Long range wi-fi for sailboats.
- Considering installing a long range or booster wi-fi when I take possession of my sailboat, Any experience or advice appreciated.Gene ParkS/V Windwitch
I've a (grandfathered) USA Advanced Rating Amateur Radio License, and I'm a linux geek, so I have given this matter a bit of thought and research. I've also assisted international marine seafarers with their personal communications needs as part of my vocational work. I'll answer your direct question, then provide an alternative solution.
1. Standard WiFi is a short-range service, and interference or low signal strength results in dropped packets, resends, and a slower effective connection. The two most common treatments here are to increase antenna gain and to reject unwanted signals. You'll be in the ethically and legally dubious position of "borrowing" unencrypted signals where you randomly find them.
a. Find (craigslist) a used direct-tv type satellite antenna, and replace the LNB (the circular thingy at the end of the arm) with a USB wifi dongle, and run a usb extender cable from it to your computer port. You'll need to reconfigure your wifi modem settings to use the external device. Once working, seal it from the weather with silicon self-sealing mending tape.
b. Build a waveguide type antenna (search "cantenna"), and use it with a wifi card that has an external antenna capability. A helical would also be appropriate (see 'helical microwave antennas' in a search engine of your choice).
2. The communications solution which I most recommend:
a. Head on down to an electronics dealer or your local wireless agent, and buy a mobile hot-spot. On the US East Coast, T-Mobile gives best coverage. Buy the pre-pay GSM sort, preferably 4 bands, never less than 3 bands.
b. I strongly suggest picking up a GSM pre-pay android phone which allows you to tether, and use that for both voice and data. After a period, the wireless provider will at your request unlock your phone to use with other providers, and then you may simply purchase local GSM service to accomplish the same task when in foreign ports.
i. Never buy a phone in Singapore. The dealers there routinely ms-represent the international abilities of their phones. Made in Singapore for US/International markets is fine, though.
--I hope that this was helpful.
---In AtkinBoats@yahoogroups.com, <genepark2@...> wrote:Considering installing a long range or booster wi-fi when I take possession of my sailboat, Any experience or advice appreciated.Gene ParkS/V Windwitch