WiFI and VOIP in the Caribbean - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
 Not a Member? 


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 06-09-2006
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Florida
Posts: 1
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
wetdirt is on a distinguished road
WiFI and VOIP in the Caribbean

We just got back from 3 months in the Bahamas. It was a great cruise and we saw many people using Wifi (many with external antennas) and VOIP, but we never really had a change to learn all the details of how to do it and what equipment to buy.

We will be going to the Caribbean in November for 2 years and would like to maximize our capabilities to use wifi connections with VOIP and possible video with a web camera.

We are interested in what the group is doing with regard to equipment and providers (free and pay) for these services.

We will be in the Annapolis area and the Chesapeake Bay this summer and September so would have the opportunity to set it up and test it. Any referral to a good dealer in the Annapolis area will be appreciated.

Any help and voice of experience will be greatly appreciated.

Bob & Linda, B473 #5, s/v Villomee
Cell: 949-637-1587
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 06-09-2006
hellosailor's Avatar
Plausible Deniability
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 10,561
Thanks: 2
Thanked 83 Times in 81 Posts
Rep Power: 10
hellosailor has a spectacular aura about hellosailor has a spectacular aura about
Bob, if you can make a high speed internet connection (i.e.WiFi) then in order to use VOIP all you need is to set up a Skype account (if you don' t mind being tied to your computer) or to use a WiFi "router" in which case you plug your computer into one port, and you plug a "SIP" into another port. The SIP is a tiny dumb computer that you either buy or get free from a VOIP service provider (Vonage, VoicePulse, VoiceWing, etc.). The SIP has just enough brains so that whenever it is plugged in and turned on, it reaches out to the VOIP service provider and says "Hi, I'm Bob and Linda's SIP forward all their phone calls to me at this internet address." And magic, it connects you (and the phone you have plugged into it) into the telephone system.

A SIP is usually "locked" to the service provider who supplied it, so you might want to look around and see which one offers good rates for whateer you'll need. Since your VOIP "telephone number" stays the same no matter where you are (the same way your cell phone number travels with you) you can have a Maryland number, travel to Antigua, and still make all your "local" calls to Maryland as local calls. But, calls down to the dockmaster a hundred meters away would be long distance international calls--so you need to check those rates!
Or, get another VOIP service once you get down there. Yes, you can have two SIPs, two different VOIP numbers, and connect both at once through the same WiFi router.
There are all sorts of new approaches and new companies coming online, so browse around and see what will work for you.
Some (like Skype) require you to be on the computer rather than using a SIP and telephone. But there's a new "box" that lets you use telephones with Skype now, things change every day.

On WiFi itself...www.seattlewireless.com is getting a bit old but it has a guide to WiFi routers and adapters which tells you the actual POWER of them. All things being equal, a router with a higher power rating will give you a connection when a lower power rating won't--just like any other radio service. And a router or card that allows you to use an external antenna can also boost your connection tremendously.
There's a catch to this, though, because you can't just run a WiFi antenna up the mast. At the frequency these things work at, you lose so much power in the coax cable itself that you simply CAN'T bank on a long cable. In that case, you literally put the WiFi router itself "up there" with the antenna, and use a longer ethernet/power cable to feed it, since it can pass the signal back down to you without much problem.
Start simple, check out the wifi sites, and beware of miracle solutions.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 06-10-2006
camaraderie's Avatar
moderate?
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: East Coast
Posts: 13,878
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 15
camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
wifi-caribbean

While the above post was very informative...it will not do you much good in the Carib. There is VERY LITTLE wifi available no matter what your equipment. There are internet cafe's everywhere where you can buy time and plug in and use Skype or similar services on your laptop.
If you need voice communication down island on board, the best and most afordable solution is Globalstar and I would recommend the external antenna kit with it. Usually there are good deals at the anapolis boat show on packages. Per minute rates of about 25 cents are much better than local cell phone deals and you can also hook up to send e-mail through the phone and receive weather data. Chris Parker (caribwx.com) can probably help you with the phone and the weather hookups if you want to go this route.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #4  
Old 06-11-2006
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Mkfcdl is on a distinguished road
Which islands in Bahamas?

Bob:

Just curious--at which islands/harbors in the Bahamas did you see people using wifi from their boats?

We're planning a visit to the Bahamas and that could be very useful information so thanks in advance.

