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Old 02-05-2008, 09:01   #1
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Internet Connectivity When Miles Offshore.

I know it is possible. Earth talks with Mars and beyond these days.

The new 406 EPIRBS do it. Can anybody tell me what hardware is required, who the service providers are, and what price one would have to pay.

Professional fishermen in Australia are required by law to install a satelite transciever system that tracks their position and logs it on the government computers. A side benefit of this is that they can use it for emailing and probably more.

Any advices??? Cheers Cisco.
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:04   #2
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Hi Cisco,
I liked all your salty terms for the screen writer. Some Australian terms for things just bust me up. ..and I mean that in a good way.

There was a similar post here not too long ago. In a nutshell though, if you are far offshore and want internet, you need a gyro stabilized dish. KVH and a few others make them and they seem to start around $5000 for the hardware plus the cost of the subscription/usage time, which is rather expensive. There are also gyro stabilized dishes for receiving television etc, but they are receive only and not quite as much in cost.

Something like Iridium can be connected to a modem for a very slow Tx/Rx...but with that, doing images would be out of the question. One guy I know uses his Iridium for doing his emails. He logs on for a few minutes a day to do his email uploads and downloads. There is also at least one other satellite email based service out there but I forgot the name.

EPIRB's etc are transmit only (other than the ones with a GPS receiver) with satellites dedicated to listening for them, therefore the lower expense.

Near land, you an get cellular based modems. They are slow compared to broadband but better than nothing.

I would imagine the Australian satellite based units are Tx only....making them relatively affordable.

So far there is no such thing as a cheap internet connection far offshore. Hopefully that will change as the competition increases.

David
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:29   #3
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Actually, if we could get a good internet connection offshore, we would already be cruising on a catamaran. The lack of income due to us not being able to use internet from a boat is a major hurdle. We can't just disappear for days or weeks at a time, popping up now and then at some internet cafe. Dang it.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:33   #4
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Hi David M and Canibul, Thanks for the responses. Glad you enjoyed my other post Dave. We Aussies tend to get sardonic at times.

Did you hear about the guy who stole the calendar. Yeah, well he got 12 months.

With the internet, wouldn't it be possible via a satellite (have I spelt it right yet)telephone??
Cheers, Cisco.
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Old 02-05-2008, 10:45   #5
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Originally Posted by cisco007 View Post
Hi David M and Canibul, Thanks for the responses. Glad you enjoyed my other post Dave. We Aussies tend to get sardonic at times.

Did you hear about the guy who stole the calendar. Yeah, well he got 12 months.

With the internet, wouldn't it be possible via a satellite (have I spelt it right yet)telephone??
Cheers, Cisco.
Cisco,
Yes you can use a phone for an internet connection. That's what I meant by using the Iridium phone. But it is very slow. You can't do your typical web surfing with one. It's also expensive.

David
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Old 02-05-2008, 14:12   #6
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Fisherman use Inmarsat C transceivers, check out GMN-COMPRESSED WIRELESS SATELLITE EMAIL, WEATHER, VESSEL TRACKING for iridium based email and internet, we have both on board, sat c is good for short text messages and automatic weather reports and is also part of GMdSS and has distress function so is good for emergency use, Global marines email software is excellent and there web browsing software also works well, it also has automatic Grib file service
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Old 02-05-2008, 15:52   #7
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I know it is possible. Earth talks with Mars and beyond these days. ... Any advices??? Cheers Cisco.
Check out these threads:

Internet Access! Solution?

Computer/Internet access

If I recall, KVH industries sells the gyro stabilized unit but the cost is more along the lines of 35,000 for the hardware (plus installation) and up to 4500 a month.
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Old 02-05-2008, 16:18   #8
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Earth talks with Mars? Well, if you don't mind having a 50-metre dish on your boat you can do really great things on low power.

For more pragmatic ways to communicate, look at what amateur radio satellite links are doing--including talking routinely with the international space station.

For a cut above that, in price and performance, there are commercial solutions but you've got to pay to play.
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Old 02-05-2008, 19:44   #9
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the Sat phones baud rates are too low for standard internet service and are suitable for e-mail, wefax type data only.
The ONLY way to get full internet service is with a KVH type setup at $5k or so for the setup and access charges for either EACH byte of info or monthly MIMINAL plans starting at around $1200.
Here's the product: TracPhone V7
Here's the rate sheet:http://www.kvh.com/pdf/DS_TPV7_AirtimeRates.pdf

Note also that ONLY the coastal Us/europe and ATlantic are well covered at the moment. Vast areas of the Pacific Indian and South Atlantic Oceans are not available yet.
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Old 02-05-2008, 23:37   #10
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The ONLY way to get full internet service is with a KVH type setup at $5k or so for the setup and access charges for either EACH byte of info or monthly MIMINAL plans starting at around $1200.
So I'm thinking "Man, I could have sworn theses were closer to 40k for the equiptment" and I search Google for M7 and M9 because you might as well go all in for a piece of gear of dubious value.

