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Old 26-02-2016, 08:33   #16
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

I got a WiriePro a couple months ago and I've been impressed so far. Originally was just gonna get a setup for cell data, but the flexibility of both wi-fi and data is nice. Greatly extends the wi-fi connect if you can get access, and also has a built-in SIM slot so you don't even need a cheapie phone. Just buy a SIM card from BTC and drop it in to the wirie.

I need internet for work so having both was right for me.

A member named Dockhead recently published a pretty thorough breakdown of the options: Non-Emergency Data Comms, Offshore and Onshore Probably worth checkin out.
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:39   #17
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

I went the other way and got a cell booster and antenna rather than a wifi booster.
The booster itself was a black box powered by 12 volts, forgot the name, made in South East Florida. The antenna looked just like a 3' VHF but tuned for a different frequency. The rig effectively doubled the cell phone range, from 8 miles off shore to 16 miles. Also had a Batelco SIM card so we could call the US from the Bahamas for $0.53 per minute rather than $2-3 per minute using phone patches from the SSB.
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:40   #18
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by laika View Post
I got a WiriePro a couple months ago and I've been impressed so far. Originally was just gonna get a setup for cell data, but the flexibility of both wi-fi and data is nice. Greatly extends the wi-fi connect if you can get access, and also has a built-in SIM slot so you don't even need a cheapie phone. Just buy a SIM card from BTC and drop it in to the wirie.

I need internet for work so having both was right for me.

A member named Dockhead recently published a pretty thorough breakdown of the options: Non-Emergency Data Comms, Offshore and Onshore Probably worth checkin out.
Brilliant, Laika! I didn't realize the Wirie had a sim slot. I assume it operates as a hotspot and that your finding enough unsecured networks to make it worthwhile? Oh...and are you hiring?
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:47   #19
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Two things...

Using Bob/ITPC is going to make it plug and play. It's an ethernet connection to your computer or to a router, transparent; you access and choose (and make whatever other observations you need) via URL.

If you don't have network chops, while you could save a little by sourcing the parts, you will experience much pain in making those work. Bob takes that out of the picture and will support you to whatever degree you may need afterwards. AND, should something you buy from him be out of warranty, his work is free; you pay for parts only.

As to my setup, I used a chunk of aluminum ell to make my standoff. Scrap from a metals fabricator/machine shop.

Pix of it on my gallery, mixed in with some other stuff going on, start here:
Pictures: Flying Pig Refit 2009/Repairs_And_Upgrades/Electronics

I got it long enough that I'd have to stretch to reach the ends; the length itself isn't important other than the longer the better in terms of antenna separation...
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:49   #20
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Being the cheapskate that I am, I use a simple Tracphone for my cellular use. I hardly use it at home, I am on vacation now and use it for that. Bottom line, can anyone direct me to a book or online information to what you folks are talking about? I have a rough idea as to what you are talking about but would like to have a much better understanding of it. I realize that I would have to upgrade my cellular phone. Thank you.
Please ignore this post as after reading the following posts, my questions have pretty much been answered. Wow, great thread and thanks to all for enlightenment.
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:56   #21
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I think your only real use for a Wifi booster these days is to boost the signal for a secured network that you have the password for.
A few people become friends with the person that works at the desk of a Hotel or Marina, shore side restaurant etc. and get a password
A64 is right on the money here.

We bought an inexpensive Bear Extender (something like $39 on Amazon) and it works GREAT. I mean really really great - and super easy to use. We also bought an extra 20 foot cable. This enables us to down below and run the cable through the hatch and set the antenna unit on top of the boom or even up the mast a ways.

http://www.amazon.com/BearExtender-E...VE4/ref=sr_1_2

It does NOT open up unsecured sites for you, but once you have access, it is marvelous. For example, we'll be anchored outside off Stanial Cay. We'll dingy to shore and have a cold beer at the waterfront bar/restaurant - most advertise free wifi for patrons. They'll provide the password when asked. Later that night, we can till "reach out and get" that same connection (with the Bear extender) from our boat. It's been our experience that passwords rarely change, so it will likely still work weeks & months later when you're back at that same anchorage again.

