect my laptop at all and my sons connection is very spotty. I tried a range extender but that didn't work. Anyone know of a good solution for this problem, I know that I will be dealing with this often at various marinas? I was even considering having an electronics guy install an antenna on my boat or something but not sure who to call and don't want to get screwed. Any ideas?
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:14   #2
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

The best solution we have found is using smart phones, ipads and buying internet service by the gigabite. It stinks but we and others have tried just about everything.
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:19   #3
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Aw, that stinks.
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:19   #4
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Which "range extender" have you tried and is it working properly? are there unlocked wifi's nearby to access. If not then a dongle and a monthly contract is the surest way to have internet access.

I am using the little Alfa unit at the moment but the hotel free wifi is only 200 yards away, howver, the lap top won't pick it up on its own, whilst the Alfa gives me a good enough fast signal to watch you tube.

Amazon.co.uk: Alfa AWUS036H 1000mW 1W 802.11b/g USB Wireless WiFi network Adapter with 5dBi Antenna and Suction cup Window Mount dock - for Wardriving & Range Extension: Explore similar items
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:23   #5
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

There is supposedly a 4g antenna coming out in January which will allow purchasing cellular based internet at much cheaper rates.
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:33   #6
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

I have been dealing with this for several years. Had a wifi booster with a 8ft antenna. The best solution I have found is paying to use my cell phone as a hot spot. Works everywhere I have phone service.
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:37   #7
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Range extenders made sense when there were many unlocked routers but those days have passed. The marinas, with few exceptions, have always been slow and expensive. They've never been fast enough to play video (since the marina internet service is shared across all the boats in the marina).

At least on the US East Coast, widespread LTE changed everything because it's often faster than a good home connection. With LTE we just budget $100 a month for 10GB. Either get a shared plan that shares the GBs over everyone's devices or use a hotspot.

I use Verizon because it seems to have the best LTE on the East Coast but others may have caught up this year.

If you watch a lot of video (I do during baseball season), the 10GB won't be enough. A televised game uses about 3GB - but that's only $15 of LTE, far less than a Red Sox ticket.

Note also that very few cellular amplifiers support the LTE frequencies. They just work on voice and 3G frequencies.
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Old 21-07-2014, 12:47   #8
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Even this cheap $500/mo cruiser uses a wifi hotspot. I've no smart phone, but use a Tmobile mifi 4g hotspot. Allows up to 5 devices connected. ATT probably has better coverage on the east coast. I use Tmobile as the cost per Gig is a bit cheaper. Currently paying $30/month for 5 gig's. With 5 Kids you may need 8-10 gig's

Most cell companies are charging about $10/Gig.

I also have a alfa wifi extender, which works well where there is open and fast wifi.

BTW I use the prepaid month to month plans, as the cost is inclusive of fees/taxes.
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:30   #9
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

I actually purchased a hotspot from sprint before we left home to test it out. My kids maxed it out within 4 days, so I returned it. I really wish someone had a unlimited plan or a monthly yacht plan. I had an unlimited aircard many moons ago. Wish I still had it .
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:36   #10
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

I'd suggest checking out T-Mobile (company store, not just authorized reseller) or Straight Talk (at Walmart) for their unlimited plans. Either for a phone, which you can tether, or a tablet/computer, which can also be tethered and shared.

T-Mob also has a free seven day trial offer going on right now, one week's use of an iPhone with unlimited everything, no charge if you return it before the week is up.

I'm not even mentioning WiFi because free WiFi is a security risk for most people and in the US, the cellular connection is liable to be faster and more reliable as well as more widespread.

WiFi...there are plenty of articles. You buy a gain antenna, one of the Ubiquiti Bullet or similar products, and that's as good as it gets. And you're still at the mercy of unsecured local wifi. (Which I'd still call a good investment if for no other reason than to have that option.)
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:42   #11
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Ok guys I just ordered the Rogue Wave after talking to a rep at the company. I'll report back as to how it works when I receive it. Thanks for the help.
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:43   #12
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyGirl View Post
I actually purchased a hotspot from sprint before we left home to test it out. My kids maxed it out within 4 days, so I returned it. I really wish someone had a unlimited plan or a monthly yacht plan. I had an unlimited aircard many moons ago. Wish I still had it .
Tmobile is sort of unlimited in that after you reach your max gig's used, they throttle it back to delightful 2G speed (VERRRRY SLOOOW, No video then). Video really burns through the Gig's quickly. But no one, in the US anyway, currently has unlimited.

