Nowadays, it is becoming more and more difficult to “disconnect” from the routine, even during the rest. And the Internet, which has not so long ago burst into our lives, on the one hand does not allow us to relax, on the other, it is difficult to imagine any everyday life and holidays without it. We are used to visiting familiar websites every day, reading news, receiving emails, solving work issues even on vacation.
We will not talk about the riot of children and adolescents on a ship without the Internet and social networks. So everything is clear. For owners of large and small boats, access to the worldwide network is no longer a luxury, but a vital necessity. However, when traveling, connecting to it can be a major problem due to inconsistent coverage, dead zones and slow speeds.
Due to the high cost of traffic and, often, low speed, satellite Internet is used for emergency communications, navigation and in order to receive information far from the coast. And so far there is no such technology that would be both affordable and has satisfying quality of work.
Therefore, let’s talk about other ways to stay in touch and have access to the Internet when you are on a yacht, at sea and not far from the coast. The choice of equipment that will be needed during the trip depends on how long the ship will be on the way, how many countries and marinas it will visit.
Most marinas provide Wi-Fi networks – this is the most common and least expensive solution for connecting to the Internet when traveling, but good signal quality is a lottery.
But as soon as the ship leaves the marina, moving away from the coast, the Wi-Fi signal weakens and the Internet begins to “disappear”.
In such a situation, you need to take care in advance and purchase a signal amplifier and a WiFi router on the yacht, which, amplifying the signal, will distribute the Internet already within your network. The amplifier antenna itself communicates with the router through a cable; it can be connected to your computer and configured by an IP address.
A Wi-Fi signal booster (WiFi extender, repeater, etc.) is a device that actually just repeats the signal, in fact, passing it further through itself, increasing the range, speed and performance.
Keep in mind that setting up the internet is not always an easy task, especially at sea, additional hardware may be required to complete the installation.
Shakespeare WiFi2 WebWhip Antenna is a fully integrated and waterproof Wi-Fi antenna, radio and router. This antenna is capable of extending the coverage of public hotspots up to 11 km by creating a local Wi-Fi hotspot with any standard Wi-Fi router. Does not require software installation, works from any device with a web browser. Bandwidth 100+ Mbps.
Antenna-amplifier for Wi-Fi signal Wave WiFi Rogue Pro, easy to install, can be connected directly to any device, router or switch with an Ethernet connector. When connected to a wireless router, Rogue Wave Pro DB provides access to most wireless devices on board. At the same time, it does not require the installation of special software (the firmware allows the user to see the access points and monitors the signal quality), all operations are carried out via the network. Covers public Wi-Fi hotspots up to 11 km. Connects to marina networks 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
The high-performance EC-HP Wave Wi-Fi Signal Amplifier provides a maximum power output of 1W, allowing you to receive Wi-Fi signals up to 19 km away. Serves as a wireless access point and allows compatible devices to connect to the vessel’s wireless network with Etherne support, allowing it to operate autonomously or integrate into the boat’s network.
What if the Wi-Fi network is not available?
After leaving the range of the Wi-Fi hotspot, you can switch your cell phone to another data / LTE data plan and, using additional equipment, further strengthen the cellular signal. Mobile Internet will be available at a distance of 12-16 km from the coast.
For this you will need:
A stationary router will transmit a wireless signal on the yacht, a modem is connected to its USB connector, which, in turn, receives a signal from local providers. You can buy a new “local” SIM card specially for traveling, or use your usual one by connecting it to a profitable tariff plan. Data transmission technologies are becoming more and more – 3G, 4G, 5G, GPRS, it is worth considering this when choosing a telecom operator.
The most “maritime Internet service” so far remains 4G LTE-A, which operates at various frequencies and under various protocols of the region/country. The successor to 4G is the new 5G technology, and its main advantage is speed. The 5G network can transfer data 100 times faster than the 4G network. While the rollout of 5G networks is well under way, it will take several more years to reach levels of coverage and transmission distance similar to that of 4G networks. There are more 4G towers. And there are very few routers with 5G support so far.
The Digital Antenna, a 4-inch digital cellular dual-band antenna, enhances signals in the cellular (824–894 MHz) and PCS (1850–1990 MHz) bands. Omnidirectional (equally receives and transmits the signal in all directions), therefore provides 10 times more signal strength than a conventional mobile phone. Each antenna connects to a mobile phone or cellular signal booster.
Shakespeare World Band Wi-Fi antenna kit and AnyHhere SuperHALO 2G/3G/4G/LTE cellular amplifier. The fiberglass antenna amplifies Internet signals, allows you to receive and send data through Wi-Fi routers located several kilometers away. The kit provides extended cellular coverage, optimized to enhance reception while supporting 10+ users.
As for modems that can read a SIM card, you might want one that is “unlocked” for most cellular companies. You need to find out about unlocked versions of modems in advance from the seller. Most often they choose a 3G or 4G modem that operates in the GSM standard, this is the most affordable and widespread technology in the world.
Netgear LB1120 WiFi 4G / LTE Modem Router – Provides automatic backup 4G / LTE or 3G broadband connection with download speeds up to 150 Mbps.
The key piece of equipment that will combine Wi-Fi and cellular data on the Internet is the router, which will transmit the Internet signal to all devices on board the yacht.
The PepLink Pepwave Surf Soho Router connects to the Internet via USB modem, Ethernet or Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi is not available, it will automatically switch to your cellular connection. As soon as Wi-Fi becomes available again, it connects back, always keeping its priority.
The Yachtspot Maritime Internet Router provides global 4G and WiFi frequency coverage.
It should be understood that if you are in the zone of an unreliable signal, then all attempts to use the connection will be in vain. Equipment manufacturers are constantly looking for efficient and simple ways to help maintain uninterrupted communications at sea, offshore and ashore.
In the meantime, if your yacht is close to an access point or shore, then Wi-Fi and cellular communication, with the proper equipment, will provide you with a good connection and the Internet.