SailNet Community banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone!

Just curious. How do you guys deal with poor marina WIFI? Does anyone use a wireless set up for their laptop? If so, do you have a service to recommend? Hope everyone is enjoying this weather!

-Victor
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
We're using a (Ubiquiti based) system from Bitstorm out of Canada. It probably cost twice what it would have for me to build the same system myself with the same stock Ubiquiti parts but paying that premium gets you the super simplified web interface to control the equipment with, plus tech support (if you need it) all in a plug-and-play package.

We're using the Xtreme MJ outdoor system mounted on our arch for connecting to wifi hotspots and then we run that output into the boat and into their Unleashed N to broadcast our own local boat wifi network so we can share the connection with any devices we want.

The above lets us connect to hotspots from fairly far out in various anchorages, I think right now we're about a mile from the one we're using. Not bad considering it's from a waterfront hotel restaurant and not a system that was meant to cover the anchorage.

No affiliation or anything just a satisfied customer.

Bitstorm Online
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,672 Posts
And good cellular data plans, multiple providers when things get sparse. Which ones depends on location.

For the US, Verizon or ATT for max coverage but pricier for lots of GB per month.

T-Mobile or maybe Sprint for cheap bulk cost, but less coverage.
 

·
snake charmer, cat herder
Joined
·
2,650 Posts
booster antenna makes it connect when the signals are too weak to manage that connection. distance from adaptor can be about half mile, too far for intrinsic adaptor in puter. enjoy. welcome to the real world of no connections.
i found a tp link top of line model works well for my needs, and costs under 150 usd. works as wellas can be expected with the interrupticus generated by the service provider, in our case, megacable coupled with mikrotik.
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
5,638 Posts
The problem isn’t really that marinas have poor WiFi. What they have is poor internet service connected to it. Joe and I’m coming to believe the real answer it an unlimited cell phone plan. We watch video etc using our WiFi booster system when it works, but it doesn’t we either use cell phone to make a hot spot of to play the video etc on our hone and cast it to our tv.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25,128 Posts
I find it's not a reception problem, it's a bandwidth problem. At the height of the season, the marina wifi is useless. It's painfully slow, stops and starts, kicks you off or won't connect, etc. There are probably dozens of people (hundreds maybe) all connected and trying to get data at once. Some are streaming video and really screwing the rest. I never have issues with the marina's wifi in the shoulder seasons, so I'm convinced this is the problem.

Yes, one day, marinas are going to need to suck it up and increase bandwidth. It's table stakes now.

When it's a problem, I use my smartphone as a 4G hotspot and link to it. I totally avoid videos, when on limited cell data plans. Otherwise, I feel no restriction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
And good cellular data plans, multiple providers when things get sparse. Which ones depends on location.

For the US, Verizon or ATT for max coverage but pricier for lots of GB per month.

T-Mobile or maybe Sprint for cheap bulk cost, but less coverage.
We've been encountering a lot of cruisers and expats here in Mexico that are using phones and service from Google Fi to good effect. I think next time we're in the states we'll be picking one up too. Between the free roaming in 130+ countries, the capped price and large amount of data you're allowed it's hard to pass up. I don't like the idea of having to buy a flagship android phone but still...

https://fi.google.com/about/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,672 Posts
Yes in fact I use Fi on a Nexus 6 as my usual Android phone.

Switches between T-Mobile or Sprint, depending which has better LTE signal.

So not the same geographic reach as Verizon or ATT.

And at $8/GB incremental data cost, not cost-effective for streaming entertainment, we go through 100+GB / mo with kids along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,721 Posts
Just seems like yesterday it was half a day on a ferry and bus from the anchorage to an international phone/fax and then too late to get back so off to a hotel for the next day back. Must be something to be so connected to everything important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,672 Posts
the real answer it an unlimited cell phone plan.
No such thing for many years now, the old-school true unlimited plans cost thousands to transfer over.

