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Old 12-10-2017, 14:47   #1
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Marine wifi boosters?

I would like to ask those who have had experience with trying to get WiFi just offshore in Mexico, ....if you have a booster, can you find unlocked wifi to tap into or is it only useful in marinas when you are a little far from the main office? We want to be able to send and receive emails as well as do some video conferencing. We are trying to decide if we should get a booster...or just keep buying expensive data on SIM cards for my iPad. Also, what boosters are best if that is the way to go? There are a few .. which have the greatest range?
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Old 12-10-2017, 15:22   #2
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

You'll need a high gain directional antenna more or less in line of sight of the hotspot (mounted on your mast?). A simple booster alone won't work.

I have no idea how much a 2-3gb SIM would cost in Mexico, but I doubt it would worth the hassle to fit a big antenna on the mast. Also, you still have to be in line of sight while a 3/4g service provides much better coverage.

Btw "checking emails" and "video conferencing" are different kind of animals, latter involves 3 orders of magnitude more traffic/needs much better connection.

If you still want to go the wifi route, check out some 12+dBi outdoor panel antennas. Also recommend the 2.4GHz frequency, it is a bit less sensitive for obstructions and more forgiving on coax.
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Old 12-10-2017, 16:39   #3
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

i use high gain directional antenna as you cannot override the marina wifi. you can however at anchor use the local business keys to their wifi after asking permission.

ps the antennae here are smalland fit masts well. i augment with 4 gb telcel data package for my smartass fone. and then i add illimitado for foning an d watzapp and sms and wtf.
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Old 16-10-2017, 16:37   #4
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmac View Post
I would like to ask those who have had experience with trying to get WiFi just offshore in Mexico, ....if you have a booster, can you find unlocked wifi to tap into or is it only useful in marinas when you are a little far from the main office? We want to be able to send and receive emails as well as do some video conferencing. We are trying to decide if we should get a booster...or just keep buying expensive data on SIM cards for my iPad. Also, what boosters are best if that is the way to go? There are a few .. which have the greatest range?
I had several similiar cruises and I can say from my own experience that a special booster is a better decision. Personally I like you in case of net connection need it only for sending emails, short Skype calls and sometimes posting in my social networks because during such trips I'm totally concentrated on my cruise Because of that I see no sense in such upgrading of your IPad or other expensive solutions, especially if you don't have such trips really often.
There are special phone signal boosters for boats/cars https://www.myamplifiers.com/car/ and they're good for mobile calls and keeping nice 3G connection. But yeah, you'll need to buy it in a kit with antenna and some other stuff because without it booster won't work like it was mentioned here by previous poster.
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Old 17-10-2017, 13:40   #5
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

here in mexico i learned the fa ncy systems are essentially useless. i use a 1000 peso directional tplink mast mount antenna with excellent good fortune. i have used radiolink, was ok. cost 300-500 pesos depending on source, i have used tp link antenna with hotspot, now i have tplink antenna rated 5 miles.
5 miles is important as you will be anchoring a mile or so from your source of connectivity/signal.
in mazatlan antennae are for sale in computienda. i searched everywhere-- so is either computienda or online via amazon or ebay
windoze 10 requires the antenna i am currently using, as the drivers for previous ones donot exist with or for windoze 10. hence my multiple antenna history., chromebook is fussy also. willnot work with most antennae. i loved my chromebook. for that i needed to make a hotspot of a netbook i found in a pawn shop and uses windoze 7, perfect for alllll antennae in mexico.
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Old 26-10-2017, 04:22   #6
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigmac View Post
I would like to ask those who have had experience with trying to get WiFi just offshore in Mexico, ....if you have a booster, can you find unlocked wifi to tap into or is it only useful in marinas when you are a little far from the main office? We want to be able to send and receive emails as well as do some video conferencing. We are trying to decide if we should get a booster...or just keep buying expensive data on SIM cards for my iPad. Also, what boosters are best if that is the way to go? There are a few .. which have the greatest range?
The major players for WiFi range extension are the Ubiquiti Bullet, RedPort Halo, and Microtik Groove.

