Internet access on board

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by CDK, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Does anyone have internet access other than through the cell phone networks?

    I recently installed a 2-way satellite system on my house because we were fed up with slow dial-up networking. It is a fairly new technology: the satellite far away above the pacific can receive the tiny 500 mW transmitter standing on my desk and sends me the requested data with a speed up to 1024 kb/sec.

    The system could be used on ships as well if the dish tracking system has a short response time and can keep the dish exactly line up with the satellite. There are no transmission gaps allowed. The satellite is master and all users are slaves getting a small time window for their transmissions, so they must all be "locked" to the satellite's antenna.

    It is a relatively inexpensive system. The hardware (with its unique IP adress) and the connection fee cost approx. 500 euro, the flat rate contract is between 20 and 40 euro depending on the maximum transmission speed.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    WiFi where there is coverage.
     
  3. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Two-way satellite internet seems to be a growing field..... one-way (dial up for transmit, satellite for receive) has been around for quite a while but is quite a nuisance. Inmarsat's R-BGAN has been getting some attention lately, do we have anyone on here who's tried it?

    The maximum 1 watt, 2.4 GHz signal used by WiFi can propagate for quite a distance if properly set up. The default range of most access points and end-user transceivers is rarely more than a hundred metres or so. But with the right hardware, well-hacked access point code and a suitable antenna at each end, it's possible to get up to 10-20 times the default transmit power and a range of ten nautical miles or more, without straying outside the legal limits for the 2.4GHz band. Five nautical mile range over water from a good-quality, factory stock access point is not unheard of, if a good antenna and amplifier are used on board the boat.

    Theoretically, WiFi should work much better aboard a yacht than it does on land- the 2.4GHz band is very much line-of-sight and attenuates quite strongly in many common building materials, as well as being cluttered (cordless phones, microwave ovens, security cameras and dozens of other gadgets use it). The 5 GHz band used by some newer 802.11n gear is less prone to interference but doesn't propagate as well in the urban environment. I'd be curious to see a comparison between a, g and n gear in a marina- all those aluminum masts will do interesting things to the signals, and perhaps n's MIMO capability can deal with this more easily?
     
  4. BTPost
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Location: Excursion Inlet, Alaska

    BTPost Junior Member

    BiDirectional SAT based IP networks have been around for a decade, or so, for fixed locations, and for larger Ships that have SAT Tracking, Gyro Stabilized, Antennas. You see them on the Mega Yatchs, and most Commercial Shipping, bigger than 10K Tons. What makes it expensive, is the SAT Tracking, Gyro Stabilized, Antennas, and that technology is NOT cheap. Inmarsat was designed to bring Voice and Low Bandwidth Data to the Maritime Mobile Service. Larger Bandwidths require higher SNR's, and therefor larger antennas, which REQUIRE larger and more accurate Stabilization and Aiming Hardware, which costs LOTS more money. If you are Bill Gates, No Problem, IF you have a large enough vessel to support the larger Antenna System, but if you are NOT, then SAT based Systems are just WAY out of your league. If you have to ask "How much?" you cannot afford it. WiFi and the newer WiMax will provide some connectivity in Harbors and Marinas, where owners have setup Networks for their patrons. I run such a network, for vessels that come within range of my tower mounted Access Points. Typical coverage is on the order 5 miles, over water, by using High Gain Sector Antennas, and designing the network and AP locations, for best coverage, for my location. Most of my patrons are Commercial Fisherman, that deliver to our local Processing Plant, but I also deal with the Pleasure Boat crowd, when they get this far North. The boats usually have at a minimum, external antennas, with some using Mast Mounted AP's, and a few using Gyro Stabilized Antennas. Since the antennas required, have much broader beamwidths, these Stabilized Antennas do NOT need to keep Fractional Degree Lock like the SAT based systems do. +/- 10 degrees will do just fine, and can extend the range out to 8-10 miles for my Mast Mounted AP's. Cellphone coverage and bandwidths are increasing all the time. AT&T just completed an upgrade of our local Cellsite, that brings 3G service to our local Cell, but our Cell is 50 miles in diameter and the Cellsite is on a 3000' Mountain Top. This just fine for us locals, during the winters, but when those Floating CattleCars (Cruise Ships) come in range of our cellsite, during the summers, if you don't have a channel already locked up, all you get is an "All Systems Busy".... till they leave the Cell. Mildred just has to call the Grandkids and tell the ALL about the Eagles she saw....
     
