Tuesday, May 21, 2024

How To Get Wifi On Your Boat

Installing A Wifi Repeater

Wifi & 4G connection on your boat

A 1 watt WiFi router can provide long distance internet while on a boat.

Its been pretty amazing to get high speed wifi in some places throughout the islands. However, its totally dependent on there being an open wifi router within the line of site. As long as youre boating near a city, and have the freedom to drop anchor wherever you can find a strong signal, this is a great way to get wifi on the go.

In the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands there are plenty of great boating locations that are near major cities. Saratoga Passage is a great winter and summer boating ground. Staying close to Everett or Oak Harbor is sure to allow you easy access to an open wifi router. Along the coast of Anacortes and Bellingham are plenty of great anchorages that will keep you in line of site of the cities. I can usually find a good wifi connection anywhere near these cities.

Shakespeare Superhalo Cellular Booster Kit $105900

The Shakespeare SuperHALO Cellular Booster Kit is a marine grade 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE voice and data cellular reception solution. Its 5-band compatibility makes it compatible with AT& T, T-Mobile and Verizon networks. The Super HALO is optimized to boost cellular reception for your boat with support of 10+ users simultaneously and an indoor antenna to direct the signal where you really need it. High quality metal construction so it is durable and resilient.

The kit includes:

  • Galaxy 5239 outside omni marine antenna
  • 50dB adjustable marine booster / amplifier
  • 248W-M inside panel antenna
  • 110W-M 10-ft inside patch antenna
  • Cables and power cord

Can I Get Online On A Boat Using A Cellular Data Plan And A Hotspot

Yes, getting a mobile hotspot and a cellular data-only plan is a good way to connect along the shoreline and while cruising at inland lakes and rivers.

Boaters who plan to use cellular data will need a booster to extend the signal. Be aware that even with a booster, your signal will probably go in and out as you cruise along the coast.

For most recreational boaters, cellular service from AT& T, Verizon, or another mobile provider will be the fastest and most affordable way to get internet on a boat. Cellular signals dont travel very far, so dont expect steady service while cruising across the Gulf of Mexico or sailing along the outer banks of North Carolina.

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How To Get Wifi On A Boat

Our routers work by harnessing the 4G data networks. Buzz Wireless can offer a range of 4G routers and devices able to aid you and your crew/friends/family with getting wifi on a boat. This is vital for multiple reasons: communication, safety, entertainment etc.

Head here to have a browse of the options for your internet solution today.

Great Websites And Apps That Need Internet When Sailing

Van Life Internet Options: How to Get WiFi on the Road ...

That being said, there are always times when having the internet is a literal life-saver! Although there are alternate ways to get the weather, we really do rely on getting the wind forecast twice a day. There have also been many times when weve made last minute decisions to change anchorages and internet based websites and apps have saved the day. Weve put together a list of our top 12 apps and websites for sailinghere and listed below are a few of our go tos!

Navionics We have Navionics on our phones and tablets and use it for navigation. It is amazing. And so cheap compared to chart plotter charts!

Predict Wind Our go to app for the wind forecast, we tried windy but didnt find it as accurate. Apparently it can differ in different parts of the world, or even different parts of the Med, so try both and see which one works best for you before you stick!

Blitzortung We check this website every day alongside the weather. It maps out every lightening strike in the world with astonishing accuracy. So you can basically track whether a storm is heading your way. Its been so much more reliable than the weather forecast and weve always known when a thunderstorm is approaching! See it in actionhere!

No Foreign Land Here you can read reviews about anchorages and you can map your journey and see the journeys of your friends. Sailors who want to can add where they are, so you can see other boats that youre sharing an anchorage with!

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Modem Features Required For Onboard Use

In most instances, you will be wanting to connect to the internet using your devices Wi-Fi connection. In this regard, almost all modem/routers include Wi-Fi and have similar configuration options as your home Wi-Fi. At PicoSense we are happy to pre-configure modems and Wi-Fi connections prior to shipping so you dont have to worry about this. The kit we recommend includes external antenna options for Wi-Fi as well as the 4G/3G connection.

Depending on your boat type/size you may wish to add a Wi-Fi antenna to increase range, however in most cases the stubby antennas that is supplied with the unit is more than sufficient to provide Wi-Fi around an average sized boat . Some steel vessels will need to utilise external Wi-Fi antennas to ensure coverage around the boat.Most modems include at least 1 wired LAN connection. This is handy for devices which dont have Wi-Fi and require internet access. I need to mention here also that tethering to your phone for internet access just wont work reliably and will utilise a lot of battery power.

