Monday, July 22, 2024

How Do I Get Wifi On My Boat

Mobile Data From A Dongle/ Mobile Wi

Should I Have a Cell Booster or a WiFi Booster on My Boat?

A mobile dongle is a simple device that you plug a sim mobile/cell sim card into in order to get online. Therefore, a lot of the problems described above about signal strength on narrowboats also applies here. Although a dongle might be easier to position outside of your boat for an improved signal. Just make sure it doesnt slip into the water, as they arent usually designed to be outside!

These dongles are being taken over by Mobile Wi-Fi devices these days. These are essentially mini routers that you plug a sim card into to get internet on your boat.

The good thing about a dongle or mobile wifi device is that it will pipe wi-fi around the area where the dongle is, so it is a quick and easy way to get wi-fi on your boat that can be accessed by more than one person at a time. Although it may not fill your whole boat, so some tactical positioning of the dongle may be needed.


  • Signal inside boat not as good
  • Not as strong as normal wifi

Below is an example of a mobile wifi device I would recommend. Click the image to look at it in closer detail over at Amazon.

Public Wifi Free Or Paid

Finding a place with Free Wi-Fi is sometimes a fun, but mostly daunting task for us.; Sure, if youre in a first world, well developed country, finding good wifi isnt difficult.; Start wandering into the more remote, undeveloped parts of the world and this is where things start to get challenging.

If a hotel, restaurant or cafe has decent internet speeds, going for a beer and an upload is awesome.; But its not common since we left the USA.; Most of the time, if were in need of internet, so are others.; Meaning, that WiFi signal is going to have a lot of users and slow speeds. ;Or, were simply in an area with slow and/or expensive internet .; If they are offering it up for free, its probably not very fast. Same rings true for public parks, libraries and government offices.; Its a roll of the dice, some days it might work while others it can be bogged down so bad it wont even download email.

Paid Wifi can be a good option if it exists.; Cyber cafés are still common in certain regions of the world and while they may not be free, they are often more reliable connections with faster speeds.

Free or paid, weve learned to call ahead and ask questions such as: Do you have Wi-Fi? Is it currently working? Will it play a YouTube Video? Can I download and upload files?;The answers to all of these questions vary each time and help us find the best place to get some solid work done.

Kuma 4g Wifi System For Motorhomes

The Kuma system is a complete wifi system designed for motorhomes, campers and boats.

There are two main types- a 4G wifi dongle which comes with an antenna to improve the signal. You can put any SIM card in this- make sure it’s a data sim.

The other type is a wifi booster, with antenna and router.

Both systems allow up to 5 devices to be connected to the box at once, which isn’t enough for us, but this might be the best solution for you- you can even use both systems together to make your life even easier.

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Shakespeare Wifi2 Webwhip Long

The Shakespeare WiFi2 WebWhip a fully integrated and waterproof Wi-Fi antenna, radio and router increases the coverage of public hotspots by up to to 7 miles by creating a local Wi-Fi hotspot with any standard Wi-Fi router. Access the internet onboard directly through LAN or wirelessly. Manage the network without any software installation through any device with a web browser. 100+ Mbps throughput.

How To Get Internet On A Boat While Docked Or At Sea

Phuket 83100 48 Sailboat 48.0 Rental 27063

In the 21st century, you can hardly stay away from the internet without losing your relevance to the world. You need to check your emails and stay up to date on global news on the internet. As a matter of fact, it is important that you stay online, on social networks to connect with your family and old friends once in a while.

While being on a boat is a good time to disconnect, you may not want to fully disconnect. Besides, if you are with your family or kids, the little ones might be more interested in watching YouTube videos, watching Netflix or recording the entire experience on Snapchat. If that is the case, then you will definitely need to have the internet on your boat.

The problem is, good service isnt usually available when you are on the water, so you need to create it for yourself. This post covers some of the ways you can get the internet when you are out on the water and you need to do a little surfing. Web surfing that is.

First, let us see the possibility of using the internet at sea.

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Will You Be Traveling To Other Continents

If youre planning on sailing to Europe or South America, your satellite TV may not work. Many dishes have components that are localized to a specific region, and they wont decode satellite signals from other areas. This component is called the LNB, or low noise block, and its what converts the satellite signal into something usable by set-top boxes and DVRs.

If you plan on doing a lot of traveling between different regions, consider a dish that has an LNB that works across different regions. You wont have access to your US-based satellite TV plan, but you can pick up regional international networks.

If you have more than one TV on your boat and want to watch different channels on each, youll need additional set-top boxes from your satellite provider. Youll need one for each TV that you want to have independent. Our verdict? It might be easier to just compromise on what to watch.

