Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 25-09-2014, 20:23   #1
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Martinique
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 1,726
Internet while Cruising

Well, with our 1 year countdown started, we have begun some serious planning. The one luxury that we both (wife and I) marked as important is Internet. Now I'm not talking Internet underway (tons of threads on that), but more internet once you arrive at your destination (an island somewhere).

This is a subject that seems to have changed significantly over the last 5 years. Many blogs 5 years ago talk about WIFI and WIFI boosters to get access to the internet. More recently most blogs talk about cellular (3G or 4G) access being the new standard. Brian on SV Delos even stated that his WIFI Booster was a complete waste of money as he has never used it. With so many blogs listing cellular as their connection means, I'm convinced it will our primary means in the future.

So with that in mind we came up with some requirements.
1. Solution must work with most cellular carries in the world.
2. Solution must be 4G and 3G capable.
3. Should have much better range than a standard cell phone.
4. WIFI is nice but not necessary. USB connection is suitable for nav computer

So here is what I bought to meet those requirements.
Huawei E5776
Wilson Marine Antenna
Wilson N400 Low Loss Cable
Adapter for Cable

Unfortunately I don't have a boat to test it on yet! The system works great on my house though. I'm able to get data and text on a provider that had zero coverage at my house. I hope it works as well on the boat!

I thought I would share as I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one looking for something like this.
__________________

__________________
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-09-2014, 23:18   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Innisfail, North Queensland, Australia
Boat: Lagoon 380 #241
Posts: 298
Re: Internet while cruising

Here in Oz for best coverage, we also rely on 3G / 4G for our internet. Wifi access points are usually only found in hotels, RV parks & in some towns.

This is our setup:

DOVADO PRO MOBILE BROADBAND ROUTER - I chose the Pro as I also wanted multiple ethernet ports for additional devices. Note: the Dovado is 12 volt so is hard wired into boat power via fuse & switch. Dovado have other mobile broadband routers including the Tiny which gets great reviews in the geeky forums. You just plug your USB 3G / 4G modem into the router.

RFI CD2197 7.5dBi Marine Antenna which is good for both 3G & 4G. The antenna is rail mounted on the port rear rail. I didn't want to mount it up the mast.

3G / 4G USB modem of your choice on a plan or pre-paid. Modem has to have a socket to take the external antenna plug via a suitable patch lead.

This setup works a treat including up to 25 to 30 NM off the coast on the Great Barrier Reef in regions where the cell towers are not all that dense.


Dave
__________________

__________________
Seabreeze, Lagoon 380 #241
Innisfail, North Queensland, Australia ... Cruising the waters of the Great Barrier Reef
www.sea-breeze.com.au
gspeak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 00:11   #3
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Boat: Baltic 38DP
Posts: 333
Re: Internet while cruising

This certainly depends on your situation, and where you cruise. There are plenty of places without coverage (also, and more so, true for WiFi of course). But you also have to think about phone charges.

When data roaming here in Europe, relying on 3G/4G only is seriously expensive. Not as expensive as satellite links, but still. I would not want to do without my WiFi booster - when you can use it, it is great.

If you stay within your native country, then 3G/4G is a very good option.

Personally, I have WiFi, 3G/4G and miniVSAT on board, and I use whatever is the best option for the need I have and the place I am at. To be fair, I use the boat for keeping my business running, so that justifies the miniVSAT option which would be out of reach for most cruisers.


Onno
__________________
JazzyO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 03:33   #4
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Re: Internet while cruising

Quote:
When data roaming here in Europe, relying on 3G/4G only is seriously expensive. Not as expensive as satellite links, but still. I would not want to do without my WiFi booster - when you can use it, it is great.
The EU is expected to make all roaming charges illegal from December 2015.

dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 03:49   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 167
Re: Internet while cruising

If you are going to the eastern Carib think the dongles. Digicel and others have the islands pretty well covered. About $30 or $40 per month depending which island. Each island is a different deal so you end up with a lot of sim cards and dongles.
Bob
__________________
svadagio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 04:42   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Boat: Baltic 38DP
Posts: 333
Re: Internet while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
The EU is expected to make all roaming charges illegal from December 2015.

dave
That is great news, Dave, thanks! But expected is not equal to has confirmed. So let's hope that comes through.


