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Old 06-08-2014
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Internet Access

Question: What is the best way to get internet access while being a live-aboard in the US? I have searched first for my answer but haven't found a thread for it yet. I am about to retire, plan on buying a boat and become a live-aboard. I'm not planing on staying very long at any certain port or marinas, but do plan on hanging around the great USA for a few years till I get my seamanship experience before I plan on making the big jump across the big ponds. I don't really need a fast connection. Just a basic connection to stay in touch with family and friends. Sailnet seems like a great community and do appreciate your advice.
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Old 06-08-2014
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Re: Internet Access

Most people end up with at least a couple of mechanisms: a WiFi extender, usually a Ubiquiti Bullet like those from IslandTimePC, and a cell phone data plan.
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Old 06-08-2014
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Re: Internet Access

we did pretty well with a mobile hot spot and the required data plan. We did this separate from our cell phone. The did the bullet for the boat, and we were often able to use the marina WIFI.

Pretty easy now and the prices are much better than they were 6 years ago.
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Old 06-08-2014
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Re: Internet Access

in so cal i had best luck with sprint, a si had unlimited data service.. worked reasonably well. worked well also when i was in usvi and puerto rico.

now i cruise full time, outside of usa, i use marina wifi when i am in a marina, which is only during furycame season, and it is not reliable. i will be trying something kinda lil pricey , which will make my boat a hotspot using signals from the marina, which are usually ok, and creating a connexion, which is usually lacking, so maybe i can actually use interwebz.
banda ancha, in this marina, seems to be being blocked. it is the mexican version of 3g dial up broadband service. it is adequate.
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Re: Internet Access

Cruising the east coast USA I use Verizon mi-fi, costs me about $80 a month. I've been doing it so long Verizon probably doesn't offer it any more, they've no doubt moved on to something new and improved and more expensive.
It's worked well for me, much more reliable than trying to snag a wifi signal.
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Old 06-09-2014
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Re: Internet Access

Thanks for your input. I hope not to need a cell phone while on board to save on my monthly budget. Just a WiFi connection every few days for email to stay in contact with friends and family. I have heard that internet access over seas can get very costly but I will deal with that when the time comes.
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Re: Internet Access

Finding open Wifi access points is not as easy as it use to be, but they are still out there. We have done detailed postings of our wifi progression and you can find them on our blog here, The Trawler Beach House: WiFi . The wifi extenders work well, especially when you make marina stops. But they also will get you wifi at anchor as long as you don't need to connect every day. We are working on a part 4 to include devices like Mifi and using a smartphone as a hotspot or by tethering. It isn't finished yet but I hope to have it up soon. If you don't want to try and build your own as we did, buying a package is the best way to go at about 3 to 4 times the cost of building it yourself. But that works for some boaters.
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Re: Internet Access

My phone acted as a wifi hotspot and I had full 4g a lot of the time. I would use it with the big boy data plan, it is unlimited but they throttle me after like 8 gigs and I had no problem streaming tv and movies through hulu or netflix while I was on the hook. There was a limit once I got throttled, but for just surfing the net it didn't use too much.
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Re: Internet Access

Too cool. Thanks again for the info. I knew some marinas have access but didn't know how expensive they were. Besides, never know I might be able to snipe me an access every now and then. Streaming vids from Netflix or Hulu isn't a real need unless I can, then I will, LOL. Man! I am sure glad I found Sailnet. Love the feel of being a part of the family. Thanks to all, Tbone.
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Old 06-13-2014
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Re: Internet Access

I think grabbing open access wifi is going to quickly become a thing of the past. We find a 3G/4G iPad is the most useful electronic device we've ever added to the boat. Data plan is $20 per month and we've never used it all.

Because the cell capable iPads have a built in gps receiver, it also makes a perfect navigation backup and there are many programs available for that. Some free, some a few dollars. Email, books, movies, internet, look up repair manuals or advice, weather, real-time radar, wind forecasting, AIS websites, marina look-ups, restaurants reviews, anchor alarms, the list is endless. We'll never be without one again.
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