[kwlug-disc] ISP recommendations for sailing

Andrew Kohlsmith (Mailing List Account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Sun Jun 14 22:11:33 EDT 2009

On May 29, 2009 08:58:31 am Insurance Squared Inc. wrote:
>  The US has had for a number of years decent cell modems you can buy
> that plug right into your laptop as a PCMCIA card.  If you can get cell
> coverage, you can pretty much get internet access in the US.  I think
> we're starting to see this kind of stuff in Canada now as well.  In any
> event, I believe most of the larger US cell providers would have some
> type of coverage available throughout the US just by buying a cell modem
> and a subscription.

Rogers currently has their red "Internet stick" for sale; you could put a U.S. 
carrier SIM in it if you unlocked it (see below). I haven't had a good look at 
one yet, but I am pretty sure there is no antenna jack on it.

Before their red stick was released, I picked up the Novatel Wireless X950D; 
it's an expresscard HSDPA (7.2Mbit/sec) cell modem (it is actually USB), but 
they CAN be unlocked, and also have a regular everyday antenna port. I have 
personally hooked up a nice 9dBi antenna on mine, and have also purchased, but 
not yet used, a 3W quad-band cellular amplifier.  With a nice directional Yagi 
and that amp I bet you could hit a coastline cell tower from quite a ways out 
to sea.  :-)

I love that Novatel modem, you just plug it in, run pppd (or use umtsmon, an 
open-source cell "dialer" program) and you're off to the races.

In the odd case that anyone else has this particular card (and maybe also the 
red Internet stick, I have not tried it personally) -- Adam at GSM PhoneSource 
(gsmphonesource.com) is the guy who took a chance and gave me a "possible" 
unlock code for the X950D. Nobody I found through the web could guarantee they 
could unlock this device, and while he couldn't either, he gave me a code to 
try. It worked and I happily paid him the $25 that he asked for if successful.  
I am not affiliated with him in any way shape or form, and I doubt he even 
remembers speaking with me, but I'd recommend using his unlocking service for 
all of your unlocking needs; he's a straight shooter and I am happy to 
recommend people like him. There are too many creeps and thieves online, and 
I'm always nervous to shell out money for something intangible.


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