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Old 10-10-2021, 17:52   #16
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Interesting...following.
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Old 11-10-2021, 03:11   #17
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

What works for us:

Netgear Unite Explore hotspot. Originally built/marketed for AT&T, but purchased ours unlocked off Amazon. Have successfully used T-mobile, Google FI, and AT&T SIM cards in this unit.

Netgear 6000450 MIMO Antenna. Directional, suction cup mounted to inside cabin window. Probably use the hotspot without this antenna about 90% of the time. The other 10% of the time, in very remote areas or offshore (up to 8-10 miles) it helps pick up a data connection when we otherwise might not have one.

This is our primary connection. We've been using what I call "gray market" AT&T service, sold on ebay by various sellers for about $100-$110/month (look for "rural internet" or "RV internet"). This is truly unlimited, no throttle service. I suspect some of these resellers are abusing the terms of some corporate plan (their problem, not mine), and your line can be cancelled if AT&T clamps down on them. This has happened to us twice, both times at the end of our plan month (with some advance warning that it wouldn't renew). This is a hassle, because you have to order a new SIM and find someplace to have it delivered (not too hard on the east coast), but we've always gotten the full month of service that we paid for.

For backup...

2 iPhones on Consumer Cellular. Dirt cheap service, but can be "expanded" on a month-by-month basis to their Unlimited tier, which allows high-speed tethering up to 35 gigs/month. CC primarily rides on the T-mobile network, but they'll send you an AT&T SIM if you request it. Ours ride on AT&T (we requested because TMO used to be terrible near our home in TX), but if you want to use international roaming with CC you need to be on the T-mobile network.

1 Android phone and 2 tablets all on the same Google Fi Unlimited Plus plan. Mostly rides on the T-mobile network. Can hotspot via the phone, but it throttles severely after 22 GB. Despite the low data cap, Google Fi has two big advantages. First, you can request as many data-only SIMS as you like at no cost. This allows us to pay for only 1 line (the phone), but have 4 SIMS (phone, 2 tablets, and Netgear hotspot). All 4 devices share the same data pool, but we don't actually use much of the Google data because the 2 tablets connect via wifi through the above hotspot whenever we're onboard, and we only use the phone and hotspot SIM as backup. And second, you get free high-speed data in most international locations. There are caveats to this (have heard conflicting reports - Google may cancel the line if you use it heavily outside the US for several consecutive months), but it's worked for us in Canada, Antigua, Guadeloupe and Dominica.

Note that the two "backup" tiers above are just what we already had when we were living on land, and were a fairly cheap way to serve two phones and two tablets (with ATT/TMO redundancy and international flexibility). So the only thing we actually added when we moved aboard is the Netgear hotspot and it's grey-market plan. But with this combo, we've never felt the need to add a cell booster, wifi booster, antenna up the mast, etc. One of the above -- nearly always the Netgear hotspot riding on AT&T -- has always just worked up and down the east coast.
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Old 11-10-2021, 03:28   #18
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Best solution: Mesh bag + halyard + Android phone hotspot.

Second best solution: Android phone hotspot.

Dedicated hot spots are generations behind smart phones in spectrum support, carrier support, even 5ghz support. They even cost more than many phones.

I started/owned/sold a manufacturing company in the space and outside of "low" speed machine-to-machine applications dedicated hotspot devices for consumers are generally seen as abandoned. Even if 5g home internet demand does materialize, the demand and this engineering resources will continue to be eclipsed by cellphones.

Consumer signal boosters are a different animal.
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Old 18-10-2021, 07:45   #19
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Thats a pipe dream! Best bet is get unlimited plans from AT&T, Verizon, and TMobile and switch to the next one when one runs out. WiFi in marinas is sketchy at best and possibly unusable in reality.
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Old 18-10-2021, 07:59   #20
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by markxengineerin View Post
Check out Visible Mobile. I've been using it for 3 years now, working remotely and on Zoom calls all day. It's only $25/month for unlimited calls, text, and data. The data gets "throttled" after a certain point, but even then it's still fast enough to stream video. The coverage is wonderful, as it uses the Verizon network. Visible is "de-prioritized" compared to Verizon customers, which can be an issue at a huge event in a city, but I have found it to be an issue maybe 2-3 times in 3 years.
I believe Visible is $40 per month after the first month. But the good part of this plan is they provide 5 mbs data speed to one tethered device unlimited data. There is no throttling unless the network is near capacity. We used it to regularily stream video. Visible is a part of Verizon.
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Old 18-10-2021, 08:40   #21
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

I have a "grandfathered" Verizon MyFi unlimited plan, but it gets throttled in congested areas. Just switched to THE CALYX INSTITUTE (look it up) unthrottled unlimited Sprint / T mobile plan. $600 yr.
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Old 18-10-2021, 09:25   #22
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Quote:
I believe Visible is $40 per month after the first month.
No, it's $25/month with "Party Pay", which takes 5 minutes to research and sign up for. I've been doing it for years, never needed anything else to support working remotely in all USA locations.
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Old 18-10-2021, 13:02   #23
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

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Originally Posted by davenrino View Post
Our TM MagentaMax 55+ plan gives us 2 lines of unlimited everything, except only 40GB tethered high speed data and 3G after thatfor 105/mo and they pay 13/mo of our Netflix bill.. You can increase the high speed tethered data for a small charge. That also includes 15/mo for free international calls to over 70 countries on 1 line from USA/Canada/Mexico. We get unlimited cellular data in 240 countries with local calls .20/min and we use Vibr/Line/WhatsApp to call each other for free.


