Options to add internet to a place that isn't wired for cable/broadband?
April 27, 2013 5:03 PM   Subscribe

Are there options to add internet to a place that isn't wired for cable/broadband and doesn't have a phone line? The marina where I keep my sailboat does not have cable or telephone lines installed at the docks. I want to be able to use the internet while I am staying on my boat. Are there technology options available so that I can make this happen? What is the general connectivity speed of those options? Many thanks!
posted by matrushka to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Cellular or satellite.
posted by k8t at 5:08 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

How much do you have to spend?
posted by dhartung at 5:09 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

You just want this when docked? Might be that Clear covers your marina.
posted by mumkin at 5:14 PM on April 27, 2013

My cell phone (Verizon Droid DNA) can be set to connect to the internet and to act as a wifi hub. I haven't tried it, but I understand that connection speed is comparable to T1.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:14 PM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

FreedomPop would be a relatively low-cost/low-risk way of trying it out - they use either Clear's network or Sprint's or ... I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, you pay for a usb modem and then service is free for limited data. (Not affiliated, I've just used them as a backup/travel connection.)
posted by spaceman_spiff at 5:17 PM on April 27, 2013

Most cell carriers will happily sell you a MiFi (or equivalent) and data-only plan. Speed-wise, I'm getting around 1.5MB down, 512K up right now on Ting, which uses the Sprint network.
posted by hades at 6:02 PM on April 27, 2013

There is also the possibility of a Clear type of system being sold in your area. It's somewhere between WiFi and Satellite. If Clear isn't around, there might be a local place that sells the service. Look for square/diamond shaped antennas on buildings pointing at roughly the horizon.
posted by gjc at 7:12 PM on April 27, 2013

We have the AT&T mifi device and a Verizon device also (since we are always on the move, one or the other will normally always work). The problem we have is the data caps, both are capped at 5gb per month, then you pay for additional gigs. Sprint was (is?) unlimited data, but their speeds are slower where we travel.

While in the Caribbean we use a Digicel mifi device. Holy moses. It's the fastest Internet I've ever used anywhere, stateside or Caribbean.
posted by karst at 9:38 PM on April 27, 2013

Personally i think the way to attack this is something like that tmobile unlimited data $30 plan, and then a cheap smartphone you don't care about to just use tether mode. You could also get a used MiFi thing on ebay or somesuch, then pop the sim you got for that plan in to it.

Even the cheapest clearwire plan is $50ish + a bunch of BS fees.

I used a crappy old phone on tmobile as my primary internet at home for quite a while when i didn't have any other real options, and it was fine. Surprisingly fast even. Definitely equivalent to clearwire(which is to say, 1-2mbps) and probably even faster now. Clearwire is slow as hell, especially for how much you pay.

I would recommend some carrier that had actual 4g, but they all have really pathetic data caps. The only real options here are either sprint, who started having caps specifically on tethering(but don't really enforce it if you do it unofficially on an unlimited phone), virgin mobile and the same thing(I'd also closely investigate other prepaid carriers unlimited plans, and cheap android phones online and see if people were having success with tethering), or tmobile who are pretty open ended about it.

I really have to reiterate though, that clear is slow and not really better in any way than just a tethered phone unless you specifically want an ethernet jack.
posted by emptythought at 12:23 PM on April 28, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all!
posted by matrushka at 8:43 AM on April 29, 2013

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