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Old 11-08-2019, 15:26   #1
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real WIFI at marina's

Has anyone been collecting real WIFI usability at marinas metrics? I see a lot of marina list free wifi but no one list bandwidth speeds. Still land lock and and learning but from the few Marina's I have visited the free is wifi is not usable for much more than casual use. As I am looking to sail and work remote I need a reliable and somewhat fast connections. Not expecting home broadband speeds but what are people finding at marina's? Initial use would be great lakes but down US east coast would be the next venture. Dont need enroute access just access when I am docked and need to work.


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Old 11-08-2019, 15:32   #2
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Each country and marina has vastly different wifi speeds. In some places you have to walk up to the office to get internet.

You might get better results to give the country you are in and area you plan to cruise.

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Old 11-08-2019, 15:38   #3
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

I found it slow here on west coast and cell hotspot faster.
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Old 11-08-2019, 16:02   #4
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

The past 3 years I would call it about 50-50 as to whether the marina wifi is good. With good only being 2mbps.
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Old 11-08-2019, 16:08   #5
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Most marinas in Europe have good high speed wifi.

Last time in Cartagena I was impressed at getting over 200Mbps. Spain has a lot of FTTP rather than FTTC that the UK has.

Saying that though in any decent city or town I'd get somewhere between 30-60Mbps on a 4g connection. But the marina wifi was included in the berthing rate, and was uncapped in terms of usage.
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Old 12-08-2019, 05:02   #6
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Often it depends on the distance from the repeater.

Something like this can help a lot:
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:25   #7
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Traveling the US east coast I get the feeling that many marinas have essentially given up on WiFi. Given that everyone has a cell phone to fall back on they seem to supply the bare minimum of speed and bandwidth and that’s it. Just enough to meet their advertised claim of “free WiFi” and just enough to check your email. Our test is: can we stream HD videos? And most of the time we cannot.

Better to invest in a cellular hotspot with “unlimited data” than a WiFi booster. Especially if you earn your money by being available online.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:13   #8
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

My home marina has public wifi, and I can connect, but there never seems to be an internet connection. It's a city run operation so I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't pay the cable bill. There is also a secured connection for the marina office, I'll bet that one works.
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Old 12-08-2019, 07:19   #9
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

I agree with Woodland Hills. After repeated WiFi connection failures, even with a Redport Halo WiFi extender, we switched to using an LTE hotspot with unlimited data. We have no trouble streaming any of the premium video or TV services, music through Pandora, or working online for hours, including video conferencing. Plus, the wifi connection stays live as we cruise and when we anchor. We consider it to be a much better solution.

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Old 12-08-2019, 07:28   #10
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

I have been working from my boat for over a year now. The one thing I can say about marina WiFi is if you plan to make money with it remember it's usually free, and you get what you pay for. I tried to use it in a few places along the Florida west coast, and sometimes it worked, but most of the time it was too slow to do anything more than check email, and that is if you started the process and went and grabbed a coffee or something.

I quickly switched to a PepWave router with multiple cellular SIMS and I am much happier. It is an expense, but it means I am able to make money so it's a double edge sword. I have a T-Mobile sim and a Google Fi Sim at the moment and it seems to work well. The T-Mobile is unlimited so I use it as my preferred connection, and fail over to the Google Fi if I start having issues on T-Mobile. It will also route a WiFi network as a WAN connection so on the rare occasion I do find a WiFi network that will allow me to work I can take advantage of it.

I only have the antennas that came with it for now, since I haven't had a need to hang any antennas on the davits for it yet, but this is an option. Although honestly if I am more than 3 or 4 miles out that means I am sailing and not working so I don't need a connection for my computer anyway.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-08-2019, 08:18   #11
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real WIFI at marina's

It depends, if you find a marina that has ďon spot WiFiĒ itís most often very good.
A lot of times a marina will send the local computer kid to Walmart to buy a couple of routers, thatís when the Marina WiFi is crap, but if they actually contract with a company like onspotwifi to provide service, itís usually pretty good.
Brunswickís was excellent, the best I have ever seen at a Marina. When they first installed it, it would honestly max out the speed test, Iíve only seen that happen there.
Where I am now at Ortega Landing in Jax is good, usually speed tests about 5 meg, if you use 5g.
Thatís usually key for a marina, connecting with 5g, that signal is usually good.

For work a Hotspot is more reliable though
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Old 12-08-2019, 11:07   #12
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Ohgary, there’s a ton of variation but it’d help if you noted where in the world you’re interested in. For instance, I’ve had pretty decent WiFi in the Puget Sound Zander San Juan Islands marinas near me. But if you’re looking because you want some serious bandwidth for streaming or downloading large files, I’d suggest you look into adding devices to create your own hotspot. Very few marinas offer WiFi sufficient for ‘work from home’ type applications.
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Old 12-08-2019, 12:49   #13
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Ours is capped at 6 mbps down and 1 up, but is consistent and certainly capable of streaming videoes, etc.
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Old 12-08-2019, 13:38   #14
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Our marina WiFi is pretty good. Speed test results today are 10mbs download and .8 upload. Latency is around 80-125ms. I've found this to be typical in many marinas (but see the issues below). Whether this is good enough for working you'll have to say. I can stream video and upload photos, etc.

The issues are:
1. Antenna distance and signal clutter. Marinas are signal rich environments with lots of electrons bouncing off of masts and boats. A directional antenna is very helpful and it also extends range. Omni directional antennas have problems. Many complaints people have about poor marina wifi are really caused by the signal chaos out in the marina.

2. Capacity. Most marina systems have limited bandwidth coming in to the site, and sometimes (like where I am now) the local cables supplying the community are limited in their capacity. You'll see good throughput and then it just stops. Looking at a ping monitor you see the latency went from 86ms to 3400ms then timed out. Two minutes later it's back. It's too many people on the system doing something at that moment. And when every local young adult gets off work at 6:00PM on Friday and checks with all their friends to see where the action will be that night, the whole town slows down. By 8:00PM its all good again. (Spain it will be later.) This is a local infrastructure problem, not a marina problem.

You may be able to get a local person's WiFi who has a DSL line into his house. You wouldn't sharing this connection with so many users,

That's WiFi. What about Cell Phone?

Basically all over the world we used cell phones with local sim cards and data packages. By using local sim cards and cell phone connections we probably get better speeds but the data costs run up quickly. 3-10 GB/month probably won't get it for most development jobs. One exception to that was in Thailand where they still had a CDMA network with unlimited data in addition to the 3G GSM network for about $24/month and CDMA could reach us over 20 miles from the antenna and the speed was quite good. Most countries have disabled these systems by now. As a rule, you will find places where Internet is good and you'll stay there.

Of course you can double up (or more) on sim cards and use balancers, etc. This multiplies your costs and getting the local providers to accept your foreign sim cards might be a full time job in itself.

Remember that being in a third world country is not the same as USA or Europe. The people you run into at the local customer service center may not be as sophisticated as you are, and frankly, they often take exception to foreigners coming in trying to tell them how to set up their system. Even in Australia and New Zealand I had trouble with that attitude (probably me, not them) however Hong Kong and other places in Asia I found were much more advanced then we were.

So, good luck.
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Old 13-08-2019, 06:34   #15
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Re: real WIFI at marina's

Ohgary; Guilford, CT's town marina's Wi-Fi was just upgraded. It is free to slip-holders and I believe for transients too. I am on the dock farthest from the dock master & source and have been able to send/receive PowerPoint slide decks (graphic-heavy, 55-65 slides) via email at a speed consistent with home-based Wi-Fi. thanks

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