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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.
Last edited by svzephyr44; 04-17-2007 at 11:19 AM.