Internet connection

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Internet connection

Postby K Dowling » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:27 pm

I have been using a Verizon 4G-LTE USB modem for about 6 months. It is connected to a Cradlepoint wi-fi base station. The cost for 8GB of data is about $80/month. Lower cost plans are available. So far...

Placement of the USB modem is critical as we live on the edge of 4G coverage. I have a high quality USB extension cord and keep the base station on the covered flybridge with the modem vertical on the tower side of the boat. I move the modem around when I am away from home.

The wi-fi on the boat is excellent and the speed when using two computers for e-mail and surfing is very good, not as good as cable, but very good. We don't stream much video or music and I suspect we would have to just use one computer at a time if we did so.

Reliability of signal...I set the Cradlepoint on a timer to be off from midnight to 6 AM. The whole setup has been more reliable with the down time. I'm told there is a higher end router that will achieve the same goal. It goes through a complete reset after a signal loss instead of just a re-connect. The short cut re-connect gets hung up. It's easy but annoying to do a reset from your laptop. The system will run for days and weeks without a problem but can be tripped up by very heavy rain.

None of this stuff is marinized and I am concerned about long term survival in the enclosure. The little inverter puts out some useful heat to keep things drier when it's all tucked into the unused laptop sun shield.

The LTE modem will also look for wi-fi. I've not used this feature with this modem. I know from experience that having the modem on the bridge greatly improves wi-fi reception compared to a laptop in the cabin. Using the Cradlepoint to distribute the share-able signal to the boat makes it all convenient.

The benefit is that we have this available even when we are out cruising. Many marinas have wi-fi, 4G is widespread and we have to be in the depths of the Delta to be out of range.

I have never come close to using 8GB in a month and will experiment a bit with movie or TV downloads to see how that goes. The account balance is always available, a warning is sent at 50%. There should be no unpleasant surprises.

cheers
Kevin Dowling
Atlanta GA
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Postby grich737 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 7:53 pm

I use sprint, unlimited data and have been very pleased so far and a heck of a lot cheaper. But again its all about where the coverage is. I downloaded pdanet to my phone and computer and tether to each other it works great. almost better than my home cable with comcast.
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Postby Stretch Head » Tue Jun 05, 2012 9:33 am

I had Sprint when I lived aboard. I was lucky though and the tower was less than a 1/4 mile from the boat with water in between. My speed was lightening fast and video's would download before playing a small portion of it.

Then I moved on land. The house we bought is in a dead zone and exactly in the spot between two towers. In fact, the whole block on my side of the street is in the same dead zone. I could go across the street and get three or four bars. Inside my house maybe two but usually one bar. It was so slow dial up was faster. I called Sprint and all they could say was they were working on it. I waited for my contract to expire and I got cable.

What I learned from that is your location in relation to the towers is the main thing when it comes to wifi.
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Re: Internet connection

Postby globaby100 » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:24 pm

We used the Verizon modem with Cradlepoint for the Loop this past year. Worked great almost everywhere.

We keep the Cradlepoint in our salon and have seldom had any issues. Some anchorages haven't worked, but neither have our cell phones.

Friends who had Sprint found service sparse for many areas along the route.

Cruising Georgian Bay this summer. Seems to work fine throughout Georgian Bay. East and West side.
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Update

Postby K Dowling » Sat Jun 30, 2012 5:52 pm

The data plan is 10G for $80.

cheers
Kevin Dowling

Atlanta GA
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Postby Bella Grand » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:58 pm

Kevin,

Which Verizon USB device are you using? I cannot find one that has both WiFi and LTE.

I basically am using the same setup. The Cradlepoint MBR1400 has both wifi bands which has advantages if you are consuming a lot of local bandwidth between systems, cameras, ...

You can probably get by with a 6' USB extension cable - -longer if you use a USB3 cable. If you are trying to get better reception you may want to consider using a Shakespear mast extension tube with a cap on the end. Then shove the USB dongle into the extension tube to hold it up high.

The best part of using USB devices and the CP is you can change it anytime if you are planning on being in an environment with poor coverage from one provider. Cuts down on roaming charges too :evil:

I do like your timer idea. It'll prevent the potential for data overload -- like leaving a natural gas bbq on :shock:
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Postby Bob Lowe » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:25 pm

This may not be pertinent to the device being discussed, but we recently got one of the new iPads with a Verizon wireless service data plan that is also capable of WiFi. It serves as a hot spot network for our laptops which works well for us.

I liked it over some of the other combined 4G/LTE/WiFi solutions as it also has a built-in GPS and no wireless service is required for it to function. We travel a lot and wanted to be able to have various documents and other functions with us as well as mapping capabilities along with internet access. Plus it has our Spanish lessons on it. We are not disappointed.

I think our next cell phone will be an iPhone. :)

Plus, when we are in another country, we can sign up for a prepaid service and pop in a new sim card and we are all hooked up and ready to go.
Good luck,
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Postby K Dowling » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:56 am

I stand corrected. My Verizon LTE was just showing the WiFi picked up by the computer, not by the modem.

cheers

Kevin
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