Before you look at which type of marine internet connection, method and equipment will best suit your needs, its essential you fully understand what you will be using the internet for, when/where you will use it and how much data you will need.

Mobile broadband dongles are one option for receiving internet on a narrowboat
Mobile dongle can be used to access the internet from a narrowboat
3G & 4G antenna mountings for a narrowboat

Internet… Considerations?

Internet is now seen by many to be a ‘must have’ commodity at your disposal, and expectation is that internet speeds allow for a whole host of activity. Why should this be any different on-board your canal boat? The answer is that it is possible to similar internet connection speeds on your boat as home broadband, this depends on your personal circumstances, requirements and budget.

Please be aware that if you are having a widebeam or narrowboat built it is invaluable to make your decisions relating to internet connections prior to the build commencing as the best signal speeds are achieved with external antennas. For a permanent professional installation talk directly with your canal boat builder about what equipment you would like to use and as part of the build ask for any associated wiring to be added and importantly hidden.

The market to access internet away from home, and importantly without a land-line, is forever growing and the choices are vast. The first two questions you need to ask yourself is what data do you need and how will you use it?

How Much Internet Data Allowance / Useage Do You Need For Your Canal Boat?

There is so much we need an internet connection for these days and these all use a varying amount of data. Unlike home ‘Unlimited Broadband’ packages, most set-ups suitable to the marine world will have a data usage limit.

Data is measured in kilobytes (KB), megabytes (MB) and gigabytes (GB).
There are 1024KB in 1 MB and 1024MB in 1 GB.

What Will You Be Using The Internet For Whilst On Your Boat?

  • General browsing? 5000 basic webpages would use approximately 500MB of data
  • Sending/receiving emails? Sending 1000 standard emails uses approximately 1GB of data
  • Streaming of TV/Films? Downloading a Standard Definition (SD) film uses approximately 2GB of data, whilst a High Definition (HD) film can be 4GB of data.
  • Gaming? An hour of on-line gaming can be 43MB
  • Downloading photos? One photo can use 5MB of data
  • Listening to music? To download one album can use 80MB of data

Or put another way… 500MB of data would get you the following:

  • Download 100 songs OR
  • Download 80 apps OR
  • 80 hours of listening to the radio on-line OR
  • One hour on-line video OR
  • Sending 1000 email with attachments such as photos or documents

When Will You Be Looking To Access The Internet?

  • Whilst in a Marina
  • Cruising/Holidays away from marinas
  • On a mooring away from a marina (i.e CRT Mooring)
  • Or a bit of everything!

Internet Considerations

Not what you're looking for? Try some other items within this chapter...