Continuing onward with our series on how to access the internet while you’re at sea, the next question is how to get the important weather information you need to make good decisions about where to go and how to react to weather situations. There are dozens of software products out there to fill this void but, after spending time with most of them, I’ve found one that I think is the best.
If you’ve waded through our previous four articles where I talked about the various kinds of hardware you can use to access the internet at sea then you may have already formed an opinion as to which system is right for you. So, to conclude this series we’ll end with a discussion of specialized software techniques that can make a huge difference in your monthly expenses. This is the magic key to unlock the real potential in whatever hardware you decided on and help hold your costs down.
This next-to-the-last article in the series will examine using two of the most popular choices of satellite communications terminals available to sailing market, the SAILOR 250 Fleetbroadband from Inmarsat and the mini-VSAT V3 from KVH Industries. Previous articles went over using WiFI, 3G/4G and Satellite Phones to connect to the internet and our final article (to be published next) will connect all the pieces by explaining the software choices.
In the two previous articles I covered a bit about setting up an internet connection using a WiFi booster as well as using a 3G/4G modem. Both of these are effective ways to connect however they’re restricted by the need to be relatively close to shore. In the case of WiFi, usually within a mile or two at best (depends on line-of-sight). Using a 3G/4G signal (like you use from the smartphone) you can extend the range to perhaps 10 nm offshore but only if your are cruising along a populated area that has good mobile phone service.
In the first article of this series I opened the discussion talking about how to get a good WiFi booster installed and working onboard your sailing yacht. Checking for a good WiFi signal is always my first choice when I arrive at an anchorage or marina. A lot of times I’m lucky and get a free connection and other times I have to pay a small amount to connect but it’s usually the best connection available.
A simple title for an article but a very complex topic to cover. Over the past several months I’ve spent lot of time researching this subject to help me plan what kind of communications electronics I need onboard. From keeping in touch with family and friends to gathering the weather information I need to make good decisions about passages; it’s inescapable these days to have convenient, reliable and economical internet available while at sea.
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