A few friends have asked about the Wireless Broadband Internet and phone setup aboard Te Moana. Last year, we fitted an Ericsson W25 on our boat. Previously, we had USB modems (Maxon CDMA and later the Maxon Turbo modem) with Telstra mobile data plans. Today I still use the (orange) Maxon Modem while we’re ashore (handy in the train or at a customer). But while on the boat I take the SIM card out of the modem and plug it into the Ericsson W25 which Andersen Marine installed on Te Moana last year.
As part of the installation, Marty Andersen installed a high gain antenna atop of Te Moana’s mast with low loss (fat) cable down to the W25. We found a spot for the W25 at the base of the mast, minimizing the cable run and the power losses.
We bought a standard telephone at Dick Smith, which was installed at the Navigation table and wired to the W25 telephone connector.
Our original modem was from Telstra Mobile (as opposed to from Telstra BigPond). This means that it has a telephone number. Using its SIM card with the W25 means it can operate as a standard (mobile) telephone.
Check with Telstra to make sure you get the right plan, suitable for the Ericsson unit – typically a low cost mobile phone SIM with an appropriate dataplan.
Along the way I programmed that SIM to divert calls to my personal mobile when not answered. To program the SIM, put it into a normal mobile phone handset and set forwarding up.
Of course the really useful aspect of the W25 is its wireless router. My computer and mobile phone use the boat’s wireless internet access automatically when on board.
We’ve experienced excellent coverage from this set-up over the past year with flawless reception all the way along the NSW coast. The only glitch was on a hot day last summer when the temperature on the boat was well into the forties. The W25’s internet access dropped out and only came back when the temperature dropped. Overall, we’ve been very happy with it.
I’m aware that some yachties have installed Antenna booster on their phones/modems. Personally, I have not seen the need for one with the set up which we have in place. Beside the fact that it is illegal to own one.
By the way, I’m no particular fan of Telstra, but their Next G Mobile Phone network gives superb coverage along most of the coast of Australia. Don’t use any other carrier.
Ericsson now have a newer, smaller unit on the market, a W35 with similar features and it is a few dollars cheaper.
Maxon just launched a similar unit, the Maxiport, which uses VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to deliver telephony services.
Netcomm is now distributing a Sierra Wireless unit, the PinPoint X , which doesn’t have wireless support, but does have a built-GPS unit (which I would have some use for).