internet access on board

sphero

New member
Joined
30 Dec 2004
Messages
18
it would be very nice to be able to access the net whilst sailing -check emails, weather forecasts etc. What do I need? What would this cost? I have a fairly new laptop. A friend told me "easy - get a wireless connection". What's that about? We normally cruise around Brittany. Any advice gratefully received!
 

claymore

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jun 2001
Messages
10,631
Location
In the far North
The late Cox'n of the Fleetwood Lifeboat used a Blackberry to great effect last weekend. He was never off the blasted thing and I wonder whether the temptation to answer 'work' emails wouldn't be too great. Think I'll stick to looking at the clouds and listening to the coastguard
 

mldpt

Member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
425
Location
Fleetwood
Hi
I have net access while afloat, and have done for many years, but I have just updated to useing GPRS with a Phone card which plugs into the PCMCIA slot on my Laptop connection speeds are 56kbs and providing you are within range of a Mobile phone mast then it works very well.
I use a firm called Symmetry3. You need to purchase a phone card and sim card from them last year this cost £150 you can get them cheaper now, you then open an account with them which costs £2.50 per month which included 1Mb of data download/ upload, and £1.00 perMb from then on. I tried Vodafone for GPRS and their cost were three times this and you had to have a contract with them costing in excess ot £20 per month. If you phone Lee Walkey on 07968535353, I found him most helpful, you might also ask him about G3 which is the latest form of internet connection and this is very fast but when I signed up there was some concern about coverage. You can send SMS with this connection and several other facilities are available. But I use mine for E-mail and surfing the net for forecast etc.good luck Mike
 

mldpt

Member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
425
Location
Fleetwood
Hi I should have added that you will need to purchase the card phone and sim card from Symmetry3 as they will bill you for your usage.
Mike
 

mldpt

Member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
425
Location
Fleetwood
Hi Claymore How are you.
were you in Fleetwood last weekend, we have yet to meet up. are you about there this weekend
Regards Mike
 

DJE

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Joined
21 Jun 2004
Messages
7,601
Location
Fareham
For occasional use I get by with my Vodafone GPRS mobile and a Bluetooth connection. Bluetooth is handy as you can put the phone anywhere on the boat to get the best reception. It works fine but as mldpt says it is very expensive. If I am using the internet on the boat I usually ring Vodafone first and switch to the Anytime 200 tariff as the rate per MB is then about one third of on the standard tariff. It cost me a fortune in France last summer and the work kept interfering with the sailing.
 

DeeGee

Active member
Joined
11 Feb 2003
Messages
1,663
Location
North Brittany.
[ QUOTE ]
it would be very nice to be able to access the net whilst sailing -check emails, weather forecasts etc. What do I need? What would this cost? I have a fairly new laptop. A friend told me "easy - get a wireless connection". What's that about? We normally cruise around Brittany. Any advice gratefully received!

[/ QUOTE ]
Knowing I would be out of internet access otherwise, last spring I signed up for a Vodafone GPRS/G3 service buying a PCMIA card (G3 is pie in the sky, only place working is inside M25, where the sailing is not so good!). The subscription came with 20MB/month of datacommunication. Until I went offshore, and started having to use French services, Orange, Bougytel... then the charge jumped to £2/MB. I thought this would be OK, but started getting direct debits for £127, and then £200+. I asked Vodafone for itemised accounts, and then got a lot refunded, but nowhere near as much as should have been. I was downloading email and logging, say, 160KB, but the itemised account was showing nearly 2MB. So I dumped it. Card is still in a drawer somewhere. Heard same story from others since.

I switched to using wireless connectivity in port. Hunt and ye shall find - a wireless internet cafe somewhere... dedicated internet cafes exist in most places and allowed connecting laptop to the wired network; wireless internet cafes in places like St Peter Port; Dieppe Marina has a wireless service for yotties visiting; hotels have wireless networks, and you just buy a coffe or a drink... Most of the wireless facilities are free, some are charged - typically €2/hr.

Stingo has been gallavanting around with his laptop, and uses Skype for (almost)free telephony - would be interested to hear his contribution to this thread.

My advice: dont go the personal telephony route (GPRS) unless you take out a cheap service (as mentioned already on this thread, and Vodafone are quite cheap in UK) for the country (or each of the countries) you intend using as carrier. The expanding wireless facilities are already pretty useful, and will provide more and more coverage as time goes by. But make sure you have a good AV and firewall on your machine.
 

pragmatist

Well-known member
Joined
7 May 2003
Messages
1,421
There are several threads on this on the Liveaboard forum which you might find of interest - many echoing the problems quoted here - although some seem to have been lucky.
 

claymore

Well-known member
Joined
18 Jun 2001
Messages
10,631
Location
In the far North
Hello Mike
No we were away last weekend and I'm working this weekend
How are you and the bionic knee getting along?
 

Indalo

New member
Joined
25 Apr 2003
Messages
27
Location
Taunton
I've done this the last 3 summers with a basic mobile (with infrared facility): plug an infrared connector into the laptop's USB port, activate infrared on the phone, then dial up the email account in the normal way. It's slow (not good for web pages with lots of graphics) but it works - I use email normally with a limiter of 500kb for incoming messages and essential websites (e.g. weather and chart updates).

I'm on an O2 200 mins per month package and have Demon email (0845 number) - it's 'free' i.e. part of the 200 mins provided I'm in the UK. Some mobile companies charge extra for data calls. Expensive from CI and France.
 

brownsox

Member
Joined
15 Jul 2004
Messages
377
Location
London
Blackberry is a great solution if you really need to check emails. (We let holiday flats and missing emails costs money) Always on, flashes discretely when a message comes in, takes texts and phonecalls too. You pay extra for use abroad, but we were getting and sending emails in remote bays in Turkey last autumn. Getting weather forecasts is a bit less quick and convenient but it does do it. Ours is through O2 and was an upgrade that didn't cost a fortune.
 
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