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Old 30-03-2014, 14:36   #1306
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Mikrotik wifi extender

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Old 30-03-2014, 18:49   #1307
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
Heck, even in the US, if you buy an AT&T 4G-LTE phone, it won't support 4G-LTE on T-Mobile. But if you buy "the same" phone directly from Apple or Google, it has support for both carriers. Different model numbers. The average consumer/buyer would never know.
This is simply the lock-in that carriers do. If you unlocked one of their phones, they would be exactly like the one you buy from Apple or Google and work multinational as well.

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Old 31-03-2014, 07:21   #1308
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by mlahrkamp View Post
3G/4G is not necessarily better (or worse) than Wi-Fi... they are just different methods for getting on the internet. Different locations will have different preferences. Cell data plans may come bundled with a phone plan and may make sense in a home region but data charges can cause you to raise your eyebrows when roaming. Wi-Fi may not be as readily available as cell in some areas (i.e. Great Lakes) and may be more available and lower cost in others (i.e. Bahamas).
The really big advantage of mobile telephone Internet is that the coverage is almost seamless near land masses in most developed countries and in very many undeveloped countries. The mobile telephone networks are designed to cover everything or nearly everything, so that you can move around and talk on your telephone. So you can get a connection in port, at sea (if you're near a coast), in an anchorage, often without losing the connection in between.

Wifi access points, on the other hand, are just that -- points. Instead of a web of mobile phone towers, you have a single access point. Coverage of one wifi access point is usually measured in meters; compared to kilometers for mobile phone towers. You will rarely find a Wifi connection in an anchorage (and even when you find one, you generally won't beable to use it unless you are willing to hack someone's home connection, or have no scruples against using an open restaurant or coffeeshop connection), and you'll never get one at sea. It is otherwise with mobile phone connections.

It used to be that mobile phone data was extremely slow, and Wifi was the only way to get broadband connections on board, but those days are long gone. Nowadays, you are likely to get a reasonably good connection -- at least 500kbs and often much more -- on just about any mobile phone network, and with very consistent quality. Wifi connections designed for a large number of users -- like marina Wifi -- are usually much, much worse.

So although I use both mobile phone data and Wifi, mobile phone connections provide about 97% of all the data I use on board.

Wifi is of course useful if you are in a different country and haven't had time to get a local SIM card, or don't want to bother because you won't be there long enough. But in my experience there are hardly any countries where it does not make sense to get a local SIM card and use the local phone networks for Internet.

So I have to agree that mobile telephone data is vastly more useful than Wifi, subject to some fairly rare exceptions.
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Old 31-03-2014, 07:44   #1309
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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So I have to agree that mobile telephone data is vastly more useful than Wifi, subject to some fairly rare exceptions.
Absolutely, in my view cruisers should invest in improving mobile telephone data then Wifi, I can't between to count the crappy marina wifi system I've encountered.

I now find that even in under developed countries, often they have "leap-frogged" land line system and established good GSM coverage instead. I found this to the case in Turkey several years ago and now in many carribean countries too.

Long distance wifi is a waste of money in my opinion.


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Old 17-11-2014, 18:24   #1310
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I now find that even in under developed countries, often they have "leap-frogged" land line system and established good GSM coverage instead. I found this to the case in Turkey several years ago and now in many carribean countries too.

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Can you point me to a CF thread on cell phone range/antenna boosters? Is there such an animal? Thanks!

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Old 17-11-2014, 18:33   #1311
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

I have been thinking about looking in to that recently. I have seen Cell Phone Signal Boosters at Future Shop but have not tried or researched their applicability to marine use.

Cell Phone Signal Boosters : Cell Phone Accessories - Future Shop

If you find something please post it back to the thread.

Cheers!
Brent
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Old 18-11-2014, 02:27   #1312
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Absolutely, in my view cruisers should invest in improving mobile telephone data then Wifi, I can't between to count the crappy marina wifi system I've encountered.

I now find that even in under developed countries, often they have "leap-frogged" land line system and established good GSM coverage instead. I found this to the case in Turkey several years ago and now in many carribean countries too.

Long distance wifi is a waste of money in my opinion.


dave
There is no doubting the convenience of mobile phone based Internet connectivity but even in developed countries the bandwidth available is easily and regularly surpassed by WiFi connectivity.
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Old 18-11-2014, 04:27   #1313
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Here in Eastern Caribbean cellular/mobile facilities are practically seamless along the island chain. However, the data rate when using a smartphone as a wifi hotspot in our sailboat is painfully slow compared to our wifi connection to shoreside facilities. We use a Bullet wifi antenna with an ethernet conection to a wireless router inside the boat to serve our Kindles, smartphones and computers. We get 24-56Mbs connections over a distance up to three miles.
Some service providers for mobile telephones have locked out certain products such as iphones and ipads as wifi hotsots.
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Old 18-11-2014, 05:57   #1314
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
Can you point me to a CF thread on cell phone range/antenna boosters? Is there such an animal? Thanks!

