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Old 22-07-2010, 11:05   #1
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Arrow Internet on Sailboat

Hello All,

I think it would be great to live on a boat full-time, sailing the world. The problem is, I need high-speed internet access to accomplish this. I am wondering

A. is there a satellite internet option that is high-speed and reliable?

and

B. Would it be possible to only have internet while in port, with some sort of wireless setup? Once again, it needs to be high-speed and reliable.

If I can find an option, I am leaning towards selling out on land and sailing around the world by myself for several years. Any thoughts?
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Old 22-07-2010, 13:01   #2
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Intenet access while out cruising....

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhataWorld! View Post
I need high-speed internet access to accomplish this.
Oh boy, here we go again......but assuming you need this access for business, the costs involved ARE tax-deductible.....

1) Depending on what your definition of "high-speed" is, the answer is yes, there ARE options.....and depending on how much you wish to spend ($$$$) vs. the convenience / access, there are actually many, many options.....

2) There have been many discussion on this issue.....and I'd advise you to determine exactly how much you need high-speed internet access, how much you need to work, etc. versus how much you can afford to spend (in $$$$, time, and effort/hassles), in order to accomplish the goal of "high-speed" internet access....
Doing this, YOU will be able to decide YOURSELF what works for YOU and YOUR application.....
Not doing this, could mean either spending too much to get what you assume that you need (or others have told you that you need), or even worse not being able to sailaway on your dream voyage when you wish to, or maybe not at all.....
So, after you read all of the referenced info, and other discussion threads, please heed this advice....and you should be well on your way....



Quote:
Originally Posted by WhataWorld! View Post
A. is there a satellite internet option that is high-speed and reliable?
3) A. Yes.....there ARE very reliable "high-speed" / "broadband" Satellite Internet access options available, worldwide.....
But, they are VERY pricey!!!!
Iridium Open Port, INMARSAT Fleet Broadband, and INMARSAT BGAN.....are the only 3 worldwide satellite internet options.....

If you wish more details, please read these threads.....and ask for further info if needed....
Internet at Sea
SSCA Discussion Board • View topic - Satellite Internet Service?


Depending on how "fast" (128k/150k up to 250k/500k of raw data speeds, which are comparable to double those speeds on terrestrial access, due to compression technologies used) of high-speed internet you need, this equipment will cost from $4500/$5000 up to $10,000/$20,000.....and your month access fees (depending on your thru-put) will be ~ $100 - $500/$750 per month, or more????

But, IF you need this high-speed access, worldwide, rain-or-shine, at sea or in port.....it IS available and reliable!!!!



Quote:
Originally Posted by WhataWorld! View Post
B. Would it be possible to only have internet while in port, with some sort of wireless setup? Once again, it needs to be high-speed and reliable.
4) B. The answer here is: YES.....
And this is what most cruisers use thesedays for internet access....

The exact options vary, depending on where you're cruising and how much you wish to spend.....
(And, will also depend again on what you define as "hi-speed"....and while one or two of these options may have VERY hi-speed in some locales, they might be barely "dial-up" speed in other areas....)

The obvious options are:
a) A decent Wi-Fi set-up on board, allowing you to access wi-fi access points on shore, from distances of a mile or two (or as much as 3 - 5 miles)....whether you find free access (open access points) or pay a subscription for access, this is an easy, inexpensive option.....(from $40 up to $200...)
Have a look at my set-up here:
Wi-Fi


b) An "Aircard" from the local wireless provider......

c) 3G access from your mobile phone......

d) Using / buying SIM cards, etc. for use in your unlocked phone or Aircard, when venturing to many different countries / locales....



5) Please read these threads for some ideas....
Wifi 'Antenna' Question
Internet and Cruising
Long-Distance WiFi Device
Ham, $$B, Iridium ?



And, a few more that are not directly regarding your application, but may be helpful to you in the long run....
If Data Connection Is Necessary, What's Best ?
Trans-Atlantic Internet Connection
Satellite Email / Internet / Phone




Quote:
Originally Posted by WhataWorld! View Post
If I can find an option, I am leaning towards selling out on land and sailing around the world by myself for several years. Any thoughts?
Thoughts????
Sure I have many thoughts....not sure exactly what to say, except for:
Don't be so concerned with the "making money" part.....and learn what life is like out there at sea and in remote locales, before you make the big plunge.....doing BOTH of these will give a high success rate, doing neither is fraught with troubles.....(just my opinion.....but you asked!)


Fair winds and good luck....


John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:00   #3
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thought about this myself

I work from home and 90% of my work (or so I thought) needed a high speed internet access.

So I looked up a bunch of stuff and then thought... hmmm... that's kind of expensive!

My final conclusion was:

1.) Many Marinas supply wifi for a price similar to what you might pay at a hotel or something like that .... $5-$10 day... not bad
2.) I can tether my blackberry to my computer if needed for cell/internet reception up to a couple miles out... this works in some parts of the world as well...
3.)I didn't actually need to be connected to the net all the time... really I could work on a computer if needed and then batch upload/download when I got to port
4.)Sailing the high seas while typing on a computer seems great... but I wonder... is it? I think I'd rather be sailing than working... so maybe consider saving some dough and put the job on hold?... or work out how you might be able to work 1 month on 1 month off... somehting more amenable to your sailing trip.

