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Old 04-10-2009, 21:08   #1
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Anchorages with WiFi

So, I got my boat sailing today. It is the first time it has sailed for over 10 years.

I headed for Aquatic Park which is an anchorage on the north shore of san francisco. There is wifi here. Anyone know other anchorages with wifi in California? Is there an online database?

Sean
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Old 04-10-2009, 23:27   #2
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I wouldn't think it would be easy to keep a database updated.

I've spent all the money & energy I'm going to spend chasing WiFi signals. I've been using 3G lately and hope I never have to go back to WiFi.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:08   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minggat View Post
I wouldn't think it would be easy to keep a database updated.

I've spent all the money & energy I'm going to spend chasing WiFi signals. I've been using 3G lately and hope I never have to go back to WiFi.

expensive?

signal availability?
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:52   #4
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I'm in Indonesia right now. I've been using it for about 3 months at about $20 US/mo. In So Cal AT&T offers it with my cell phone service for $15/mo unlimited. I'm thinking that's about what services providers charge for internet access anyway.

Availability? If you have a cell phone and can get a signal, it's available. If I'm wrong, please somebody speak up.

I normally resist getting on the band wagon at long as I can. I did this time too. So I trashed some money by not getting on sooner.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:07   #5
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Yes, there’s numerous Wi-Fi “hotspot” directories, none of them comprehensive, and including:

CaliforniaOther Wi-Fi Hotspots in Los Angeles - Things To Do In Los Angeles

USA ➥ United States Marinas with Wi-Fi hotspots for boats

World ➥ International Marinas with Wi-Fi hotspots for boats
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Old 05-10-2009, 20:27   #6
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Quote:
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I wouldn't think it would be easy to keep a database updated.

I've spent all the money & energy I'm going to spend chasing WiFi signals. I've been using 3G lately and hope I never have to go back to WiFi.
Do you have to do a contract? Or is it month to month?

What kind of speeds do you get?

How does it interface with the computer? Is it a usb modem.. that is how the sprint one worked when I last checked.




I'm concerned it won't work offshore, so it would be a waste of money when I'm halfway to Hawaii. I'm thinking about a large directional antenna, but with not too narrow of a beam width since the boat moves. It would be nice to have a gyro-compensated system though..

The other thought I had was to use ham radio for 56k communication.. but it looks like mostly it would use a lot of power, and is only for emails.
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Old 05-10-2009, 21:01   #7
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Not all GSM (2G or 3G) networks are created equal. If you are using a wireless "stick" in a computer or laptop, it uses a data protocol that is different from your PDA or smart phone. No problem in the USA or EU where the networks are up-to-date, but wireless data sticks don't work anywhere in the Carib. (Yet) Looking forward to 4G.

Still chasing wi-fi...

Dave
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Old 05-10-2009, 21:16   #8
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Gekosenator,

I think you did the quantum leap thing there. Your went from anchorage to offshore. From "got the boat out today" to "halfway to Hawaii". I took it from WiFi to 3G. So your real question I think is internet access while on the water.

In anchorages and marinas, 3G has served me well. better than WiFi. As far as contracts go, that depends on your cell phone carrier offers. Speeds seem to depend on how may signal bars you have (although I have heard that it shouldn't). Yes, I use a USB modem. My phone has that but you can get a separate modem. Again, check with your carrier. I use to be a Sprint customer, and strongly suggest you look at other carriers.

I don't agree that it would be a waste of money. first of all, it's cheap. And I don't think it's cost effective to get all your emails via Ham and you sound like you want to have more than just email anyway. I don't have SSB or Ham and someone who does could tell you more about that. It's pretty well covered here in the forum.

I will say that getting set up with 3G while you are in foreign ports might be cumbersome. I am using my wifes Indonesian connection now. In Singapore we had to go into the Singtel office and get set up. It took hours because it was not a Singapore cell phone and the techs just couldn't find the right keystrokes. I haven't tried it in Mexico yet (where my boat is in dry storage at the moment), but I know people who do. Again, it's a stumble over your status with the carrier and sometimes immigration (they had to scan my wifes passport to sell her a SIM card in Singapore).

This is the part where I gripe about US cell service.

I carry 2 phones. Both are unlocked so I can pop in a different SIM card & use them overseas. I had to pay $50 to get one of them unlocked and it's still unusable as a modem when I'm overseas. Now I understand that if we want to get a stand alone 3G/USB modem here in Indonesia, that we need to go someplace other than the cell phone carrier to get one that is already unlocked. Has this corner of the world caught onto US cell phone corporate tricks? I dunno. I will learn more in the next few weeks as I try to get my hands on a stand alone modem the next time I pass thru Sim Lim Plaza in Singapore.
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Old 08-10-2009, 14:37   #9
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Mingat's right to try and clarify the question, which has two parts: (i) where are you trying to be the US, Europe, Indonesia, the Coconut Milk Run, 2K nM from land or in an anchorage with land on 3 sides? and (ii) what do you want to be able to do - plain text emails and maybe grib files is a different proposition from eg uploading pix to a blog, or exchanging large docs as part of a business.

To use us as an example: RG doesn't do a great deal of long-distance offshore, and when we do we're not that bothered with email. We are primarily coastal sailing in the western Med at the moment. We do do management consultancy from the boat so exchanging large documents and high-level reliability really matter for us, and our business (which we own) therefore bears the cost.

So we have a UK based Vodafone 3G USB dongle with a contract that covers all of Europe. We use wifi when we can find it, but it is not common to find unlocked, free wifi (our experience covers UK, Spain, Portugal, Southern France, Morocco and north-western Italy, as well as in Hong Kong and NZ) and when we do it is often a poor signal. The dongle is not the cheapest option but it has proved extremely reliable over several years, and we have used it for email and weather up to 5 miles offshore. (Further off we rely on navtex and grib/weatherfax off the SSB.)

We also review our decisions annually and have changed suppliers/dongles and contracts on occasion to get a better deal - though in fact we have found the threat of switching has usually resulted in very good offers from existing suppliers. (Not always - which is why we're not buying data or indeed voice services from Orange any more.) We also when in a country for a long period buy a cheap PAYG sim for voice services. All our handsets are unlocked, but we do not currently use our voice handsets for data - we have done in the past and may do again but right now it's not worth it to us.

Our set up, and the advice above, is based on six years using only mobile broadband/3G (ie no permanent landline, and wifi if we can find it) for all our business, boating and personal use, and fiddling with our choices and decisions on a really regular basis.

So for anyone thinking about internet access while on the water, we always advise answering the first two questions - these will guide the quality you require, and then you can start pondering wifi availability in your cruising area/3G coverage/using internet cafes and all the associated costs - before you start throwing money at the problem!

HTH!
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Old 08-10-2009, 15:15   #10
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So if I have 3G or 4G wireless access, can I link my phone to my laptop somehow and just use it for internet and email? (USA coastal) even at home?
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Old 08-10-2009, 22:01   #11
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Old 09-10-2009, 05:03   #12
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