First of all, while this may appear like a slightly shameless plug for Clear internet or maybe even Apple computer - it's not. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't argue with either of them for throwing us some freebies (I'll take a Macbook Air for starters) but they haven't.
When we first moved aboard Kingsley last May we were excited to take our existing Clear internet right onto the boat. If you live in a Clear city (like Seattle...and most major US cities) you've got one of the fastest ways to install home internet - just sign-up with Clear and choose a modem, bring it home, open it, plug it in, and bam...internet. No cables, phone & TV bundles, boom - done.
Now, the speeds aren't as fast as cable internet through Comcast or wherever, but you can blog, stream netflix, watch youtube, and surf the web easily without too much of the dreaded 'buffering'. Our first Clear modem is pictured below (on the right). We plug it into the wall and then into an Apple router (left) (which also plugs into the wall) so wifi can be spread to all of our little gadgets.
So, this was one of the easiest moves when we left land for the boat life. Unplug, move to boat, plug in. Here's where the story takes a little turn...
Amber and I had looked at so many boats when shopping for this one, a lot of them very similar. When we finally settled on Kingsley we discovered that some of the things we thought she had, well, she didn't. We had actually combined in our minds some of the other features from boats we had looked at onto the one we actually bought (surely that's happened to other folks, right?). Needless to say, we combined a lot of really cool features that aren't actually on the boat we own now...huh.
Luckily for our internet aspirations, Kingsley has batteries, outlets & stuff...problem is...she doesn't have an inverter. That's a handy little device that converts battery/DC current to outlet/AC current - what's needed to plugin our Clear modem and surf while we sail the high seas (of Seattle and the Clear surrounding area). Now, I know what you're thinking - ahh, poor little sailors don't have high speed wireless internet while sailing. Well, may I direct you over to one of our past posts of a 70 foot powerboat with heated floors in the head, err, bathroom (last boat)...
Well, enter our new Clear upgrade. After a extra challenging time dealing with customer service folks online and in person - don't get me started - we finally picked up a new Clear Voyager mobile modem.
The setup now: plug in the tiny modem (pic at the beginning of this post). Want to use it on the go? No problem, unplug it. It has batteries that supposedly last between 6-8 hours. It is the same 4G speed that we were used to with the old modem. You won't need a router like the Apple one I pictured above (there goes my free Macbook Air for the shameless plug) - the Voyager beams a wifi signal to up to 8 devices. Also, I imagine you could easily charge it using one of a few new solar chargers on the market (they carry a few at R.E.I.) since it has a USB charger similar to an iPod.
Downsides? It's super small and because of that I'm probably gonna break it soon. Battery is internal so once it goes so does the device (you can always plug it in). Clear suffers from some series corporate/customer service/retail store communication problems ("Yeah, sorry sir, I can't sell this to you here at the store because you're an existing Clear customer"), It only works in Clear cities - ours luckily happens to be one with water everywhere.
Dear readers, what type of internet do you use on the run or at the dock? Do you block out the net on purpose while cruising? Someone's got to share about their wifi extender antenna thingys!
~Paul & Amber