With an 8 or 9 dBi omnidirectional antenna you can get 3ish mile range to a decent WiFi access point. No need to struggle with a direction antenna.

The 800 lb gorilla for cellular range extension is WeBoost.
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Old 26-10-2017, 06:59   #7
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

you can either buy in your pre departure locale or you can go to mexico and buy locally for much less and use the available systems in mexico.
i have found the tp link system(available in mexico) is easiest in mexico and works well. make sure your os is compatible with the system you choose. oops. makes a difference.
at anchor you will need the keys from the restaurants which allow you to use their wifi system
when you purchase from online sites remember the duty you will pay is close to 100 usd nonnegotiable.
so, once here, do you really want ubiquity which is unavailable for purchase in mexico??? if so might want to buy it elsewhere and bring it, or buy local for less.
it seems the "local players" donot offer products here in mexico except via mail order complete with duty.
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Old 26-10-2017, 07:13   #8
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

mac-
Not to throw in a curveball, but you should be aware that any UNlocked wifi is a security risk. You don't know who it is, or what they are doing with your data, or whether someone is spoofing them for hacking purposes. You just don't know. You have to assume that everything you post is subject to be read by persons unknown, and that means they could also be monitoring your videoconference, which might have been confidential.
Might be OK for twitter feeds (Cofefe?) but something to be considered, fwiw.
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Old 26-10-2017, 08:44   #9
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

What hellosailor says is true.

Everyone on WiFi should be using a VPN to encrypt their data. This reduces the risk of “Man in the Middle” attacks.
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Old 26-10-2017, 09:19   #10
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

+1 for the Ubiquiti bullet with Omni directional. How do you use a directional antenna swinging on an anchor? The bullets 2 mile Omni range is just fine and about US$70 on Amazon. Get the 2, not the 5.
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Old 26-10-2017, 09:44   #11
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

If you have a decent router then you just need a good high gain antenna for it. That's all a so called booster is.

I use a Mikrotik Groove, and was using it with a small travel router for my internal network. I'm now using a Mikrotik Routerboard instead. Unfortunately it doesn't have an N antenna connection, hence I still use the Groove to pick up signals.
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Old 26-10-2017, 13:27   #12
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

We use, with great success, the inexpensive AlfA wifi USB boosters, and a higher-gain antenna. These are readily available on Amazon and EBay. A high-gain omnidirectional antenna is a must. A directional antenna can help when in a marina and not moving around as at anchor. They also make an inexpensive wireless hot spot that works well with their antennas, a must if you want to use an IPad. Some other systems might work slightly better, but are usually far more expensive. I have had successful wifi at nearly 5 miles Line-of-Sight. Not often, but on occasion.

Re open wifi: getting far less common in Mexico. We have a wifi signal analyzer (free app) on our cell phones, and can use this when on-shore to help ferret out the best restaurant signal. The cost of a beer or margarita can get you the password which seldom changes.
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Old 27-10-2017, 18:49   #13
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

What VPNs are people using? I'm interested in using on my android phone, ipad, and laptop. Open to buying more than one, but really would appreciate recommendations, personal reports.

Many Thanks
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Old 27-10-2017, 21:12   #14
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

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What VPNs are people using? I'm interested in using on my android phone, ipad, and laptop. Open to buying more than one, but really would appreciate recommendations, personal reports.

Many Thanks


I’ve been happy with Nord VPN. Multi platform support.

https://nordvpn.com
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Old 27-10-2017, 21:37   #15
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Re: Marine wifi boosters?

Wouldn't it be easier and probably cheaperto just get local sim in an unlocked phone and use that as a hotspot onboard?
That's what we do when travelling in Asia, dirt cheap compared to Australia data/call charges.
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