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Old 12-01-2013, 11:08   #31
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

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Originally Posted by Lake-Effect View Post
Well.... technically, yes it is. So are littering, speeding, bumper-tailing, parking in a no-stopping zone, using a cell-phone in a hospital...
Wrong is wrong. There was a homeowner on Long Island in the Bahamas that welcomed cruisers to his wifi until someone anchored and retransmitted the signal, bypassing the "please don't use Skype, Netflix, or other high bandwidth consumer." Guess what? No more signal for anyone.

Leave a clean wake for those that follow behind you. People--even those not technically savvy--will figure it out.

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Such use is usually undetectable, and is not going to exceed someone's bandwidth quota. That's my excuse...
Many people pay by the byte. Is stealing okay?

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The good news is that more and more places, including marinas, are making free or cheap wifi available, and cellphone data plans are becoming more reasonable.
And that is the right answer. Free is good. Stealing is bad.
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Old 12-01-2013, 11:40   #32
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

We have an Island Time PC wifi antenna and we have a Telcel (we're in Mexico) USB dongle. If we can't find a wifi signal we use the cellular dongle.
We chose the Island Time antenna because it uses a network cable and we can run it right to our router with a big hard drive plugged in to it and we can stream our movies & music to anywhere on our boat as well as the wifi.
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Old 12-01-2013, 12:57   #33
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

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Many people pay by the byte. Is stealing okay?
Again, you have a point that's rhetorically correct (except that I don't know of any residential plan that is by the byte; most are for a set monthly ceiling, with a surcharge for going over)... but hopping on an unlocked wifi to check email is very much like taking a drink from someone's sprinkler - technically stealing, but the actual "theft" is almost unmeasurable, requiring a penny and a hacksaw. Incremental cost to the wifi "owner" is actually zero if the customer's wifi use doesn't go over their monthly cap. There exist many mechanisms for someone to protect their wifi AP from unauthorized access (password, restriction by MAC addresses, etc).

So, like my earlier comparisons, there's Biblical proscriptions (thou shalt not park illegally), and there's the real world. Let those without sin etc etc...

This is a changing landscape, as bandwidth becomes a commodity. I anticipate that more consumer wifi APs will be secured by default. Access providers are adapting to the requirements of consumers, and both governments and businesses are cottoning to the benefits of providing free wifi in places you want to attract consumers and tourists. Things should only get better for cruisers needing wifi access.

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Leave a clean wake for those that follow behind you. People--even those not technically savvy--will figure it out.
This is always the best course, and I wish a backed-up head to all cruisers who have abused kindnesses like free wifi.
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Old 12-01-2013, 13:17   #34
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

i found here in mexico i am not able , while using my current equipment, use tel cel banda ancha. (compatibility issues)
wifi is in almost all eateries and marinas in mexico.
is mifi available for mexico??
i am finding much difficulty using my puter in some ports while on my bboat--i HAVE to go to shore for the privilege of using computer. buy food and drink, stay forever!!!! lol...
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Old 12-01-2013, 21:06   #35
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

"Mifi" is just one brand name for a celular modem with a wifi router built in. Most often just called something like a "celullar hot spot". Like asking for a Charmin or Cottonelle instead of calling it toilet paper. Ask for the wrong thing...and you may just be told "no".

All the cellular modems are specific to one carrier type, one frequency group and one protocol. That can be CDMA (like Sprint and Verizon, which us different frequencies in the US) or GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile, who use some frequencies in common, others not). Equipment that is designed to work on one network, usually can't work on any other.

But you may be lucky, Telcel apparently uses a "standard" 3G GSM network, which is the same as AT&T equipment in the States (but not 4G-LTE equipment) and overlaps T-Mobile. It will work at 2G data speeds with T-Mobile equipment.

So if you buy a "Mifi" type device that is compatible with AT&T equipment, and it is not carrier-locked to one specific carrier, it should work with TelCel, although it may still need to be programmed for their network access numbers, and require a TelCel SIM card.

