These days, most of us like to stay connected. Maybe we don’t want to hear from the office when we’re out on the water, but the Internet is more easily accessible with a hotspot on your cell. Boat owners can go further than before without losing their hotspot signal with a wireless booster. While Shakespeare’s Stream is not the only fish in town, it is a game-changer.
Stream is reasonably priced and works with most carriers
Larger vessels, 40 feet plus, have been able to use satellite dome receivers for internet access. But the receivers are expensive, and there is an additional service fee.
Shakespeare’s Stream brings affordability to large and small boats, alike. The unit can be purchased through many local marine shops, at The GPS Store for under $700, or on Amazon for around the same price. The Stream is compatible with AT&T service, Verizon 4G, 3G, and 2G, and T-Mobile, as well as most major Canadian cell services. It will work with phones, tablets, mobile hotspots, and other cellular devices.
Install and set up on your boat in only a few hours
You don’t have to be an expert in IT, engineering, or construction to set up your Stream booster. But you do need to be able to follow instructions. They are included with the unit and, if needed, your marine shop staff can help guide you through it. Be sure to read the instructions carefully. According to Boating Magazine, here is all you will need:
- Power drill and bit set
- Tape measure
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Dash-mount phone holder
- Tie wraps
A few things to remember are that the helm antenna must be within one to two inches of the cellular device you want to use. It should be mounted a minimum of eight inches away from where any person may stand or sit, and four inches away from anything metal. Otherwise, it probably will not work. A fastener to hold the helm antenna and a cell phone is included with the unit.
The outside antenna must be at least 12 inches from other antennas, such as your VHF marine antenna, and a minimum of three feet from the helm antenna. You’ll need to drill a few holes for cables as explained in the instructions. The longer 20-inch cable is to run between the booster and the outside antenna. The shorter 10-inch cable runs from the booster to the helm antenna.
You will want to use a circuit breaker or rocker switch for the power. Connect the positive (red) and negative (black) wires to the proper power plugs on your power supply and connect the DC power cord to the booster.
Benefits of the Shakespeare Stream
There are other boosters on the market. You will want to compare them to the Stream and see which is right for you. We have seen both positive and negative reviews of Shakespeare Stream on the internet, although mostly positive, when hooked up properly, especially for smaller, open boats.
While you can find navigational charts on the internet and there are some good cell phone apps for navigation, experts warn not to count on them. In a pinch though, if perhaps your chart plotter goes on the fritz, they do have their place.
There must be some cell service, no matter how poor, for the Stream to boost connectivity. It is good for U.S. and Canadian waters but does not offer global services. On the dock or along the coast you can check and send emails, search for nearby fuel docks or marinas, and check the weather. You can also research native wildlife, see what’s biting, or just surf the web for other new additions to your boat.