Internet for Yachts
Which Internet System Should I Get For My Yacht?
A reliable internet connection has become an essential part of yachting life, up there with fuel and food supplies.
It’s a modern home comfort that can help you stay safe, keep in touch with loved ones, and provide entertainment on long journeys.
But which system is best for your requirements?
The first (and cheapest) option is land-based WiFi. This works best either in a marina with a good network, when moored close to your home’s network, or in a location with a public hotspot. WiFi extenders can greatly extend the range and strengthen the signal. However, these do require good weather conditions, low interference and a direct line-of-sight. They also don’t work well while underway at sea.
WiFi quality varies from one marina to the next, as WiFi is a tricky thing for marinas to deliver well. Sometimes, the marina operators don’t pay attention to providing a good service, and sometimes circumstances are beyond their control – such as being surrounded by tall buildings or mountains.
The second option is using your phone as a hotspot via your mobile cell service. This can be used alone or together with a booster. This can be delivered as MiFi through your mobile carrier, or through a marine-based dedicated hotspot. These services work well up to 5-10 miles offshore, and especially when paired with a marine cellular antenna. Many routers allow you to switch easily between WiFi and cellular connection, based on availability.
The third (and most expensive) option is a satellite communications system. This will connect you to the internet almost anywhere, and is your only option when travelling significant distances offshore. However, satellite is likely to provide the lowest throughput (data moved successfully from one place to another in a given time period) and highest delay, or latency. The seamless and vast satellite coverage can also be pricey.