Using Mobile Data Outside Your Home Country

If you are travelling outside your home country, you need to make sure that data roaming is enabled on your phone AND that you have a plan which allows you to use data in other countries cheaply. Things are getting much better in terms of roaming charges for calls/ texts, but data is still capable of giving you a large bill at the end of your trip!

Also, be aware that the data limit you have at home will probably NOT be the same as your free allowance abroad- so be aware. It’s hard to track data usage, but things like maps, streaming videos and Facebook can all use up a LOT of data.

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Mobile And Cellular Data

Another way to get internet access is to use an existing mobile/cell data plan. Depending on the connectivity needs of the yacht, the money spent on an antenna/smart box could instead be spent on purchasing a higher mobile-data allowance.The problem with this is dead spots. To avoid a dead spot, additional equipment will be needed, such as a signal booster. Leading manufacturers in marine mobile/cellular include Digital Antenna, Shakespeare Marine, and Marine Technologies.

Which Mobile Data Network Works Best In Europe

How to get internet on a boat

Between us, we have devices on several different UK networks- 3, Vodafone and the wifi on EE. When we’re travelling in Europe, there is a definite difference between which networks can pick up signals where. For example, in at the Mont Blanc campsite, I couldn’t get a signal on my phone at all, but Mr WB could.

In our opinion, 3 and Vodafone are currently the best for data roaming across Europe. Just be careful with the roaming charges and do your own research before signing up to any contracts- the best deals change all the time.

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How many devices can you connect to a motorhome wifi dongle?

We often have 7 devices using one dongle. Yep, true story. Two laptops, two iPads and 3 phones. And that’s without Jade being in the camper! Most sane people won’t need that many devices, but it shows it can handle it! The Kuma system below only allows 5 devices, so think about how many you might need before buying.

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Use 5ghz As Much As Possible

2.4Ghz is great for long distance connections, but modern WiFi access points have had a much faster, shorter range radios in them for years. These operate on the 5Ghz spectrum, and have a ton more channels available. Not only that, they can operate with bonded channels and other fancy things that give better overall throughput.

2.4Ghz vs 5Ghz channels courtesy of

In a recent install, I helped a friend switch from 2.4Ghz to 5Ghz and saw ping times to the local router go from 100-300ms down to 1-3ms. ;That means Facebook, websites, and other things load almost instantly now, and from the user experience side, it makes a huge difference.

2Ghz WiFi spectrum scan from a recent marina visit showing how busy it is

Tethering Your Smartphone To Create A Wireless Hotspot

Yet another way to access the Internet while aboard your vessel is to tether your smartphone to your computer, iPad, or tablet using it as a wireless hotspot. While the term tether suggests a physical connection between devices, the technology simply creates a Wi-Fi connection that extends your data network beyond your smartphone allowing other devices to connect. If you are fortunate enough to have one of the latest versions of a smartphone, including iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, you will have the option to activate the wireless hotspot. On most phones, the feature is accessible in the connections menu of the device.

Benefits of tethering include the ability to connect other devices to the Internet wherever there is a network signal. With a password, you are in control of what devices can connect to your personal hotspot. Drawbacks of tethering your smartphone to other devices include a quickly depleted battery, patchy provider service depending on your location, and extra data charges that correlate to the data plan you have purchased for your phone. Overall, tethering your smartphone is a quick and easily accessible solution for Wi-Fi aboard a watercraft. However, as with other electronics, you will want to take the necessary precautions in waterproofing your device and keeping the battery charged for later use.

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Best Cellular Internet Setups For Boats

Equipment setup
Learn more

*Data as of 3/31/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. See full disclaimer.

The MobilSat cellular system is our top pick. Its a comprehensive solution and extends cellular range up to 20 miles away from the shore. Its very effective for boaters who cruise along the coast or go boating at lakes and along rivers. Like any cellular data, it wont work everywhere, but it delivers an affordable internet solution for boating.

Of course, cellular data wont work if you go too far from shore. Even with a booster, youll only be able to get online when youre located close to shore and in a direct line of sight to cell phone towers. Once you cruise away from shore, or past the nearest ports cellular coverage area, you wont have a signal. Thats why we recommend always having a satellite phone on board for emergencies.

The advantage cellular internet offers to boaters is the price tag. Cellular equipment and data service are much less expensive than satellite setups. Even a complete marine setup with cellular modem, router, and a top of the line booster is less than $2,000.

Cellular data plans are affordable. Cellular data is $5 or less per GB, while satellite data for marine vessels costs $300 or more per GB. So most boaters use cellular as much as possible, even if they have a satellite connection for deep sea excursions.

