This is the basic configuration most boats have: A laptop with an internal WIFI transceiver and antenna.
– Low cost: It comes standard with most PCs.
– Flexible: One can take the laptop ashore and establish a WIFI connection in many Internet cafes, marina/yacht club lobbies etc.
– Ease of use: Most users are very familiar with this solution form their home/office experience.
– Power: Too low (typically 200mW or lower)
– Sensitivity: Too low (<90dB)
– Antenna: Built in antennae are intended for short-range communications. They offer low gain (e.g. <3dB) and cannot be positioned/directed independently of the laptop.
If you are reading this document, chances are that you have this setup, yet find it wanting. It works well in an office/internet cafe setting. However, aboard a boat this solution starts letting you down once the distance from the Access Point increases. At an anchorage you would be lucky to get any connection at all.
This article written by: Ewoute Mante