G And The Internet Of Things

Recently launched, the super high-speed 5G cellphone network is currently only available in major cities in the UK but will be rapidly expanded over the next few years. In addition to lightning-fast data transmission for messaging, browsing, weather and navigation information downloads, the worldwide rollout of the 5G system will enable the use of the so-called Internet of Things .

Initially, this will most likely be used by large vessels to control security and for alarm monitoring but it will rapidly spread to areas such as remote and automatic engine diagnostics and telemetry, software and firmware updating and equipment troubleshooting, on small private craft as well.

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Can I Access The Internet While Out At Sea

– Whether you want to have constant internet access- If the price is worth being able to get online any time- If there are people you want to remain in contact with- What you want to use the internet for and whether or not you can sacrifice those options- How long you’ll be at sea

For all of your internet needs for your boat, visit thegpsstore.com. You can choose the option that best suits your needs and purchase the tools to make it possible to access the internet per your requirements. Set up your boat so that no matter where you’re going, you can find an internet plan that meets your needs.

Store Links

  • Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
  • Questions ?

Use 5ghz As Much As Possible

How to get internet on a boat

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 MetaGeek.com

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

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Internet Creepers & Safety Concerns

You know, those creepers in the corner drinking cheap whiskey attached to the same network you are. If they really wanted to, they could connect to your computer and intercept credit card numbers or worse, your deepest darkest internet searches! We all know we should never use a public network to log into bank accounts or check your credit card balancesbut theres a simple work around.

VPNs can be a globe-trotting-working-nomads savior. Like that time when we wanted to YouTube Live chat with our Patrons, but YTL was blocked in Ecuador . Once we realized what the issue was, we turned on the VPN and voilà, we were live streaming .

Cell Phone Data / Dedicated Hotspot

Whether its a hotspot created from a cell phone or a designated device, a hotspot is typically the most simple, efficient and affordable way to go.

We have two cell phones on board with two different plans.

Local Sim

Its always a good idea to have one unlocked, GSM, quad band, phone to use with a local SIM. It works as our local phone number. We use our iphone for this. We can take advantage of any affordable local data plans, make local phone calls and more importantly, locals can call us. Appointments of any sort such as customs, a doctor appointment, tour guide, taxi, local that invited us for dinnerthere are lots of scenarios where a local number comes in handy.

SIM cards are available in most countries around the world. We simply head to the nearest convenience store, post office or even grocery store and ask for a local SIM card with data . More often than not, the person selling the SIM will even set up your phone for you. They want to make sure it works and youre happy before you leave the store, this way youll come back to top up when your plan is poked.

International Phone

There are more options than ever out there for international cell/data plans. Most of them are expensive and dont make sense for long term travel. But, there is one option that has been a game changer for us: Google Fi!

Sadly, its for USA based residents only for now, but its Google, surely theyll expand?!? .

Its a straight forward plan.

Do You Need A Burner Phone?

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How Do I Get The Best Signal From Wi

Using a booster will help you make the best of wimpy Wi-Fi at a marina. Most marinas have some sort of Wi-Fi connection available . But the quality of marina Wi-Fi varies widely. A lot of the problems with marina Wi-Fi boil down to high usage, bad network design, lots of interference from metal and glass, and poor technical support. You may need to walk around the dock to get a signal.

If you intend to use marina Wi-Fi for anything other than the most casual of social media browsing, or on multiple devices, youll need to outfit your boat with the right equipment.

Which Internet Option Is Best For Boating

Boat WiFi Guide: How to Get Internet on Your Boat ...

Communication on the water is better than its ever been. Today, you have more options than ever before, including satellite antenna systems for transatlantic voyages and cellular boosting equipment suitable for cruising along the coast.

There isnt a universal best internet option for boating because itll depend on where youre cruising, how much data you need, and how much you want to spend. Some options cost a few hundred dollars, while others will set you back $50,000 or more.

Jump to:

There are three ways to connect to the internet while boating.

  • Cellular data
  • Public and private Wi-Fi hotspots at docks and marinas
  • Satellite internet communications
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    Satellite Internet Cost Breakdown For Boats

    Gaining access to the internet on a boat is an expensive proposition. Theres no other way to put it. Its nothing at all like signing up with your local cable internet provider, or even getting access through a home satellite internet company. There are substantial equipment costs ahead of actually obtaining the service itself. And then you have to sort out the service costs, which are much pricier than anything youll be paying on land.

