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Ways to Improve WiFi and Cell Phone Reception

By Val Ellis last modified Jan 20, 2016 02:04 PM

Published: 2011-02-18 14:20:00

I thought I would share what WiFi and Cellular equipment we have onboard and have had great results with it's use.

For cellular service we have found that a dual band 3 watt cellular amplifier, such as the Wilson model 801-201, when used with a good external cellular antenna, will increase your signal significantly (the manufacturer says 10 X), enabling you to have cellular service where you never thought possible.

When in the San Blas Islands we had excellent cellular coverage, even using Cable & Wireless, where others had no signal. We use a Shakespeare Galaxy model 5318 dual band 3 dB gain antenna. It's quite tall, 17', but really gets the job done when used with the 3 watt amplifier. I'm sure that shorter cellular antennas would also be fine, it's just that the longer length gets the antenna higher for greater range. The amplifier uses a small inside antenna which needs to be within a few feet of your cellular phone, to boost your signal up to 3 watts. It works for all cellular phones (except Nextel) as well as cellular modems. We used it with great success with the Colombia Comcel data modem in San Andres, Providencia, and the Cartagena area.

For Wifi service we have found the EnGenius Wireless N 150 Mbps High Power 600 mW USB Adaptor with high gain detachable antenna works great with both Windows and Mac computers. We boost the power of the EnGenius device using a HyperAmp 1Watt 2.4 GHz 802.11b WiFi amplifier connected to a Shakespeare Galaxy model 5248 WiFi antenna which is rated at 8 dB gain and is only 2 feet tall. Be sure to use a high quality low loss marine grade coax cable like Ancor RG-8X or RG-213. We had no trouble pulling in WiFi signals from both Club Nautico and Club de Pesca in Cartagena and at Shelter Bay Marina back before they upgraded their WiFi service. We are now using it with great success at a marina in Ft Lauderdale.

Glenn & Eddie Tuttle
M/V Tothill

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