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Old 03-27-2018, 05:55 PM   #1
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WiFi, Cruising the ICW MD to FL

Had the survey and sea trial on our 400 Mainship and all looks good. Need suggestions for a WiFi system for strong signal due to having to work aboard while bringing her home to FL.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 03-27-2018, 06:19 PM   #2
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If you have a smart phone on Verizon wireless, you're covered for 95%+ of the trip. Short of satellite Internet, you probably won't pick up the last bit. The unlimited package is a good deal in this situation.

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Old 03-27-2018, 06:38 PM   #3
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Free and unsecured wi-fi is basically extinct. Yes, there are some municipal ones you can get from anchor, but you are better off looking at data from you own data plan. More consistent, reliable, and quick enough to do everything two or three people could need on a boat. :-D
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:06 PM   #4
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Thank you for the suggestions.
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:39 PM   #5
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phone inlimited data is the least frustrating...
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:22 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addendum1 View Post
Had the survey and sea trial on our 400 Mainship and all looks good. Need suggestions for a WiFi system for strong signal due to having to work aboard while bringing her home to FL.

Any suggestions are appreciated.
I think more information is needed for a better answer. Are you needing to stay connected on the move? Will you be staying at marinas for days at a time or will you be making the trip more quickly? Are you travelling mostly in ICW or will you be outside? Are you needing to have only a laptop connected or lots of IOT devices simultaneously?

We made the trip from FL to MD last Fall. We were on the move most of the time only spending a few nights in marinas. We relied on our mobile hotspot which worked well except while in the ocean for a few days.

Once we got to our home port I replaced the entire WiFi system on our boat and it works well.

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Old 03-27-2018, 08:37 PM   #7
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Need to stay connected on the move, quick trip just to make it to FL. Just need laptops to connect to VPV.
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Old 03-27-2018, 09:54 PM   #8
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I travel back and forth from Crisfield, MD to Fort Myers, FL on the AICW. There are going to be some spots in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and middle of Chesapeake Bay where you're going to lose Internet and cell phone for a few hours. You will be surprised how often, seamingly in the middle of nowhere, you do have service.

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Old 03-28-2018, 07:44 AM   #9
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Need to stay connected on the move, quick trip just to make it to FL. Just need laptops to connect to VPV.

Probably unlimited cellular and use that as a mobile hotspot for your laptops while underway.

Tethering chews up data, though. 10 GB wouldn't last us a month if that's all we used... and that's only for e-mail and some web browsing (including forums like this), no streaming.

At marinas, as for overnights... we've had OK (-enough) luck, usually, with the laptop's inboard adapters... but we also use a Wave-something or other (from Radio Labs, not terribly expensive) USB radio adapter in the saloon if signal strength becomes an issue. Finding unsecured sites while underway (rarer, these days), and then connecting and maintaining that connection -- for a while -- would be a non-starter.

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Old 03-28-2018, 07:53 AM   #10
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the one bright spot is if you have an Xfinity account or know someone who does...if you can actually think having Xfinity is a bright spot

There is Xfinity wifi all over the place and if you can log on, speed is usually pretty good.
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Old 03-28-2018, 08:01 AM   #11
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I've worked from the "boat office" several times while moving boats around Florida.

There have been very few places that I couldn't use my phones hotspot to keep me connected to a VPN
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Old 03-28-2018, 09:04 AM   #12
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We've been doing the ICW migration since 2008. WiFi, as others have indicated, is about extinct. You may be able to get WiFi in marinas, our experience is that marina WiFi is essentially useless. There are some that have updated to OnSpot, that seems to be universally usable.

Our solution is a cellular amp and a 4G modem. It connects to our Cradlepoint router to give us the flexibility to use marina WiFi via a Bullet HP radio when it's useful, and underway, we have generally uninterrupted coverage via 4G/LTE. Our gear is now 4 yrs old therefore obsolete, but still functions perfectly. We use a Wilson Sleek 4G cradle amp with external antenna, it allows us to use the phone, modem, etc. and is effective to the extent that it makes the difference between no signal and being able to use cellular. Would not be without it. It is HUGELY effective here in the Bahamas; our BTC coverage here has been great and far better than WiFi. $35 for 15 GB per month for LTE. For those planning travel to Bahamas, get an UNLOCKED device, BTC has on their website a pretty comprehensive guide to what devices will work with their 4G network. It is possible to buy an unlocked iOS device that will work with Verizon in the US as well as in the Bahamas with a BTC sim card, but you can't purchase it through Verizon. YMMV.

The cellular amp solution offers several alternatives many of which have been discussed on other threads. Generally, the repeater amps designed for automotive use are problemmatic aboard, the cradle style requires the device be placed in the cradle, but avoids the feedback issues of the repeaters. Our Verizon 4G/LTE modem does very well with the cradle amp, we typically have coverage on most of the east coast and offshore out several miles, depending on location. There are some dead spots in the boonies of the Carolina swamps, but coverage is nearly continuous on the ICW.
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