Getting internet

So this month I noticed my internet bill had gone from ~$30 a month to over $70. Argh. I called Shaw and was told that the $30 a month had been a special promotion that was now ended, and the 70 bucks was the ‘actual’ price for 25mb service.

BUT!!!! They could cut me a special deal for 5mb service for only 45 (+ tax) a month!! Hah.

That seems… altogether way too much, so I cancelled, and now have only three weeks of service left.

Which leads me to – how do I get internet? Especially when cruising around other countries?

I have a background in networking so I decided the easiest thing to do was to install a wifi antenna onto my (already getting kinda crowded) mast, and attach a booster on there. This would allow me to pick up a reliable wifi signal at up to 7 nautical miles away! (depending on conditions). For the time being I would be able to use the wifi signal at the marina’s coffee shop, and then out and about I could grab other signals. This would also allow me to have internet while moored out on a ball or whatever. This would be a huge improvement, since right now I am tied to the shaw line at the dock. When I leave the dock, I lose internet.

I think the plan is this:

First, get a marine wifi antenna – something like this




Then, attached to that would be something called a Bullet, made by Ubiquiti



This attaches directly to the wifi antenna and boosts the signal in both directions – and then outputs down a standard CAT5/6 cable that I can then feed straight into a wireless router. I’ll get a 2.4Ghz system, the 5Ghz systems are probably still not used enough to make it worth it. This method means I don’t have to give a shit about how long the wire is to the router or signal loss, while some of the other methods I looked at using coax meant that that was very much a factor.

I am going to attach it to one of my spreaders (the other spreader is going to have an antenna for the AIS system, while the VHF one will be on the masthead), so that install will be done when the mast comes down.

Whole system will be 300-400 dollars I think, which is the same as paying Shaw for 5 months. Except I end up with a nifty wifi receiving station at the end of it! The steady march towards self-sufficiency continues.



  1. So this works with Shaw Wifi Hotspots ? Wouldn’t ubiquity’s antenna work instead of the marine one ? I am looking at USB type of solutions but I kinda like the use of the bullet. It’s cleaner. Fuzzy on the antenna side.

    • Hey liv,

      Yeah, it picks up any hotspots in range. I tested it with Shaw open and it seems to work just fine. Any antenna that uses a coax connection would screw into the bullet and would work fine. I’m using a cheapy 15db outdoor one from eBay. Worth doing a search on it though to decide between 12 and 15db and people suggest different makes.

      The usb one looks ok but the advantage of the bullet is you can lead it into a router using ethernet and so service several devices at once. You can also place virtually anywhere, POE is good to about 60 feet.

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