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Old 12-01-2012, 11:58   #1
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Thumbs up Connecting To the Internet while Sailing

I googled this and look at other cruiser forums besides here but havenít found the answer to my question. Is an aircard which you can use to connect with the internet ONLY with an existing cell phone plan, and so if you go around the world, would that do any good, as perhaps some carriers arenĎt in other countries? Someone mentioned putting up an antenna on the boat to get wi-fi, doesnít one have to pay some carrier for that and can that also be used in ANY country?

Thanks to all who respond.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:28   #2
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Re: Questions on connecting on the internet while sailling..

You can get unlocked phones and other cell-based internet devices that will work around the world by simply buying a sim card (usually free) from the local telco, adding money to it and putting it in the device. Except in the US, where the telco system is in the stone age. Be sure to get a GSM/quad band one.

Wifi protocols are the same all over, so any setup you get can be used anywhere. Some places charge for access, while others are free.

There are many threads on this forum detailing equipment, etc for both these systems.

And welcome!

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Old 12-01-2012, 13:10   #3
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Re: Questions on connecting on the internet while sailling..

Mark,

I wasn't sure if you reply pertained just to cell phone services or specifically to the aircard. So an aircard MUST be used with a cell plan, correct, and are yousaying in a different country, just use a different telephone plan (but would it work for a whole continent like Asia or Europe if you constantly traveling) and does anyone know about this wifi antenna that someone else wrote about. If it has been discussed can anyone send me the links so I won't have to scroll through endless posts.
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Old 12-01-2012, 14:49   #4
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Re: Connecting To the Internet while Sailing

"Aircard" is a trademark name for a range of modem devices that connect through cell networks to deliver data to your computer. These devices can be cards that insert into a card slot on your computer, ones that connect through your USB port and ones that stand alone and connect wirelessly to your computer (mifi). There are all sorts of them sold by many vendors.

You can also tether some cell phones to your computer. This allows you to have both a phone and a data modem.

The most important thing for all of them is to get an unlocked GSM/quad band version. In the US, they will be locked and for certain carriers, they will be CDMA devices and not usable outside those systems.

Yes, these devices must be used with a data plan of some sorts. In the US, you have to sign up for an expensive monthly plan that usually requires a two year commitment from a single vendor that cannot be broke without paying fees. In almost all other more enlightened telecom systems around the world, you simply go to the local telecom of your choice and ask for a sim card. Actually, you can pick up sim cards in almost any store of any type and even through street corner vendors. Heck, the marina restaurant here sells them. They usually cost $1-30, but come with that value already on them - so in essence they are free. You then put money on them and use them to feed data to your computer at whatever $/GB they charge. Here in Panama, it is $15/GB. When they start to run out of money, you send more money to them by either phoning a number, using a website, or taking them to a vendor (which is just about everyone here).

I don't know which wifi system you are asking about. There are many, many types and the choices are vast of which models, how they operate and how they connect to your computer. Google around for bitstorm, islandtimepc and wirie for commercial systems for a start (there are so many more but I can't remember them all). Also do a search on this board for wifi - it has been discussed in excruciating depth and detail for several years here.

I don't mean to be vague or unhelpful, but without knowing where you plan to use it, how you want to use it, what your budget is, etc, it is difficult to be more precise.

If you will only be in the US, you will be stuck with whatever carrier you choose for cell data.

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