This is something that is really important to me and I did lots of research
before I invested. I did a blog post
about that research
a little over a year ago and though things have changed a little, I think the most recent version of the bullet is still the basis for the best antennas out there.
If I were you I would take a pass on all the USB units. Read the blog as to why.
The ones that repackage the Ubiquity Bullet are the ones that will give you the range, but just because you can see a station a mile away, that doesn't mean you can actually connect to it with any kind of signal. The reality is that nowadays there is often one unsecured network available at the anchorage and if there are a dozen yachts there, that probably means twice that many computers
and some of them are trying to download music
or stream video and the bandwidth is squeezed down to a trickle.
All of the ones like Island Time PC, Bad Boy Extreme, Rogue Wave
, etc. are really the same - assuming they are all using the most recent version of Ubiquity's products. You can buy the Bullet directly from Ubiquity
and put together your own system for the cheapest price
of all if you know something about networking and electronics
. The real difference is the user interface. Ubiquity has their own AirOS and it is not for the faint of heart. They produce products for the IT trade
. Ubiquity is not accustomed to dealing with consumers, so you shouldn't expect great tech support from them, either.
After doing my research, I ended up buying
the Rogue Wave
from Land and Sea Wifi
because they provide their own version of the software
for you to interface with the antenna and they also provide excellent tech support. Once I connect to a given network, the next time my computer will see that "hot spot" and remember it. It also stores passwords that I've entered if I'm on a marina network and I appreciate that ease of use. I paid well over $100 extra premium to get that, but it was worth it to me. Anytime I have had a problem, my calls and emails to Randy have been answered promptly.
I have a friend who is an IT guy and who put together his own system, though, and he is equally pleased with it. He can deal with the AirOS that comes native with the standard antenna. THAT is the question I would ask if I were shopping
again. I would ask if the company selling you the antenna system has burned their own software
onto the thing or if they are going to be using the native AirOS.
Just my 2 cents.