Which Broadband

Forum for general cruising topics
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Which Broadband

Postby Ocklepoint » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:35 am

I'm beginning to have aspirations to "going digital" whilst afloat. (which translates to "I've had the offer of a cheap laptop")

Assuming I can produce enough power on the boat to keep the thing (Toshiba Equium running Vista Home ed) going what do I need so that I might access the internet ?

Is it as simple as just plugging in a dongle of somesort?

Does the dongle connect to the net through my mobile?

Does the dongle have to come from the same provider as the mobile?

Which provider has the best coverage on the West Coast ?
(my mobile is on O2 and does not have great coverage, at least not in Ardnamurchan)

Any recommendations gladly accepted



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Postby claymore » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:41 am

The Orange network seems to work well in an increasing area - Fine through the Kyle of Lochalsh but rubbish from Lochgilhead to Oban

Dear Heart uses Vodaphone which was better than Orange we thought.

This is purely mobile phone usage of course - I am at present genetically incapable of commenting on anything digital

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Postby tom26 » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:53 pm

you just need a dongle under a separate contract from your phone - I have this on Orange but on the west coast it is a bit pants (typically between Lochgilphead and Appin) - Vodafone much better for mobile in my experience

the dongles themselves are easy to work, mine is a work one so not sure on costs but I think around 15 a month for a couple of Gb or thereabouts

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Postby Daveanmucker » Thu Jun 05, 2008 5:18 pm

I have been with O2 for the past few years and whilst I can usually get a signal around most of coastal areas of western Scotland there is a few places I cant get a signal at all. Usually up a Loch surrounded by hills . None at all up Lochaline and not a lot up Loch Craignish where I keep my boat.

I have often wondered if any of the other providers would give a better reception.

It will be interesting to read some more contributions to this thread, come on whats the best?
We can't change the direction of the wind, but we can adjust our sails.

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Postby moodysailor » Thu Jun 05, 2008 7:12 pm

On another forum (wash mouth out with soap and water :oops: ) it was commented that Vodaphone G3 works well on the West coast of Scotland.
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Postby PembrokeshirePromise » Fri Jun 06, 2008 9:57 pm

Well - I'm testing this on the W coast of Scotland at the moment - and I have to say that my Orange phone has been a waste of time in most places - don't even bother switching it on anymore !

Vodafone has been pretty good (though my experiences with their contracts dept is another tortuous story...) - though I wouldn't set much store on getting 3G once out of range of Glasgow - so it works - and is fine for emails - and a bit of web browsing - but is like being back on an old dial up modem

You can just get a USB stick - or you can with appropriate phone use it as a modem to the laptop.

Issues to be aware of are many of the nicer secluded anchorages are of course tucked out of the best signals. I have a Wilson amplifier which boosts the signal - and also allows an external aerial - which I can hoist up a bit. I would suspect a USB stick at the char table might be limiting.

I've had reception pretty much all the way up Sound of Jura, Sound of Mull, Sound of Sleat, Plocton, Loch Carron, Torridon, Rona - probably had to resort to amplifier in about 50% of anchorages - but once "out" its normally been fine

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Hedging your dongles....

Postby Telo » Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:25 pm

Between the two of us, we use a T-Mobile dongle, and O2 and Vodafone mobiles. I doubt if there's much to choose between them these days. All work well in open water within a reasonable distance of their masts, but forget it in a lot of anchorages, or even villages like Balvicar.

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Re: Hedging your dongles....

Postby Telo » Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:06 pm

Shard wrote: but forget it in a lot of anchorages, or even villages like Balvicar.

I believe the technical term for Balvicar is "technology shadow".

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