Mark
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 06-11-2006
camaraderie's Avatar
moderate?
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: East Coast
Posts: 13,878
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 15
camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
MKFCDL...In the Abacos there is WIFI on all the islands south of Whale Cay and also on Green Turtle and Manjack Cay. These are almost all "pay" services either through Cocotels or OII.net. There are a few free places we were able to find on Guana Cay settlement and off Manjack.
We had good luck with our sevice from OII.net since we were also able to use Skype and call home economically it was worth the $60/mo.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 06-11-2006
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 72
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
pluscard is on a distinguished road
Slightly OT, but we use a VOIP system at work and I'm able to connect to it with a $150 SIP wireless phone called a zyxel prestige 2000W. I just turn on the phone and if wifi is available, it connects on it's own.

There is no cost from the wifi connection to our office... calls all appear to originate from the office. The system was purchased thru switchvox, who supplied the software are hardware (very inexpensive).

As wifi becomes more popular (our local arbys has it for free) - VOIP will certainly be the only way to go.

Plus
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 06-13-2006
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Mkfcdl is on a distinguished road
OII wifi

Camaraderie:

Thanks for the info. I've heard of oii.net in the Abacos and was planning on using them when there. Nice to hear it's working well--some of us actually have to work even when cruising and 60/mo is less than I pay at home. One question, though--what were you using to pick up the signals--did you use a laptop with built-in wireless or did you have an antenna above decks?

Thanks again,
Mark
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 06-14-2006
camaraderie's Avatar
moderate?
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: East Coast
Posts: 13,878
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Rep Power: 15
camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Mark...just used a laptop with built in wifi antenna...(not a card!). Did not have a problem picking up a signal in most harbors even though anchored fairly far out (6ft. draft). OII has multiple antennas in the larger harbors and it is simply a matter of picking the strongest signal. On the downside...the throughput of all the services there can be dismal or non-existent at times even when a strong signal exists so don't expect hi speed access at all times...
Finally, the 60 bucks per mo. was for a 90 day plan...more $$'s if you pick up for a shorter time. Have fun!
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 11-17-2007
KenSolarCom's Avatar
KenSolar.com
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Fort Myers Beach, FL
Posts: 3
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
KenSolarCom is on a distinguished road
Send a message via Skype™ to KenSolarCom
Thumbs up wifi/voip tips

A few things I have found to be of a great help when doing wifi and voip..

1. Get the strongest flat panel or directional antenna you can get, with the highest dB rating. Ask Richard or Susan over at AntennasDirect (.com) for their advice. They have some excellent models for sale there. A flat panel will work a little better if you are in rocky waters.

2. Get the router with the highest amplification possible, such as the new D-Link DWL-7200AP (see dlink (.com) wireless networking). Choose a model though that will allow you to connect your external antenna with adapter.

3. Keep your router as close to the antenna as possible so that your wire run will be much shorter. Quad-shield RG6 is best if you can terminate it yourself (see your local radio shack).

4. Setting up a repeater [not needed] for your (stolen) wifi signal will allow you to rebroadcast that acquired signal with an omni antenna to all the boats in your area.. maybe even charge your neighbors a little fee and setup mac address filtering on the repeater.. hehe

5. Skype is absolutely fantastic. I use Skype exclusively for my phone. It is internet based, so your free wifi service will work great for this. Your laptop computer becomes your phone. If your stolen internet signal out on the boat isn't giving you enough bandwidth, then Skype also sells little handheld wifi phones now for under $200: (skype (.com)) Just take the handheld wifi phone into the closest wifi hotspot or cyber-cafe and use it like it was a cellphone. Great sound quality with skype too.

6. The stronger your antenna, and the stronger the amplifier is in your router, the more reliable your wifi/internet signal will be, and the better your chance will be for greater bandwidth (download/upload stuff a lot faster, watch movies online, broadcast video from your webcam, etc)..

Kind of off topic here, but I found a company called Rick's Satellite that sells satellite systems that will get you free HD tv/radio signals too (google: gofastmotorsports rickssatellitehome). I have his home system, but I think he has marine systems as well.

Hope this helps
-ken
__________________
<%

Ken Solar

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


%>
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 11-17-2007
Living & Cruising on Dana
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: on my boat
Posts: 574
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Robby Barlow is on a distinguished road
If it's just calls you want to make, and have no Wi-Fi available, I found this system very good. It's a normal sim card you stick in your mobile, unlocked, and off you go. Costs are quite low and there are no fixed monthly charges. Check this link for more info.

http://www.gymsim.com/
__________________
Your pleasure is my business !!!
________________________
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:17 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.