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Old 18-01-2005, 05:44   #16
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UUHHHH Thanks I Think

We do have Wi Fi in our marina too but when we are cruising for extended periods (last trip was 5 weeks) and want to keep our web site updated - - - then I guess you're saying that the air card will not work well for that. Ho Hum what to do what to do.

Greg
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Old 18-01-2005, 10:57   #17
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Well .... ya ain't gonna believe this one! Back on with the new ISP wireless once again. After 3 weeks, more than a dozen phone calls and several hours on hold (burning up prescious cell phone minutes) Sprint is totally incapable of providing service. They managed to get my line installed to the seawall ... but apparantly their installers have a fear of docks (or are just plain stupid!). Their repair department says call their install department, the install department says call the repair department ... etc, etc, etc. Calls the their "supervisors" provides promises of quick and speedy, proper solutions to this simple problem ... then nothing happens. Complete incompetencacy.
The only good news is that the new company appears to have some real knowledge of how to do this properly, they will be replacing all the hardware with new equipment, and will have us use a different type of antennas at the boats ... not the ones designed for inside the house, that we are using currently ... who knows? It could work!

L S/V Eva Luna
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Old 18-01-2005, 13:35   #18
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Quote:
Greg B once whispered in the wind:
UUHHHH Thanks I Think

We do have Wi Fi in our marina too but when we are cruising for extended periods (last trip was 5 weeks) and want to keep our web site updated - - - then I guess you're saying that the air card will not work well for that. Ho Hum what to do what to do.

Greg
Greg, speaking to your exact concern:

If you are able to update your website over a dialup connection from home, try that out to see how you like it. Then imagine it at about 1/2 the speed. That's how it will be over the Air Card.

It's doable... it will just take at least twice as much time as it would to do it over a standard modem from home.

Another alternative I have used to update a website during a cruise is to bring a laptop and a list of cyber cafes in all possible ports. This way, you can put all your photos and text into your laptop during the trip, and just walk all that to a real internet connection, getting it done in just a few minutes and for a lot less money.

Hope some of the helps... and I hope the general population on the board gets something out of it too.

Sean
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Old 18-01-2005, 17:22   #19
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I disagree with Sean's assessment of air cards. I have one in my car and transfer it to my boat whenever I sail. Anywhere I have cell service (and some that my cell phone doesn't work), I have access to the internet. While it is not perfect, it is a far cry from towing a 500,000 foot cable behind the boat. Wi-Fi is a fine answer while tied to the dock but I have not had good luck with wi-fi connections in airports, hotels and certain businesses. Wi-fi requires a good signal and not too many users. It is a nice idea with limited uses.
You may want to look at this T-Mobile Hotspot for $9.99 per month. It is a wi-fi application with membership. Has to be better than an air card for speed but not for portability.

Jim Kane
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Old 18-01-2005, 18:20   #20
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I didn't finish my message. I was rudely interrupted by someone who wanted me to do some work. Perish the thought. Take a look at this link. Between this and an air card, you can stay connected.
http://www.t-mobile.com/hotspot/

Jim Kane
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Old 18-01-2005, 19:56   #21
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Jim,

You apparently don't disagree with me at all. You restated what I said.

I pointed out the advantages and disadvantages of both, assuming everyone on here was concerned with WiFi in the marina, the subject of the thread. WiFi is the clear choice for a marina (same as you say below)

When Gregg voiced his specific concerns (ie: updating his site while cruising), I was able to narrow it down to something more useful for him.

Cards that run over the GPRS cell network (air cards, tmobile, etc...) run at about half the speed of a conventional home modem. Therefore, if you can withstand the slow speed, they are great for portability (ie: not carrying 500,000 feet of cable to pay out on your trip) Updating a website would take over twice as long as it would from a dialup connection, so I wanted Greg to be aware of that.

I even went so far as to point out T-mobile as the top choice. Where do you disagree again?

