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Old 06-01-2015, 09:40 PM   #1
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Which is better - WiFi or 4G?

I an closing on a 48' Trawler and my wife is begging for a good way to have voice, e-mail and internet on the boat. We need it to allow us to stay in contact with our business back home. I am looking for ideas for equipment and carriers, including 3G/4G amplifiers and WiFi amplifiers for the boat so we could connect with the local marinas / towns along the root. This year we will go between Seattle and a little ways above Sidney. Next year we want to take the boat up to Alaska for the summer months. Any ideas on how to approach this IT issue? Are there recommended marinas or local areas where we would have a better chance of accessing cell or Wifi with on board amplifiers? Any ideas would be helpful....
Thanks in advance.....
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Old 06-01-2015, 09:51 PM   #2
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I'm a fan of cellular myself. The advantage is that it will work outside of a marina, and you do not need to fool with it every place you stop.

I also like its consistancy. If you have a signal you'll get good download speeds.

The down side for some is the cost. I have a large shared data plan so I don't think much about the cost.

All that said, traveling north past the populated areas of Washington and BC you won't have a cell signal most of the time. To solve that issue we rely on Satellite. I found satellite works great in all the remote areas and wouldn't be able to boat nearly as much as we do without it.

We use KVH mini broadband service. The costs are not cheap, but if its for business then its not like its a choice. If you really need connectivity KVH provides that service. Pretty much anywhere we can get clear telephone and 2mbps download internet service.
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:31 AM   #3
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Wave Rouge or Rouge Pro and a Cradlepoint router with a USB cellular modem that you can plug two antennas into to get true 4G/LTE speeds.
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:57 AM   #4
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Suggest you use the Search function and enter 'wifi'; you will find extensive, recent commentary on this
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:57 AM   #5
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I suggest you get a Wirie Pro, which will give you both wifi and 3G in a single box. Then, given where you are cruising, you will want to put a T-Mobile SIM in it. The reason for a T- MobileSIM is that you can roam to Rogers in Canada and (if you can tolerate slow), you will have free data roaming. If you want fast, you can buy fast data for a reasonable fee.

4G is nice when it works, but 3G tends to work in more places (particularly in Canada).
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by SteveD View Post
I suggest you get a Wirie Pro, which will give you both wifi and 3G in a single box. Then, given where you are cruising, you will want to put a T-Mobile SIM in it. The reason for a T- MobileSIM is that you can roam to Rogers in Canada and (if you can tolerate slow), you will have free data roaming. If you want fast, you can buy fast data for a reasonable fee.

4G is nice when it works, but 3G tends to work in more places (particularly in Canada).
The current Wirie Pro claims to support 4G but not LTE per their website.
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Old 06-02-2015, 07:46 PM   #7
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There is very limited 3G or 4G service north of Cape Caution in British Columbia, essentially at Shearwater, some of the first nations settlements and Prince Rupert. Same goes for WiFi connectivity beyond the various marinas in the Broughtons. We have found roaming charges to be costly. Our solution is to turn off the cell phones when we leave the San Juan Islands and back on when we get to Alaska.

For WiFi I use an Alfa AWUS036NHV with an external Engenius 8db antenna.

One alternative for BC cellular might be to purchase a prepaid phone in Nanaimo or Sydney and tell your callers to use that number instead of your regular one.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:35 AM   #8
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If you are going up the BC coast you cannot depend upon either cell or WiFi unless you are in a proper settlement. There are large areas where nothing is available. You are looking for isolation if traveling these areas and you will have it unless in a town which are some way apart.

Evev the bigger marinas that are NOT in a town use satellite to get out but if you depend on them for business you will often overload and shut them down.

If you really must have reliable high speed connection then look into your own satellite setup.
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:10 PM   #9
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I suggest you consider an InReach when out of cell range. It worked well for us last year. We got a monthly plan with 250 messages and 1000 waypoints for $50. That was adequate for our needs. Message length including email address is 160 characters. It can interface with your phone or tablet with an app called earthmate. You can't send photos. People can go to a link with a map of your travels and it shows them your current location.

http://www.inreachdelorme.com/produc.../inreachse.php


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Old 06-04-2015, 02:13 PM   #10
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I should add that there are ways to get a sim card from a Canadian provider. Some US citizens have found that route to be successful.


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Old 06-04-2015, 03:06 PM   #11
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We got a hotspot from Rodgers Wireless in Sidney and paid for the monthly rate plan. Cheap, effective and no roaming charges.
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:05 PM   #12
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Thanks Everyone for your help

Thanks everyone for all your help. I am going to get both WiFi and 3/4G amplifiers and I am currently deciding if I should add a Sat system. We run a large sailing charter business and we need to keep in touch whether we want to or not, so I guess we need to bite the bullet and get all three.

Thanks again
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Old 06-05-2015, 10:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captaincook View Post
Thanks everyone for all your help. I am going to get both WiFi and 3/4G amplifiers and I am currently deciding if I should add a Sat system. We run a large sailing charter business and we need to keep in touch whether we want to or not, so I guess we need to bite the bullet and get all three.

Thanks again
If you get a SAT system be sure you get one that gives you the option of upgrading to an unlimited data plan. The cheaper plans sound good at first, but many boats find that that they use the system a lot more than they thought they would. And then they start going over their data plan limit and in the end paying for the unlimited plan ends up being cheaper in the long run.

Some systems will not give you the option of an unlimited data plan.

Will the system be used by multiple users?
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