thanks Bill. Will look into it. been wonderin for years what yall are gettin out on. Im familiar with unsecure. Keep my wriitings on a seperate laptop for fear of unsecure. one day i'll copr so I can share...got some good stuff.
damn! didnt want t hear about th phone. soon our account numbers will be on our phones and we'll just swipe the phone across the gas pumps. no more cash, they say, allllll plastic. lets not discuss this though...just another reason to head to sea,,,lol
Essentially we are just a normal ISP like Yahoo/Hotmail, etc, however, we offer some extra compression software which allows you to pretty decently increase your download speeds. Anything up to 10x faster is possible and if you see the Videos page you will see I recorded a session where I sent 10 emails, received 9 and the webcam pointing at the Iridium shows it hanging up in around 30 seconds! Yeah, I picked small emails to make it look particularly good, but the point is that realistic speeds of 10-20 large text emails per minute are definitely possible over Iridium
For attachments you are limited to around 20KB/min over Iridium, but we do some funky stuff to limit people's ability to send attachments to you until you are ready to receive them. (We do also have some web compression software if anyone wants to try and speed up their BGAN/cell phone)
Iridium is just too slow for sensible web browsing though... :-(
(It's not that you can't do it, it's just that you will get bored before much happens)
Anyway, everyone gets a free trial (see the Signup link on the left navigation menu) - you can try it and see if it works for you - even over broadband it should be fairly clear whether it's helpful (or not)
The solution right now though is still to stick to a mix of wifi, cell phone, satellite TV style internet (where available) and Iridium/Inmarsat. By carefully using what is available you can keep your costs reasonable.
Ive been wondering about this Hughes net that I keep hearing about on TV. Its a satellite internet that they seem to be marketing for people in the boonies of America that can't get DSL or cable. They say you can get it if you have a clear view of the northern sky which is deffinatly doable on a boat. The next question is whether they use an antenna or a dish, if a dish then it would have to stabalized not an easy task.
However, when I was at a lauderdale boat show I did see "hughes net" had a marine dish for a boat if you could call it a boat. More like a massive yacht, if they are marketing to them maybe the coverage is better.
Dockside most marinas have wifi. Some are free, some are paid, and some just need a code from the bartender. I have the hardware for mounting a wifi access point in the rigging but have not yet implemented it so I can't compare performance with the built-in wifi in my laptop yet. Lots of people have varying degrees of success with different technical approaches.
My main connection is using a cellular datacard. This is much like a tethered cell phone. There is a small card that slides into the laptop and connects to the cellular network. I happen to use AT&T because I wanted a GSM-based system with quad-band hardware. My setup has worked in Europe, the Bahamas, and the Caribbean. In the US, T-Mobile is also GSM. I have a quad-band phone as well. It's nice to get off a plane or pull into port in another country and have phone and Internet that just works. Data connections can be expensive in some places and it is worth educating yourself on rates before hand.
In areas where 3G is available (a faster version of cellular data) the connection is fast enough to watch streaming Netflix movies and still browse the Internet. Without 3G it is still perfectly acceptable for normal Internet use. Cell phone companies have coverage maps that are reasonably accurate.
Offshore I use HF SSB and Pactor for limited e-mail. It is very effective and was more reliable than the Iridium phone one of my crew brought transatlantic.
Iridium would be very frustrating for web browsing unless you are extremely patient.
With current technology Inmarsat is about it for anything close to high speed connectivity at sea.
Most cruisers are heavily dependent on wifi. Tethered cell phones and datacards are increasingly common, particularly along US and European coasts. A substantial number of folks have another mechanism, either HF SSB or satellite, and sometimes both. Many of the people using satellite complain about it a lot. The people using HF just smile quietly. *grin* Some friends of mine started cruising last year with both HF SSB and Iridium. They have since sold their Iridium phone. Evans Starzinger and Beth Leonard use Iridium and are pretty happy with it, including transferring chapter drafts to their publisher and submitting articles. Evans participates in a couple of fora using it, athough in both cases they are boards with little to no graphic content. He has documented his installation (including a good deal of compression tools) on his web site.
Just as you or I can sit on the side of the road(or pond) and acquire(steal) wifi, hackers sit offering wifi, direct the opposer to the desired site but actually is a link only to get the sign-on/password info. It's happening. Im no hacker by no means, cant even type....I certainly hate excepting the code at a bar or cafe...those peeps can sit there watching ye...so dont have anything to hide...Im not saying ye get false weather reports or that...they just want your "sign-on", and who knows what else they're doin while they're in there. If yer cursor starts jumpin around or page scrolls un intentionally,,,,,RUN LIKE HELL!
i use a dial u[p broadband offered at a flat rate per month for use and service and it seems to do well except for the occasional need to uninstall and re install....works where there is cellular capability...and where there is no wifi......even out of country.....
Franc and I are anchored off of New Providence on Can Drac right now and we have a fantastic signal. So far it's been great everywhere we have been in Florida and the Bahamas since we've had this system installed. (ALFA USB)
We use an Engenius wifi booster. Ours is the pre Alpha booster and works great. If it ever shits the bed we'll probably upgrade to the 500 mw Alpha. The software that comes with the Engenius is very user friendly and does the spotting for you as the Net Stumbler does .
There have been several occasions where we've motored through an anchorage and dropped the hook when an available signal was strong enough for us to use. Often times we've run into a boat that has a wireless router onboard and we've been able to piggy back on them.