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  5. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    I do not understand this part of your post. Transmission is no problem, but a 50 mile cell would mean that the antenna must pickup the feeble 900 or 1800 Mhz cell phone signal from an impossible distance. I guess you are talking about a modified technology for remote locations where the subscribers have fixed antennas.
    Can that system be used for data as well?
     
  6. BTPost
    Joined: Dec 2009
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    Location: Excursion Inlet, Alaska

    BTPost Junior Member

    Well, kind of... If you have "Line of sight" to the Cellsite, handhelds work just fine, including Data, even with the Internal Antennas. However if your in a fixed location, and back in the trees, you will need at a minimum an external antenna, and more likely a BiDirectional Amplifier with a Directional Antenna to make things work. We get VERY creative out here in the alaskan bush, when it comes to our communications. At my cabin, if you stand outside in a couple of specific spots, ANY cellphone will work. If you want it to work inside, the you need, either an External Antenna, or an BiDirectional Cell-Extender with an External Antenna. I use my Motorola FlipPhone with an External 12 db Sector Antenna up on the Roof, and then feed that to a "Little Black Box" via Bluetooth, that then connects to a Standard POTS Telephone Instrument via a copper wire pair. My wife's FlipPhone uses a separate 8db Panel Antenna, and also connects to the LBB, via Bluetooth, but has a different Ring, so we know who's phone is ringing. MultiBand BiDirectional Amp and Antenna Systems and Cell-Extenders have been around for about 4 years, and are a fairly mature technology, NOW. I have a "Close Neighbor" (close = 10 Sq Miles) who has an iPhone 3GS that now has Great Voice and Data Service, since the Upgrade, by using a BiDirectional Cell-Extender and an External 12 db Panel Antenna. He is 20 Miles from the Cellsite, at 500' AMSL and in the trees... The Antenna is at the top of a 60' Spruce Tree, and he uses 80 Ft of Beldon 9913 to connect to the Cell-Extender. I designed the System, and he did the tree climbing. We are waiting for the iPad he just ordered to see how that will work....
     
  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I see from your profile you are in the Adriatic Sea. I don't know what cell systems are like there but in the US they provide internet service at speeds three times faster than you are talking about. This is, of course, if you are in a broadband access area which includes almost all cities in the USA. I live in a motorhome. I researched both cell service and SAT service and cell beat the SAT hands down, unless you are willing to spend a lot of money. My cell service costs USD $60.07 a month. It is subject to bad weather and if you are outside a broad band area really achingly slow. But I have been all over the country ( and parts of Canada) and only in two places did I not get service. They were both 50 miles or more from any cell service.
     
  8. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Ike, we live in an idyllic spot, just a few steps from the sea with hills on three sides, covered by mediterranean oak forests. The hills contain lots of metal deposits and absorb radio signals.
    The two cell phone transceivers in line of sight offer only gprs service with 64 kb/s maximum rate if nobody else uses the system. On the other side of the island, just 5 miles away, there is umts broadband service from a neighboring island, but the hills shield us completely.

    And another point is that cell phone providers want payment per minute or megabyte, even for wire services no flat rates are offered.
     
  9. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Sounds very nice. too bad about the cell service. The most common SAT internet service I have seen is Hughes http://www.hughesnet.com/ but I don't know if it is available where you are. (by that I mean I don't know if they do business there, the satellite signal is available worldwide) The monthly bill is the same as my Verizon plan, USD $59.95 for the most basic plan, but the euipment costs USD $200.00 and it goes up from there.

    There is another called Wildblue http://www.wildblue.com/, and there is Skyway and Starband. These I don't know much about. I have seen the Wildblue being used by boats and RVs. But these are all US companies. I'm sure there must be someone in Europe who does this too.
     
  10. Manie B
    Joined: Sep 2006
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    Location: Cape Town South Africa

    Manie B Senior Member

    Ike i dont understand your links at the bottom of your signature

    your build takes me to my own yahoo page to update my details, nothing of your building

    the other two are just commercial pages with the usual advertising
    are you involved with these pages or are you just pushing then for free advertising to get these guys to go there?
     
  11. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Ike, the Hughesnet solution is what we have now, just on another satellite, called Astra2connect. The dish must be lined up with 1 degree accuracy, the hardware package includes a special device to achieve that.
    We pay more for the hardware in Europe but that is not unusual, we pay more for everything we buy. The monthly rates are lower, starting at us$ 30.00.

