Friday, May 04, 2007

Float Cabin Living - Do You Get the Internet?

You can probably guess our decision about the Internet. Both Wayne and I spend an inordinate amount of time online in town. There's e-mail, webpages, my blog, not to mention forum posts to get the word out about our books. When we're at the cabin we don't want the pressure. But if you need service in a remote area, here's some information. Be sure to research carefully before making any decisions.

Cellular Internet Access

Cell phones can be used in two ways to access the Internet. The first is as a dial-up modem. You need cables to connect your laptop or PDA. You also need a dial-up Internet service provider (ISP) and will have to pay for cellular minutes while online. This can get expensive. The other method is to use the e-mail and web browsing services offered by a cellular provider. I am familiar with Telus and Nextel. Most companies have plans that include these services.

Satellite Internet Access

Satellite Internet can be accessed in two ways. If you have a satellite telephone, it can be used as a modem. I am familiar with Globalstar. You need a specialized cable and the data transfer speed is slow (9.6 Kbps). There are also ISPs that offer Internet using satellite dishes. Services come in two formats: satellite downlink with dial-up uplink (you need a landline) or two-way satellite. This is probably a better solution if you use the Internet freqeuently. Here are two providers to explore: Xplornet and Virgin Technologies.

Free Wireless Hotspots

When we cannot access the Internet in any other way, we look for free wireless hotspots. They are not always easy to find, but here is a web resource to give you a hand. In Powell River, we go to Rocky Mountain Pizza on Marine Avenue. It is within walking distance of the marina and ferry terminal. They also have good lattes, cinnamon buns and, of course, pizza.
Wireless Hotspots for Boaters
There are wireless service providers catering to boaters while moored at public and private docks. BroadbandXpress is one in the Pacific Northwest and Coastal BC. Here we are in Refuge Cove, a BroadbandXpress locations. In California, you can try iDockUSA. They have both short term and annual subscriptions.
Surf on! -- Margy


  1. As wireless internet spreads it will get easier to get online from anywhere. Thank you for the information here.

  2. Just like the cell phone craze back in the 90's, I think wireless internet access is really going to take off as soon as the speed increases a little more. It's just so easy to use and will eventually work everywhere.