This worked well even in Georgetown where we were 1 mile + from town.

~markb
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:57   #22
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by captlloyd View Post
Being the cheapskate that I am, I use a simple Tracphone for my cellular use. I hardly use it at home, I am on vacation now and use it for that. Bottom line, can anyone direct me to a book or online information to what you folks are talking about? I have a rough idea as to what you are talking about but would like to have a much better understanding of it. I realize that I would have to upgrade my cellular phone. Thank you.
Not a clue! But I do think the link Laika recommended is a good one! Non-Emergency Data Comms, Offshore and Onshore
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Old 26-02-2016, 09:02   #23
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by bratzcpa View Post
A64 is right on the money here.

We bought an inexpensive Bear Extender (something like $39 on Amazon) and it works GREAT. I mean really really great - and super easy to use. We also bought an extra 20 foot cable. This enables us to down below and run the cable through the hatch and set the antenna unit on top of the boom or even up the mast a ways.

Amazon.com: BearExtender PC USB WiFi Booster and Range Extender for Microsoft Windows (Certified Refurbished): Computers & Accessories

It does NOT open up unsecured sites for you, but once you have access, it is marvelous. For example, we'll be anchored outside off Stanial Cay. We'll dingy to shore and have a cold beer at the waterfront bar/restaurant - most advertise free wifi for patrons. They'll provide the password when asked. Later that night, we can till "reach out and get" that same connection (with the Bear extender) from our boat. It's been our experience that passwords rarely change, so it will likely still work weeks & months later when you're back at that same anchorage again.

This worked well even in Georgetown where we were 1 mile + from town.

~markb
Thanks Mark; please send me the list
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Old 26-02-2016, 09:08   #24
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by captlloyd View Post
Being the cheapskate that I am, I use a simple Tracphone for my cellular use. I hardly use it at home, I am on vacation now and use it for that. Bottom line, can anyone direct me to a book or online information to what you folks are talking about? I have a rough idea as to what you are talking about but would like to have a much better understanding of it. I realize that I would have to upgrade my cellular phone. Thank you.
1: Unlocked smartphone; one or two sim
2: Data card (maybe with minutes/text; my Samsung J1 has a cheapie Tracfone all-three chip in it)
3: Sharing app in your settings/hotspot enabler

That gets you data from your phone as a router, along with (maybe) cell text and minutes. Two sim could allow you to use data/minutes or Bahamas/US (etc.) sims simultaneously. Mine is one sim, because...

All my calls are data. Google Voice is for computer-to-computer but you can also enable it to use a phone number. US and perhaps some other countries are free; the rest work like skype (which if from a computer is very comparable in how they work).

However, my phone is now my hotspot, and I can use it to get data for a computer (Skype, if there was a reason, such as calling Hong Kong for the admiral's twin) AND Google Voice. Using Hangouts as your telephonic medium, it works just like a cell phone, including voice mail (also with VR transcriptions emailed to you), multi-ring of other numbers (Google Voice is my number, but I can also have it ring my wife's cell phone, her mother's when we're there, and so on).

A local google voice number is free; you can port a cell number there for $20; my migration was from Vonage (no longer works on WiFi, though they expect to resume that capability in the near future - that picture of a phone being smashed was a handset which had given up after 5 years in our Vonage setup at the time - also an anywhere-in-the-world-you-have-WiFi ring from anyone calling that number) to my dumbphone, and then to GV.

If I'm worried about data, as I would be in the US and my cheapie/low ceiling Tracfone card, my WiFi setup allows me to keep my smartphone able to make and receive calls not only on board but anywhere we may be which has WiFi available to me, such as most restaurants and the like.

Google "hangouts for phone calls" for a bit of an education; it's really pretty simple, and the GV and hangouts apps are free. In a curious twist, you need to have google keyboard (another free app) to have VR dictation, but all three (GV, GH and GK) ride in the background whenever the phone is on; you don't have to activate any of them to receive a call, and only tap (rather than the phone icon) the hangouts icon to dial.