2G speeds, will at least let you check email, text and annoy guys on CF, etc.

I have my netbook and tablet blocking auto starting video's, so that saves gigs right there. I also disable all auto updates as that's a killer too.
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:51   #13
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

You get what you pay for.

The days of finding a passing open wifi are largely gone.
Cell based internet is getting cheaper but overage is a concern.

We use marina wifi when available and working and the cell card when it isn't.

Of course, you could set limits on the kids. We share 6Gig between the 2 of us and rarely push up against the limits.
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Old 21-07-2014, 13:55   #14
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
Even this cheap $500/mo cruiser uses a wifi hotspot. I've no smart phone, but use a Tmobile mifi 4g hotspot. Allows up to 5 devices connected. ATT probably has better coverage on the east coast. I use Tmobile as the cost per Gig is a bit cheaper. Currently paying $30/month for 5 gig's. With 5 Kids you may need 8-10 gig's

Most cell companies are charging about $10/Gig.

I also have a alfa wifi extender, which works well where there is open and fast wifi.

BTW I use the prepaid month to month plans, as the cost is inclusive of fees/taxes.
This is the correct solution.

Galaxygirl, marina wifi is the very definition of carp. Just forget about getting a decent connection. It has nothing to do with your equipment -- it just inherently sucks.

If you are planning to spend an extended period of time there, I would try to agree with the marina that they will allow you to install your own cable modem or DSL in their office, with a router in their office which you can access from your boat. They will probably (90%) refuse, but it's worth a try. That would be the ideal Internet solution in a marina.

If they refuse, you could try the same thing with people living nearby.

Failing all of that, sign up for data service with one of the mobile phone providers. Get a MiFi device from the provider, and you're good to go. The U.S. doesn't have 4G yet (3.5G or HSPSA is sold as "4G" in the US; the "real thing" is LTE), but you don't care. Because HSPSA is really good, as good as anything any of us had in our houses or offices just a few years ago. And it's not too expensive.

And even better -- it will work in the next port, too.
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Old 21-07-2014, 14:49   #15
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Re: Crappy wifi solutions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaxyGirl View Post
Ok guys I just ordered the Rogue Wave after talking to a rep at the company. I'll report back as to how it works when I receive it. Thanks for the help.
GG, I think you are in my basic area, Boston. Well, I am actually south of Boston for the summer in Hingham and then in Constitution in East Boston for the winter.

All of the research I have done and everyone I have talked to have all come to the same conclusion: marina wifi just doesn't work anymore. Most of the marinas installed their equipment several years ago and don't have plans to update. They are general using the equivalent of a cable internet connection like Verizon or Comcast. When you put all of the possible marina traffic through it you just can't get anything done.

As others have said, cellular data is the best solution. Expensive but it seems to be better than any other option. I am currently looking into a company called Ting. They seem to be straight forward in their pricing and looks OK. For about 12 GB of data it would be about $214 a month. That's about the same as Verizon for the same. The big difference is the additional data. Verizon is $0.0075-1.99 per additional MB depending on how you buy it while Ting is $0.015 per MB. It's a tough thing to figure out because if you just buy a large data plan from Verizon you can pay a little as $0.0075 per MB but that means buying a 20GB plan for $150 plus the $40 per phone and $10 per tablet fee. But if you don't up your data and go over they charge you $15 per GB or you can up your plan by in 2GB increments for $10. So if its the last day before you're billing month is up and you are about to go over you can pay $10 for 2GB of which you will only use 0.5GB most likely or you can pay $15 for the 0.5GB you went over. With Verizon, if you only use 10GB that month you still pay for the 20GB. With the Ting option they bill you based on usage. So it's tough to figure out the best option.

I am trying to look at it this way, when I was dirt based we still had the two phones and iPad for about $150 a month plus we hand Verizon FiOS internet and cable for about $90 a month. So as long as we are spending less than $240 per month we are ahead of the game. With Verizon we could get 20 GB of data a month for $240. Even when we streamed all of season 4 of Game of Thrones in one month we didn't go over 20GB.

Other than that we go to places with free wifi. I like Panera. Decent coffee with free refills and free wifi.
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