The world of wireless Internet
connections changes year by year, so what was valid one year may already be partially obsolete the next year.
I am using ever more data -- whatever I always did online seems to require more and more bandwidth, and I like to stream BBC and NPR radio
, news programs, music
on YouTube, and more and more of everything. However much data there is, it never seems to be quite enough.
A real breakthrough for this has been DNA's new PAYG data plan in Finland
-- it is TRULY unlimited with apparently no fair use limitations, no throttling. It costs 0.85 euro cents a day (!!!). It works at 4G speeds giving at least 10 -- 15 mbs with practically seamless coverage along the entire Finnish coast. This is simply unbelievable. Let's hope that it's a harbinger of things to come in other countries. I'd sure like to have it in the UK.
The improvement in marina WIFI continues, with more and more ports
having more or less decent wifi connections.
What concerns hardware
-- I have not really used my B593 router this year much. I bought a NetGear 785S mifi device which is so good and so handy, that the router hasn't gotten much use. The 785S is pocket sized and has a far easier to use user interface. It is 4G and seems to connect at higher speeds than the B593 (new protocols?). It has a really informative display which shows how many devices are connected, how much data has been used. It has a better built-in antenna
than the B593, and the external antenna I bought is far handier than the one for the B593. When you leave the boat you can just unplug it and put it in your pocket, and you carry your connection with you. I have really liked it. It is not a router, however, so doesn't replace all the functions of the B593 (like distributing the connection from the Groove).
I also bought a better external wifi device for my laptop
- a TP-Link AC1200. I bought it because I spend a lot of time in random hotels in random countries on business with poorly distributed wifi. I had been using an el-cheapo wifi dongle which was already a big improvement on the built-in wifi in my laptop
. But this thing is a great leap forward. It can connect at 5ghz with all the protocols including AC, and suddenly you can get a clear channel and decent speed, where before the connection was almost unusable because of all the interference
on 2.4ghz. I love this thing and take it everywhere with me. I've hardly used the Groove because the AC1200 works so well.
So in sum -- rapid technical progress is going on in these fields, and the newer devices are significantly improved compared even to what was being sold last year.
The truly unlimited mobile phone data plan in Finland
is the biggest breakthrough. Sharing a metered data connection is really hard because it is hard to configure devices so they don't eat up your whole data allocation. This problem disappears when the connection is no longer metered. I really hope that this becomes more widespread.