My wife and I are moving aboard with family to the Caribbean, specifically SXM then South. My wife works remotely and has to make phone calls and send emails. We are looking at Wifi and Cell boosters and I need something as reliable as possible. Id like to find something I can put two sim cards in and get good signal while on anchor. I will more than likely be using the digicel and chippie networks. Where do I start, best place to mount? What are typical results?
Hi and welcome to the forum!
First have a watch of this Peplink Maritime Webinar [Peplink Webinar] U
Then read everything @stevemitchell has written on his website Recommended Internet Systems & Cellular Plans - SeaBits
Then pop along to Certified Resellers Archives - SpeedFusion Marketplace and have a look for a reseller who is local to you and give them a call. They can talk you through everything and supply all you need to make that work.
In the meantime there are lots of other users here who know a thing or two about staying connected at sea and @Sam_Norris from Peplink is possibly the biggest marine connectivity geek I know so we’ll tag him too to get his input.
Awesome thank you! Ill watch that now then check back.
I did some research today and started educating myselt. Figured out all the bands in the areas I am headed and got a basic idea of how to start with my system. I reached out to weBoost and filled in some blanks. Looks like a mast mounted antenna, to a lightening surge protector, wilson 13/32 cable to amp, to peplink cradle, to router etc. After watching that webinar it sounds like a really good antenna at the top of the mast with ethernet may perform really well when on anchor. It would be nice to get a booster with maybe a second antenna for areas farther from shore? The toughest thing at the moment is finding a wide band adjustable frequency booster/amp that i can adjust based on where I am at. Caribbean is mostly (3) 900/1800/2100/2600. I think if I can find the amp, I can move the rest along pretty easy.
The problem with boosters is they only cover a certain number of bands (usually max 6). Our routers cover many more than this. Using a booster will limit the number of countries that you can use our router in unless you purchase different boosters for each region and manually change them out.
Rather than using a booster, you should focus on having appropriate antennas. For a 50ft sailing yacht, I would recommend omnidirectional marine antennas with a gain of between 5 and 9 dBi and keeping the coaxial cable run as short as possible. Installing at the top of the mast might not be the best option as the coaxial cable wold be long, you would be better off installing the antennas on the lower spreaders and installing the router as near the base of the mast as possible. If you have a stern communication mast, this is another option to but will be lower and would not provided as longer range as the locations on the mast.
I have made a list of our router modem SKUs and how many bands they cover for which countries they are designed for.
CAT3&4 (LTE-E-T - Europe, LTEA-MX-T - Latin America & Australia, LTEA-US-T - USA) 9x LTE bands each
CAT6 (LTEA-W-T - Americas& EMEA, LTEA-P-T - Asia Pacific) 15 & 13x LTE bands respectively
CAT12 (LTEA-R-T - America/FirstNet, LTEA-K-T - Global) 24x LTE bands
CAT18 (GLTE-G-T - Global) 30x LTE bands
CAT20/5G (5GD-T - Global) - 16x 5G bands & 30x LTE bands
As you can see, the higher the category ratting, the more countries are supported so I would recommend you consider the CAT12, CAT18 or CAT20/5G for global coverage.
Please note that the CAT3 to CAT18 models also support 3G frequencies but I have not included them here)
Awesome thank you for the info! I could soak this info up all day being a techie.
When it comes to those routers, which one would be best for just in the Caribbean? I think I would rather put the money into the right router/antenna/cable than buy an overkill router(in regard to frequencies)
So if I see it correctly …
Go with a +7 antenna on the spreader, and a router ( not much 5 g in the islands) and probably get better results for signal. With a -.7 db per 10 ft cable and a 63 ft mast, I would lose all the gain from the antenna by the time I ran a cable from the top to inside the boat.
Maybe option 2…
Is there any benefit to a hd1/2 dome at the top running ethernet cable to kill the loss? Seems like that may be a really sweet option.
What about placing a good antenna on a spreader, utilizing a booster but maybe only putting into the system when signal is low or the anchorage is far away from a tower? I found that most of the islands in the caribbean seem to be using lte at 2100, which from what I see, is supported by we boost drive. If Im not in an area that uses that band maybe I could just bypass the booster?
Not sure if Im getting closer or farther from figuring out what Im going to do. lol.!
After writing this I started poking around and found this…image|521x500 .pretty much exactly what I had in my head. Im thinking this set up but maybe use switches and wifi points that I already own and maybe not have 6 antennas but just a wifi, lte and hd1 antenna, or just a lte and hd1 to start. Can anybody make any suggestions. Thoughts? Thanks!!! Also @Sam_Norris …where do I buy this stuff, Im headed to Sxm in 10 days, It would be way easier to get a hold of this stuff quickly in the states and bring it with me rather than try to import everything. Is there somewhere I can physically go?
Please send an email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in contact with a local partner either in the US or SXM.