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Old 09-01-2013, 14:22   #1
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Personal Wi-Fi

Hey guys,
IVe been racking my brain on how to get wi-fi on my boat. Our marina does not offer it. Ive seen a few things on the internet for booster antennas ( i guess to jump on someone elses network?), tried to jailbreak my iPhone(failure), and seen some pretty expensive satelite internet stuff which is not reasonable enough for me. Any ideas? Thanks
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Old 09-01-2013, 14:34   #2
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Most countries have Internet plans that are offered through the phone towers.

These are not phone plans, but mobile Internet plans.
They are available as pay as you go, or yearly plans.

You need a USB dongle (like a thumb drive, but it takes the SIM card) or Mifi device ( the later will work with devices like iPhone and iPad that don't have USB) and will allow multiple devices to connect. It is a better option for a boat.
The yearly plans come bundled with these or you can buy them independently.

If you have an iPhone or similar there are also phone and data packages, but the Internet data is limited as these are primarily phone plans with a data thrown in.

All of these will work anywhere there is a phone signal.

Boster antennae are also an option, but are very different. For these to work you need to find an unsecured free wifi signal, or be given (or pay) for the password. The advantage is often you don't have to pay anything, (but don't steal an inappropriate connection.)
There are signals like this, but in most parts of the world they are very hit and miss, there are also security issues and a need to reasonably close to the signal source.
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Old 09-01-2013, 14:42   #3
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Does the marina offer cable TV? Maybe you could get it that way cheaper and faster than phone.
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Old 09-01-2013, 14:56   #4
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

I haven't tried any of these, but there are some cheap and free mobile hotspot plans out there.

Karma Launches Its $79 4G Mobile Hotspot And Pay-As-You-Go Data Plan That Reward Users For Sharing Their Bandwidth | TechCrunch

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/te...anted=all&_r=0

Best MiFi Plans, No Contract MiFi
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Old 09-01-2013, 15:07   #5
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Americans do not understand what a USB modem is. I am stuffed if I know how to explain it to them.
The rest of the world has it. Surely it must be available in the USA?


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Old 09-01-2013, 15:30   #6
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Americans do not understand what a USB modem is. I am stuffed if I know how to explain it to them.
The left hand side are 3 USB modems I have accumulated in my travels to different countries.
Right hand side is a MiFi.
Sorry for the bad picture, but it gives you an idea.

Pay the phone company money and you get an Internet signal via the mobile phone towers. So it works anywhere a mobile phone will.

The USB modems need plugging into a USB port of a computer.

The Mifi has its own battery and does not need to plugged in. It can also be used by up to 5 computers / tablets.

The same SIM card and phone plan can be used with either device, but the Mifi is dearer to buy (but they will often give you one anyway)
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Old 09-01-2013, 16:08   #7
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

We get internet access four ways on our boat.

My wife has an older Kindle with WiFi and 3G. Her cell Nokia T-Mobile phone is 4G and can share its internet access with others (like our PC). Both of these devices work when in sight of a GSM cell tower. Sometimes they work very well, other times not so well, but always well enought for email.

We have a few external USB WiFi adaptors (Alfa and Engenius). They have came from

Keenan Systems WIFI FAQ
or
Data Alliance: Alfa WiFi Long-Range Wireless USB Adapters, Antennas, Ubiquiti Access Points

Nothing is 'marine' and nothing is 'waterproof'. When we want to use them we put them on top of the cabin, on top of the boom, or with a repeating 30' USB cable hoist them to the spreaders inside a piece of PVC pipe on a flag halyard. We have made WiFi connectons out to three miles and can many times on the ICW find a unsecured bar, resturant, marina or whatever. In the Bahamas we generally have to pay.

I am a ham operator and at worst can use my Icom m710, a Signal Link external USB sound card, and some free software to slowly send and receive email.

Others pay more money and have better access. We go sailing while they watch movies.

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Old 09-01-2013, 16:22   #8
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Access Point with 24dBi Grid
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Old 09-01-2013, 16:45   #9
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Americans do not understand what a USB modem is. I am stuffed if I know how to explain it to them.
The rest of the world has it. Surely it must be available in the USA?


Mark
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USB modems were generally retired about 2-3 years ago. The biggest reason we stopped using them in my workplace is that USB modems stick out of the PC and scream for klutzes like me to break them off.

The current technology is a mobile hot spot or an internal modem (we use the latter at work). The mobile hot spot is a small standalone modem that connects to the web like a USB modem, and to devices using 802.11. It allows multiple devices to use one connection versus a USB modem that is dedicated to only one device.

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Old 09-01-2013, 16:57   #10
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
The mobile hot spot is a small standalone modem that connects to the web like a USB modem, and to devices using 802.11. It allows multiple devices to use one connection versus a USB modem that is dedicated to only one device.

Bill
This what I mean by a Mifi.
They are great for a boat. Multiple people can share and use the one connection. They can be hauled up a halyard if the signal is marginal without any wires ( which also makes them easier to watrerproof)
If you want they can plugged into a USB port and used like a conventional USB modem.
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Old 09-01-2013, 18:04   #11
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

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.
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Old 09-01-2013, 18:04   #12
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Use tethering from your 3g or 4g mobile phone! Very easy! Assuming youre not downloading movie after movie the data charges are usually resonable.
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Old 09-01-2013, 18:19   #13
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

We have Verizon cell phone service and we have a smart phone. We pay extra for "mobile hotspot" option. This allows our smart phone to act as a wireless router and we have it password protected. The admiral and I use it like our own personal wi-fi.
We have both of our laptops using it at the same time and we have a fairly decent internet speed.
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Old 09-01-2013, 18:53   #14
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Ergh. Actually, Mark?
"Americans do not understand what a USB modem is. I am stuffed if I know how to explain it to them."

I think that you are misusing the phrase. We do indeed have "USB modems" in the US. Modems traditionally connected a ladnline phone to a computer's serial port. When serial ports went away, someone invented the "USB modem" which is exactly that, a landline modem with a USB plug sticking out the back, so it plugs into a USB port instead of a serial port.

I think what you are calling a USB modem is a "USB cellular transceiver", basically a data-only cellphone that plugs into a USB port. The cellcos have different magic names for them and I suppose they are really "cellular USB modems" as opposed to plain "USB modems" in Colonial YnGlitch.

How to get WiFi on a boat? First, steal a boat. (What, you never heard the PI joke about how to make gypsy chicken soup?)

I'd also vote for the MiFi type solution. It is a WiFi router that connects up to the cellular system, usually at a competitive rate. Anything else is probably going to get too complicated, unless you already have a cell phone with the option to be used as a "hot spot" with WiFi sharing enabled. And of course, that ties up your cell phone, making an inexpensive MiFi device a better way to go for more than occassional use.
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Old 09-01-2013, 19:21   #15
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Re: Personal Wi-Fi

Usb modem. Also called a 3g or 4g dongle
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