    Just like Astra, Hughes offers speed up to xxx mb/s but guarantees nothing. The speed as advertised you cannot reach unless all other subscribers are asleep, but I can live with that. Voip services like Skype are performing very poorly because the time lag to and from the satellite is 1.3 seconds, something most people cannot get used to.

    But I was interested in internet services for boats and ships. In the summer months the Adriatic sea is playground for numerous tourist boats and yachts, only a few of the more than 1000 islands can provide internet access by WLAN or cell phone.
     
  12. powerabout
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Melbourne/Singapore/Italy

    powerabout Senior Member

    If you have wire to your house and not too far from the exchange
    try to talk them into putting the ADSL kit in th exchange

    I know in that bankrupt neighbour of yours Italy, you have to sign up in an area and when they get enough signatures they will put the kit in the local exchange...telco's in the stone age
    When we go it in Lake Garda it only went half way through the nearest town.
    The other side didnt get it for 2 more years..nice!

    I had a free trial of 3G card in the UK coutersy of Orange nice on your laptop but I gave it back as they couldnt get it to work where lived....not far them the BT tower DOH!
    And they are packet switched data so a pain to use for downloading a file.

    On board now we have a ShipEquip dish but big and expensive for 4 phone lines and 128k internet. ( minimum service, they can go to 10mb)
    Skype works badly and I can see the issue still is depending on the ISP when we change satellites..how much bandwidth are they giving us???

    Perhaps an Inmarsat Bgan but gyro stabilised ( or signal power feed back which is how they work I think, gyro not that important) could be the answer?

    There is isdn MPDS over Fleet 77 data so you get charged for data only..dont know how much that costs
    There is 9400baud ( I think) on a Iridium phone..not much?

    I guess i'll be crusing in a few years and I cant imagine living without 24/7 internet

    I guess there is email over HF...
     
  13. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Manie.

    I checked the signature The one to my web page at newboatbuilders.com worked just fine. the other two are blogs, one is new items about the boat building biz (http://newboatbuildersnews.blogspot.com/) and the other is Boating Safety and Boating accident news. (http://newboatbuilders.blogspot.com/). I shifted from Yahoo blogs to Blogger a while back and I must have forgotten to correct the signature.

    I have been trying different formats for my home page and the current one gives the appearance of having mostly ads. That is definitely not the impression I want to give. I am going to put it back to the way it used to be. Anyway it's not a commercial web site. It's a free educational site for beginning boat builders. The ads and the bookstore are there to pay for the site. I make about $200.00 a year (yes, a year) from the ads.) which does not begin to cover the fee for the site and the domain name. I am not pushing anybodies products per se. The ads are random and the Google and Amazon software that selects them are supposed to pick only boating related ads. (when I first started this they were putting up ads for all sorts of stuff including adults only ads) The exception is the banner at the top of the page and again that was an experiment to see if it would increase the number of clicks on Amazon, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. THe most I have every made annually form Amazon is about $40.00. So really the book store is just a conveniencce because it only has boating and boat building related books.

    Anyway the signature should work now.
     
  14. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    This is a former socialist state with rules and laws for everything, where people never have learned to think and all sorts of business opportunities are strangled by a bureaucrat who rather says no than risk upsetting his boss.

    I saw the telecom company install optical cable several years ago and suggested to them to replace our copper wires which are prone to lighting damage, but they kept replacing the ISDN interface and pieces of damaged cable after a thunderstorm, sometimes twice in one month.

    The rule says 10 subscribers before they install the ADSL kit, but there are maybe 3 I could encourage to sign up, the rest are illiterate, over 80 years old or have never been near a computer.
    And even if they install one in the exchange there should also be 2 repeaters because we are 900 m. from the exchange.
     

  15. powerabout
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    Location: Melbourne/Singapore/Italy

    powerabout Senior Member


    If you have fibre thats a whole lot better as you can go miles but it looks like you have other problems.....
    Reminds me of a scene once when we were coming back from somewhere 95ish and we stopped in the straits of Messina , Sicily side.
    I went ashore with the cook to pick up some bread and fresh milk or something and she wanted to phone her mum (italian) so we see an old lady walking along with her shopping so Daniela asks her where the shop is and if she knows where a phone is ..she points to the shop down the road and says.."phone, I dont know as I have never used one" Daniela can't believe what she hears..nevertheless we walk down the road to we find the shop and out the front is 2 phone booths!!
     
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