Satellite WIFI

Satellite WIFI

Postby jglabrown » Sun Aug 28, 2016 9:13 am

Has anyone found a solution to receiving wifi while at anchor? We don't want one of those Intellian domes for TV (or anything for TV), just for wifi. Is it possible to use a Sat-phone as an Internet hot spot as can be done with a cell phone?
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Postby Bob Lowe » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:51 am

I installed a WiFi system on Dreamer about 12 years ago and used it extensively on the west coasts of Canada, US and Mexico. It had a range of up to about 5 miles over the water and back then, many of the private network connections were not encrypted or protected and we would often slow down when we spotted a cluster of houses on shore to see if we could connect and download our emails.

We also used it in various marinas that had WiFi and created our own network/hotspot onboard for both laptops and our main boat computer and of course, now one can also access such network with smart phones and tablets.

It worked quite well.

I'm sure the systems have improved since then.

Here is a link to help you in your research.
http://www.wififorboats.com/

Let us know what you learn and what you choose. :)
Good luck,
Bob Lowe
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Postby jglabrown » Sun Aug 28, 2016 4:42 pm

Thank you Bob. This might help in marinas; we're at Poet's Cove now (spa break!) with excellent wifi. But, as you know, most marina systems are weak and quickly overwhelmed as more guests try to log on. We have our home carrier's international data plan, but that's quite limited also. I would love to have something where we could log on in some isolated place (Broughtons) with a satellite connection of some sort.
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Postby Tom H » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:50 pm

When traveling from CT to FL and back whenever we were on a mooring ball or at anchor we used our smart phone. We have 15 gb with rollover on our plan and never came close to using it up. Also when traveling from port to port the wife used her smart phone to tether to her laptop to do the bills, answer emails, check out the next marina, etc., never had a problem connecting with the one exception being the Belhaven, N.C. This is a black hole for AT&T but Verizon works quite well. I also set up a boat wide hot spot. When in a marina I would set it up and then the wife could always log on with the same information.
Best regards
Tom Hansen
1976 42' GBC #482
"Schatzi"
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Postby Bob Lowe » Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:20 pm

Satellite internet is complicated and expensive. I don't think it is practical on a boat just yet. The platform isn't stable enough.
Good luck,

Bob Lowe
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Postby jglabrown » Mon Aug 29, 2016 10:07 am

Thanks Tom. We left the US with an AT&T 800mb plan using cell phones as hot spots. This worked for a while with Telus, Rogers and Bell using up the data roaming very quickly. North of Vancouver, cell coverage is diminished (heck, it's not even very good on the little island where we live). Bob is right, satellite is expensive, but when I see all these boats with their Tracvision balls for TV, it does seem like something just for Internet would be available. Maybe not :(
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Postby Bob Lowe » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:18 am

You might want to check with some marine satellite internet system providers. It hasn't been that long ago that I checked and learned that it was not practical for a boat due to the complexity of in-motion tracking for the uplink required for internet use. Download/downlink is not so much of a problem for in-motion tracking for TV. We had that, TracVision, on Dreamer as well as satellite phone service. They both worked great.

They may have some hybrid services combining satellite in-motion downloading with satellite phone for the uplink. I dunno, haven't checked in some years. But worth a look. :)
Good luck,

Bob Lowe
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Postby Arch » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:24 pm

Single Side-band is still an option. There is good used equipment on the market and it allows voice, weather fax, and even Email at reasonable cost plus instant SOS capability.
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Postby Bob Lowe » Mon Aug 29, 2016 1:52 pm

We used SSB for the features Arch mentioned, but not for internet. Way too slow for that. Simple text emails, good. Weather info, good. SOS, yes, but reception on the other end, sketchy, but better than nothing, good if actual voice communications on the other end.

SSB and VHF were both good for the local information and color groups.

A lot of that we were able to set up for automatic reception and review when convenient. Very good to have.
Good luck,

Bob Lowe
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Postby Georg Daniel Reuter » Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:41 pm

Some options to consider include:

1) Iridium Pilot: https://iridium.com/products/details/iridiumpilot ;

2) If you are looking for some voice communication and the ability to send and receive text messages, via satellite, then I believe one of the lowest cost option is the SPOT Global Phone: https://www.findmespot.ca/en/index.php?cid=122

This is a website that provides a good summary of some of the available marine satellite internet options: http://www.globalmarinenet.com/satellite-internet-at-sea-hardware-airtime-and-pricing/
Georg Reuter
"Civetta"
GB 32 - 540
Vancouver
Canada

“Believe me my young friend; there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats” Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (1908)
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