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Old 17-09-2018, 10:32   #16
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Re: WiFi extender in the PNW.

We've got a wifi extender mounted atop our mast – but as mentioned, there is hardly any wifi to connect it to - and where it does connect, I can get a good connection to the base station, but it ends up having a bad (or over-burdened) connection to the internet.

That being said we've also got a MoFi 4500 (with external antennas). It's essentially an LTE equipped router and we get very good cell signal even where our phone doesn't including Echo Bay and Shallow Bay - BUT on Sucia (and Stewart and Patos for that matter) the signal was strongest coming from Rogers network in Canada (which is fine because we had a Rogers SIMM in the router) but be aware the router doesn't tell you what network you are on, so you kinda have to guess using your phone (the network it was connected to before it lost signal), then pop the appropriate simm card in the router.

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Old 17-09-2018, 11:11   #17
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Re: WiFi extender in the PNW.

Northern San Juan I have most lucking connecting to Canadian towers with roaming plan on Verizon. No cell is Reid on Stuart, a little bit (Canadian) in Prevost. Have Wi-Fi extender (cheap one) but almost always use cell hotspot instead... heck, Squallicum marina in Bellingham doesn't even have free WiFi to connect to!

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Old 17-09-2018, 13:28   #18
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Re: WiFi extender in the PNW.

Hi: Bloom had the same situation in the pnw. here is how he solved the problem
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Old 20-09-2018, 14:30   #19
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Re: WiFi extender in the PNW.

I have the same situation with my gf/partner needing online access for work purposes while we cruise. My conclusion was to beef up my cell reception using a booster.

In BC, T-Mobile offers the best plan. I'd get a simple phone from T-Mobile just for when I'm in BC. No roaming charges. With a booster I think you'd get much better reception. You need to realize however, that some areas are just going to be cell dead zones. Just no way around it. And Wifi wont solve that.

I'd strongly suggest you get hold of the folks at They conduct flotillas to Alaska from which they daily post progress reports, often from remote locations. Kevin, one of the owners, has figured out a very workable system for his 37' Nordic tug. He's given a seminar at the Seattle Boat Show on this very topic but has yet to post his powerpoint online. But you can contact him thru their website for more info. Good luck.
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Old 20-09-2018, 15:00   #20
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Re: WiFi extender in the PNW.

Originally Posted by AZ-Oldguy View Post
Not the answers I hoped for, but lots of good info. FYI, cellular does work for my wife's job, I probably need to keep a log of harbors with good cell exception, and accept that is the best I can get.

Very good take away. It's a reality. I use an Alpha to get better input signals once I'm in a place that actually does have wifi, in most cases in harbors where I already have legally obtained the password/security key.

It is NOT NEW news that "open" wifi stopped existing almost everywhere once they started making routers with built-in security. This has been reported endlessly on this and every other boating forum.

wifi in the smaller islands here simply doesn't exist. There is a great service offered by my internet provider called Shaw Open. If you have an account with them, you can use anywhere from six to ten other devices (for friends or family) to access what is essentially free wifi all over southern Vancouver Island.

The reality is that it ONLY exists in cities and small towns, and some selected "beehives of activity."

It is available, for example, in my own marina which is in the middle of nowhere but close to a yacht club who may have helped Shaw decide to set up service there , and I use it instead of the marina's wifi (which is also free for me, but a much weaker, slower signal, and used by guests visiting who don't have Shaw accounts; my friends from up-island who do have Shaw accounts use it there, too).
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Old 22-09-2018, 13:59   #21
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Re: WiFi extender in the PNW.

I just returned from a week in the San Juan Islands.
It doesn't get more PNW than that.
The Major Harbors such as Friday, Roche, Deer, .... with Marinas always seemed to have good 4G.

But many of the popular harbors for dock space or buoy moorage can be quite spotty depending on your carrier. Verizon does quite well.
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Old 22-09-2018, 16:42   #22
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Re: WiFi extender in the PNW.

Originally Posted by KG7IL View Post
I just returned from a week in the San Juan Islands.
It doesn't get more PNW than that.
This made me smile. Come north young man, come north...The PNW has barely begun in the San Juans

As for the OP, I spent a winter in Victoria and the marina wifi was so crappy I could barely use it to check my mail. But a dockmate swore that with his booster he watched Netflix every night. If he wasn't pulling my leg then a booster might not be the worst idea if you want to get work done using local wifi.

And there are plenty of anchorages all up the island that have decent cell signal, you will just have to spend some time getting to know where they are. Or you can head out and get some work done at sea, plenty of signal in the big open spaces...

This is us floating in the middle of Desolation Sound getting some work done before returning to Laura Cove.
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tender, wifi

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