    On the equipment side of things, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars if not tens of thousands of dollars for a device capable of delivering internet access to a boat. The low side can be as little as $1,400. Spring for something a little more fancy and a little more capable, and the price can quickly shoot up to as much as $50,000 . You might also have to factor in what it might cost to have someone install the satellite device on your boat, or to have someone come and service your equipment should something go awry.

    Get Sneaky Getting The Internet At Sea

    We have heard of some sneaky cruisers who buy a Wi-Fi aerial. These are little boxes you mount on your mast, backstays, or spreaders that can catch shore wi-fi directly from your boat. You can usually spot this type of cruiser in an anchorage they scout the whole area checking where the connection is stronger. If you want to try this option out, you have to keep a few things in mind:

    • You will need to be somewhere close to bars or restaurants so that you can reach their Wi-Fi, and you will need to choose where you anchor based on where you can get strong enough signal. As we find anchoring a stressful enough exercise as it is, this wasnt the best option for us!
    • You will still need to get the Wi-Fi password, so you will have to buy at least one drink This may be a good option if your budget is really tight!

    There are some booster modelswhich can be coupled with a SIM card, meaning you can boost your phones Wi-Fi if you cant find it somewhere onshore.

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    Top Of The Line Pepwave Max Transit $899+

    This solution is the best on the market right now in terms of flexibility, options, and performance. It is an enterprise-grade, mobile router that not only will accept two or more SIM cards for LTE internet, but spits out both 2.4 and 5Ghz WiFi, has a ton of features, and is an all around solid performer. Ive been using Pepwave products for almost 15 years now, and they consistently outperform everything else I have tested. I highly recommend any of their routers I even use their Balance series at home and on land and VPN them together.

    The MAX Transit series comes in two flavors one with two SIM slots and one radio , and one with 4 SIM slots and two radios, called the MAX Transit Duo. I would only recommend the Transit Duo if you require two simultaneous LTE connections for bandwidth or redundancy. The Duo costs a lot more, and has a ton of antennas, but if you have the budget, and multiple SIM cards, it might be a good investment for you.

    Note: for any LTE product, make sure you get the latest LTE modem to ensure it supports all of the frequencies for your provider and will have longevity. Right now Category 18 is the newest available for the MAX Transit.

    The MAX Transit runs off of DC power, has a single WAN port and a single LAN port for cabled devices. You can add a switch for more ports . It is very compact and can be mounted in various ways.

    Digital Yacht Wl60 Mkiii

    Free Wi-Fi on our boat. Replacing the waterpump.

    UK marine electronics company, Digital Yacht, offers a number of reliable solutions to onboard communications. Its WL60 hi-gain antenna is a simple external aerial supplied with four quick-mount suckers. It is 60cm tall and comes with a 5m long cable, terminating in a USB plug.

    Ideal for single devices or connection to a network router, it is said to boost your boat Wi-Fi range to over a mile in perfect conditions.

    Suitable for Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 and Mac OS X 10.3+ operating systems and supports 802.11b/g/n protocols as well as WEP and WPA/WPA2 encryption.

    RRP: £120

    With each product is a Buy it now link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesnt affect the amount you pay.

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    Boat Internet : How It Works

    The Internet works differently on boats and yachts, and it will work differently depending exactly how far out from shore you are. There is satellite service available on boats today that can offer connectivity for things like messaging, phone calls, Internet surfing, and even HDTV reception. Existing equipment was adapted to work on moving vessels, and those willing to pay can find plenty of options to stay connected.

    Several satellite dishes are available from a variety of manufacturers that include the hardware and a data plan that is charged monthly like a cell phone or land-based Internet plan. Although signal boosters are available for those who dont venture too far from shore, these have their limits. Boaters who want the most expansive coverage have to go with satellite. Its the only way to get reliable service when youre out on open water.

    Of course, like all boating technology, theres a solution for just about every price range, with basic Internet solutions starting as low as $1,500. Of course, custom and high-end Internet satellite systems are available that can provide global access with plenty of data for as much as $50,000 or more.

    Wave Wifi Rogue Pro Wifi Extender Starting At $43900

    The easy-to-mount, marinized Rogue Wave Pro can be connected directly to any WAN ethernet enabled device, router or switch. When connected to a wireless router, the Rogue Wave Pro DB provides Internet connectivity for numerous wireless devices aboard the boat. There is no software installation and all operation is web-based.

    Wave WiFi Rogue Pro products are said to provide outstanding performance because of the firmware embedded in each unit that permits the user to scan for hotspots and provides a detailed diagnostic of the quality of each signal. 7 mile range in optimum conditions. Connects to both 2.4ghz and 5ghz marina networks.

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