For boaters who place a priority on Internet and e-mail access, three tiers of marine wireless connectivity offer differing capabilities. With Wi-Fi and cellular, ranges vary widely. The distances we outline here are based on manufacturers’ claims, but your actual range will likely be less.
Up to 12 miles offshore; $30 to $500
Most marina hot spots reach about 300 feet. Some onboard devices can extend that range.
The Super USB WiFi Antenna 3 (up to one mile, $110, ccrane.com) from C. Crane is a portable, water-resistant performance antenna that plugs into your computer’s USB port.
The Rogue Wave Pro (up to seven miles, $499, wavewifi.com) from GeoSat Solutions is one of the best values for Wi-Fi reception on a boat.
The O2Connect Waterproof Directional Antenna ($120, radiolabs.com) from RadioLabs boosts signal reception up to seven miles when aimed at a distant Wi-Fi source.
PDQ Connect (pdqconnect.com) offers the Slate X 2000N ($30) to the AllPro long-range extender ($400). PDQ claims ranges of up to 10 and 25 miles, respectively, but we’d cut expectations by at least 50 percent.