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Old 26-02-2016, 03:18   #1
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Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

I'm debating whether or not to install a wifi booster, i.e. rogue wave or wirie pro. I'll be traveling down the US east coast (ICW), the Bahamas and possibly the Virgin Islands. Are there still enough open networks to justify the cost or would the money be better spent on sim cards for local cell providers, i.e. BTC or Lime?
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Old 26-02-2016, 04:34   #2
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

You may wish to check out the Active Captain website. The hands- on owners of the site have written a couple of good articles on their experiences with sim cards and wifi extenders.
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Old 26-02-2016, 05:35   #3
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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Originally Posted by Crew of Turning View Post
You may wish to check out the Active Captain website. The hands- on owners of the site have written a couple of good articles on their experiences with sim cards and wifi extenders.
Thanks, I have read their articles on BTC and sim cards through MrSimCard (https://activecaptain.com/newsletters/2016-02-03.php); the coverage sounds good. I'm wondering whether it would pay to supplement that service with the wifi booster to take advantage of free wifi.

I'll poke around some more on AC and see if I can find anything regarding free wifi availability. The boosters cost anywhere from $350 to $650. My question is will they pay for themselves or have most networks been secured.
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Old 26-02-2016, 05:49   #4
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

I just helped a buddy bring his boat back to Florida from Marsh Harbour about a week ago. He's been there since early December with a Wi-Fi booster. He said it was really pretty useless since every signal was secured. He ended up with a BTC phone. It worked great even working our way up the Sea of Abaco. He said talk to the states was pretty expensive but data wasn't real bad at all. Tether it to a tablet or laptop as your good to go.
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Old 26-02-2016, 06:31   #5
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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I just helped a buddy bring his boat back to Florida from Marsh Harbour about a week ago. He's been there since early December with a Wi-Fi booster. He said it was really pretty useless since every signal was secured. He ended up with a BTC phone. It worked great even working our way up the Sea of Abaco. He said talk to the states was pretty expensive but data wasn't real bad at all. Tether it to a tablet or laptop as your good to go.
Great info., thanks SKI!
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Old 26-02-2016, 06:48   #6
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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
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Old 26-02-2016, 07:04   #7
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Boingo Wifi hot spots are all over the east coast, obviously more near larger cities, but seem to be quite a few along the ICW. In the caribbean it is a bit more sparse, but there are hot spots in PR, St Thomas, and Tortola.

Boingo Hot spots

Boingo is free if you have an American Express credit card.
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Old 26-02-2016, 07:20   #8
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

I went with a Bullet Titanium. Here is a description of the project:
Argon Voyages: Winter (and spring) (and summer) project: Argon gets WIFI

But I agree with others here. It will be only useful if you can find open networks. Gone are the days with hundreds of "linksys" unprotected A/Ps around.
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Old 26-02-2016, 07:27   #9
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Wifi in the Bahamas: good luck!
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Old 26-02-2016, 07:34   #10
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

We use WiFi fairly often - if you're going that route, I cannot adequately/sufficiently recommend more highly that you go to Marine PC's & WiFi by IslandTime PC and get their rig.

Bob Stewart is the king of customer service, and a CLOD, so he knows your situation and the solution.

As to phone, we did a hack which has our BTC hotspot (all data, no other function) phone providing transparency (where there's an adequate WiFi or Cell signal) to my Google Voice/Hangouts phone number - the same as I've had for decades, courtesy of LPN. That's anywhere in the world; we're in fairly frequent contact to the US here in the Bahamas; my phone rings just like it were next door to the caller.

We DO use that same hotspot for our non-WiFi-enabled areas. At least, in the Bahamas, there are many open spots - if you can see them, which our ITPC (above) setup does, including being underway 7 miles from shore down the east coast, and south of Staniel Cay, on Sampson Cay's router (back when it was still public).

It's worth the well-under-300bux (compared to what you've evidently researched) to do an amplified adapter and high (for monos, about 8dbi max; you might get away with 12 on a cat, but probably not) gain antenna.

FWIW, my system is about 11 years old and despite being extremely weathered (rough bare fiberglass) the antenna continues to work perfectly...
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Old 26-02-2016, 07:45   #11
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Crew of Turning and SKI have given good advice. We have better wifi on GTC than in North Carolina. Most formerly open sites in Abaco have been secured at the request of the providers. BTC SIM card in either your phone or buy a cheapie and you will have coverage everywhere. Not that expensive, use SKYPE for international calls. Safe travels!
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Old 26-02-2016, 07:46   #12
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

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.
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:10   #13
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tingum View Post
Crew of Turning and SKI have given good advice. We have better wifi on GTC than in North Carolina. Most formerly open sites in Abaco have been secured at the request of the providers. BTC SIM card in either your phone or buy a cheapie and you will have coverage everywhere. Not that expensive, use SKYPE for international calls. Safe travels!
I'm thinking of getting a verizon jetpack (Verizon Jetpack MiFi 6620L Review & Rating | PCMag.com) and buying sim cards along the way; based on sailcrazy's post, that might provide a good solution.
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:17   #14
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipgundlach View Post
We use WiFi fairly often - if you're going that route, I cannot adequately/sufficiently recommend more highly that you go to Marine PC's & WiFi by IslandTime PC and get their rig.

Bob Stewart is the king of customer service, and a CLOD, so he knows your situation and the solution.

As to phone, we did a hack which has our BTC hotspot (all data, no other function) phone providing transparency (where there's an adequate WiFi or Cell signal) to my Google Voice/Hangouts phone number - the same as I've had for decades, courtesy of LPN. That's anywhere in the world; we're in fairly frequent contact to the US here in the Bahamas; my phone rings just like it were next door to the caller.

We DO use that same hotspot for our non-WiFi-enabled areas. At least, in the Bahamas, there are many open spots - if you can see them, which our ITPC (above) setup does, including being underway 7 miles from shore down the east coast, and south of Staniel Cay, on Sampson Cay's router (back when it was still public).

It's worth the well-under-300bux (compared to what you've evidently researched) to do an amplified adapter and high (for monos, about 8dbi max; you might get away with 12 on a cat, but probably not) gain antenna.

FWIW, my system is about 11 years old and despite being extremely weathered (rough bare fiberglass) the antenna continues to work perfectly...
Yes, I've looked at Island Time and as you say, their prices are better; the only question I have with them versus the rogue or the wirie relates to interface ease of use. Either way, I don't want to saddle a dying horse
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Old 26-02-2016, 08:21   #15
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Re: Wifi Booster for Bahamas & Caribbean?

To add to the comments above I would suggest that if you have a Skype account you investigate the Skype local number setup. My local Florida 352 number rings on any device as long as I have internet coverage. That means my laptop or smart phone allow anyone to call me via Skype for not much money at all.
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