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You can also opt for more extensive systems that automatically use free
Wi-Fi signals when they’re available
but tap into the 4G cell network when
they aren’t. The WiFi In Motion MAX
Marine, for example, which runs in the
$1,000 range (plus data-plan costs), has
multiple SIM slots to utilize different carriers, combines a router/anten-na/amplifier system so you can almost
always get a signal one way or the other,
and can be deactivated during the off-season so you only pay for the months
you use your boat.
Then, of course, there are satellite
systems to consider. Unless your boat
is a yacht, this is probably overkill. And
satellite systems are most certainly not
intended for DIY installation. That said,
if you want the ultimate in Wi-Fi at sea,
you should check out systems from the
likes of KVH and Intellian – and expect
to spend thousands of dollars.
Assuming your boat doesn’t fall into the
yacht category and that satellite isn’t
nected by thousands of feet.
If you need more range, you’ll
be looking at systems like the Wave
Wi-Fi Rogue Wave (which costs just
over $300), the Wirie Pro (just under
$700), or a Digital Yacht WL 510 (about
$750). These are essentially “bridge”
The simplest of
these systems increase
range by up to a mile,
while those with
powered boosters can
increase range more
substantially. In some
cases, these can extend
your range up to 6
or 7 miles – though
clearly note that range can vary quite
a bit, depending on signal quality and
going to be a realistic option, install-
ing any one of these other systems is a
fairly easy task. The simplest extenders
plug right into your device, and the
next step up in bridge systems only
requires mounting the exterior antenna
and routing the wire.
In the case of the Digital Yacht
WL70 ($200) or the Rogue Wave,
the antenna threads onto a standard
1-inch/14 VHF antenna mount.
Route the attached cable belowdecks,
supply power as necessary, and simply
plug it into the device via either a USB
or ethernet connection.
For the more substantial systems,
you’ll need to add an interior booster/
modem to the antenna installation.
These must be hardwired to a 12-
volt power source, and depending
on the system, you also may need to
wire in a separate router if you want
Still, for most savvy DIY boaters,
this is pretty easy stuff. And considering all the advantages you get from
having Wi-Fi on board, I have to ask,
Wif-Fi extenders can
ability to get
range up to 6
or 7 miles.