TelCel also sells all that stuff, preset for their network of course.
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Old 12-01-2013, 21:36   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
"Mifi" is just one brand name for a celular modem with a wifi router built in. Most often just called something like a "celullar hot spot". Like asking for a Charmin or Cottonelle instead of calling it toilet paper. Ask for the wrong thing...and you may just be told "no".

All the cellular modems are specific to one carrier type, one frequency group and one protocol. That can be CDMA (like Sprint and Verizon, which us different frequencies in the US) or GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile, who use some frequencies in common, others not). Equipment that is designed to work on one network, usually can't work on any other.

But you may be lucky, Telcel apparently uses a "standard" 3G GSM network, which is the same as AT&T equipment in the States (but not 4G-LTE equipment) and overlaps T-Mobile. It will work at 2G data speeds with T-Mobile equipment.

So if you buy a "Mifi" type device that is compatible with AT&T equipment, and it is not carrier-locked to one specific carrier, it should work with TelCel, although it may still need to be programmed for their network access numbers, and require a TelCel SIM card.

TelCel also sells all that stuff, preset for their network of course.
Almost all GSM is now quad band and will work the world over. Outside of the US and its dependencies the world is GSM and increasingly inside the US.

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Old 12-01-2013, 21:47   #37
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

FYI, our Telcel dongle was 300 pesos, so just under $25.00. 3gb of data is 381 pesos so about $30.00. This is not too clear on the Telcel website.
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Old 13-01-2013, 02:52   #38
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

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SonofSailor, if you already have iPhone, call your carrier and ask about tethering. For an extra charge each month, my iPhone now is a wifi hotspot. When I want to use it, I just turn the function on in the phone's Settings, and my laptop finds the wifi signal it emits. Simple and no new equipment.
Tmobile does not charge for tethering. In fact they actively support it. I get unlimited data, voice, and text for $50/mo but only the first 100MB is highspeed. No biggie because tmo 3g and my iphone don't use the same freq anyway. And the EDGE network is uncongested and often just as fast as 3g which is very congested at times.

There are apps that will allow your jailbroken iphone to tether whether your carrier supports or allows it or not. Just be aware you could be in violation of their TOS and get your service cancelled. If you want to get out of a contract that actually might be one way to do it, though. Some apps hide the tethering from the carrier but your usage patterns could tip them off. A rooted Droid can be used in similar fashion. Tether either via USB or wifi. No need to buy a separate device if you already have a phone capable of standing in as your USB modem.

Most overseas carriers seem to not really care whether you tether or not. I get very good tethered data service in some areas such as the Middle East, China, Thailand, Australia, and much of Europe. Just get a local SIM card, put some $ in it, and subscribe to a data package, plug in and go. Batelco in Bahrain where I am right now charges 3BD, about $11, for a month of unlimited data, with the first 1GB at full 3g speeds and the throttled service is still reasonably fast. Outages are common, about every other day, but usually only last a couple of hours. This is sort of typical though most places you pay a little more.

Even if you don't or can't tether, if you get a droid tablet or an ipad, you have quite a bit of computing ability built in to an internet capable GSM device. If it is jailbroken/rooted you might find yourself turning on your computer less and less, as you find ways to make your handheld device do quite a bit of stuff you used to do on your puter.
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Old 13-01-2013, 03:05   #39
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post
i found here in mexico i am not able , while using my current equipment, use tel cel banda ancha. (compatibility issues)
wifi is in almost all eateries and marinas in mexico.
is mifi available for mexico??
i am finding much difficulty using my puter in some ports while on my bboat--i HAVE to go to shore for the privilege of using computer. buy food and drink, stay forever!!!! lol...
Hey Zee, if you buy something like a Samsung Galaxy Tab2 in either the 7" or the 10.1" size, unlocked, (about $430 for the 16GB version) you can use it as a mifi device almost anywhere in the world. For best results and flexibility you will want to root it, which is similar to jailbreaking an iphone. I have the Tab2 7" and it is a great little device. The screen is not as bright as my iphone but the greater area is nice. It fits in the pockets of most of my jeans. And yeah you can make phone calls on it, too, without a headset though it looks kinda funny having such a big "phone" stuck to your ear. An unlocked and jailbroken iphone 4S is good, too. There is not a jailbreak yet for the iphone 5 or for iOS6 but you might find a used 4S for around $250 or so. Apple probably still has some left but make sure it is unlocked. Apple will sell you unlocked iphones in the US but you have to get them direct from Apple and not from a retailer.
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Old 13-01-2013, 03:31   #40
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

