Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-10-2013, 12:16   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Baildon, Shipley, West Yorkshire
Posts: 18
Laptop usage and internet providers afloat?

Can anyone help us find our way through the confusing waters around computer and laptop versus tablets versus i-Phones etc. etc. I would like to work from out catamaran at least one or two days per week initially from Devon & Cornwall but the increasingly from Western Med. I would like to at least work out a course through the bewildering choice of devices and ways in which one can access the internet afloat. Any advice?
__________________

__________________
Seadog54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 12:29   #2
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
The only practical way is 3G gsm. Either supplied via a hotspot from a smart phone ( ie so your laptop can use it) or buy a dedicated 3G dongle
Dave
__________________

__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 12:31   #3
nes
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: San Diego, Ca
Boat: Hunter 326
Posts: 151
Re: Laptop usage and internet providers afloat?

Do you use an I-pad or tablet daily now? do you use a computer daily now? is it a Mac or a PC? Can you do all of your work on a tablet? (either an Ipad or an Android?) If you don't know, then get one and try it, see if you can stand not having a separate keyboard and mouse, see if the apps you find for it work well enough to do what you need. Is the screen big enough to see what you need to see?
Once you have all the answers to the above, you will have a better idea of what you need to work on remotely on your boat.

As a comparison, my wife and I just completed a 29 day trip on the inter-coastal water way from Corpus Christi, Tx. to Tampa, Fl. My wife uses an Ipad, I use an Android tablet, we also have a laptop PC on the boat, and a Mac and a PC at home. For internet on the boat we used her Ipad which has cell service, my smartphone tethered to either the laptop or my tablet or both, or we went to a bar/restaurant that had a free hotspot. Each device has its advantages and disadvantages. For example the ease of manipulating pictures from the camera we used the laptop. For easy email we used the Ipad, for texting the smartphone was best. For a backup GPS with charts the apps that worked best were for the Android tablet and they worked best when connected to the internet, (tethered to the smartphone).

As for how to make it work, there are a variety of options.
1. You can get a WIFI receiver/transmitter that will have the antenna on the mast with a booster that will let you connect from a mile or more away. This will let you tap into those unprotected WIFI hotspots for the restaurants and bars etc along the water way.
2. You can get a cell phone with mobile hotspot software that will let you have only a cell phone bill, yet have internet on several devices. (I have a Galaxy S4 with Verizon here in Florida that has this and I can have up to 5 devices attached).
3. You can get a Tablet or a laptop that has cell service in it so that you can connect directly via the cell service.
4. There are satellite phone/internet services that would allow you to connect via the Satphone.

There are other options, such as a modem that works over the radio, not sure of the level of difficulty in hooking it up/coordinating it with a network on board.

Disadvantages of cell service, you must be in range of a cell tower.
Disadvantage of SatPhone is probably the cost.
Disadvantage of the WIFI setup is finding an open hotspot close enough to where you want to work to make it happen.

But I need to go back to the beginning of my answer to your question. What will work for you on the type of device? the rest is just the mechanics of making it happen.
__________________
nes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 14:27   #4
Registered User
 
CaptTom's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southern Maine
Boat: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
Posts: 977
Re: Laptop usage and internet providers afloat?

My thought is that the first step is to have a wireless router on board. Maybe also a wired network for NMEA 2000.

Then as technology and your sailing destinations change, you can connect different devices to it (like those options mentioned above) on the Internet side. That gives you a local WiFi hot spot which you can use for your tablet, laptop, smart phone, desktop computer with nav software, wireless cameras or security systems, whatever.
__________________
CaptTom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 15:19   #5
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Wifi access is of little use. Good 3G is often available upto 25 miles out and is more consistent then poor wifi. You can easily get a " all you can eat" data plan

You have two choices

Use a smartphone as a hotspot to relay 3G to wifi and use that wifi to share all the devices with be 3G connection

Buy a simple 3G dongle for a laptop and a broadband data plan

Alternatively a 3G iPad. But its not as useful.


In practice especially in your areas but increasingly in Europe , the 3G network offers better speed and much more reliable connectivity and easier setup. The same system will also work on the European mainland.

Wifi is now almost always closed , charg-able or crap. Having to continuously purchase hotspot time . Just to move on down the coast is a nuisance

The other thing is the GSM route means you probably already have the equipment already

Dave
__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 15:53   #6
Registered User
 
hoppy's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Boat: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40
Posts: 2,842
Re: Laptop usage and internet providers afloat?

just a few thoughts on the matter....

- As you are planning to move countries, then no 3G data plan, that I am aware of will suit. You will probably get fleeced the moment you leave the country. Although you can start with a UK plan and cancel it later.

- Remember many carriers with good pricing deals like to lock the phones/3g devices to their network. So make sure it is unlocked.

- a smartphone as a 3g hotspot is fine when you are in your home country. Once you are out of your country you will either pay high data rates or have to swap sims and then loose your phone number

- 3G dongles are very limited in their usefulness as they are restricted to one laptop. Get a 3G mifi instead. Then you can use the 3G mifi with your phone/ipad/laptop and so can guests

- As you travel around the Med you will probably want to pick up prepaid sim card for data access.

- Do use wifi hotspots when you can, as you may find that the data limits on a prepaid is low and therefore you may use your allowance in GB quicker than any time limit.
__________________
hoppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 15:54   #7
Eternal Member
 
monte's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Australia
Boat: Lagoon 400
Posts: 3,650
Images: 1
I think he meant local wifi network on board. The best bet is a simple modem that accepts a 3G dongle and creates a wifi network in board. They can be bought for about 50 bucks. Then you can connect wirelessly to your own network fro laptops. iPhones tablets printers etc.
cruising the med you will need to pick up a 3G card in each country. It's not too hard and pricing I around 50 euro per month for anything from 3gig to 30 gig. Depending on the country and plan. Like goatboating said, 3G can work a long way offshore. Usually at least 10m from my experience. I did connect to Croatia last week 50miles offshore !
__________________
monte is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013, 16:02   #8
Eternal Member
 
monte's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Australia
Boat: Lagoon 400
Posts: 3,650
Images: 1
In addition. I tried a tablet but returned it. I found it limited as opposed to the laptop. The laptop handles everything. From navigation program's with a GPS dongle and ais input, to emails , web, etc. the iPhone or tablet is good for a backup for mail and nav, as are tablets. And handy for apps like anchor alarms and tide tables etc,
__________________

__________________
monte is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
internet, laptop, loa

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:24.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.