Seems I need a computer on my boat

Mort

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I use a laptop with a dongle around the Solent as it means my wife can work from the boat if she needs to, yes it would be ideallic not to have all these distractions but life's not always like that if you have a busy job. If not she wouldn't be able to join the rest of the family or we would end up tied up in marina's or by pubs to get WiFi. Dongle works well, just keep an eye on the costs. I also find that it's easier to look at a larger tablet or laptop screen than a phone,
 

jac

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Enphatically YES, Mifi 3g dongle - 3g to internet (outside world) wifi (or cable) connection to tablet.

But just to clarify this as OP seems confused re the phone network - any Mifi device will use the phone network.

To use a laptop/ tablet etc on board with internet you either need a physical landline, Wifi, a mobile phone type device or satcom.
Physical landline will only work when in a marina and don't know of any marinas that have them but technically possible.
Wifi will work within maybe 100m of the hotspot. Fine in the marina or on the river near by but useless more than 100m away.
A phone type device will give you access out to maybe 20 miles if you're lucky depending on network, atmospherics etc.
Satcom is for beyond 20-30m from the coast and costs a fortune.

If you want to be able to see YBW.com in your favourite anchorage the best choice is a phone-type device.
2 broad types.
Data only devices - ( Mifi/ 3g Tablets etc)
Data and voice - Smart phones with tethering.

With both choices you have a choice of 2 basic payment models -
Buy the kit outright and pay for data / voice as required. AKA pay as you go - no chance of large bills but risk of running out at awkward times and can be more expensive
Enter into a contract and pay over xx months. Kit may be free or low cost if data/ voice is high.

SO if you want onboard internet at anything over 50-100m from a hotspot you will need to get into bed with a phone co.
 

FairweatherDave

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Enphatically YES, Mifi 3g dongle - 3g to internet (outside world) wifi (or cable) connection to tablet.

I'm learning stuff here, just put Mifi 3g dongle into google and went to the U switch site. Obviously it comes down to preference but cost wise new smart phone contracts/PAYGseems priced comparitively the same as going down the MiFi route so it just depends what technology you want to use, a phone or a laptop/tablet. But for someone, the OP, who seems reluctant to even be going down this route maybe a 3 or 4g smart phone would be appropriate for the minimal use anticipated?
 
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FairweatherDave

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But just to clarify this as OP seems confused re the phone network - any Mifi device will use the phone network.


If you want to be able to see YBW.com in your favourite anchorage the best choice is a phone-type device.
2 broad types.
Data only devices - ( Mifi/ 3g Tablets etc)
Data and voice - Smart phones with tethering.

SO if you want onboard internet at anything over 50-100m from a hotspot you will need to get into bed with a phone co.

Just to be clear, the smart phone will give you internet without any further equipment and is all you need for basic bbc type forecasts and e mail. The tablet approach will be better for more complex displays, but you can look at YBW just on your phone :)
 

ronsurf

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You don't need to access emails while sailing, in reality. Avoid phone companies and use your tablet to access the internet via WiFi in marinas, or in pubs. Good reason to go to a pub though you may end up in a conversation with a real person and forget all about your emails.
 

elton

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Beware of some of these so-called PAYG contracts, where the top-up expires at the end of the month. That isn't PAYG in my book, but a total rip-off. I use my O2 PAYG 3G phone as a data dongle for my laptop on the boat. It costs £1 for something like 5GB, which does "expire" at midnight, but for a pound, I don't really care. Other than on the boat, I have data turned off, and it connects to my home wi-fi, giving internet, email, and everything else.
 

Amulet

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All this seems a wee bit confusing. If you buy a tablet with that can take a sim and do 3G, what you have can be regarded as a big Android phone. You don't need another device to create a hotspot. Depending on what you want to do that may be all you need. (Run navionics, pick up weather forecasts and do your email etc.)

(I actually usually have several computers and junk on my boat, but that's because I find it fun to fart about with them.)

The suggestion of a Samsung tablet is a good one. (I have a Sony Xperia.) For the sim I buy an EE pay as you go 4g sim from Argos. This means that I can use the tablet as a phone too, though I actually don't. NB: I never actually "pay as I go" on the "pay as you go" sim. The introductory offers on new sims are always much better value for money, so when the initial data allowance is used up I chuck the sim and buy a new one - this means that the phone number changes every couple of months which is not that useful if you do use it as a phone.
 

LadyInBed

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An advantage of mifi (or tethered phone) to tablet or laptop is that they can be hoisted up the mast to improve reception.
An advantage of a laptop is that you can hoist a high gain (directional) wifi antenna up and pick up marina / pub wifi. To my knowlage you can't do this with a tablet or phone as they don't have usb input. If there are wifi antennas with wifi or bluetooth output then it would be possible to connect to a tablet.
 
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No. If you are in a wireless hotspt or can use a private wifi such as in a marina, you don't need a phone. If you are out of range of these then you need the phone to access the internet. Exactly the same as at home where your local wifi comes in through the phone. You can get a local wifi on your boat but it still needs a phone line or a signal from a mobile.

No way of avoiding this if you want the (dubious) benefit of access to the internet on the boat.

Apologies for not replying to everyone but I am getting bogged down in all this.

