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Old 22-01-2008, 21:42   #1
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Broadband internet?

How do I get decent internet on my boat in the marina (no wi-fi or hardwired connection available). (West coast, Oregon)
Is there a provider offering broadband over that cool KVH Trackvision? Or will I be limited to cell phone PCMCIA card connection?
Beyond cell tower range, remote locations and out to sea, is a satellite phone connected to a laptop how you get email and web access?
If I can get decent (fast-ish) internet in the marina, I can spend much more time on the boat, as I'm operating an e-business.
Thanks, really great forum, I've spent a fair amount of time on other forums (special motorcycles, AVIDs, airplanes, special interest cars) that invariably host a large volume of flame wars over the smallest things, and I see no evidence of that here. I see a very amenable, nice group genuinely trying to help one another, a beautiful thing.
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Old 23-01-2008, 23:13   #2
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I use Sprint broadband which delivers DSL speed in most parts of Oregon and Washington. The USB card also doubles as an effective GPS receiver. I've used it without problems in both marine and on-land applications.

-Greg (Kalama, Washington)
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Old 23-01-2008, 23:25   #3
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Nice! $60 per month for unlimited isn't terrible, and the cards are cheap, thanks!
Anybody in the South Beach Marina at Newport Oregon have sprint? Can you hear me now?
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Old 24-01-2008, 06:10   #4
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Greg, is that in addition to basic cell phone service? Can the Sprint be purchased without a Spring cell contract?
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Old 24-01-2008, 09:05   #5
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Sprint is definitely the way to go. I have been using it since I moved onto land and I plan to take it with me down to get my new boat.

The little USB device works flawlessly, although setting it up on a Mac takes a little bit of a trick.

It seems to get coverage everywhere, even out in the boonies, where I am now. Speeds are better than WiFi in marinas. No idea why... but they are.

Excellent product for $60/mo.

USA only though.

DefJef: You can purchase just the data device without Sprint voice. That's the $60/mo. There is a contract, but it's such a great device, I can't see going back to wifi.
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Old 24-01-2008, 10:28   #6
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I have used the Sprint service on land with good success.
If you should find yourself in an area with marginal signal take a look at the cellular products from Wilson Electronics. They will work with your Sprint data card as well.
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Old 24-01-2008, 10:53   #7
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The folks at 3Gstore make Mac use easy, selling them pre-configured (some of the EVDO cards need to be initially set up on Windoze).

Also, the MB6800 EVDO router has new firmware that lets it be a Google Earth compatible tracker.

I'm using this on my boat for a webcam and net access, and it's great... nice to be able to log in remotely and access servers as well as the router admin tools!

Steve
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Old 24-01-2008, 11:42   #8
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I have gone with the same solution from Verizon. Not sure of your coverage, but in my region (New England) it seems to have better coverage.

The price is $60 as well. As far as the MAC issue, the new software from Smith Micro is flawless on the MAC, and works with Sprint as well I hear.

Also note that the Sprint and Verizon product are the same, you can provision the modem to work on either network.

One thing to be aware is that the data providers require you to sign two year contracts for the lower price point.

Cheers,
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Old 24-01-2008, 11:46   #9
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You can also get a router for th sprint broadband and connect multiple puters (which i think is cool, but i dont have the service)
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Old 24-01-2008, 11:56   #10
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Yes... I can plug the EVDO card into my MacBook pro and just use it directly (with optional external antenna or 3-watt amp and outside antenna), or plug the card into the router and let it be a wireless access point. In this latter mode, it supports multiple laptops just like a home Wi-Fi network, and I can also see on-board servers from home. That includes an Axis 210 network camera and a small fanless and diskless Linux box with a bunch of I/O for looking at power, security sensors, bilge, temperatures, etc. The boat just appears as a website.

Sprint cost for unlimited service is $60/month, though if I ever take the video channels "public" I'll mirror them on a land-based server to avoid abusing the service.

(When this is all done I'll publish the details... it's a fraction of the cost of the commercial boat monitoring systems.)

Cheers,
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Old 24-01-2008, 12:12   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Microship View Post
The folks at 3Gstore make Mac use easy, selling them pre-configured (some of the EVDO cards need to be initially set up on Windoze).

Also, the MB6800 EVDO router has new firmware that lets it be a Google Earth compatible tracker.

I'm using this on my boat for a webcam and net access, and it's great... nice to be able to log in remotely and access servers as well as the router admin tools!

Steve
Yup... those guys look like they have an easy setup. Problem for me was:

I wanted it YESTERDAY! ha ha

My impatience caused me to just stop by the Sprint retail store and pick up the EVDO modem. The drivers required OSX(.4) and I had OSX(.3.9!!)

Thanks a lot, Mr. Jobs... ha ha

I had to upgrade the OS, then fiddle with the modem settings to get it right.

People won't have to go through this though. This was my own issue. I had remembered that it was a pain because there is not support at the Sprint store for it, but if you buy from these guys Steve mentions, you'll be in good shape.
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Old 24-01-2008, 12:29   #12
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Just remember that these Sprint and Verizon based solutions are very US Centric. Also the coverage is questionable in many areas in the US.

If it works locally for you, great!

If leave the US (to go to Canada, Mexico, or beyond) the roaming fees, if you get any coverage at all, will eat you alive... We're talking $1,000+ per month if you're not careful.
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Old 24-01-2008, 12:43   #13
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This is apparently a great time to negotiate deals with Sprint, apparently they lost nearly 700,000 subscribers in the last quarter and they are aggressively courting new ones.

Sean, I'm surprised you found great coverage. Sprint has made no secret out of the fact that they cherry-pick markets, i.e. airports, big cities, interstate corridors, and the hell with the great empty spaces. (Or anything less than a very dense market.)

If they stick to their plans to deploy WiMax later this year (apparently their losses are so big that everything is up for reconsideration) that may be a huge success for them, it will cover way more area with way more bandwidth than any of the cellular data plans.
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Old 24-01-2008, 12:45   #14
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So which of the little USB wireless "antennas" is recommended? I looked at Spint's site and they have a series of them and I can't see a comparison chart.
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Old 24-01-2008, 13:33   #15
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jef, "wireless antenna" in this context is like saying you are going "downstairs" to the pointy end of the boat.

Are you looking for a USB Wifi adapter? Or a cellular data card? Or a USB cellular data adapter?
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