The Mifi units are only $50 or so, if you shop around some payasyou go plans almost give them away.
Tablets are great, but there really a different commodity. I can only see drawbacks relative to a Mifi connection.
Am I missing something?
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Old 13-01-2013, 05:20   #41
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

The only thing you are missing is that there are enough other reasons for buying, and functions of, a tablet or smartphone that the ability to use it as a mifi hub is a freebie, and so buying a device that is ONLY a mifi hub might or might not make economic sense. It is a YMMV thing I guess.
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Old 13-01-2013, 10:34   #42
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Dave-
"Almost all GSM is now quad band and" That's phone for voice service, and a number are still only 3-band. The problem in the US market is that both T-Mob and AT&T use a different fifth band for 4G-LTE and some of the data services. So while any quad-band GSM device will play nicely in most of the world, they only play at 2G data speeds unless you know which other standard you need to support.
I have no idea what the rest of the world is doing with real 4G, because what we call "4G" in the US totally sails to meet the ITU worldwide conventions for real 4G, and usually falls short of real 3G as well.
There are landmines for the casual user who thinks they can outsmart the carriers without doing their techie homework.
T-Mob markets some very attractive packages very aggressively. And still, only has 1/3 of the market share that #1 and #2 each have in the US. I'd expect that part of that is because ex-AT&T customers can't just move over, they still have to buy new equipment, or deal with limits on what "compatible" means.
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Old 14-01-2013, 11:40   #43
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

There's an article on Lifehacker today outlining some of the U.S. mobile hotspot devices and plans, with more options mentioned in the comments section.

How to Choose the Fastest, Cheapest, and Most Reliable Mobile Hotspot to Stay Connected Everywhere You Go

I was intrigued by the Walmart TruConnect plan, till I checked its coverage map and saw huge blank spaces east of Portland, Maine. . . .
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Old 14-01-2013, 12:27   #44
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

We have excellent Internet on board our boat. In this day and age with everyone online I think it's important to have a connection which can handle multiple users.

We get connected via two methods:

1. An Option Globesurfer III cellular router.
2. A Ubiquiti Bullet WiFi access point.

The Globesurfer serves 90% of the function. I have an unlimited data TMobile SIM card in it for the UK. There is a signal almost everywhere within 20 miles of the UK coast. The Globesurfer distributes the connection by WiFi to everyone on the boat. The speed is usually somewhere around 1 mbs, which just a few years ago was an awesome broadband connection, and is good enough for most everything other than streaming video and so forth.

I use the Bullet mostly when I am in France and the Channel Islands without a good data plan like the brilliant TMobile UK plan I have. I have been hoisting it up on a halyard (now the mast is down and I will be installing it permanently on a spreader). The Bullet will connect to Wifi access points up to some miles away. So you can either pay for a connection, which I often do, or if you've eaten in a restaurant somewhere and have been given an access code, you can often connect from the boat lying at anchor some miles away, to the same access point.

The Bullet is connected by Ethernet to the Globesurfer, which distributes the connection to everyone on board. The Bullet is pretty awkward to use -- you have to change your own computer's IP address in order to connect to it over the network, then control it like that -- choosing the AP to connect to and setting the parameters. But once it's connected you've got Internet access over the whole network, so everyone on board is connected.
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Old 03-01-2014, 07:42   #45
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Thanks everyone, great discussion and i have learned a lot since i posted this almost a year ago. I ended up getting a MIFI from verizon (and can run all my devices on it) vice using my iPhone as a hot spot and having to tether and worry about using the phone at the same time....seems to work fine for what i need. the irony of this whole thing, is about 3 weeks(one week after i went outside of my window to return the device) the marina installed FREE wifi for us...se la vi....lol
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