Hope that helps...
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Old 26-02-2016, 09:13   #25
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

I bought a Wifi booster years ago and don't even bother taking it to the Bahamas anymore. On rare occasion, it helped me get a secured signal when anchoring off a town, but that's about it. Most of the time in the Bahamas I'm out of reach of any wifi signal.

My practice has been to visit a restaurant or bar with wifi ever week or so and do most of my work there. If I really need a weather update, etc, there are few places I haven't been able to get a cell phone signal.

Also, even with my U.S. plan, it's very cheap to receive text messages.

In part, it will depend on where you want to hang out. If you plan to spend much of your time anchored off of the towns having wifi service, and want to spend time on the boat accessing a pay service, an extender may be helpful.
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Old 26-02-2016, 09:34   #26
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
I went the other way and got a cell booster and antenna rather than a wifi booster.
The booster itself was a black box powered by 12 volts, forgot the name, made in South East Florida. The antenna looked just like a 3' VHF but tuned for a different frequency. The rig effectively doubled the cell phone range, from 8 miles off shore to 16 miles. Also had a Batelco SIM card so we could call the US from the Bahamas for $0.53 per minute rather than $2-3 per minute using phone patches from the SSB.
Sounds interesting; I'll have to research that. My primary interest is data rather than voice; so, it would need hotspot capability and from what I gather, some devices function as hotspots better than others.
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Old 26-02-2016, 11:10   #27
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

I was in Nassau in December and I had a cheap wifi antenna I bought on eBay for under $30. It picked up at least 20 networks. All networks were either secured or extremely slow like dial up? If I were going to be spending significant time there I know I could get some passwords easily enough.
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Old 26-02-2016, 11:48   #28
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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We bought an ATT MiFi, and use it in PR and the USVI. Then when we go to the BVI and beyond, we bought a Digicel MiFi (different freqs from the US, but Digicel is in most of the windward/leeward islands). In both cases, we buy the local SIM data card and a plan for the time/amount of data we guessimate we'll use, and we've got local WiFi on the boat-anyplace we can receive a cell signal. We also have 4-band phones, and buy a local phone SIM card with a plan for the time we expect to spend in that area/country. That idea worked very well in the Medd, and so far has worked well here. And no roaming charges! We mount the MiFi in the middle part of the boat (43') and we've got good signal all over the boat.
Does the MiFi enable you to both create your own network as well as connect to others (I think that's what you're saying)? Do you have an external antenna and if so, where's it mounted? I have a verizon plan; so, if it will grab the local WiFi, when it's available, and connect via sim card when it's not, I'll get the verizon jetpack. I'm afraid finding out if that will work will be just a bit more challenging than finding the Holy Grail.
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Old 26-02-2016, 20:34   #29
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Robgrant1....yes, the MiFi sets up a local "network" onboard, password protected. I installed a digital antennae on the masthead, ran a coax down the mast to a wilson amp (12vDC powered), and use a velcro-attached card-like antennae on the back of the MiFi. I rarely see less than 4 bars(full reception), and can occasionally see other networks available, but they are usually password protected and very weak. Just as the cellphones use different freqs here in the US and other locations (hence the 4-band phone reqmt) I think the WiFi does also...especially since it comes via the cell towers. That's why we bought the ATT MiFi (for US locations, because it seems to have the biggest coverage area around here) and the Digicel MiFi (for non-US locations). As I said, so far(2 seasons and counting) this has worked very well for us here in the Carrib. Most every place we've been that offers WiFi requires a password to get in.
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Old 27-02-2016, 06:47   #30
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Any of the Mikrotik routers with a USB port will accept USB modems such as the Sierra Wireless Aircard 308u. An unlocked 308u will work in North America and much of the Caribbean with GSM through HSPA+ service on 850, 1900 and 2100 Mhz. It is easy to switch out the sim as you move from island to island.

It has an MMCX antenna connector if you want to get fancy and add a high gain cell antenna.
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