Originally Posted by bblaisen
I have a wifi network through my smartphone that I transfer to my laptop. It is really easy and only $10/month in addition to my plan.
Things are getting a bit complicated these days what with smartphones and tablets. But basically accessing the "web" via a smartphone of tablet is done through your cell phone
provider like ATT, Sprint, Verizon, etc. The result is the same as you are connected to the "web" but WiFi is a bit different - basically.
Wifi is the access of the web through the 802.11 system of short range RF signals between your computer system, tablet, netbook, etc. You are connecting to a "Access Point" computer server on shore that is itself hooked into the "web." Marinas
, hotels, internet
terminals, etc. offer these types of WiFi access. Wifi is "non-specific" in that your computer system can connect to a wide variety of different "providers" of the "web." These access systems can be "free" or require payment for an hour, day, week, month, etc.
The complicated part comes in that the major telephone companies also run parallel data access services using their proprietary "dongles" or plug-in adaptors for your various types of computers
. You can connect your mobile phone
(cell or smartphone) to your computer/tablet via a cable or "blue-tooth" or other IR system. This form of access is specific to that telephone company and you cannot access some other telephone company's data service
. You have to subscribe and pay for this type of "web" access as part of or in addition to your telephone service
What is even more complicated now is that some "Tablets" and "smartphones" have dual systems in them so you can select to either use "Wifi" from whatever is available around you - or - your telephone company's data access system.
Generally speaking "Wifi" is thought of as the "free" or short term pay system for accessing the "web" via your computer/lapbook/netbook/tablet.
And moving yourself and computer to the masthead or moving your amplified antenna system to the masthead works great to get the maximum amount of choices of "access points."
However, the OP is interested in how to be able to connect and disconnect his WiFi antenna from the boat's hull
when he removes the radar arch for inland canal cruising. Basic problem is - as other mentioned - pure WiFi RF signals attentuate (decrease in strength) dramatically with coax cable length and especially if you interrupt the cable with an intermediate connector. This is where I believe a CAT5E LAN cable type antenna system can solve his problem.