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Internet Communications onboard

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by hamall9, Dec 16, 2013.

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  1. hamall9

    hamall9 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    caribbean
    Several years have passed since I was involved in Onboard internet Connections and I imagine that the newly available systems are a quantum leap.

    Very briefly, I am thinking of living and working aboard in The Caribbean and a solid Internet/Voip is essential for my business. I am not involved in the transmission of graphics, just numbers, but the connection must be solid and the Voip phone is esential.
    If we could pick up Youtube and movies and sport that would be a big bonus.

    I haven't settled on a boat at this stage, but it will be a Powerboat 80-85'

    Any thoughts on where I should start and who I should talk with would be much appreciated ....because the idea of living aboard will sink without this connection.

    many thanks & regards
  2. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    Messages:
    9,344
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    We have the Hatt rigged up with Wifi, sat TV, cameras and alarms with remote access. We haven't been completely satisfied and recently considered swapping out our system for one by GOST in Ft. Lauderdale. Our guy claims to have the fix so we've given him another shot, but I'd start by getting in touch with GOST and see what they have to say.
  3. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
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    5,120
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    You basically have three options for Internet service: satellite , cellular and wifi.

    Sat will work everywhere but the bandwidth costs is very high. $5 to $10 per MEG is pretty common, at least the last time I check and while volume discounts may drop this, it is still VERY expensive. Equipment isn't cheap either...

    Cellular data (3G, maybe 4G in some islands) should work pretty good in most areas, where you re within 5 to 10 miles of land. Plans and costs will vary depending on which island you re near. I use this quite a bit in the bahamas and it's pretty solid. Speed depends on the where you are...

    Wifi can work very well if you are close to a good access point, usually marinas or popular spots, making it pretty limited. With a good booster and external antenna you ll get a good signal up to a mile away, depending on the hot spot. Obviously it will not work underway or anchored in remote anchorages.

    I ve had good luck streaming occasional YouTube content but movies or other broadcast after bandwidth hogs. For entertainment stick to sat tv, which while probably require a larger dome that what you ll find on most US boats.
  4. Ken Bracewell

    Ken Bracewell Senior Member

    Joined:
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    1,355
    Location:
    Somewhere Sunny
    Sat

    The best option, although not cheap, will be VSat. The cost will likely be about $3000/mo.
    That being said, cellular data rates in the Caribbean are among the most expensive in the world! Before VSat my AT&T bills were about $3000/mo. And it was less reliable than VSat.
    I have used a couple of Satellite providers (you can see that in another thread) but have been very happy with MTN out of Ft. Lauderdale for the past year.
  5. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
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    1,370
    Location:
    Europe
    Sat communications onboard

    We use cellphone with ship amplifier and onboard WLAN and/or WiFi in costal areas up to about 3 NM off shore and VSAT on open see. Plus Iridium for voice com and simple emails and the crew is provided with prepaid crewcall. It is still expensive but much cheaper than using the big bubbles in the mast exclusively. It is pretty reliable in the Med. The crew members have flat rate cellphone chips and websticks for their Laptops for most of the countries around the Med. And the crew still likes to play with the HF. But WiFi is the most frequent option used, when moored in or near harbours. The biggest problem with WiFi is the none secure communication. Sensitive communication via secure up and download we do only via VSAT or via landbased secure methods.
  6. Chapstick

    Chapstick Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2011
    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    Sydney
    If you are relying on the vsat infrastructure and protocols to provide security then you're a very long way from being totally secure.
    You should be encrypting anything sensitive - and once you are it won't make any difference whether you use WiFi or vsat.
  7. HTMO9

    HTMO9 Senior Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,370
    Location:
    Europe
    VSAT and WiFi

    Yes I know. Sensitive business data would not go clear voice through the air. But even if encrypted with 128 bit encrypting software, your message might be open to somebody, if the rear door for the spy is held open by the provider or is even built into the hardware :mad:.
  8. hamall9

    hamall9 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    27
    Location:
    caribbean
    Many thanks for all your inputs ... they have spurred me on.

    We have just returned from six months moving around St Martin, Barts and Anguilla and quite frankly we would return tomorrow if we could.

    There were some internet issues on St Martin which we overcame, otherwise
    the various internet connections were a flawless performance.
    We travel with 3* 14" laptops and a Tosiba 14" second screen plus a router
    and we connect through a private VPN which is about as secure as is reasonable in this weird world of Snoopers.

    I have passed on your comments to my Broker and he is having one of his clever Techies take a look at the project ... apparently he has ideas about a ranger extender for the modem and amplification for the Wifi.

    I rather like the idea of staying in one general area for a while (a couple of months just melts) like Anguilla Barts St Martin and hooking into the broadband reception and then moving onto another area or quite frankly, just be too relaxed to move anywhere further ...who knows.

    Having had a good share of Off-Shore Sailing/Racing and being cold/wet for days, my thoughts have turned to gentler pursuits .... but I still love bobbing about on the seas.
    Anyway, this idea is still in it's infancy, but my Wife is keen (very keen) providing that certain conditions are meet.

    Once again, many thanks