There are a number of reasons why we need continuous (or as continuous as possible) Internet during the Solar Odyssey:
- Research on surrounding attractions and contact details
- Our multi-user logging app will be on a remote server (most likely) or connected via the public internet to the server on Ra (unlikely). It needs this topography to make the multi-user aspect work.
- Upload daily video blogs, pictures, and blog posts for SolarOdyssey.com and PhilipHodgetts.com
We have need for connectivity on Ra for research and posting purposes, but also while off the boat for the logging app.
In an ideal world, with a bigger budget than we have, I’d use a bandwidth aggregation product that took multiple cell services and multiplexed them together. It’s a complex system and frankly ended up too expensive with limited choices. The practical solution is to have multiple connections, with the expectation that one will be faster than the others in any given location, or we can share the usage across multiple networks.
To that end, we’ll have an ATT USB modem in the Mac mini, shared via internal airport across the boat as one WiFi network. We’ll also use a MiFi on Virgin Mobile’s network (in practice T Mobile I believe). The Verizon powered iPad also has capability for using as a hot spot, so that will be the third on-board network.
Switching between networks to find the fastest speed isn’t ideal but it seems to be the solution that fits the haiku!
Off boat it’s an iPad world. The Verizon iPad as a hot spot, with an ATT iPad as an additional network connection to ensure that we can log even if only one network is available. If we find the need we can take the MiFi device off boat as well, as it fits in a pocket.
Sharing the load across multiple networks also helps balance data costs, keeping some networks within their limits.
The other saving grace, is that most of the marinas we plan to stay at have available wifi at the docks, which will be a “land line” connection for media uploads.