52. WiFi Mobile Broadband on a Boat

Hello, thank you very much for watching. I’ve moved the boat further up the River Soar
a little bit. A bit closer to Nottingham. I spent the last week or so catching up with friends, doing a lot more
work inside. The other day I had a catastrophic failure with the washing machine. I had a
Bosch washing machine on board. Same as I had in my house. It’s a good 11, 12 years
old and it decided to leak an entire load of washings water all over the floor and obviously,
that’s gone down into the bilge. So I’ve been busy soaking that all up and getting rid of
it. As I was down on my hands and knees with a tea towel picking up all the water, a nice
big cruiser went zooming past. Way too fast. Rocked the boat all over the place and two big glasses and a mug decided to fall off the draining board and smash on the floor, in the wet. Now normally when you smash things, you pick up all the big bits and vacuum up the small bits. I couldn’t do that and till it all dried so that’s been a bit of fun. I’ve opened the washing machine up and seen that the front lip has got a tear in it, as well as a pipe. So it’s time to get rid of that and get a brand new washing machine. More expense. I’ve been taking it ever so slightly slower this last couple of weeks, since the Crick Show. Whilst I was there, I bumped into a number of viewers that were very, very close to purchasing Wi-Fi for boats. There seems to be a bit of a worry from a lot of people that as soon as you move into a mobile home be it an RV, a caravan, a camper, a boat, or a narrowboat
that Wi-Fi, you can’t get it and how on earth, you’re supposed to get online and do your shopping and watch YouTube. There were some plans on the stall at the Crick Show that were really quite expensive and that wasn’t the plan, it was just the equipment. Now, I’m all for getting good equipment and things that last. A friend of mine up in Nottingham said you know you only should buy a tool once and get a good tool, that works properly rather than buying lots and lots of different tools. I’m all for that sort of thing but some of the equipment was £500 – £600 and to me, that is ludicrous because I’ve spent less than £150 for my complete setup and I’ve used different systems. I’ve used just mobile phone hotspots. I’ve used little gadgets things that stick by the window – I’m just about to climb over a stile here so bear with me – and then the very latest thing I’ve purchased is called a Home Router and boy, it’s fast. I don’t know if it’s because it’s originally mains powered or not. Whatever the technology inside it, oh it’s fantastic and that really is what I’m going to talk to you about today. It’s mobile Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G and how you get it, especially when you’re on a steel boat where reception inside is limited. So that’s the video today. When I first purchased my boat I bought this
small mobile Wi-Fi router. The Huawei E5786 supports speeds of up to 300 Mbps and can
either run from its internal chargeable battery for around about 10 hours or via a USB lead. There are basically four mobile Wi-Fi networks
available here in the United Kingdom. 3G. This has a max download speed of 7.2 Mbps
and a max upload of 2 Mbps. 3G HSPA with 42Mbps and 22Mbps 4G LTE with 150 Mbps and 50 Mbps
And 4G LTE Advanced with 300Mbps and 150Mbps. There’s a huge array of different 4G aerials
available. 4G LTE and above uses multiple radio data streams to and from the router.
Try and get a router with two aerial sockets as you can take advantage of the faster performance. I had my Huawei connected to my 12v batteries
via a 12v socket to USB adapter. In the beginning, I propped it up in the window
of the boat. However, as the narrowboat is a long thick metal tube, reception inside
was relatively poor. The benefit of this model is the twin aerial
sockets on the base of the unit. They are a TS 9 size and after a quick search, I found
a relatively cheap 4G LTE antenna with a long enough cable for me to have the antenna on
a pole at the stern of Alice and the router inside. There are four main mobile data network providers
in the UK. EE has the fastest download and upload speeds. Vodafone, is the
second fastest, Three and then the slowest which is O2. I researched and purchased a new EE Product
called 4GEE Home Router. It’s just like a router you’d get from say British Telecom
or Virgin but it uses the 4G network instead of cables. It’s powered by a mains 230 volt to 12-volt
transformer. I’ll go into how I got rid of this transformer later. The router has two cabled LAN ports on the
back along with a USB port for things like a printer or hard drive. Under the two side
flaps, there are two SMA Female sockets so you can connect an external aerial.
Although you may get a better reception from a directional aerial, I didn’t really want
the hassle of standing on the roof moving an aerial about, so opted for am Omni Directional
antenna with a total of 46 decibels relative to isotropic, or as it’s known dBi. The outer white casing contains two internal
23 dBi antennas and they have H 155 female sockets on their bases. The 10-meter cables
supplied with the antenna connect to these H155 sockets and into the boat. On the other
end of the cables are FME female sockets. So I needed to purchase two FME male to SMA
Male extension cables. Don’t worry, I’ve listed all the items discussed in this episode in
the description below. I conducted four tests in the same location
at around 2.30 in the afternoon. I only had 2 bars out of 4 reception so it was quite
a good location to run some testing. I used a free iPhone app called Speedchecker and
I connected to the faster 5 GHz internal Wi-Fi network. The Huawei in the window of my boat had a
poor 3.5 Mb per second download speed and a 1.59 Mb per second upload speed. With the square external aerial the readings
were faster at 6.21 Mb per second download and 14.99 Mb per second upload The 4GEE Home Router by the window of my boat
had 17.54 Mb per second download and 9.18 Mbps upload but with new pole aerial
it had a huge 56.48 Mb per second download and 39.76 MB per second upload speed, and
remember that’s only with a 2 out of 4 bar reception. So the 4GEE Home Router was definitely worth
getting along with the large external pole type aerial. Now, of course, reception varies
depending on the time of day and your location but having done subsequent tests, these differences
were about the same throughout. Here are the prices for the items The Huawei E5786 is around £130
The Square external aerial is around £17 The 4GEE Home Router was free on an 18-month
contract. The Omni Directional Aerial was £85.00 and
the Conversion cables were £7.00 Before I go into the EE plans that were available
to me, I’d just like to point out I’ve had no benefits or offers of goodwill from EE
and have paid the same as you would. There are four options to choose from for
the 4GEE Home Router. There are basically, two set amounts of data
available. 100Gb per month at £45 or 200Gb at £60. If you take out a contract
for 18 months the router is free. If you choose to have a 30-day contract the router is £99.99 I chose the 18-month contract with 200Gb of
data a month. Having a good reliable internet connection
on your boat, caravan or motorhome doesn’t need to cost hundreds of pounds. You could
ignore all the kit altogether and simply use your mobile phone as a hotspot if your
contract has enough data. Personally, I’ve been really impressed with the new 4GEE
Home Router and aerial combination and have had really good speeds wherever I travel. Come On. Be Sensible Come On. Up. Good girl. You worked it out in the end. As the 4GEE Home Router has a 230-volt transformer
down to 12 volts, I decided to supply the router with 12 volts from the boats DC circuit.
This is great as I don’t need to run the inverter all the time simply to keep the Wi-Fi going. However, when my engine is running and the
alternator is on, the voltage can get up to as high as 14.7 volts so I added a voltage
regulator into the feed to force the voltage stays at 12 volts. This then connects into
the standard DC 2.1mm jack socket and remains permanently on. This episode is dedicated to two new Patreon
top level subscribers and they are Candace Darden from Georgia in the United
States and Pema Thubten from Wellington in Australia Stickers have already been despatched and
Thank You so much! If you’ve not already subscribed, please do,
it doesn’t cost you anything and by clicking the bell icon you’ll be notified about future
releases. Until next time, see ya later.


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