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Basic travelling Internet #48598
03/31/2015 10:35 AM
03/31/2015 10:35 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 124
Victoria, BC, Canada
J
JD_Midnight Offline OP
Traveler
JD_Midnight  Offline OP
Traveler
J
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 124
Victoria, BC, Canada
Beginners question: for Internet access can I just pick up a tablet (Samsung etc) on line or at walmart and then pick up pay as you go service for BVI. Then when I go somewhere else just again pick up a local service chip?

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Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: JD_Midnight] #48599
03/31/2015 10:50 AM
03/31/2015 10:50 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,198
Cape Coral Florida (Texas tran...
stoneyusaf Offline
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stoneyusaf  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,198
Cape Coral Florida (Texas tran...
There are others on here that are far more experienced and smarter than I am on this (and other issues) like Evan, Chris and others... but....my answer would be a simple yes. If you are looking to access the internet, a simple device like a tablet will do the trick and when you get to the BVI check with the charter company or local provider and you'll be able to get a wifi router that will communicate with the local tower to your tablet. Just like any phone provider, you have areas which are hit and miss, but overall good service throughout the islands. I've heard Norman has issues...I had no issues there. While I had issues connecting on Anegada and others have said they had no issues there.


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Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: stoneyusaf] #48600
03/31/2015 01:33 PM
03/31/2015 01:33 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
onlymedication Offline
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onlymedication  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
The way I read OP, he wants to know if he can get a tablet and just get a sim card for BVI use to put in that tablet. The answer is basically yes, if you buy an "unlocked" tablet, but you need to be sure that it will work with the provider network (Digicel, Lime).

In all likelihood, you already have a wifi enabled device in your possession. Your best bet, in my opinion, is to pick up a Digicel or Lime "mifi" device when you arrive. That is if your charter company or villa rental doesn't already provide. I know TMM does, check with your host.
JD, feel free to PM me with specific questions if you like. We've found something that works for us, happy to help if I can by sharing our experience.

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: onlymedication] #48601
03/31/2015 02:36 PM
03/31/2015 02:36 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
a mifi device would be less then 1/2 the price in the U.S., buy it before you arrive.

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: sail2wind] #48602
03/31/2015 04:08 PM
03/31/2015 04:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
onlymedication Offline
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onlymedication  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
Really Evan? I think I paid $50 for the device I bought from Digicel. Might be able to get one on ebay for half that, but I'm not into the whole bidding thing. I'm not patient enough for that.

For me, it was the convenience of walking into the store and knowing that when I walked out, I had working internet. I didn't want to deal with buying something stateside, then hoping I could get it to work with the local networks. Evan is definitely more sophisticated than I. To be fair, it's not rocket science. I'm just willing to accept spending $30 extra or whatever it is rather than spending more time figuring it out.

A lot of ways to skin the cat. Regardless, mifi with Digicel or Lime service, which means either Mr. SIM or picking up a SIM card on arrival, is generally probably the way to go.

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: onlymedication] #48603
03/31/2015 05:11 PM
03/31/2015 05:11 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
how many users are you allowed on mifi? $50 is usually just for a USB stick for one device, not multiple user mifi. Lime's mifi device was $139

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: sail2wind] #48604
03/31/2015 05:26 PM
03/31/2015 05:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 135
Ontario, Canada
H
henryv Offline
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henryv  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 135
Ontario, Canada
You can have several users on one mifi. You can also turn your cell phone into a hotspot however I have used both and for what ever reason the mifi seems to pick up signals better and it provides better speeds.


Henryv
Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: JD_Midnight] #48605
03/31/2015 05:36 PM
03/31/2015 05:36 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,282
Ill, USA
Will_L Offline
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Will_L  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,282
Ill, USA
CCT now has 7 whatever gigs kgs kegs ..I dunno..but is a lot more than lime for 75 $.., forgot what their mifi was ..bout 139. Would suggest paying cash...long story but was on a prepaid plan and they kept charging as though recurring. Really aggravating. But now the best deal for $ I think.