Respectfully.... but confused as to the area of disagreement,

Sean

Quote:
Jentine once whispered in the wind:
I disagree with Sean's assessment of air cards. I have one in my car and transfer it to my boat whenever I sail. Anywhere I have cell service (and some that my cell phone doesn't work), I have access to the internet. While it is not perfect, it is a far cry from towing a 500,000 foot cable behind the boat. Wi-Fi is a fine answer while tied to the dock but I have not had good luck with wi-fi connections in airports, hotels and certain businesses. Wi-fi requires a good signal and not too many users. It is a nice idea with limited uses.
You may want to look at this T-Mobile Hotspot for $9.99 per month. It is a wi-fi application with membership. Has to be better than an air card for speed but not for portability.

Jim Kane
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Old 19-01-2005, 06:19   #22
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Well, much to my dismay, I think my questions are being answered. On our trip south from lake MI to Athens AL in the fall, I was surprised to learn that it was more difficult that I had expected to find reliable internet service on the trip. Lots of cruising folk we met used their cells to access email but we knew right away that wouldn't work for our web site. There was even a time that we went 8 days without updating and you wouldn't believe the calls and emails we got from our "followers" wondering what had happened to us. Thus the idea of the air card.

Yes, we did use internet cafe's etc. (Many thanks to the Chamber of Commerce in Florence AL who allowed us to use their conference room and then to share in their friday afternoon carry-in lunch). Those north Alabama folks are some of the best. But alas, it sounds like the air card will be swell for email but not too good for the web site. I did find excellent Wi-Fi at Harborside Marina in IL and so-so at Green Turtle Bay in KY. Bill at Green Turtle acknowledges the so-so service of his provider and promosed to have his own Wi-Fi within a year.

Now that the kids are off to college, Jane and I plan to make this trip back and forth from lake MI every fall and spring until they graduate and move out completely at which time we'll keep heading south. In the mean time, I guess I'll keep up the search for the technology that will fill the bill without emptying the wallet. Eighty dollars a month seems like too much for "just" email but that's what AT&T/Cingular is asking. Our other cell carrier is Centinnial and they don't offer an air card at all. I'll check out T-mobile but they don't have much presence in central IN where we live most of the time. Thanks everyone for all the input now and in the future. BTW if you want to view our trip:
www.seaplanetearth.com

Later all and thanks again

Greg
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Old 19-01-2005, 17:04   #23
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Sean, my disagreement is that the air card I use in my auto is 2X faster than the phone line connection in my office but significantly slower than the cable net at home. I don't see what difference it makes if the air card is slower while we are on the slowest mode of transportation used on the planet today (perhaps excluding donkey or other such creature). Take the laptop out in the cockpit and read a little, surf a little, enjoy the scenery a little. Life is too short to need speed. From the cockpit of Heart of Gold, you could take advantage of an air card while winding your way down river to Alabama. I toured extensively throughout the U.S. last summer and the only areas of poor coverage were in the western states and then only outside major cities. Whenever you are near a major metropolitan area, you will have coverage.

Jim



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Old 21-01-2005, 13:40   #24
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In the interest of an accurate board...

Sorry.... I couldn't resist. I want to make sure the information on this board is as accurate as possible, given that people like me are often on here trying to learn about issues that relate to boating, be it nautical or even technical. The AirCard cannot be 2x faster than a 56K modem, unless your modem is severely damaged, or your telephone line has an enormous amount of static and is using less than 1/2 of the available bandwidth.

Here are some references to back up what I had said:

Air Card Specs and Tests:

http://www.thetravelinsider.info/roa...relesscard.htm

Also, see this on the Tmobile site itself. They accurately list the actual speed of an AirCard as 20-35K - not quite twice as fast as a 56K home modem.. actually 1/2 the speed, as I had pointed out):

http://www.t-mobile.com/products/ove...841&class=data

Unfortunately, there is still a real gap for someone wishing to update a website while underway, or in remote locations. The technology to look for in the next couple of years that will significantly improve the performance of the wireless data cards is called 3G. The nation's wireless carriers are rolling this out now (slowly) in order to catch up with the rest of the world. A 3G wireless data card will allow you to access the inernet at approx 256K, which is a fine speed for editing a website. Keep an eye out for it... it may be out in the next 2 years, and will certainly make WiFi less desirable since the 256K connection will be everywhere you have cellular service.