Onno
__________________
JazzyO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 05:18   #7
Don't ask if you can't handle it
 
sailorboy1's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: On the boat somewhere
Boat: Hunter 410
Posts: 12,321
Re: Internet while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by travellerw View Post

Unfortunately I don't have a boat to test it on yet! .
cart before the horse
__________________
jobless, houseless, clueless, living on a boat and cruising around somewhere
sailorboy1 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 05:36   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
Kenomac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Somewhere in the Adriatic Sea
Boat: Oyster 53 Cutter
Posts: 8,515
Re: Internet while cruising

Just don't expect the internet to work nearly as good as at home or as good as you think it will. If you do... You'll be very disappointed.

The problem you'll encounter won't be range, it'll be junk signal or no reception at all in places you'd expect service.

Just remember, the cellular carriers focus on keeping their land based customers happy with coverage... They couldn't care less if some dude or dudette in a boat sitting out at some remote anchorage has service; that's not their market. Very few boats travel along major highways, roads and in downtown metropolitan areas where the service is good.
__________________
Kenomac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 07:49   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Eastern Caribbean
Boat: Cal 44
Posts: 152
Send a message via ICQ to barboak
Re: Internet while cruising

We have been using a system from Axxess Marine in St. Martin which has a SIM card router and marine antenna. They have a SIM card from Digicell which works mostly seamlessly going down island in the Eastern Caribbean. The speed depends on the local island speed but with the antenna we pick it up miles away. May not be for everyone but works for us!


Sent from my iPad using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
"There was nowhere to go but everywhere,
so just keep on rolling under the stars."
Jack Kerouac, On the Road
barboak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 08:43   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
Randyonr3's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2007
Boat: Beneteau FIRST 42
Posts: 1,836
Re: Internet while cruising

If indeed you do plan on cruising, there is one thing you'll have to adapt to, and that is CHANGE, nothing is constant, never the same, and most always, a pain in the ass to deal with.
We have found great phone signals in some places, and in some, none, WIFI is great in places and some not. And at times, had to use a PAY PHONE, in a booth , or internet in a Cafe..
When cruising, nothing is constant, not for long that is.......
__________________
Randyonr3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 09:15   #11
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Martinique
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 1,726
Re: Internet while cruising

Thanks for the responses. Based on the 2 responses using similar equipment, it looks like I'm on the right track. I pumped to hear that both are getting "miles" of range.

We definitely don't expect service like we have at home. Actually most of our planning is based on e-mails with cruisers that are "out there" right now in different location around the world. The gear we chose was to try and cover the most carries in the world. That Huawei device is a Penta band 4G and Quad band 3G that does both LTE and GPRS. We should only have to pop a SIM card in at different locations (yes I know there might be some setup).

The actual hardware is only part of our solution. We have also setup a VPS (virtual private server) that will act as a processing proxy and mail server. The processing proxy shrinks any web pages before passing them through to us. The mail server also processes the mail and sends us text only. I know there are services that provide this already (ocens, sailmail, ect), but I would rather control the service myself.

The final piece to the puzzle is an app called Vsee. Its a video chat app designed for ultra low bandwidth. Its up to 10 times more efficient than Skype. A 10 minute video chat only consumes about 11mb of data.

Anyway.. I appreciated the responses..
__________________
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 09:35   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Boat: Baltic 38DP
Posts: 333
Re: Internet while cruising

Thanks for the heads-up on Vsee, might check it out.


Onno
__________________
JazzyO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 11:30   #13
Senior Cruiser
 
Kenomac's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Somewhere in the Adriatic Sea
Boat: Oyster 53 Cutter
Posts: 8,515
Re: Internet while cruising

OP,

After reading your last post, I hate to be the one bringing you the bad news, but.... your expectations are way out of line with reality. We're cruising the Med surrounded by Old World countries with first rate internet service, and most of the time we're lucky just to have the ability to communicate via email over the cellular service purchased by GB. You mentioned chatting via Skype.... that's not going to happen unless you're on land or in a marina. If you heading out to third world countries.... you'll be lucky to ever have service.

