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-   -   Wireless Internet access (http://www.sailnet.com/forums/cruising-liveaboard-forum/11176-wireless-internet-access.html)

Seagypsywoman 01-24-2005 09:32 AM

Wireless Internet access
 
I''m trying out a WLAN adapter (D-Link DWL-120+) on my laptop. It plugs into the USB port and has an antenna device that goes searching for signals (some free I''m told) to hook up to the internet. It''s working great right now in Ayamonte, Spain with a router on top of a building only a quarter of a mile away and my searching antenna on top of the deck outside.
But since I got it I hear that I can do the same thing with a PCMCIA card which does not have a cord, it just plugs into my PC card slot and so it''s not as bulky to carry around an airport etc. It''s also chaper here in Spain. Has anyone had any experience with these? Which one is better?
Is it really possible to get access (free preferable) around the Mediterranean using one of these? Or can I get on a plan with my mobile phone (that''s cheap) and then just get another SIM card when I get to a new country? What''s the best thing to do? I''m new at all this.Thanks.
Barbara (seagypsywoman@yahoo.ca)

svzephyr44 03-07-2005 06:27 PM

Wireless Internet access
 
This may help:

WLAN uses one of two protocol subsets of the 802.11 standard - b and g. There is an a, but it never took off. The standard is international to a point. The specific country by country changes are how much power (Watts) the transmitted signal can use and if you can use gain antennas or not. Decoding this a bit: The better your antenna, the further away the access point can be from your boat. An antenna on deck is most likely going to do better than an antenna on your laptop (802.11 signals are line of sight.) In addition, if you are permitted to use a gain antenna (like a cone shaped directional antenna in your current location you can reach out to an access point that is further away.

All 802.11 signals run on discrete channels. Your software listens in turn to each of the discrete channels and tries to make a connection. Once it makes a connection there are two general ways your connection can be blocked. First, the connection may be encrypted (e.g. WEP and some other encryption schemes) Second, the connection may be open but access to the internet is blocked by a firewall. Usually that means that you will get a screen asking for money.

Depending on where you are you might or might not be able to get a free connection to the internet. As a general rule you want your antenna high and visible (not in your pcmcia card) and directional if possible. You also want to make sure that you are transmitting with the maximum authorized power.

amunk 03-08-2005 04:08 AM

Wireless Internet access
 
So, what equipment (make, model ..etc) do you recommend to be used with a laptop? I am planning a trip from Lake Ontario to Florida, Caribbean and hopefully to the Virgin Islands.
Thanks,
Alex

i670684 03-08-2005 05:12 AM

Wireless Internet access
 
Consider purchasing a wireless PC card that has both an internal antenna and a connector for an external antenna. When you are at anchor or docked, an external antenna will allow you to connect where a laptop below would not. There are numerous on-line stores that sell antennas and the cards that work with them. I recently ordered something from www.sharperconcepts.net but there are many others.

FYI, most of the cards you''ll find at Best Buy or the like will not allow connection of an external antenna.

amunk 03-10-2005 04:05 AM

Wireless Internet access
 
I am not able to find a laptop card that has an external connector for an antenna. The card you mentioned in your post was that a PCI card for a desktop? Do you know a specific model for a laptop?

ahmetb 04-14-2005 11:16 AM

Wireless Internet access
 
I have been using the AT&T wireless service with their GPRS netwoek and it works fine for coastal cruising, basically wherever you have Digital Cell phone reception

sailingdog 03-19-2006 08:30 PM

There are quite a few 802.11g cards that allow the use of external antennas. Another important feature to look for is a card capable of 200 mW transmission. Most cards use a 100 mW radio, but there are several that have 200 mW radios instead.

For antenna design, a good cheap antenna is the "Pringles Cantenna" which can be made for under $10.

Spike_dawg 03-20-2006 02:25 PM

One more thing....If you are connected to a free network then it is unencrypted, most likely someones private network with no security. This means anything you do on the internet is in the public domain and easily read by anyone. If you bank on the internet, purchase things with your credit card, etc. then you are broadcasting this information to anyone who wants to listen. Kind of like posting your private information on a forum and hoping no one takes advantage of you. It's your call.

camaraderie 03-21-2006 12:36 AM

Amunk...Try the Oriico Gold Card with External antenna input for your laptop:
Excerpt from CNET review...
The Orinoco World PC Card also features a unique external antenna connector .... Simply attach an indoor antenna such as the $70 Proxim Orinoco Range Extender model to the end of your PC Card via the included cable. You can then place the external antenna up high on a desk or a bookshelf and increase your wireless coverage.
http://reviews.cnet.com/Proxim_Orino...4.html?tag=toc

sailingdog 03-28-2006 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spike_dawg
One more thing....If you are connected to a free network then it is unencrypted, most likely someones private network with no security. This means anything you do on the internet is in the public domain and easily read by anyone. If you bank on the internet, purchase things with your credit card, etc. then you are broadcasting this information to anyone who wants to listen. Kind of like posting your private information on a forum and hoping no one takes advantage of you. It's your call.


Actually, if you're using a site to bank or purchase things, most likely they're protected with SSL-encryption and you should see a little padlock in your web browser.

However, for e-mail, unless you use a provider, like Gmail, that allows you to use ssl-encrypted e-mail server access, anything you write in e-mail will be sent in cleartext, including your user name, password, e-mail server account name, etc.


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