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Old 09-04-2016, 09:55   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: East Boothbay Maine
Boat: Irwin 40 Mk II 1982
Posts: 16
Wifi and Work connections

We are leaving for the boat June 2nd. My wife gave work notice and has decided we are cruising this year. She has also decided for her sanity she would like to do work from the boat. This will require daily access or at least 4 out of seven days internet access. The access must be reliable and somewhat fast it involves a lot of emailing. We have the sat phone and marine antenna for that so she will be able to make calls as much as necessary. The plan is for the rest of this year to go down the east coast and around Florida. The plan is the ICW and very rare overnight offshore jaunts as needed. We hope to be in Texas by December. What I need are solid advice on what options are available and real world experience if possible on what really works reliably. I am leaning toward a 4g extender and a Wirie Wifi extender however I have no experience with either and or using both versus a Satfi solution. Any help appreciated also the goal will to be moored or anchored versus hitting a marina every night.
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:08   #2

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Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 12,077
Re: Wifi and Work connections

Buy the best cell phone amplifier (i.e. a Wilson booster) and good omnidirectional antenna that you can. Put it on your boat. That will boost your cell phone connection (voice and data) and you should find good coverage, assuming you have a good carrier, all along the coast.
Cell phone range off the coast was limited by carrier system design, so that at 32 miles your signal will be ignored even if you have one. In practical terms even at ten miles out you'd be lucky to get any signal simply because few carriers waste their money looking towards the empty [sic] sea. But you'll get far cheaper faster coverage with cellular than anything else.
Wifi can be problematic, because if you're using open Wifi connections, they are security risks. If that's news to you, check online for white papers on that, and have your wife ask her IT department for a quick education on that. On the east coast of the US, with all the wireless plans available today, the WiFi booster is a nice idea, but since the connection is going to be a necessity, it might be worthwhile to get cell phones from two different carriers, so that if one doesn't cover a particular area, the other very well might. (i.e. Verizon versus T-Mob or AT&T.)
The cell phone booster also has to be chosen to make sure it supports both the carrier and the type of service (LTE, 2G, high band, low, etc.) that the carrier supplies, the cheaper ones tend to cover only one or another, not all.
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