Sean
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Old 22-01-2005, 08:17   #25
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Sean,
They are both 56K modems. The difference is that I have never connected via phone line at faster than 34K. Normally, the contact speed is closer to 24K. The air card continually connects at 52-54K. Any usage I have had has been fine on the air card. Less than acceptable on the phone line. That is the reason that I am connected to a cable modem.
Jim
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Old 24-01-2005, 13:36   #26
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Ok Here Goes;

It seems that Cingular/AT&T have the best offering for me. That is a Sony Ericsson GC83 card. $99.99 net of rebate and 79.99/month unlimited access. The coverage area looks just fine for where I plan to be in the next couple of years anyway. The transfer rates they quote are 100 to 130 Kbps. I tried and tried to find a local retailer but it seems the only way to get one of these is over the web. At least I can return it in 30 days if I'm not happy with it. I'm trying to get it ordered today and if all goes well (or even if it doesn't), I'll post my test results as soon as I can. For those of you who can and are willing to wait - - some new broadband technology is coming out in about a year. The guy on the phone said the transfer rates would be on a par with todays DSL. My warranty should be running out by then anyway.

Stay tuned
Greg
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Old 24-01-2005, 17:23   #27
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update

Our new WISP seems to be much sharper than the previous ones. To date we have all been using the little 2.2DBI antennas designed for use inside a house or office. The distance between our boats & their antenna is several times greater than the designed working distances of these antennas. At their recommendation, I have ordered a Cisco Aironet 350 PC card (without antenna) ... and a killer 8DBI industrial "building to building" antenna. Waiting for the equipment to arrive ... but looking forward to killer connections! Stay tuned indeed!

L S/V Eva Luna
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Old 25-01-2005, 20:24   #28
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My last post didn't make it. Too bad. It was packed full of options, including waiting for the new 3G technology, which is what your rep was talking about below. Best of luck!

Sean

Quote:
Greg B once whispered in the wind:
Ok Here Goes;

It seems that Cingular/AT&T have the best offering for me. That is a Sony Ericsson GC83 card. $99.99 net of rebate and 79.99/month unlimited access. The coverage area looks just fine for where I plan to be in the next couple of years anyway. The transfer rates they quote are 100 to 130 Kbps. I tried and tried to find a local retailer but it seems the only way to get one of these is over the web. At least I can return it in 30 days if I'm not happy with it. I'm trying to get it ordered today and if all goes well (or even if it doesn't), I'll post my test results as soon as I can. For those of you who can and are willing to wait - - some new broadband technology is coming out in about a year. The guy on the phone said the transfer rates would be on a par with todays DSL. My warranty should be running out by then anyway.

Stay tuned
Greg
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Old 26-01-2005, 06:39   #29
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Well FedX dropped of my new air card last night. I'm going to try to get it installed and tested. I'll keep everyone up to date. I downloaded the McAfee Internet Speedometer so that I can compare this card to dialup and cable and give you all the results that I get here.

And yes. Sean, It was the G3 technology but the guy said that it was being tested in major markets only for now. He mentioned Huston and Atlanta. At that rate I've got to think that it will be quite a while before it works in BF tennessee along the river or ditch.

Anyway stay tuned

Greg
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Old 31-01-2005, 04:46   #30
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Hot Spots Locaters

Wi-Fi Hotspot Locater: http://www.wi-fihotspotlist.com/
To find HotSpots near a location, enter a complete or partial address. By default, all locations within 1 mile are shown. Click on "Browse by Region" to see all HotSpots in a city. Click on a HotSpot name for a map within the U.S. and Europe.

And also:
http://www.wififreespot.com/
http://www.jiwire.com/search-hotspot-locations.htm
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