If the internet is very important to you for business or otherwise.... you're going to be very disappointed. We've met several cruising couples who set out envisioning that they'd be able to conduct business in remote areas via the internet, only to see them quit in frustration within a year because no matter what they did, or which fancy antenna they added... nothing worked. For us when we're out there.... it's a good day when we can access the front page of a newspaper or send and receive email. Video is a pipe dream.
__________________
Kenomac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 11:48   #14
Registered User
 
travellerw's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Martinique
Boat: Fortuna Island Spirit 40
Posts: 1,726
Re: Internet while cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
OP,

After reading your last post, I hate to be the one bringing you the bad news, but.... your expectations are way out of line with reality. We're cruising the Med surrounded by Old World countries with first rate internet service, and most of the time we're lucky just to have the ability to communicate via email over the cellular service purchased by GB. You mentioned chatting via Skype.... that's not going to happen unless you're on land or in a marina. If you heading out to third world countries.... you'll be lucky to ever have service.

If the internet is very important to you for business or otherwise.... you're going to be very disappointed. We've met several cruising couples who set out envisioning that they'd be able to conduct business in remote areas via the internet, only to see them quit in frustration within a year because no matter what they did, or which fancy antenna they added... nothing worked. For us when we're out there.... it's a good day when we can access the front page of a newspaper or send and receive email. Video is a pipe dream.
I respect that you are "Out There" and this is your experience... but I will ask.. What kind of gear are you using? Do you have a high gain marine antenna (not a WIFI antenna, a cellular antenna)? Its much more complex then simply throwing up an Antenna. An understanding of wireless frequency communication is a must to do an install properly. Have you ever tried VSee over a 3G or 2G connection (it was designed for dial-up). Do you have a proxy service that reduces webpage bandwidth (ours averages a 10X reduction).

Like I said, I'm not talking out of my hat.. I have worked in IT for 18 years designing connections for low bandwidth applications and I have had conversations with cruisers all over the world. In fact I know 2 in cruisers in Asia (Malaysia and Philippines) that use 3G service for video chat on their boat. No it doesn't work everywhere and can be unreliable, but does work most of the time for them.

This is one the reasons that CF frustrates me... I was clear in my original post that I had done the research and spoke with active cruisers. I know what to expect and I very clearly understand it won't be like "Land Based" internet. I also understand that it won't be connected 100% of the time. Our goal is to have better than a standard cell phone (or usb dongle) coverage to get e-mail, light surfing and video chat (when the connection allows). I'm confident that the gear I spec'ed will meet that goal in the most amount of places possible.

I hope that these posts and the comments will help other cruisers looking for the same thing..
__________________
travellerw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26-09-2014, 12:04   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Winter Bahamas - Summer BC
Boat: Lagoon 450, Bavaria Vision 40
Posts: 615
Re: Internet while cruising

I purchased on a whim a low cost Wilson car booster with antenna at Future Shop / The Source last year.Wilson

Shoe string setup for now:
I hoist the antenna on the flag halyard attached with a string as far as the antenna cable will lt me running it through an open hatch. I position small inside antenna such that it radiates horizontally (not towards the outside antenna). I place my iPhone right in front of the inside antenna so that it keeps the signal low. With the hotspot turned on I have WIFI via cellular throughout the boat.

The iPhone will work with all GSM systems around the world. I always get a local SIM card. No need to deal with roaming charges.

Anchorages are often just outside of a usable cell signal. I have had very good success with this system in the Exumas.

I plan to get a better antenna and a more permanent setup high on the mast for this season.
__________________

__________________
roetter is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cruising, internet

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Connecting To the Internet while Sailing evagoblog General Sailing Forum 3 12-01-2012 14:49
Internet Access While Sailing thisismyurl General Sailing Forum 22 25-10-2010 23:43
Best Options for Internet / Email & Phone Communication While Sailing ? sundowner Marine Electronics 27 23-06-2010 11:03
Wireless Internet While Cruising jbosborn Marine Electronics 5 06-04-2010 09:16



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 15:19.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.