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Old 18-10-2019, 08:25   #16
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

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For Wifi, we have been very pleased with the ALFA USB powered external WiFi modems and routers.

The Alfa is a good bit of kit. I have one also. It is often the difference between sitting in the sun with a weather eye on a laptop battery and sitting over in the shade next to a power outlet. The radio and antenna of the Alfa is better than that in most laptops, although the margin is declining. It just doesn't compete with products like the Ubiquiti Bullet, Red Port Halo, and Microtik Groove, etc.



I have an Alfa in my laptop bag. I have a Bullet and a Halo on my boat.
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Old 18-10-2019, 14:06   #17
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

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Sure. This is easy.


For cellular most people do okay with their base devices. You can about double range by using a booster. I like the WeBoost 4G-X. It's really a broadband transverter.


For WiFi your best bet is a Ubiquiti Bullet, an Air802 antenna, and a Linksys WRT-54GL router for inside the boat.



I'm happy to describe why I like those products and what else I have looked at, used, sold, and supported. You didn't ask for those things.


You'll have a tough time meeting budget with my recommendations but you'll be close if you can follow directions and DIY the install.
Hi, new guy here. I ordered the WeBoost cell range extender you recommended from Amazon. I received the booster, and a Wilson marine antenna #304420 including 20 ft of RG58U coax cable.
You said ďdonít use their antenna ď were you talking about the magnetic little rubber ducky or the Wilson? I do have the recommended Shakespeare antenna on that way. BTW I spend my summers across from you on Eastern Shore. Thanks for your help.
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Old 18-10-2019, 15:30   #18
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

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For cellular most people do okay with their base devices. You can about double range by using a booster. I like the WeBoost 4G-X. It's really a broadband transverter.
Hi, new guy here. I ordered the WeBoost cell range extender you recommended from Amazon. I received the booster, and a Wilson marine antenna #304420 including 20 ft of RG58U coax cable.
You said ďdonít use their antenna ď were you talking about the magnetic little rubber ducky or the Wilson? I do have the recommended Shakespeare antenna on that way. BTW I spend my summers across from you on Eastern Shore. Thanks for your help.

Send back the Wilson antenna and the RG58 coax. The inside antenna is fine. You got the 4G-X, correct, not the 4G?


For the outside part you want a Shakespeare 5239 antenna and good coax - LMR400 or RG214. You'll need a male N connector at the antenna end and an SMA connector at the 4G-X end. The latter is going to mean a short pigtail (a few inches) from the big coax to the SMA.



If you have trouble sail over to Annapolis in the summer or drop me an email dave@auspiciousworks.com .



By the way, after a bunch of pressure from me WeBoost now offers their own version of the Shakespeare 5239. Costs a lot more, but at least they have signed up. The tech support guys agree with me about the RG58 not being adequate. Shhh. Don't get them in trouble. *grin*
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Old 18-10-2019, 17:52   #19
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Yes, I got the Drive 4G-X and I plan to buy the coax from your guys. Thanks
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Old 18-10-2019, 19:57   #20
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

There have been sporadic outages in the Caribbean as various providers are nice/not nice. We use T Mobile after finding problems everywhere else, but we havenít shopped in a few years, so maybe there are other options now. They have a Caribbean plan that sounds great with unlimited messaging and data but we found they really meant you could be in the Caribbean sometimes but it was still a US plan which means you also have to use it in the US - including the US VI and Puerto Rico - at least 50% of the year. They have good connectivity in the windwards and Leewards but be aware of the fine print. We did find that if we are going to be on one island for an extended time - 4 weeks or more - that it pays to get a local number and not use our TMobile - it looks like we are back in the USA and dealing with locals is easier.

Full time Caribbean cruisers need to be resourceful. If you really need high speed connection, it can be a challenge and it may vary by island and country. You will eventually learn where you can go ashore to get pretty good WIFI. Some boaters use a WIFI extender to pick up a friendly shore provider such as a bar or restaurant you frequent. Many of these folks spend significant time ashore sunfish such a WIFI. We are adding a Redport Halo WiFi Extender this season. There are some harbors such as le Marin in Martinique where there is a subscription service broadcast from two shore locations using a shore booster aimed over a few miles of anchorage. (Captain WIFI). Many locations have little or no help so you are limited to your phone and itís capabilities VIA cell tower. If you get remote, there is nothing.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:49   #21
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Check out Google Fi. "Worldwide" coverage. "Free" data.

Seriously great service for voice, text and data at very reasonable rates, Used throughout the Eastern Caribbean on board for voice and hotspot with zero difficulty. Used all over Europe on land with zero difficulty.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:53   #22
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Google Fi requires regular use in the US. It's intended for travelers, not nomads.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:16   #23
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Redport Halo for catching WiFi signals from further away. This works so well.
Cellular with something like a Huawei model B315s-22. Is tripped the cable and made a cigarette lighter on the end to plug this in since it came with a 110 cable that just converted it to 12 volt anyways. It has antennas on the back of it, and it seems to deliver faster cellular data, from further away.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:25   #24
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Thanks for all the great info.