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: Will_L] #48606
03/31/2015 05:46 PM
03/31/2015 05:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 259
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
MarkS Offline
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MarkS  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 259
Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Last year we rented a mifi router from Renport at The Moorings. I think it was $240 for the week with unlimited data. Our route was Moorings, Cooper, Bitter End, Leverick, Anegada, Great Harbor Jost, and beck to Moorings. We had no problems whatsoever and were very happy with the service. It handled our 3 devices and we were able to use video on skype as well as stream Netflix.

We have already prereserved one for our charter in May.


Mark Shichtman
"Live for Today!"


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Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: henryv] #48607
03/31/2015 07:31 PM
03/31/2015 07:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
Quote
henryv said:
You can have several users on one mifi. You can also turn your cell phone into a hotspot however I have used both and for what ever reason the mifi seems to pick up signals better and it provides better speeds.



Henry, I agree with you, but the poster above said he bought a mifi in BVI for $50 and I don't think that's possible. A USB stick would be about $50

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: sail2wind] #48608
04/01/2015 10:43 AM
04/01/2015 10:43 AM
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
onlymedication Offline
Traveler
onlymedication  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 489
Jacksonville, FL, USA
Evan, you get ten users on a mifi device. This is the one I got: http://www.digicelbvi.com/en/phones/view_phone.php?id=7893

I think I paid $50, but even if I paid the $80, it was worth it to know that I could walk into the store and walk out 30 minutes later with everything working. If I had bought the device stateside, I would have had to pay for a SIM card anyway. Pretty sure the SIM card is included when you buy the device from Digicel.

The mifi worked great and it is so nice to have our own now as we can look things up on the internet like store hours or fun little factoids or whatever else when we're driving around the island or on the boat. We are going with TMM next trip, which provides wifi with the boat, but we are going to bring ours anyway just because it is so nice to have the internet the moment we land. Plus we'll have 8 on this trip, so I'll probably just let everyone else use the boat wifi and keep the personal one to my wife and myself, shh don't tell. It's really just a convenience for us that we use for fun. Given the cost of the trip, the cost of having a mifi for internet and a cheap local cell phone doesn't even register in the budget. And it makes things so much easier for rubbing our great times in our friends faces and for calling for the rental car, calling the hotel to confirm arrival time, calling the airline to confirm our flights, etc, etc, etc.

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: onlymedication] #48609
04/10/2015 09:37 PM
04/10/2015 09:37 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 389
jbuch02 Offline
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jbuch02  Offline
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Posts: 389
hmmmm ...... just to be clear here. A "mifi" is a product name (an old one) that is technically a wireless access point.

These devices DO NOT connect directly to the internet they allow access to it via a specific network. The term "Wi-Fi" has traditionally been associated with a wired, local area network (WLAN). Like in your home you probably have copper wire or fiber running to a wireless router that then allows wireless access to the Internet. But there are also 4G/LTE networks. Each requires a different receiver in the device through which you want to connect to the Internet. Terms can be confusing. The terms Wi-Fi and Wireless Local Area network are often used interchangeably.

A wireless access point (Hot Spot), like the ones being talked about here for use on a boat in the BVI, receives a an RF signal in the 1.8 - 2.5 GHz, 2 - 8 GHz range. That's Digicel's 4G network throughout the BVI and ATT's 4G/LTE network in the USVI (actually East to about JVD).

Some portable devices (smart phones, tablets and lap tops) have 4G/LTE receivers built into them and as long as you are in range of a 4G/LTE signal you can access them .......

IF YOU HAVE A DATA PLAN and a Sim Card installed in your portable device with the provider you want to access it from. That can be a PITA within most of the BVI.

If you have a device that has a Wi-Fi adapter too, you can walk right up to Starbucks (or any public place that has a wireless access point) and for the price of a cup of coffee connect to the internet through their in house wireless LAN (usually bandwidth limited and you'll find that out if three are a lot of users signed on to it). Keep in mind, that is not the same as the phone companies 4G/LTE network.

