There are two fundamental types of cell boosters. Some take a SIM card and connect to the local cell network and act as a micro-cell inside the boat (truck, car, house, whatever). These mean another account for the SIM card and limit you to a single
network. Others pick up wide ranges of frequencies and retransmit them all at low power
inside the boat. The latter is not limited to a single
provider. That means a device like the WeBoost 4G-X will work
across multiple providers: in the US AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, USCellular, all work.
It is still not perfect. 3G/4G uses four bands (850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz) across the globe; these are the quad-bands you may have heard of. There are 22 bands for LTE. Note that a band is a range of frequencies. There is no device I'm aware of that supports everything everywhere. The WeBoost 4G-X supports 850 MHz, 1900 MHz, and the most common LTE bands in the US. The least expensive way to be a world traveler is to have a second booster for places outside North America and the Caribbean
The external antenna from WeBoost is awful. You want an external antenna but not theirs. Shakespeare 5239 antenna and really good coax like LMR400 or RG214. You can buy the antenna anywhere. I use The RF Connection for coax and connectors; http://therfc.com
. I can do connectors but the three old guys at RF Connection have down thousands more than I have. Go with experience. Tell Joel I sent you.
I'll need to know your cruising plans to help there.
The Ubiquiti Bullet is the 800 pound gorilla in the WiFi range extender market. The RedPort Halo and the Microtik Groove are the other big players. There are a lot of niche products like the Rogue Wave
and the late and unlamented Wirie. The Bullet is pretty bulletproof (ha!) and the user interface is reasonable. My hands-on experience with all the range extenders I listed and a few more keeps coming back to the Bullet. I can see three Bullets, a Halo, a Rogue Wave
, and a Wirie from here. Air802 makes a really nice antenna with a good mount. You can use nearly any WiFi router for inside the boat. I like the WRT-54GL because it is robust, it runs off 12VDC (+/- a bunch that works nicely on the boat). I haven't found anything more reliable and better supported than the WRT-54GL.
One other avenue is worth thinking about. If you're going to make a LOT of long passages or be really off the grid (harder and harder these days) The RedPort Halo or a router from CradlePoint start to look better. The Halo comes with a router called the Optimizer. It and a number of Cradlepoint products allow you to plug
in multiple access media (WiFi, satellite
, cell) with automatic failover and switching. This is not idiot-proof. You can spend a lot on expensive links when you think you're on something cheap
. You have to stay on top of things.
I don't sell any of this anymore. My volume is too low. For the WiFi setup your best bet is Amazon and eBay. You'll either need to do the research
(which is good for you, like cod liver oil) or find someone like me (disclaimer - I do this stuff) to set up the configuration. For the cellular you can go to SeaTech Systems in the US or really anywhere - shop on price
Questions are good. Any others?