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Good Internet connection while cruising


Boatbird
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Just got a new Huawei B818 to replace a Huawei B525.

It is fabulous, download speed has gone up  from 25/30+mbs to 65/70mbs.

Upload is about the same at 20/25mbs.

Only downside is it only has two ethernet ports so I have had to add a network switch.

Huawei gear is excellent even through the Chinese government will know what I am doing.

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34 minutes ago, Dr Bob said:

Mmmmm. Any use on a boat?

We have sky for the tv on our bote but have a backup of our 4g router so we can get the feed over the internet if we are parked in trees and the dish cant pick up the sky signal. Each time we moor up in the afternoon, we look to see if we have a satellite signal....

If you then have to rely on a satellite signal for your broadband then you are again going to be stuffed if you have trees in the way. It will certainly work for peeps who moor in the same treeless place!

This was mainly aimed at remote areas which have little or no cellular coverage -- if you're under a tree you might still be screwed since it used millimeter-wave spectrum (above 23GHz) which doesn't like obstacles...

 

It's not a conventional dish which needs pointing at a geostationary satellite, it's a phased array antenna which electronically steers beams to track multiple moving satellites at the same time.

 

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/12/teardown-of-dishy-mcflatface-the-spacex-starlink-user-terminal/

 

Also consumes about 100W which is not ideal for a boat...

Edited by IanD
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On 03/02/2021 at 13:07, Dr Bob said:

We have the teltonikca rut 950 and a solwise dual antenna on the roof. We use 2 sims, one from EE and one from 3. For me it is the only way to get reliable internet wherever you are. That combination works. Signals can be weak in the odd place but 95% of the time when travelling we can stream video ok.

Hi Dr Bob. Which dual antenna from solwise do you use (there are many on their website and the technical details are like another language for me...)?

Thanks.

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Whenever I’m looking for a mooring I run a speed test on my iPhone (with it connected to boat Wi Fi) to see what sort of download speeds I’m going to get. I just use a free app to do this. Poor result means the throttle is pushed forwards and I find another mooring! 

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2 minutes ago, Chris John said:

Whenever I’m looking for a mooring I run a speed test on my iPhone (with it connected to boat Wi Fi) to see what sort of download speeds I’m going to get. I just use a free app to do this. Poor result means the throttle is pushed forwards and I find another mooring! 

 

That is so, so sad.

To be so dependent on the internet is a sorry picture of the 21C.

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41 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

That is so, so sad.

To be so dependent on the internet is a sorry picture of the 21C.

21st century ? Some of us developed a dependency last century ;)

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Boatbird said:

Hi Dr Bob. Which dual antenna from solwise do you use (there are many on their website and the technical details are like another language for me...)?

Thanks.

Its the

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poynting-4G-XPOL-A0001-Cross-Polarised-Antenna/dp/B00C1DGFPS#:~:text=Poynting 4G-XPOL-A0001 Cross Polarised 4G Omni LTE Antenna,Directional Antenna for outdoor use More items...

 

Poynting antenna. A  lot of peeps on here use them. Cheap on amazon at the moment.

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  • 3 months later...

Great advice here. TY to all.

 

To develop the theme of the OP a bit, if you have a work critical need for stable zoom meetings most days ... (Imagine a music teacher or psychotherapist working over zoom...  they can't go missing important stuff cos wobbly connections letting down that client is bad.) 

1 If using modestly high end kit (the kind a teacher might invest in cos its their living but let's assume they aren't making mega bucks), is this a realistic prospect or should they really think of working ashore or through fixed landlines at moorings etc? That's the crunch issue... 

2 IF successful cc ing and doing zoom/Skype /similar most days then pls list the whole kit you use and

2 let us know how often you have problems with sound /picture. Lots of people have said that there are patchy areas but if that's your experience, where, how bad, are those places avoidable for a ccer who has to compromise to be able to work? 

 

TY again hive mind of the cut. 

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The problem with wireless internet access is that the speed is not guaranteed everywhere. If you put in a decent wireless router or access point with external high-gain aerials and choose one of the networks with good 4G coverage (and a suitable data deal) you'll almost always be able to get good enough speed for most uses. The key is the word "almost", on the canals there will inevitably be some reception black spots where this isn't true, and you may have to move to get better reception.

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15 minutes ago, IanD said:

The problem with wireless internet access is that the speed is not guaranteed everywhere. If you put in a decent wireless router or access point with external high-gain aerials and choose one of the networks with good 4G coverage (and a suitable data deal) you'll almost always be able to get good enough speed for most uses. The key is the word "almost", on the canals there will inevitably be some reception black spots where this isn't true, and you may have to move to get better reception.

