Wi-Fi Internet solutions for boaters and marinas
We built this website because we are very interested in the progress of wireless Internet solutions being proposed and developed for the boating community.
Imagine pulling out of your slip while your shipmate is checking email, downloading a chart to your laptop, or checking a weather forecast and making dinner reservations at your destination port. Imagine doing all these things online - without wires, and at a speed many times faster than the typical Internet connection in your home. And at a price that is much less than the least expensive satellite solutions.
This can be done on a regular laptop computer, with technology that is available today, at very reasonable prices. All you need is a "wi-fi" or "802.11" card for your laptop. Oh yeah, and you also need to be within range of a "wi-fi" provider or a "hotspot" as they call themselves.
The wi-fi cards are available at virtually every computer/electronics store for less than $100, and they fit in your laptop's standard PCMCIA, or PC Card slot. In fact, many laptops now come with the wi-fi card built in so you have nothing to buy but the "access" to the Internet via something called a "hot spot".
The challenge is in finding the "hotspot" to connect to from your computer. While this technology is growing at a rate that rivals the growth of the Internet itself, it is easier to find a hotspot in a trendy coffee shop or in the lobby of a 5 star hotel than it is to find one in your marina.
There are free hot spots
, where you can log on to somebody else's network without paying a penny. These are either promoted by the user as free in order to entice you to hang out near their business and possibly buy something, or because they are of the mentality that you just shouldn't have to pay for Internet access. There are also free hot spots that aren't advertised, but that you can log onto by tapping into somebody's unprotected home network. It is highly recommended that home users protect their network if they do not intend to share their connection with neighbors.
There are also paid hot spots, where your marina or local business will allow you to sign up to access the Internet and charge you by the minute, hour, day or month. This typically costs more than your AOL or DSL account at home, but it is easier to digest the price when you consider that it is highspeed, broadband access, and accessible wirelessly from your boat.