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  #1  
Old 11-17-2007
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WiFi

I plan on cruising the ICW and want to be able to send and receive email/and be able to search the internet. I am also considering buying a product to enhance the performance for $399.00 which includes ampliher and antenna which is suppose to increase my range from 1 to 5 miles depending on the signal availbilty. I have two questions: Is it free? What is the availabilty on the along the ICW?
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Old 11-17-2007
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For availability check here for possible info.

http://cruisingtheicw.com

You may find some access for free, but probably most you'll have to pay for or may come included with marina fees.
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Old 11-17-2007
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You might want to check out JiWire.com. It has a database of free and paid WiFi hotspots. I wouldn't pay for the amplifier and antenna...since a good PCMCIA card with a directional antenna will have fairly decent range and can be had for under $100. The legal maximum on transmit power for WiFi is 200 mW. The problem with the highly directional antennas is that a boat isn't really a stable enough platform for them to work well. The best antenna for a boat is probably something like a 6-9 dB gain patch or panel antenna with about a 90˚ coverage angle...since that would allow for some movement of the boat.

If you really need coverage and you have a cellphone, you might consider getting a cellular data plan. This works best if your phone and laptop are both BlueTooth equipped.
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Old 11-17-2007
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If your really interested in the 2.4 range you could try tranzeo cpq-15's or 19's they have the reach and they are pretty cheap (190-250) new. Inscape also makes a nice small footprint unit for around the same price. Both are POE with cat5/RJ45 interface.
However, you should look at one of the telco cards; sprint, at&t etc. for a small monthly charge, maybe even a cell phone amp to enhance. At&T seems to work well in the PNW. The free stuff never is free
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Old 11-17-2007
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Sprint Air Card

I use a sprint air card, bought it for $50 or so and it's $60 per month, not including my Sprint phone bill. Anywhere I have cell phone service I have high speed internet. Found very few places on the ICW to Norfolk that it did not work. Just food for thought, I use it in my car with my laptop, broadband speeds on I-95. Why should I look at the other cars when I can Google? I fit right in with the snowbirds!
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