A partial answer to the blackspot issue is to have sims for different networks available; but this may be less effective than it sounds if the carriers are sharing masts.  Local knowledge and attention to the coverage maps are essential.  It is getting better though, I was able to do a zoom call in the blackspot that was Lower Heyford last year - but that was with a 4m mast.  At boat level, reception (on 3) was still distinctly poor....

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55 minutes ago, DaveP said:

A partial answer to the blackspot issue is to have sims for different networks available; but this may be less effective than it sounds if the carriers are sharing masts.  Local knowledge and attention to the coverage maps are essential.  It is getting better though, I was able to do a zoom call in the blackspot that was Lower Heyford last year - but that was with a 4m mast.  At boat level, reception (on 3) was still distinctly poor....

Mast sharing between carriers is common especially in rural area where there are few users, it keeps the costs down. In this case coverage will be the same for all networks which use that mast, as DaveP says.

 

Unfortunately no amount of "this worked for me" or "this didn't work for me" really helps to predict whether a particular uses will get good access in a particular spot, signal strength changes not just across large area but on a much smaller scale too. Unless you're free to move around -- OK in the middle of nowhere, not in more popular mooring spots -- you can still find that the reception might be poor just where your boat is and OK a boat-length away, which would be fine unless that space is already full of somebody else's boat...

 

Another new alternative would be to try and sign up to Starlink, Elon Musk's satellite internet access network, because coverage is independent of cellular and if anything is more likely to be good in the middle of nowhere where cellular is worst.

 

https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/elon-musks-starlink-gives-amazing-broadband-to-uk-villages/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/03/10/starlink-now-covers-all-of-uk-plans-to-connect-vehicles-with-satellite-internet-service/

 

Its not cheap (90 quid a month plus 440 quid for the dish) though business use should be able to justify three quid a day, and you'd probably need cellular as a backup as well since it can also have dips in speed, though these are getting less frequent as more satellites are launched.

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19 minutes ago, IanD said:

Another new alternative would be to try and sign up to Starlink, Elon Musk's satellite internet access network, because coverage is independent of cellular and if anything is more likely to be good in the middle of nowhere where cellular is worst.

 

https://www.sciencefocus.com/news/elon-musks-starlink-gives-amazing-broadband-to-uk-villages/

https://techblog.comsoc.org/2021/03/10/starlink-now-covers-all-of-uk-plans-to-connect-vehicles-with-satellite-internet-service/

 

Its not cheap (90 quid a month plus 440 quid for the dish) though business use should be able to justify three quid a day, and you'd probably need cellular as a backup as well since it can also have dips in speed, though these are getting less frequent as more satellites are launched.

Starlink might not be terribly useful - the power consumption of the units appears to be around 100w!  https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2021/03/electricity-costs-of-starlinks-uk-leo-broadband-satellite-service.html - presumably you'd also need one of the, not yet released, vehicle ground stations to combat losing connection through rocking.  And you will need a clear view of quite a lot of sky to pick up a satellite (not just the one line you need for the geostationary Freesat reception).

 

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14 minutes ago, DaveP said:

Starlink might not be terribly useful - the power consumption of the units appears to be around 100w!  https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2021/03/electricity-costs-of-starlinks-uk-leo-broadband-satellite-service.html - presumably you'd also need one of the, not yet released, vehicle ground stations to combat losing connection through rocking.  And you will need a clear view of quite a lot of sky to pick up a satellite (not just the one line you need for the geostationary Freesat reception).

 

If you're using it for business purposes you're already likely to have significant power consumption for PC/monitor/wireless router, so I'd say if the choice is between finding a way to supply an extra 100W (solar panels?) or not working the choice is clear...

 

The Starlink "dishes" (actually flat phased-array antennas) don't need precision pointing like satellite dishes and have to track moving satellites anyway which they do by electronic beamsteering, they just have to be pointed at roughly the best area of sky with the most satellites in. The existing ones can adapt quickly enough to cope with a boat rocking, the only difference with their planned "mobile" dishes is the mount:

 

https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/8/22319761/spacex-starlink-fcc-internet-cars-boats-aircraft

https://provscons.com/starlink-is-the-best-internet-for-boats/

 

Regardless of any disadvantages (which may be negligible, small or large, depending on case), there's no other usable alternative to cellular data at present, especially in remote areas.