John
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Old 18-11-2014, 06:12   #1315
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by richardhula View Post
There is no doubting the convenience of mobile phone based Internet connectivity but even in developed countries the bandwidth available is easily and regularly surpassed by WiFi connectivity.
Not my experience at all. I'm sitting here typing this on my boat using an LTE connection which is giving me 14mbs down and 4mbs up, a speed which until recently even big offices didn't have. And a lot of offices to this day still use a T1 line, which is only 2mbs up and down. Marina Wifi divides up a DSL or cable connection into up to dozens of individual connections, and throttles them to keep the system from crashing. You rarely see more than a few hundred kbs on them, and very often they just don't work at all, or hardly work.

The only exception is when the marina contracts with a big telecomms provider like BT Internet instead of doing it with their own equipment or using a rinky-dink specialized provider like Spectrum who just do the same thing (divide up a normal connection into dozens). But I've only seen a system like BT Internet once in the UK out of dozens of marinas, and even that was throttled to less than 1 mbs.

In France, there is a single commercial provider which serves many of the Ports d' Plaisance called Netabord. The service is technically better than just about any marina wifi I've ever used anywhere. You pay 10 euros for 6 gigabytes of traffic which can be used over several months at any of the several marinas where it is in place. This is a great deal. They system is well designed so that it doesn't choke up like almost all marina wifi does, but it does this by hard throttling, so the bandwidth is modest -- maybe 250kbs.

The other chronic problem with marina Wifi is that a router crashes and there is no one to reset it. So the service is out for a day or two until the contracted IT guy comes around to reboot it. This happens all the time. It never happens with mobile broadband, because that system is maintained by a huge team of professionals on call 24/7.

So in short -- you get probably an order of magnitude more bandwidth with mobile broadband, not necessarily LTE, but even HSPA+, which by now is everywhere in Europe, than even the best marina wifi systems. At least several mbs, compared to a few hundred kbs in the best cases.

That might change as marinas get better connections themselves and technical solutions for sharing bandwidth get better, but today mobile broadband is far better.
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Old 18-11-2014, 06:47   #1316
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by richardhula View Post
There is no doubting the convenience of mobile phone based Internet connectivity but even in developed countries the bandwidth available is easily and regularly surpassed by WiFi connectivity.
Recent experiences in Colombia, Panama, Honduras and Guatemala are opposite of this statement. Cellular connections there are far faster and more robust than the available wifi, and able to handle more connections simultaneously.

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Old 18-11-2014, 06:53   #1317
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

So far, in our travels we've accumulated three mobile hotspots. Verizon, BTC, and the local here in the Turks and Caico, IslandCom. WiFi has been spotty, and slow, and limited in the places we've tried to use it. We'll probably add an AT&T when it becomes annoying enough trying to work thru Verizon. We were close on the ICW, but managed to muddle thru.
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Old 18-11-2014, 06:56   #1318
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Originally Posted by silverheels3 View Post
Here in Eastern Caribbean cellular/mobile facilities are practically seamless along the island chain. However, the data rate when using a smartphone as a wifi hotspot in our sailboat is painfully slow compared to our wifi connection to shoreside facilities. We use a Bullet wifi antenna with an ethernet conection to a wireless router inside the boat to serve our Kindles, smartphones and computers. We get 24-56Mbs connections over a distance up to three miles.
Some service providers for mobile telephones have locked out certain products such as iphones and ipads as wifi hotsots.
There could be a couple of issues here. Assuming 3G cell services are available there (I think they are), your phone may not work on the correct protocol or frequencies (I believe you need WCDMA at 850/1900MHz).

Also, many phones/tablets simply lock onto the strongest signal - which is often a 2G signal in the Caribbean. So you might connect to 3G, but very quickly the phone/tablet drops to 2G (EDGE or GSM).

If phones/tablets are being locked out as wifi hotspots, that is a different issue.

Are you sure one of the above was not occurring for you?

Unless the Wifi capabilities have been immensely built out and improved since we were last in the EC in late 2010, it is difficult to believe that the cellular data rate is lower than the wifi rate. We have the same wifi setup as you, so that wasn't it.

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Old 18-11-2014, 07:03   #1319
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

Quote:
Originally Posted by silverheels3 View Post
Here in Eastern Caribbean cellular/mobile facilities are practically seamless along the island chain. However, the data rate when using a smartphone as a wifi hotspot in our sailboat is painfully slow compared to our wifi connection to shoreside facilities. We use a Bullet wifi antenna with an ethernet conection to a wireless router inside the boat to serve our Kindles, smartphones and computers. We get 24-56Mbs connections over a distance up to three miles.
Some service providers for mobile telephones have locked out certain products such as iphones and ipads as wifi hotsots.
Totally agree. I spent seven years in the Caribbean, also using a Bullet. I imagine phone providers have improved the situation a little but it's interesting to know by not much.
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Old 18-11-2014, 07:15   #1320
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Re: Long-Distance WiFi Device

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Totally agree. I spent seven years in the Caribbean, also using a Bullet. I imagine phone providers have improved the situation a little but it's interesting to know by not much.
It could be a lot. Some of the same cell providers in the EC also operate in the WC, and in the WC they have completely rebuilt all of their infrastructure to 3G/4G. The EC is a larger market, so I suspect they have done similar there.

Edit: I just looked up Digicel Grenada. They have all new 4G infrastructure running on WCDMA 1900MHz. I didn't check any other islands/providers, but suspect it is similar.

It is possible that anyone having slow cell data there has equipment that is not capable of that protocol or frequency.

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