Using A Wifi Extender

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The first piece of good news is that most marinas already offer WiFi connections. This is probably the cheapest kind of internet connection 1) you could get for your boat.

However, it has a downside, which is that you can only make good use of it if youre close to the shore. Go too far and the signal will drop, leaving you with a video that wont stop buffering on YouTube.

If you want to take full advantage of the WiFi coming from the marina, even when youre far from shore, youll need to get yourself a WiFi extender.

Of course, the actual range of the WiFi extender you get depends on the specific one you get, and what its range is as claimed by the manufacturer.

That said, even if you get a very strong WiFi extender, there are a few factors that govern just how far away you can go before even the best WiFi extender reaches its limits:

  • How strong is the hotspot signal coming from the shore?
  • Do you have a direct line of sight to the source of the hotspot signal on the shore?
  • How much intrusion is there to the signal?
  • How is the weather?

Assuming youre getting favorable results for all the above factors, you should be able to get a good signal from quite a distance with a WiFi extender.

Here are some WiFi extenders you might want to consider getting from Amazon:

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Peplink Pepwave Surf Soho Router $19900

Peplink enjoys a good reputation for high-quality hardware, durability, good features and;ease of user interface.;With the Peplink Pepwave Surf SOHO Router, you can connect to the Internet using a USB cellular modem, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi.

Hook the Surf SOHO up to your WiFi and cellular connections, and it will allow you to set priorities so that if there is WiFi available, it will connect to the WiFi. Then if WiFi becomes unavailable, it will automatically switch over to your cellular connection. Once WiFi is available again, it connects back up, always keeping WiFi as the priority.

The Best 4g And Wifi Boosters That Mean You Can Work From Your Yacht

Rupert Holmes looks at effective options for onboard internet from 4G to WiFi boosters

Former ocean racer Pete Goss working from his yacht

After the COVID-19 pandemic has made remote working so widely accepted, could working from your yacht be part of the future? Its no longer an expensive option: in the past couple of years the price of mobile data has plummeted, with unlimited plans now less than £25 per month.

In the UK, 4G reception around much of the coast is dire and often requires better equipment than in some far-flung parts of the world, but sensibly priced equipment can significantly boost a wifi or 3G/4G mobile signal. Look for products with fully waterproof omni-directional external antennas.

Connecting to marina wifi from a laptop is invariably hit-and-miss. Signals often struggle to get through the forest of masts and many marina WiFi systems suffer from low bandwidth at popular times.

WiFi boosters can therefore be a big help. Ive regularly used an inexpensive model over a 400m distance with success. A higher specification unit, such as MailaSails WiFi Bat, has potential to communicate over a few miles in optimal conditions, yet the antenna is only 59cm tall and weighs less than 700g.

Digital Yachts WL510 WiFi Access System has a larger antenna and can either be plugged directly to a laptops ethernet port, or used with a router to produce an onboard wifi network for multiple users.

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Get Connected: Wifi On Boats

The latest WiFi technologies enable you to navigate, monitor, or keep your boat secure, all from your tablet or phone.

Since WiFi entered the mix on boats, entertainment and navigation at sea have never been so much fun. Its easier than ever to connect our navigation, stereo and engine displays with mobile devices. And we all like to be connected 24/7, wherever we are.But before you go and purchase a range of new equipment, ask yourself: do you really need WiFi connected systems, or is this just another way to pour money into your hole in the water? To answer this question, I recently sat down with a local expert Mike Wheeler from Yacht Masters Northwest and selected four areas where all this new technology can be very useful.

With WiFi, an iPad is all you need to integrate a second helm station.

Digital 4 Cellular 9db Dual Band Cellular & Wlan Antenna $24900

52. WiFi Mobile Broadband on a Boat

Digital Antennas dual band cellular antennas improve signals on cellular and PCS bands. They are omni-directional, transmitting and receiving signals from all directions, which provides you with 10 times the signal strength of a cell phone used by itself.;With a powerful 9dB gain and professional marine grade construction, these 4 cellular antennas deliver high performance that will last for years. Each antenna is designed for easy connection to your cell phone or cell signal amplifier.

Digital Antenna 4 Dual Band Cell Antenna comes with;a collet ferrule to ensure no cable twisting and allows the antenna to be removed when needed. A tapered collet securely locks the Digital Antennas 1183-CW Antenna to the bottom ferrule which mounts standard 1-14 threads.;Made in the US with 316 surgical stainless, UV stable high gloss finish and precision soldered components. Sleek, rugged design.

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