I just did an Ookla Speed Test here in HI on my 12Mini with cellular only.

Geez- those are some good speeds for any cellular connection.
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Old 18-10-2021, 13:14   #24
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by markxengineerin View Post
No, it's $25/month with "Party Pay", which takes 5 minutes to research and sign up for. I've been doing it for years, never needed anything else to support working remotely in all USA locations.
Didn't know that. Cool.
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Old 18-10-2021, 14:10   #25
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by markxengineerin View Post
Check out Visible Mobile. I've been using it for 3 years now, working remotely and on Zoom calls all day. It's only $25/month for unlimited calls, text, and data. The data gets "throttled" after a certain point, but even then it's still fast enough to stream video. The coverage is wonderful, as it uses the Verizon network. Visible is "de-prioritized" compared to Verizon customers, which can be an issue at a huge event in a city, but I have found it to be an issue maybe 2-3 times in 3 years.
I'm probably moving to visible. Unlimited tethering. It is throttled but can still stream. Current deal is 4 lines for $25 each.

https://www.reviews.org/mobile/mint-mobile-vs-visible-wireless-cell-phone-plans-review/
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Old 19-10-2021, 08:08   #26
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by lhuff35204 View Post
I have a "grandfathered" Verizon MyFi unlimited plan, but it gets throttled in congested areas. Just switched to THE CALYX INSTITUTE (look it up) unthrottled unlimited Sprint / T mobile plan. $600 yr.

Ihuff, I was just checking out Calyx over the weekend happy to see that someone on this post was using it. I was planning to sign up for the 5g/4/g plan, how is it working for you and did you have to buy the MiFi M2000 WiFi hotspot separately or is this included in the annual plan?

https://calyxinstitute.org/membership/internet
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Old 19-10-2021, 12:47   #27
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

In the UK I have unlimited data but rarely use that much I just don’t want the hassle
What about SpaceX ?
Would love to hear some reviews
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Old 21-10-2021, 10:46   #28
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by lhuff35204 View Post
I have a "grandfathered" Verizon MyFi unlimited plan, but it gets throttled in congested areas. Just switched to THE CALYX INSTITUTE (look it up) unthrottled unlimited Sprint / T mobile plan. $600 yr.


Since a non-profit wonder if “contribution” is tax deductible . . . Just kidding, very interested in you assessment of their service. Most reasonable plan that I have seen.

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 29-03-2022, 07:27   #29
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Some good info on this thread.

I still have a few questions.
1) GoogleFI. How does this work? Do they have a land-based Wifi network? Or does it require that you are able to access a free public Wifi or a secured wifi?
2) What about just an antenna to boost cell coverage? Either to connect to my iPhone.
3) An antenna for my onboard router? To pick up land-based Wifi.
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Old 29-03-2022, 07:53   #30
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Re: Mobile hotspot for cruisers

Quote:
Originally Posted by markguthrie View Post
Some good info on this thread.

I still have a few questions.
1) GoogleFI. How does this work? Do they have a land-based Wifi network? Or does it require that you are able to access a free public Wifi or a secured wifi?
2) What about just an antenna to boost cell coverage? Either to connect to my iPhone.
3) An antenna for my onboard router? To pick up land-based Wifi.
1. Google Fi is a cell phone (that can be tethered) and you can get a sim card as well. Same as all cell phones, they use land based towers, nothing to do with "free public wifi" which is getting harder and harder to find nowadays.


2. Cell boosters involve more than an antenna, and honestly, if you have a sailboat you can put your phone or hotspot into a plastic baggie, insert into a nylon mesh bag and run it up the mast using a halyard and that will work as well or better than a cell booster unless the antenna is permanently mounted on top of the mast.

3. A router antenna is for INSIDE the boat.

Mark, seems like you are confusing "Wifi" with cell signals. If you have a wifi antenna on your boat you can pick up land based signals within range, but you will be hard pressed to find open, free wifi nowadays. Cell phones use a different system of towers to transmit and receive signals and you PAY for their service. AND you can use just about any device - computer or cell phone or tablet or laptop, etc, to log onto a wifi signal whether using an antenna with booster or not. For internet using cell signals you tether your cell phone or use a hotspot with sim card from your cell provider, such as Google Fi or Verizon or T-Mobile, etc. When you bring any signal into your boat via a cell booster antenna, you still use wifi via a router inside your boat to wirelessly access the signal from your computer unless you are accessing the cell signal directly from your cell phone while on your cell phone.
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