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Old 16-12-2012, 21:26   #1
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Working from boat/fax capabilities?

Mrs. Wood here....

Does anyone out there know how I would go about getting fairly inexpensive fax/internet/phone service for our boat when we make the move onto one? I will be starting a job soon where I will be working from home and will be required to have fax and internet service. We will most likely be at a marina and most marina's offer wifi... however, I would like to ensure that I will have fax/internet/phone even if we decide to do a bit of coastal sailing or decide to live off the hook for a bit. My husband (who usually posts) is a boat captain and the company that he works for uses a satellite service for all of their internet/fax/phone needs. He uses all of this even when they are tied up at a rig in the Gulf so I know that it is possible... but iI am sure his company pays big bucks and uses a system that would be far too much for what I need. If anyone does this already, perhaps runs their own busines from their boat, I would greatly appreciate any tips and recommendations... I'm guessing the equipment we would need to purchase would most likely be the major expense...

*edited* I don't know if this makes a difference... but this would be mostly for use in the Gulf of Mexico in and around Florida waters...
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Old 16-12-2012, 21:54   #2
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I can't speak for the gulf region, but up in the raining north west a lot marinas have a phone line / CTV hookup to each berth.

When tied up my internet is just like a land house.
I fax through my companies outlook email system.

The modem I use seem to have a very short life. Something about salt corrosion. I bought one that ran of 9 to 24v DC and marinised it that has lasted two years which is good. But now I'm between boats so I have had to give up the berth.

Most marinas here also have WiFi. Which I use when costal. I will err sit off the marina with the high gain antennae and sync my emails then work and do the same later. No need to bother docking.

Off shore is different. Sat systems are expensive and take up deck space and power. But expensive is relative. Inmarsat are the people I have used and they were competent.
If you can live for a couple of days on low res email a pactor modem and an ssb will give you the ability to send and receive text emails.

I have also not had a problem uploading my work files .. But they are small.

I know that this hasn't been very specific but..

Couple more things that might help with a more specific answer.
Do you actually need paper fax? Printers and boats don't seem to mix.
If so will an internet fax work?

As with most living on board you need to ask yourself do you really really need it? And can it do double duty?
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Old 16-12-2012, 21:54   #3
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

A cellular/internet like verizon mifi and a scanner/printer and a service like Efax.
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Old 16-12-2012, 21:57   #4
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

I suggest finding a WEB-BASED option, so that when someone faxes you it simply converts it to a PDF file and puts it in your email inbox. That way if you're away from port when the fax comes in, no problem. It'll be in your email's in box the next time you check your mail.
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Old 16-12-2012, 21:58   #5
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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
A cellular/internet like verizon mifi and a scanner/printer.
Xymotic.. What printer do you use? I have never managed more than three months before they die, so I gave up as the space wasn't worth it.

But add in hopefully moving to a bigger boat..
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Old 16-12-2012, 22:00   #6
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

Well I'm currently using a Canon IP90 which is tiny, can run on battery and has bluetooth. It's been good but the ink is expensive for heavy use.

nowadays you can buy a multifuction scanner/priner for like $29 at wal-mart...
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Old 16-12-2012, 22:02   #7
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

For me literally the ONLY time I send a fax is to my mom, who flat out refuses to get email.
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Old 16-12-2012, 22:28   #8
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

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For me literally the ONLY time I send a fax is to my mom, who flat out refuses to get email.
I expect she would get email if you could convince her it was the only way she would hear from you.
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Old 16-12-2012, 23:12   #9
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

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I expect she would get email if you could convince her it was the only way she would hear from you.
lol, nope, me and my sister have both tried. She refuses to setup voicemail on her damned phone. To send her a picture, I have to upload it to frikken wal-greens in her town and she goes and picks it up. Gah!

Every once in a while she needs to fax me something so I setup a free efax account about twice a year and then just let the number expire.
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Old 17-12-2012, 00:58   #10
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

HP Envy 110 All-In-One

Amazon.com: HP Envy 110 e-All-in-One Printer (Brown): Electronics

Most stylish MFP out there, bundled with a free Web-based-Fax service

Motorised LCD panel, automatic duplex printing

That's what I am getting!
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Old 17-12-2012, 02:30   #11
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

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lol, nope, me and my sister have both tried. She refuses to setup voicemail on her damned phone. To send her a picture, I have to upload it to frikken wal-greens in her town and she goes and picks it up. Gah!

Every once in a while she needs to fax me something so I setup a free efax account about twice a year and then just let the number expire.
Send her postcards telling her how much fun you're having cruising. Write your email address on every postcard. Don't make any other contact. Don't give her any other method of contacting you. No phone calls, no faxes, no visits. You'll receive an email from her within about a year.
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Old 17-12-2012, 05:56   #12
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Spring-Fever and arcwi.
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Old 17-12-2012, 08:47   #13
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

Thank you for the suggestions so far... web based fax seems to be the smart way to go... anyone have any suggestions for service providers? Does Verizon mifi work offshore as well? Or maybe I should ask how far offshore?
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Old 17-12-2012, 09:49   #14
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

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Originally Posted by Capandmrswood View Post
Does Verizon mifi work offshore as well? Or maybe I should ask how far offshore?
Verizon, like all of the other "mifi" type of services, is based on the cell-phone network. If you are out of range for your cellular phone, you will be out of range for your mifi.

Cellular service is line-of-sight. That means that it will definitely not work if you are well out to sea. You can, of course, get a mast-head antenna and repeater, to extend the range that you receive a cell signal. Even with that, though, I wouldn't expect to have service beyond a dozen or so miles off shore.
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Old 17-12-2012, 09:57   #15
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Re: Working from boat/fax capabilities?

Mrs. W, look up www.efax.com they're the major player in that business.

You will come down to using a service, which you will pay for, that gives you a virtual fax phone number. People send faxes to that number, the service converts it to a JPEG or TIFF image and sends it to your email account. Or you can access it through the web, but with an email account it can push right out to your computer, and if your computer uses an email client like Outlook, it can be printed on the spot as well. Unattended.

There are other services, efax aka jfax is simply one of the oldest and possibly most reliable. Plenty of competition these days.

You send faxes back down the same pipeline, either create a document on your computer and post it to the service (by email usually) and they push it to a real fax machine.

As to using mifi or other cellular systems offshore? No, when you're offshore you will need satellite internet and you'd better open your wallet and take a look at those options. Satellite internet.

Because anything cellular has a 3-mile practical limit, if that far, and a 32-mile technical limit, if you can find a provider who allows for the maximums their hardware can deal with. Three mile maximum practical limit, no matter what you use. WiFi? Even less, when and where you can poach it.

Business use? Efax and cellular and wifi, you'll need to be equipped with both if you want to take advantage of all the options. And if you need it in realtime, really offshore, you'll need to look at $atellite internet connection$. Which oddly enough, don't cost anything more than plain overseas telephone calls did in the 70's.
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