I agree with the comments about wifi. It is far less useful than the mobile networks. HSDPA (3.5G for Europeans; palmed off on Americans as 4G) in practically all of the world I know is better than home broadband
was just a decade ago or so. And the mobile networks cover large areas systematically, unlike wifi "hotspots" which are here or there and most often "not here"
Nevertheless, there are times when there happens to be wifi, or when only wifi will do (downloading charts
for example -- you can't buy preloaded chips anymore!!!
). So I also think it's worth thinking about.
I have a Ubiquiti Bullet on a spreader. It is fairly fiddly to get set up and connected, but once you've done it a few times it gets easier. The Bullet itself is quite cheap
and it's quite easy to put together the other stuff you need for a system to work (antenna, ethernet cable, connectors, POE injector) so I don't really see the use of all those "wiries" and other systems which are just repackaged Bullets with a bit of user interface wrapper.
I am sometimes too lazy to use the Bullet and have recently made a delightful acquisition -- a USB stick Wifi transceiver, which only cost about 50 euros. I put it on the end of a USB cable extension and put it out a hatch
. It improves connections by about 100x compared to the built in wifi card in the laptop
, and it is so good that I haven't used the Bullet once since I acquired it. Now it's always going to be in my briefcase for when I have to use a marginal wifi connection!
So I think most people could probably use something like this to great effect and skip the hard installed system. But if you do want ultimate range and power, the Bullet is the ticket.
Now what I really want, and haven't quite found yet, is a hard installed super duper mobile telephone system. There are cases when there is a marginal connection and you really, really need to connect. Noelex of this parish uses a MiFi unit which has battery
power, and which he hauls up the mast
when he needs a better connection. I think I might try that first. I have been using (for the last four years) an Option Globesurfer III, which is not battery
powered so can't be hauled up the mast
, but I have gotten tremendous good use out of it (using it right now, in fact!). It is a wonderful unit which has a much more powerful radio
(or better antenna) than a normal mobile phone
or data stick. Maybe I should stop futzing around and just put an external antenna on it which I can haul out
But I continue to dream about something like the WiBE router (http://www.deltenna.com/products/wibe.aspx
), which has the radio
and very cool antenna in one housing which can be mounted on a spreader. It's expensive but looks like the absolute killer app for this.
The only thing which has stopped me so far is that there is not an LTE version of the WiBE so far -- and I would hate to invest that kind of money
without LTE, since the European networks are rolling out LTE everywhere.