Sailtech has what I think I was looking at: 29k to 31k for the setup. But as we all know, prices drop and retailers don't always update the adverts to reflect that. Anyway Gurumarine list the dome for 6600 to 13k. I'm not sure if there are any other hidden costs, but then, I don't really care as it isn't something I really want either. It would sort of change the definition of cruising from "working on your ships systems in exotic locations" to "being stuck to your computer in exotic locations".

On the other hand I think the product motto is appropriate.

"The Way Cruising at Sea Was Meant to Be" .... obscenely expensive.
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Old 03-05-2008, 00:02   #11
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Another Internet Connection Possibility

I'm "in the same boat" when it comes to needing a maritime internet connection to make cruising realistic. I've been under contract as a 'Staff Writer-Editor' for a few years now, completely online, but I have to engage in VOIP committee meetings five days a week, so I've been on the lookout for an affordable broadband boat connection.

At the Vancouver Boat Show this past spring, the 'Shakespeare' company (the antenna guys, I believe) gave me a sales spiel about their "Always-on High Speed Internet for the Boating World" system, CruiseNet. In short, their spiel is: a) The system works off of regular cellular carriers, meaning that you need a package subscription from Sprint, Verizon, etc, at $59.95 per month; b) you buy their router and external antenna hardware at $1800-2000, but this gives you 50 nautical mile range offshore (i.e., from the nearest cell tower, presumably). In theory, this would mean that coastal North American cruisers would have 'broadband connection just like the one in your home or office.' The Shakespeare site is: Shakespeare Electronic Products - Introduction to Home Page.

I haven't tried it yet. (Though the possibility did send me back into the boat market.) I would be quite interested if anyone else has tried the system, and what their impressions are.

p.s., There's another system, based on a W25 modem, advertised at: Internet for Boats, Internet at Sea, Marine Internet, Internet for Ships, making similar promises.
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Old 03-05-2008, 04:54   #12
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I know this is no good in OZ but here in the US, onboard Holding Pattern, we have an Air Card from Sprint (our cell carrier.) The publishing company I contract for pays for it, I believe it is $49 a month for unlimited service...we've been 10 miles offshore and been surfing the net, pulling up large scale radar, and posting on Cruisers Forum.
It is a PCMCIA card, fast as I could ever want or need, and we have only found one place in the Eastern US that we cannot connect (an anchorage at the far southern end of the Alligator River, NC, technically located in BFE.)
25 miles offshore it becomes a bit sketchy, but then again, our Globalstar phone won't connect sitting here in Charleston, SC much less 25 miles offshore.
With all that being said, if it wasn't paid for by someone else, I would fit it into the budget, it is fantastic.
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Old 03-05-2008, 19:31   #13
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Thank you to all that have responded. Seems like it is like most things, possible with varying degrees of functionality directly proportionate to the size of your budget.

I don't have room for the 50ft sat dish on little old Van De Stadt 34, so I will adjust my requirements to "Internet Connectivity On Board when not hooked up to or far from Shore".

A friend has one of those PCMCIA mobile cards in his laptop and gets a good connection via the cell net fron Telstra here in Oz. He is a Manx Man and is as tight fisted with his dollars as a person can get. He pays about $10 a month for 10 hours service and uses it mainly to browse for real estate.

I guess the quality of your internet connection is a low priority when you have 35 knots blowing over the deck.

I still have a hardware problem. A PCMCIA mobile card on the chart table of a steel yacht is going to connect to diddly squat.

Any ideas anybody???
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Old 03-05-2008, 19:37   #14
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Is anyone on this site using a land based BGAN antenna set up? AT least on ARC boat this year claimed that on a straight course while sailing they could get great internet connection. I would by a BGAN land based system in a heart beat if I knew that I could use it at anchor and while underway.

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Old 03-05-2008, 19:50   #15
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Buddy, I'm not sure I'd believe 50 miles. A cellco engineer once mentioned that no matter how much power you use, the range limit (at least then, for his company, and he thought it was US-industry-wide) was 32 miles.

This is because there is signal latency for all radio communications, the same reason that conversations with Apollo capsules had long pasues in them. The cellular system apparently measures and uses that delay to determine which tower is closest to you and should be handling your call--and when the latency gets to 32 miles worth, the towers are instructed to drop and ignore the call.

The other problem is that cellular towers all are subject to the "FM capture" effect. The ten, or hundred, etc. strongest signals "capture the tower" and the weaker signals get dropped, or never get connected. Again, no matter how good your equipment offshore is--you'd need a LOT of signal to compete with the phones within a half mile of the tower.

Cellular mobile, with a gain antenna and power booster, might be the best way to go but ask that salesman if he'll bet a month's rent on whether 50 miles will work.[g]
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