I agree with the above... it's probably good to get to know some of the localities you plan on visiting before sailing out there. I think you'll see that the "need" for high speed internet is much less than your "need" for adventure and getting to know new people and new ways...

in other words, why ruin a perfectly good sailing trip by being glued to a screen all day? Get some friends or crew members and consider selling your digital life along with your land based life...

unfortunately it's difficult to have a bohemian and bourgeoisie lifestyle... might have to choose one or the other...
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:21   #4
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"...and I'd advise you to determine how much you need high-speed internet access."

I'm a financial trader, among other things, so yeah, I need it. I would be okay with not having internet access in blue water passagemaking, but I need it in port, and a quick connection, to boot. I could lose a lot of money on trades if my connection is lost when I have a sensitive position open. I could trade only long-term positions, but I would like to keep up with short-term trading as a large part of my activity. I wouldn't like to have any open positions when I am out and about in other countries, because if I did I could not fully relax. As to where I want to sail, the answer is everywhere. I want to live on board full-time, and go around the world in several years.

I can spend more on my setup than most (several thousand dollars) because it is so important for what I wish to accomplish. But in needs to be reliable and fast. Thoughts?
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:30   #5
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lol high speed is all in the mined..LOL....i use sprint dial up broadband--they call it 3g service--lol---works. most marinas have wifi, if you are into marinas, is easy to get a signal. some places it isnt free some it is. good luck and have fun shopping. ask about the data transfer fees BEFORE you buy service--LOL--those are hidden charges--i dont pay those, as i dont get any--i have unlimited service for 70 dollars per month. is too high but is unlimited and no hidden charges.

whataworld--you need sat phone service--good luck--bux up and big antenna---but it works....

others not dealing in high pressure stuff online dont NEED to be there but once per week--all businesses EXCEPT finance are able to slow down and still make a killing..LOL...is a good excuse for staying tied to a tether to the land based life you are trying so hard --haha--to leave behind....
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:40   #6
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My wife and I have been looking into this as well. She has the ability to tele commute, which would allow us to leave land much sooner then we are planning.

It comes down to how much access you really need. Current she need access 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. Offshore options are far to expensive for our requirements. If it were just for emails or light data transfer then we could manage it, but she can send and receive huge amounts of data at any given time, and there are deadlines involved. The equipment alone isn't worth it. So for us the dream is still on its current timetable. However this industry is moving quickly, 5 years ago surfing on cell phones was a very slow process. I am hoping by the time we leave there will be a global wifi network that is free to use by all. OK I am a dreamer.


Most Marinas around cruising areas will have wifi, but it could be at a cost. There are always open signals around, and using a wifi signal booster will help acquire those, however with an open signal you lose the reliability factor.

I can successfully get a downtown open wifi network from my house, which is about 5 km away. and many many more I can't get just using my laptops wifi card. Again, hard to find sometimes and open ones tend to be up and down with reliability. Given our current situation we have our own highspeed internet in the house, the signal booster was to test a theory and it worked.
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:41   #7
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if you can afford it

yeah if you can afford it then satellite would work... a wifi range extender/repeater works well too near shore..

it depends on your trading frequency/hold period though... with the instability of any off grid internet connection I'd say that positions should be taken with the thought that up to an hour of being disconnected from a terminal wouldn't present too much risk for you.

Think about it this way... if my connection dies and doesn't come back up, how long will it take to get an alternative off-boat connection?

I too work in the financial industry... more of a quant than a trader though so I understand the predicament.

of course it all depends on how much risk you can take and what your default position exit points are... if it were me I'd get a nice satellite phone as well and have some on shore that I could call to execute an order just in case...

But again, if it were me... I'd simply take 1-2 month positions (or at the most 1-2 week positions) and worry about having fun not my open positions.
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:47   #8
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Quote:
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whataworld--you need sat phone service
Would I be able to get internet through that? I am looking into getting a AT&T world phone that has coverage in over 220 countries Wireless International Rates - Wireless from AT&T . Does anyone have any experience with this? Once again, I am pretty well funded, so finding a high-speed internet solution is important.
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:50   #9
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the marinas we went to didnt charge for the free wifi they offered so i dont know about marinas charging for it--usually they allow guests use.

whataworld--havent heard of that plan or program--look around --i know there are other servers---shop well--there are iridium services and others---look well and see what they have to say---you are going where i refuse to tread ..LOL--all i neeed fone for is to know if i still have relatives.>LOL...you need the 007 package..lol...
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Old 22-07-2010, 14:54   #10
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How fast are the internet connections in the marinas, on average, and how reliable are they?
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Old 22-07-2010, 15:43   #11
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Most cruisers spend very little time out at sea where high-speed access is expensive. Otherwise, coastal-wise, world-wide, good connections and good anchorages are not hard to find with a cellular modem.
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Old 22-07-2010, 15:57   #12
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Reliability

From personal experience of short term trading and an internet connection that is not 110% under my control.......you're likely to be happy until that one time, near the market close, on a triple witching day....when for some obscure reason, that nobody can ever explain........your connection goes down. That one time will kill your confidence for ever.
Streaming quotes can ruin your day when they stop streaming.
Been there.
Thus, while it may be reasonable to expect stuff to work on your boat, in a marina, on an island... like it does in the real world....like the dude promised it would when he signed you up.....beware!
Oh, & keep us all informed how it all works out for ya!
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Old 22-07-2010, 16:05   #13
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Originally Posted by WhataWorld! View Post
How fast are the internet connections in the marinas, on average, and how reliable are they?
Totally variable.

