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Internet connectivity

Marine internet connectivity is a solved problem and implementing a solution means following established best practices. This is getting better and better.

My strategy in getting good internet is going to involve determining the performance floor such that my internet connection will always be better than calculated. It turns out that the performance floor can be extremely high, with a higher bandwidth and identical latency to my home broadband connection. That’s right, I intend to improve my internet connection by moving onto a sailboat.

To provide context for this discussion, I’ve been working from home with my housemate as many have during the pandemic. We’ve been doing so using an internet connection with 70Mb/s down, 18Mb/s up and 12ms latency. My housemate is a consultant and spends approximately 6 hours a day on zoom - he’s responsible for about 70% of our bandwidth usage (as determined by my routers QoS measurements). As such, meeting these stats will far exceed my need and in theory a download speed above 21Mb/s would be sufficient to work from, I am however going to engineer a solution capable of exceeding my current speeds in the interests of quality of life.

Additionally, I spent a month during the summer of 2020 experimenting with working portably. During this time I was using a £20 4GEE WiFi Mini dongle to great success. I did not measure my connection at this point but research suggests I was achieving around 25Mb/s down and with approximately 50ms latency in rural York, a location with notably poor 4G performance. This proved to be sufficient for video calls.

As a result, the minimum internet specs that must be achieved are 25Mb/s download speed with 50ms latency.

As a bar, I am assuming that I would need to be able to have a video call at any point in time, this can be achieved multiple times over with speeds of up to 100Mb/s at distances of up to 22 miles from shore using a single 4G connection. There is no reason for me to travel even 3 miles off-shore except when travelling between marinas or when doing ocean voyages - I would only be doing these activities during my own time, either weekends or agreed holiday.

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