Thus, the Digicel "mifi" (correctly referred to as a wireless access point or Hot Spot). If you get one of these from Digicel (a good solution to having Wi-Fi on board). You still have to purchase a data plan. You're accessing the internet through the 4G network not a wired LAN.

Digicel's data plans are reasonably priced. Figuring out how much data you need can be hard. If you stream video and/or watch movies you can go through 3 gigabytes in a hurry (that's a 30d, $50 prepaid amount). If all you do is surf and check email, you can get by with 500 Megabytes (around $10).

To make a long story short: If your primary cruising ground is going to be East of JVD and you need Internet access for multiple portable devices on board, go to a Digicel store in Tortola and get one of their hot spots (wireless access point)and a data plan that matches your user needs. Sales people in the store are very knowledgeable and friendly.

Last edited by jbuch02; 04/10/2015 09:51 PM.
Basic travelling Internet #48610
04/11/2015 06:30 AM
04/11/2015 06:30 AM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 293
Staunton, VA
socamon Offline
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socamon  Offline
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Joined: May 2003
Posts: 293
Staunton, VA
Where is the Digicel Store in RT ?

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: socamon] #48611
04/11/2015 07:10 AM
04/11/2015 07:10 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 389
jbuch02 Offline
Traveler
jbuch02  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 389
Digicel BVI Flagship Store
Wickham`s Cay,
Road Town,
Tortola,
British Virgin Islands

Asson Electronics Ltd
Towers, West End, Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: jbuch02] #48612
04/11/2015 07:33 AM
04/11/2015 07:33 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 389
jbuch02 Offline
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jbuch02  Offline
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Joined: May 2013
Posts: 389
There are a couple of other things I thought about to help clear the fog associated with this topic.

If all you need is wireless internet access to one device, you can get a wireless USB adapter for that purpose. It's being called a "stick" in this thread. That's fine. You have to have a USB port on your device (iPads and most tablets that I know about don't have one) to plug the stick into. Laptops do. You also want the stick to be configured to receive Digicel's 4G signal so a Wi-Fi stick won't do that. Two different systems, 4G and WLAN (Wi-Fi).

The advantage of buying a hot sport from Digicel is that it will already be configured with a Digicel Sim Card.

Alternatively, and if you already have a hot spot, you can buy a Sim Card for it from Digicel and install it yourself.

A Sim Card is tiny, about the size of a finger nail, and goes into a slot in the hot spot. There will be a little door on the device for that purpose. To my knowledge (I've not tried it) hot spots are not locked devices (see below) and it will accept the Sim Card in the port designed to receive it

It's been mentioned in this thread that you can turn your mobile smart phone into a hot spot. That is true in some cases but not all phones can do that. Regardless, your phone has to be able to receive the local area network, in this case Digicel's 4G. So, it you want to go this route AND your phone is capable of becoming a hot spot, you still need a Sim Card put in your phone to do that AND your phone has to be "unlocked." Unless your phone is old and can be unlocked, you can't use it for a hot spot in the BVI. Stick with purchasing a Digicel Hot Spot

Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: jbuch02] #48613
04/11/2015 04:29 PM
04/11/2015 04:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 17
Alameda, CA
M
MAD1025 Offline
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MAD1025  Offline
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M
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 17
Alameda, CA
You can pick up a unlocked mifi from Amazon - $66, then take it anywhere and pick up a local sim card.


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Re: Basic travelling Internet [Re: MAD1025] #48614
04/11/2015 05:00 PM
04/11/2015 05:00 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 51
S
Sailbum Offline
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Sailbum  Offline
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S
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 51
There are new rules regarding when carriers must unlock devices for you. Although policies still vary by carrier. Verizon says they don't lock most 4G devices and freely provide unlock codes for the few that are. There is a pretty comprehensive article with links to the various carrier policies here:
http://www.computerworld.com/article/2883411/new-rules-how-to-unlock-your-smartphone.html

Once unlocked, IF the phone frequency matches local service, you can get a local sim and put it into your phone. As mentioned, not all phones are capable of being a hot spot, though many are.


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