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-   -   WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc (https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f74/wifi-range-extender-vs-mifi-hotspot-vs-etc-220158.html)

MV Wanderlust 27-06-2019 12:32

WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
We're wondering what everyone is using for internet access.

1. WiFi Range Extender
2. MiFi Hotspot
3. Phone hotspot
4. Direct cable connection at the dock
5. Other

We have a Redport Halo wifi ranger extender and it does a fine job most of the time at the marina. When a lot of other people are hitting the wifi, it still slows down a bit.

During our recent cruise, we were anchored out in a bay surrounded by trees. The range extender picked up the only unsecured connection, two miles away and blocked by the trees. The best signal it could get was only 47% strength so it was more or less unusable. We used our cellphones as hotspots but that chewed up our data pretty fast.

Our goal is a wifi zone on the boat that is persistent when away from the marina so we're thinking about a mobile MiFi hotspot with a large data cap.

Thanks.

John

a64pilot 27-06-2019 12:44

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Are these mifi devices cheaper data plans?
We use our phone, and donít see the need frankly in having another device, unless the data plans are cheaper, and I donít think they are.
We have a WiFi extender too, can even put a phone chip in it for data, donít use it.

Ivanvet 27-06-2019 13:55

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Hi,
We are using a Mofi router when we leave the dock (MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4-VEHICLE-ATO-COMBO [MOFI4500-4GXeLTE-SIM4-VEHICLE-AT] - $339.99), and we are pretty happy with it.
We make it work in the following way: When we are in the marina (full time liveaboard) we are connected to the typical high speed internet (in our case xfinity) using their modem with the coaxial cable. That modem is connected to the MOFI router, and I have all the 'smart devices' in the boat connected to our MOFI network (alexa, LED lights, TV, and chartplotters). This router has a sim card slot, where I put a cellular card from a third party company that uses ATT (OTR, $60/month unlimited data, without throttling). The modem has a 'fail-over' function, so, once we disconnect the main source of internet, in this case the xfinity cable, it automatically changes to the Sim Card and uses cell service to create the Wifi hotspot, and all the connected devices remain connected.


We used it in our 3-weeks trip to Maine (from Boston) a couple of weeks ago. During this time, we lost cell service when we were about 20 nm offshore. The iphones lost reception way sooner. While we were at anchor, there was only one day when reception seemed to be shitty no matter what, but the rest of the time the internet worked great (even for streaming Netflix (& chill :) ). At the end of our season, I will stop renewing the card and restart again next year.

I have the Mofi working through the inverter, but they have an adaptor that you can use to connect it directly to the batteries.

Good luck on your search,

Ivan
S/V Balu

LoudMusic 27-06-2019 13:55

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
My wife and I both work full time from the boat. We have to have completely reliable internet.

We have a Pepwave on board with a Verizon SIM (provided by my employer) in it for our US east coast days. The model we have does 4GLTE and has separate 2.4ghz and 5ghz wifi antennas for connecting to shore based wifi providers such as marinas. It's been GREAT. Not cheap.

We had a MyIslandWifi hotspot (on BTC) for the Bahamas. Really good in the Abacos. Absolutely reasonable price, good coverage, and good speed.

We also have my T-Mobile phone with hotspot access (provided by my employer), her AT&T phone with hotspot access (big family plan), and we thought "why not!" and also got a Google Fi phone (her business phone).

If I was paying for this I'd get the Pepwave again (~$700), probably do UnlimitedToGo on ATT, and get a GFi phone.

https://www.unlimitedtogo.com/

Google Fi has unlimited data (capped speeds after some amount) and maximum data bill of $60/month. It works internationally with no additional fees on international data.

https://fi.google.com/about/

I have a Pepwave MAX BR1 MK2. You'll want to make sure you get one for the region you will be visiting so that you get the most out of their cellular network.

https://www.peplink.com/products/max...ngle-cellular/

brazenarticle 27-06-2019 13:59

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
My Verizon hotspot on an unlimited plan was speed throttled toward the end of each month. There is no limiting on the unlimited plan (imagine that!) for phones (at the moment anyway) so now I just use the phone personal hot spot.
The only downside is in some places I'd run the hotspot up the mast for better reception and I don't like to do that with the phone - might need to take a picture, make a call, etc....

LoudMusic 27-06-2019 14:08

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Another note - I find it very important to have your own wireless network on board that your devices connect to, and then a gateway device that connects to internet services. "Repeating" shore wifi and reconnecting all your devices to the new SSID each place you go is not a good method.

ranger42c 28-06-2019 05:06

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Hmmm... 1, 3, and/or 5.

We use an inexpensive external USB WiFi adapter when necessary, in cases where WiFi is available but only viable if signal quality is improved... and it acts as a range extender (in case "range extender" in your query means something different).

Then we usually create a hotspot on one of our two laptops (Connectify on the Win7 laptop, native to Win10).