Iím sailing in Croatia, Greece, and the Med next year and need cell / WiFi access for 2-4 hours per day for work. Would really appreciate any suggestions of what works over there.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:27   #25
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

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Google Fi requires regular use in the US. It's intended for travelers, not nomads.
Heard that. Not experienced any problem over 6 months with no domestic use. Know of others using it for longer with no problems. YMMV
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:46   #26
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Been using Google Fi for about 6 weeks now. We are in La Rochelle France. Had Son send us a Google Fi SIM card. Activated it here over marina WiFi. No problems so far. 4G and use it as hotspot/tether.
$20 per month base price, $10 rebate when you activate. 1GB is $10 up to 6GB then free GBís up to 15GB. Unlimited texts. 20c per min voice calls back to US. They also have unlimited plan for $70 per month.
Worked great for us so far.
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Old 01-11-2019, 15:06   #27
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

I'm an internet service provider.

A cellular repeater with a mast-top antenna will give you great coverage for your portable 4G devices. These have limitations and they should be be professionally installed, but done right you will amazed at their performance. Again, do not try and set one of these units up yourself - at best it'll be poor performing, and at worst it'll spit a lot of nasty RF out and you will almost certinaly get an "official" visit! You have been warned!

Any of the modern Ubiquiti radios are a real swiss army knife of wireless internet. The NanoStation M2 is probably the most powerful and convenient due to their very wide and powerful panel antennas.

Don't buy any ten year old junk like a bullet or a linksys router. I have boxes of this crap that I won't put in service or sell. It's rubbish! Don't use it.
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Old 02-11-2019, 04:17   #28
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

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Heard that. Not experienced any problem over 6 months with no domestic use. Know of others using it for longer with no problems. YMMV
Been using Google Fi 3.5 years mostly off shore (Mediterranean to AU/NZ). Works pretty well where they have service. It is nice to get the message that "We've got you covered" 20-40 miles offshore when arriving at a new island because there's always something that needs attention. It only really works at half that distance, but you know it is coming.

Where the US base comes in is for support. Only meant for US residents. You can't place an order for anything (extra sim, new phone, etc.) from a non-US IP address. I could never find a proxy to get around it. They'll tell you to have a friend do it. The friend can't log in even if you give them your password because the device/location is new. Authentication requires SMS or email codes which are hard for you to receive or give to your friend if you don't have service, to say nothing of having to do it at the same time they're placing the order many time zones away.

Electronic sims work for some phones but you have to have a wifi connection to activate them. Support is out of India and they can't talk to US Google. I've had two phones stolen and for the above reasons offshore support is miserable. Of course Google wants you to use their phones, purchased from them. I bought a Pixel 2 Google phone used in NZ and support wouldn't support it because it wasn't purchased through Google.

So it is meant for travelers, not nomads, but if you need to replace it overseas it is very difficult to do. I usually end up getting a local sim/phone number as local calls on Fi are usually $0.20/minute and add up plus locals don't want to call back to a US number.

I finally bought a dual sim phone with primary on the local sim and the Fi Sim doesn't work very well unless I turn the local completely off, reboot, and reset the network(s).

Not really their fault, but the previous owner of my phone number has a couple of collection agencies pestering me a couple of times a month and I, finally, talked to a agent who seems to have stopped it about a month ago. Being accosted on remote pacific islands usually in the middle of the night has not been fun.

Hence, the caveat of being for travelers, not nomads or cruisers is valid.
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Old 02-11-2019, 07:22   #29
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Very informative post! Wish I'd seen this before we outfitted our cat.

She had an existing disconnected Rogue Wave that I passed on setting up. My understanding/misunderstanding was that free wifi is basically a thing of the past and if you're using a marina/other service, you're nearby anyway. Your opinion?

We ended up buying a Mofi Cell repeater/wifi booster. It does both 'reasonably' well. We'll need a more robust connectivity solution in about a year, so will be re-evaluating products in about a year for what will hopefully not break the bank!!!

Cheers!
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Old 02-11-2019, 08:27   #30
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Re: Please Help: Internet / Cellular / Data / Wifi

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdj View Post
I'm an internet service provider.

A cellular repeater with a mast-top antenna will give you great coverage for your portable 4G devices. These have limitations and they should be be professionally installed, but done right you will amazed at their performance. Again, do not try and set one of these units up yourself - at best it'll be poor performing, and at worst it'll spit a lot of nasty RF out and you will almost certinaly get an "official" visit! You have been warned!

Any of the modern Ubiquiti radios are a real swiss army knife of wireless internet. The NanoStation M2 is probably the most powerful and convenient due to their very wide and powerful panel antennas.

Don't buy any ten year old junk like a bullet or a linksys router. I have boxes of this crap that I won't put in service or sell. It's rubbish! Don't use it.
I take exception to a number of your statements.

The only antenna that belongs at the masthead is the primary VHF antenna. Putting anything else up there deteriorates performance. Other antennas for AIS, cellular, WiFi or anything else must go somewhere else: spreader, pushpit, radar pole, somewhere else.

Installation of cellular repeaters (which I don't recommend for cruisers) and boosters (which I do recommend for cruisers) is easy. It's buying the right bits that is tricky.

I've been working with the WiFi tech for a long time. The Bullet M2HP and a Linksys WRT-54GL are still the most robust solution for WiFi range extension. I actually sold something different for a while and dropped it after side-by-side testing. I can't compete on prices for the Bullet and Linksys so I don't sell them. I only recommend them.
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