Navigating the web while navigating the waters is no longer a luxury. These days yachties need a reliable internet connection to download nautical charts, reserve moorings, make travel plans and get weather forecasts.
But it’s not always clear what is the best way to get connected to Internet while onboard your yacht. There are four more common solutions for getting hooked up. Learn more about dockside Wi-Fi, satellite and cellular internet services, as well as bonded internet connections.
Luxury marinas offer wireless internet connection as part of their standard service. Sometimes it’s included in the regular berthing fess, other wise it might be charged separately. Wi-Fi provided by the marina is generally fast, relatively inexpensive (if not free) and unlimited.
Yet there are some real disadvantages to consider. For starters, dockside Wi-Fi is only available while you are docked in the marina. Plus, internet coverage is not secure, not always reliable and the signal can be weak in some areas of the port. Wi-Fi range extenders for marine use can boost data speed and signal strength.
The major benefit of satellite internet service is that it guarantees global coverage. You and your guests can connect to the web both while docked and while cruising the open water. Unfortunately, with satellite services, the internet speed tends to be slow and the fees for usage are high.
CELLULAR INTERNET DATA
This internet option allows yachts to utilize the internet while in the marina or cruising off shore for a range of up to 10 miles. With 4G cellular service, data speeds are quick – usually 10 times faster than satellite internet. It’s also good to know that cellular internet service providers charge a fraction of the cost related to satellite.
One downside is the presence of holes in service coverage and dead spots. Yacht IT experts recommend using cellular signal boosters to increase coverage range and speed.
BONDED INTERNET CONNECTION
There is a fourth option that provides the most seamless internet connectivity for your yacht. Bonded internet combines multiple sources to deliver the best level of internet speed and reliability. By connecting Wi-Fi, satellite and cellular equipment to a single data selector switch, you, your guests and crew can decide which source to use at any moment. Wireless internet access points located throughout the yacht then broadcast the signal to the cabins, salons, cockpit and open deck areas.
This is the most popular choice among boaters these days because it has an automatic backup for internet connection whenever one source is out of range or service is down. Yacht owners also appreciate the ability to decrease spending for data usage by switching to the satellite source only when Wi-Fi or cellular are unavailable.
Marine Data Solutions is a company based in Fort Lauderdale specialized in marine mobile wireless internet for the United States and the Bahamas. They recommend the MDS-242-A Advanced Package, it comes equipped with 4G antennas, high-speed wireless router, and a source selector to switch to Vsat service.
For more practical advice on yacht ownership, get in touch with G Marine luxury brokers in Fort Lauderdale.