We are sailing around the world and have been in marinas in St Lucia, Panama, Ecuador, Tahiti, Fiji, Vanuatu and Australia in the last 8 months. I don't think any of those marinas provided free internet. The one I'm using here in Oz is AUS$ 25 for a week and then AUS$ 11.95/Gb download. It is the best I've had for a while. Many are unusable.

I can often find an open router to use. Cafes along the waterfront will often have open routers or will give you the code for the price of a beer. I have a Ubiquiti Bullet HP and can often pull in these signals from a couple of miles away.

If you limit your short trades to the time you within WiFi range - which will probably be more than 95% of the time - I think you can manage quite well without paying a fortune.
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Old 22-07-2010, 16:13   #14
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If you have enough money to afford a fancy worldwide internet connection you probably have enough money to just go cruising and forget about working. Assign an employee to do your work. I'm serious.

What cruiser's do is buy a local broadband cellular plan (SIM) when they first arrive in a new country. Usually a pay-as-you-go plan. I'm way out in Borneo. The 3G+ service here in the rainforest is way better than such service in California. Almost never drops. As fast as advertised, usually. US$6 a week. Reload at the corner market.
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Old 22-07-2010, 16:50   #15
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Intenet access while out cruising....

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Originally Posted by WhataWorld! View Post
I can spend more on my setup than most (several thousand dollars) because it is so important for what I wish to accomplish. But in needs to be reliable and fast. Thoughts?
WhataWirld,
1) Please forgive my bluntness, but the answer to your questions are in my first post/answer.....
Did you read the referenced threads????

2) If you require others to do your work for you, you need to pay them.....if you want free advice / info, you already got that....

3) Again, sorry if I sound abrupt, but if you read the referenced threads, you'll easily see that a combination of systems will do what most need.....but, for you the solutions are more expensive and more limited....

Using your statement I quote here, the short answer is:
INMARSAT BGAN is the cheapest route, but a FB500 is what I'd recommend.....

INMARSAT satcom systems (specifically BGAN and Fleet Broadband) will work worldwide up to 70* Latitude.....
They ARE reliable, and "fast".....the more you pay ($$$$) the faster you go..

{BGAN will cost you ~ $2000 - $3000 for equipment, and you'd need to set-up and point the antenna, when you are in port.......
Combine BGAN with a decent wi-fi set-up, and most would be in good shape....
But a Fleet Broadband 500 system is truly what you're after....
And, if you felt the need for a less expensive solution than BGAN (such as Aircards, 3G phones, etc...) then you're going to be very limited on your world cruise....
While I have written that 99.9% of cruisers do NOT need satcom systems, especially hi-speed always-on IP systems, and I do stand by my words.....you are in that last 0.1%.....and you should know that now, before you go any further.....
I truly wish I could recommend what 99.9% of us use (wi-fi, aircards, internet cafe's, HF radios, etc...), but I cannot do that here.....
You write quite clearly (twice) what you require, and your needs are fairly rare, and hence so are the solutions!!!! }




4) Since you wrote that you're a trader and can afford more than most, I'd personally recommend a INMARSAT Fleet Broadband 500......
They WILL cost you a LOT of $$$$ ($15,000 - $20,000+) for the equipment and plenty of $$$ each month ($13.50 per Megabyte of thru-put, plus $1.50.min for voice calls), but it's all a business expense.....

So, my advice is go for the FB500 system....
You'll have no worries at all....
FleetBroadband - Inmarsat

Unless you're willing to pay for the consult, I'm not going to take you in-hand, and lead you thru the entire process....
BUT, you can follow the links on INMARSAT's site, and they'll get you to the correct vendor, as well as disclose all the details of the services and equipment needed.....


5) FYI, KVH has a nice price on a FB500 system, on sale it's $14,995.....that's the least expensive FB500 system I've seen....
Furuno, JRC, and Sailor / Thrane & Thrane...are $17k to $21k....
Do a google search for some others....


In complete honesty and sincereity, since you wrote that you do "need"
this type of connectivity, and can easily afford it, I cannot recommend anything else but a FB500 system.....

How you know how seriuos I am in my recommendations, are that I'm a BIG fan of Iridium and Iridium Open Port.....so for me to recommend INMARSAT is a big deal....


Disclaimer:
Even though I am in the commercial satcom business, Please note that I have no connection with INMARSAT (nor Iridium) and do NOT sell their services......so, I have no interest here at all, other than giving the most accurate info and best advice (from 25+ years in the satcom industry).....


Fair winds and good luck...

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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