All the providers slow you down after X GB, some only if you're on a busy tower.

So if you are regularly going over 20-40GB/mo, using multiple providers will help with that as well as better geographic coverage.
 

·
██▓▓▒▒░&
Joined
·
13,641 Posts
VG, aren't you being shortsighted here?

A really generous sailor would call the cable company and have a decent trunk line installed together with a better WiFi system, so everyone could enjoy better service.

So, loosen up a bit. Make that call, make your corner of the world a little better and happier.
 

·
bell ringer
Joined
·
5,638 Posts
No such thing for many years now, the old-school true unlimited plans cost thousands to transfer over.

All the providers slow you down after X GB, some only if you're on a busy tower.

So if you are regularly going over 20-40GB/mo, using multiple providers will help with that as well as better geographic coverage.
If they have slowed my service down it doesn't matter, at this moment I'm streaming video and it look fine!
 

·
Cruiser
Joined
·
258 Posts
Hi Everyone!

Just curious. How do you guys deal with poor marina WIFI? Does anyone use a wireless set up for their laptop? If so, do you have a service to recommend? Hope everyone is enjoying this weather!

-Victor
Victor,

We seldom have any WiFi in our cruising grounds; Inside passage of Alaska and Canada. When there is an available remote WiFi signal, we often find the internet bandwidth lacking. [Likewise in certain communities frequented by cruise ships, when thousands of new cell phones all vie for the limited internet available, bringing it to a virtual stand-still... e.g., Ketchikan...]

Because of a lack of available WiFi, we pretty much use cell data full time [and satellite comms when there is no cell service...]

We installed a WiriePro that boosts WiFi, provides a boat WiFi router, and has a cell modem in which we keep an unlimited [truly] data SIM card good for Alaska [GCI].

We also have AT&T phones for use most anywhere- with a plan for roaming in Canada/Mexico. We use a cell booster with the AT&T phones for weak signal areas when there is no GCI signal available.

This combo works great for us.

We stream movies in remote locations via GCI cell data, and our WiriePro unit is older so it is limited to 3G [which is all that is available around here in 90% of the locations with a cell signal...] [Note: Wirie does have a 4G model available, but the upgrade and new antenna costs aren't worth it for us at this time...]

If you want more details and links, read this post about these systems on our blog. [Don't worry; we hate ads and don't beg for beer money...]

Best wishes finding what best suits your needs.

Cheers! Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,554 Posts
There are many good suggestions here.

I'll second the importance of determining whether it's the Wifi connection that's weak, or the marina's Internet service. If you don't do that first, you may be improving the wrong thing. There's a really good free Wifi Analyzer app on Android that can diagnose the first. (Sorry, I've found nothing on iOS that comes close.) If your Wifi looks OK, then connect to speedsmart.net to look at the Internet service. Note that often the problem is poor latency (ping results).

If it really is weak Wifi, there are lots of amplified antennas available that will pick up much better than the tiny little antenna in your computer/tablet/phone. One way to best leverage your amplified antenna among multiple devices is to get a router that's designed to work with the antenna, so your boat's router connects to the marina Wifi, and all your boat's devices connect to your boat's router. Also it's nice to only have one SSIA/passphrase for all your devices. If you visit another marina, just connect your router to the marina and all your devices are online without having to log on each ond individually. For low cost, I use non-marine household grade equipment from Alfa:

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/2051285386-post1269.html

http://www.sailnet.com/forums/2051337490-post29.html

As for hotspots, there are still some out there, although cell phone hotspots seem to make them rarer each year (even though some cell phone providers prohibit using cell phones as hot spots). If we want to stream video through a cell phone, T-Mobile's "Binge On" feature gives you true unlimited video streaming without counting against your 4G quota. You just need to be willing to live with 480p quality video, since that's part of the deal. Also, you need to be in an area with T-mobile service, which historically been weaker in rural areas, but has been getting better every year in the areas where I sail.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top