Edited by IanD
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2 hours ago, IanD said:

The problem with wireless internet access is that the speed is not guaranteed everywhere. If you put in a decent wireless router or access point with external high-gain aerials and choose one of the networks with good 4G coverage (and a suitable data deal) you'll almost always be able to get good enough speed for most uses. The key is the word "almost", on the canals there will inevitably be some reception black spots where this isn't true, and you may have to move to get better reception.

So if I take the plunge and become ccer away from my cosily supplied permanent mooring that has landline Internet like any house, will I be able to continue my zoom based business? The answer seems yes, mostly, and you should be able to work around the limitations by being careful where you moor. Is that right? 

 

I'm not going to be able to learn the intricacies of the options of kit etc so will prob need a pro to advise and probably to set up the gear to get it working properly without stress. Not asking for ads that'd break forum rules but recommended contacts or volunteers (if that happens to be you) I can speak to will be very welcome ... Ty again. 

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31 minutes ago, SHG1 said:

So if I take the plunge and become ccer away from my cosily supplied permanent mooring that has landline Internet like any house, will I be able to continue my zoom based business? The answer seems yes, mostly, and you should be able to work around the limitations by being careful where you moor. Is that right? 

 

I'm not going to be able to learn the intricacies of the options of kit etc so will prob need a pro to advise and probably to set up the gear to get it working properly without stress. Not asking for ads that'd break forum rules but recommended contacts or volunteers (if that happens to be you) I can speak to will be very welcome ... Ty again. 

Yes, but the issue is how far you have to move to get out of a reception blackspot to get decent data rates. Could be yards, could be miles, some bad areas are quite big. YMMV...

 

If it was my Zoom-based business and internet access was critical, I'd go with Starlink with cellular as a backup and put up with the cost and need to provide power. Having both would greatly reduce the chances of not having access, probably to as close to zero as makes no difference. You can find a business-quality dual-WAN router which can use both links (probably with a separate wireless access point) and automatically prioritise the data to the fixed-cost one (Starlink) as well as loadsharing/combining cellular and satellite, though this will also be more expensive.

 

So in the end -- as usual -- it all comes down to how much you're willing to pay ?

Edited by IanD
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I just look at my phone and run "Network Cell Info" as the phone is on the same network as the router to see what the signal is like prior to stopping it's usually a good indication of how good the internet will be.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wilysis.cellinfolite

Yes some will say it's sad but I have to maintain my internet addiction that I have had since the days of using  KA9Q/NOS to access the internet?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 24/05/2021 at 11:04, Loddon said:

I just look at my phone and run "Network Cell Info" as the phone is on the same network as the router to see what the signal is like prior to stopping it's usually a good indication of how good the internet will be.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wilysis.cellinfolite

Yes some will say it's sad but I have to maintain my internet addiction that I have had since the days of using  KA9Q/NOS to access the internet?

Do you use an external antenna on your Huawei B818...? 

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16 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

Do you use an external antenna on your Huawei B818...? 

I could but there is no need at home (where the 818 is ) as I'm only a couple of hundred yards from the mast, I use a poynting omnidirectional one on the boat with the B535.

Thinking about it if I did use external and internal antenna I should get 4x4 mimo rather than 2x2 at present ? do I need more speed than 80+mbs ? 

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1 hour ago, Loddon said:

I could but there is no need at home (where the 818 is ) as I'm only a couple of hundred yards from the mast, I use a poynting omnidirectional one on the boat with the B535.

Thinking about it if I did use external and internal antenna I should get 4x4 mimo rather than 2x2 at present ? do I need more speed than 80+mbs ? 

Thanks, I've just ordered a B818 to use in the boat as it just came in under the work from home budget. I'll see how it goes without an external antenna initially, I'm replacing an E5377 which is working fine without an antenna but just want something more powerful.

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On 04/02/2021 at 18:06, Alan de Enfield said:

 

That is so, so sad.

To be so dependent on the internet is a sorry picture of the 21C.

 

Why is that? If the technology exists, and someone wants to use it, I dont see how it can be "sad" ?

 

You sound like those boaters who dont believe in having a TV on a boat :( 

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22 minutes ago, Richard10002 said:

 

Why is that? If the technology exists, and someone wants to use it, I dont see how it can be "sad" ?

 

You sound like those boaters who dont believe in having a TV on a boat :( 

Or somebody retired who doesn't need an internet connection to do their job from the boat...

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