But when WiFi doesn't work, we can create a hotspot using one of our two different (provider) smartphones.

-Chris

MV Wanderlust 28-06-2019 07:52

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
After researching the different options, unlimited carrier plans, etc... it looks like we're going to upgrade the data plan on my ATT phone to Unlimited Premium. We'll also keep the wifi range extender for times when we're within range of an unsecured wifi zone or a zone for which we have the password.

The upgrade to Unlimited Premium on my phone won't cost that much additional per month. It has much broader LTE coverage than Sprint or T-Mobile. The Unlimited part doesn't throttle like Verizon. After reaching 22 GB, they "may" slow the speeds down during peak periods in high traffic areas. I've spoken with people who anchor remotely and they said they experience no slowdowns since they're not in high traffic areas (big cities).

Thanks for the feedback and input, everyone!

John

a64pilot 28-06-2019 08:07

WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Itís all very complex of course, we have Verizonís above unlimited which is 75 gig and we have never hit it, or they didnít throttle us, according to their customer support they wonít, unless Iím in a major city, who knows, it seems the truth with cell plans is difficult to determine.

In the Bahamas we had Aliv I think it was called and we hade 300 gig a month before being throttled, and we never used that amount.
Some will keep their US plan in the Bahamas, but Iíve never to see it work very well, best to go local.
We just bought a cheap used IPhone for use in the Bahamas as Verizonís network type is apparently a US thing only.

So I think the answer to this question may vary based on where you are

Suijin 28-06-2019 08:31

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by a64pilot (Post 2918601)
Itís all very complex of course, we have Verizonís above unlimited which is 75 gig and we have never hit it, or they didnít throttle us, according to their customer support they wonít, unless Iím in a major city, who knows, it seems the truth with cell plans is difficult to determine.

In the Bahamas we had Aliv I think it was called and we hade 300 gig a month before being throttled, and we never used that amount.
Some will keep their US plan in the Bahamas, but Iíve never to see it work very well, best to go local.
We just bought a cheap used IPhone for use in the Bahamas as Verizonís network type is apparently a US thing only.

So I think the answer to this question may vary based on where you are

Indeed.

I have Google Fi which has worked in every country I have been in. Google partners with carriers in each country and it's seamless from the user's perspective. It's $20/month, with $10/gb up to 6 gb, for a monthly maximum of $80. Above 6gb it's throttled to 256kbs unless you pay an exorbitant fee for more bandwidth. In foreign countries you do pay international calling rates but texting is free and unlimited.

That said when I got to the Dominican Republic I swapped in a local SIM card and data here is dirt cheap. $2 for 15gb, and you can re-up as often as you like.

In the Bahamas Aliv is like $85 for 300gb...

So I keep my Google Fi, so I have a permanent phone number, and is good for "stop gap" data, but I look at local options for data wherever I go.

Wifi extenders? Good to have as an option, but unsecured networks are getting fewer and farther between these days. Sometimes you get lucky and find one. Would I shell out for a built-in system like the Bullet? Not anymore.

sailorchic34 28-06-2019 08:41

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
I had a dedicated hotspot for many years. Now I use my tablet with unlimited data. Mainly as phone data is less expenisive. I use a chinese android tablet with a phone sim card slot. (lenova Tab4 8+) Pretty sweet..

sailorboy1 28-06-2019 09:05

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
I get a lot of use out of my wifi extender (on it now to get the marina wifi access point). But the last year it has mainly been to connect to a marina when either in a slip or mooring. There still is a odd xfinity signal here and there I can get connected to free (because I password for the general service), but the internet connection speed on it is normally so poor you switch to your phones hot spot. Also a lot of marinas in the east and Florida seem to use the On Spot wifi system and don't change the password (it's onspotwifi).

By far the game changer the last year or so is that my Sprint cell service changed from 10 GB hot spot each phone to 50 (so for the 2 of us that's 100 GB hot spot). And we also have unlimited data and have a Mirrorcast on the TV so we can stream video and play it on the TV. That's an outstanding cruiser entertainment value.

MV Wanderlust 28-06-2019 09:56

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sailorboy1 (Post 2918670)
we also have unlimited data and have a Mirrorcast on the TV so we can stream video and play it on the TV.

That's my plan, too, if/when we burn through the hotspot data.

sailorboy1 28-06-2019 10:09

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by CaptJohnEasley (Post 2918735)
That's my plan, too, if/when we burn through the hotspot data.

Unlimited data free streaming to the TV via miracast works better that hotspot to do the same thing. There a limit on hot spot but not on the data, so use the data first if available (if 1 is available they both are, it's the same phone)

BTW - there also seems to be advantages to having an apple phone and an android. Some places one will just work better than the other (but iPhones don't miracast)

sailorboy1 28-06-2019 10:09

Re: WiFi Range Extender vs MiFi Hotspot vs etc
 
Also if you both have IPhones you should get and Apple TV to make it work out


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