I need internet access to interact with a website as part of my business.
At home I have virgin broadband that comes by cable & a wired connexion.(It's fastest for my old computer)

Am I correct in thinking that I could get away with a laptop (seems to have the potential for good chart plotting among other things,beside possibly being the cheapest ) or a tablet providing I get a 3g mifi dongle? Are those 3g mifi dongles pre loaded as a payg option?

Please be patient.Like many here I go sailing largely to get away from the rest of the human race & am very very reluctant to get involved with all this technology most of which seems to go wrong half the time.
 
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FairweatherDave

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Apologies for not replying to everyone but I am getting bogged down in all this.

I need internet access to interact with a website as part of my business.
At home I have virgin broadband that comes by cable & a wired connexion.(It's fastest for my old computer)

Am I correct in thinking that I could get away with a laptop (seems to have the potential for good chart plotting among other things,beside possibly being the cheapest ) or a tablet providing I get a 3g mifi dongle? Are those 3g mifi dongles pre loaded as a payg option?

Please be patient.Like many here I go sailing largely to get away from the rest of the human race & am very very reluctant to get involved with all this technology most of which seems to go wrong half the time.
You are correct that a dongle plus tablet or laptop sounds like your best option and what you want. The altenative is that with a new smart phone you can use it much like a dongle and tether it to your laptop or tablet to get internet. It is very simple. I have also been similarly attached to my old mobile but the point I am getting at is a new smart mobile is also an amazing tool (effectively a small tablet itself) miles beyond your old mobile and that maybe worth looking at rather than dongles. Providing you can charge your mobile on your boat (via cigarette lighter) you are fine coz the battery life of new smart phones is a lot less, however you use them.
 

ronsurf

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RKJ is proposing a round the world race without electronics (except vhf) so you don't HAVE to have them for navigation.
The Golden Globe this year is doing that. Emergency communications and navigation equipment must sealed. Any communications gear connects to the organisers only. Any photos and movies can only be offloaded in Australia during a stop, but no contact with anyone or anything.
 

LadyInBed

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If you want to 'work' from it and assuming that you are a Windows user, then a Laptop or Notebookwould be the way to go as you wouldn't have to learn any new applications.
They can be connected via wifi to a 3g mifi dongle with either a contract or payg data sim card in it.
You might even be able to claim the cost of the 3g data useage as a business expence!
 

Amulet

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You can buy a laptop, notebook or tablet with 3G (or 4g) and a hole to stick a sim into. You don't need to faff around with dongles.
 

pvb

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Am I correct in thinking that I could get away with a laptop (seems to have the potential for good chart plotting among other things,beside possibly being the cheapest ) or a tablet providing I get a 3g mifi dongle? Are those 3g mifi dongles pre loaded as a payg option?

OK, now we understand your internet access requirement. There's some confusion creeping in here due to terminology. "Mifi" generally means a portable wifi device, you put a SIM card in it, it connects by phone to the internet, and transmits a wifi signal which you can connect to. "Dongle" is a little device which plugs into a USB port on your computer, it has a SIM card in it, and it connects your computer directly to the internet by phone. "Mifi" devices are more expensive than "dongles".

If you really don't want a smartphone (why not??), your best bet would be to use your laptop (or buy a cheap laptop) and then get a dongle. 3 offer a dongle for £25 on a PAYG (pay as you go) basis - http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Devices/ZTE/MF730M?memory=0&colour=Black

You can then replace the SIM with a longer term SIM. 3 offer a 12 month SIM, with up to 12GB over the 12 month period, for £70. This is pretty cheap in the overall scheme of things, especially as the data is spread over 12 months, rather than subject to monthly limits, as with most PAYG. See http://store.three.co.uk/view/searc...eForTariff=0to49.99&intid=3store_mbb_payg_sim

For info only, I use a cheap smartphone (Moto G) with a giffgaff SIM. It gives me phone and data on the move, for emails, browsing, etc, and works as a wifi hotspot which I can connect my laptop to on the boat. The best of all worlds!
 

Strolls

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… I don't have a 'smart phone' & I don't want one …

I really don't want to get involved in taking out a contract with one of those mobile phone providers & all the trouble & expense it is likely to entail.

(I have an antiquated Nokia).
You should have a chat with my mum - this was exactly her circumstances a couple of years ago.

Now she is very happy with a 6" Android phone - she wouldn't be anywhere without it, now, and we are both surprised at how wholeheartedly she has taken to it. She has the Kindle app, and is constantly reading on it, but as you know many on these forums swear by Navonics &c.

My mum is in her 70's, and was adamant she didn't want a new phone. She, too, had a basic Nokia but she wanted a tablet on which she could access the internet anywhere.

The decider that confronted her was that you need a SIM and a mobile phone provider to talk on the phone, and you need a SIM and a mobile phone provider to access the internet when you're abroad.

If you keep your old Nokia then you need a second SIM for your tablet, computer or MiFi - either that, or you need to swap this fiddly little SIM between the two devices, taking the back off and the battery out, extracting the SIM card with your fingernail.

This 6" size of smartphone is often referred to as "phablet", being a little larger than most smartphones, but smaller than a tablet.

I do sympathise with your distrust of all this confusing new tech, but in fact nowadays smartphones are the most simple.
 
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