It is easy, affordable, and prudent to buy and connect a dedicated Android or iPhone to your DataHub to provide an Internet tether via a USB charging cable when in coverage.
We recommend you set up a dedicated mobile phone or Cellular router for the boat with its own data SIM card. This should be separate from your personal phone. A cheap phone, less than a US$ 100 Android phone, will suffice, plus an active, topped-up local data sim card, which is inexpensive in most places.
Even if you have Satellite Communications, we strongly recommend this. Here are six reasons:
Backup: If your Satellite service has an outage, the Datahub will automatically switch to the Cellular router or mobile phone. This is useful, even with Starlink, which can have outages due to obstructions, congestion in populated areas, or outages due to heavy rain. A cheap backup can be priceless, especially if you have pre-installed and tested the Offshore App and PredictMail on your dedicated phone.
Reliability: Using your personal mobile phone as a wireless hotspot for the DataHub is unreliable and requires constant monitoring. Your phone will deactivate its hotspot when you leave the boat and not in use to save battery. The simplicity of having a dedicated mobile device that is always connected to the DataHub is huge.
Least Cost Routing: This is an automatic smart feature of the DataHub. The DataHub will use the lowest-cost Internet connection available. For example, if you send an email with a photo or tracking data in coastal waters before heading offshore. In that case, your DataHub will attempt to send this first via your USB-tethered cellphone, Cellular Router or Starlink before the Iridium GO!/G0! exec.
GPS tracking: If you cancel your satellite SIM during prolonged coastal cruising with good cellular or Starlink coverage, your DataHub will use those services. This will keep your GPS tracking active in coastal situations.
Marina Wi-Fi: Although you can use free Marina Wi-Fi, in practice, it can be unreliable, especially at peak times with many boats using it. Using Marina Wi-Fi, you will also need to reconnect the DataHub to a new Wi-Fi at each port.
PredictWind Anchor App: This App will be released in Q3 this year. It will allow you to remotely monitor your boat at Anchor. So, for example, you can be ashore getting the groceries and be alerted if the boat drags or the wind changes. Although this can work through satellite communications, it is cheaper with a cellular connection.
A mobile phone is the most cost-effective way to add a Cellular data connection to your DataHub. It is what we recommend. Alternatively, you can connect a Cellular Router via Ethernet or a Wi-Fi hotspot. We do not have any recommendations for these beyond noting that Pepwave is popular and offers an external antenna for an extra cost.
Please review the articles below for specific instructions to enable your preferred dedicated device:
Use an iPhone or Android to USB tether a hotspot to the DataHub
The easiest way to connect your DataHub to the Internet is by connecting a dedicated Android device or iPhone with your USB charging cable to tether it and provide a hotspot for your DataHub.
Important Note: The iPhone or Android device used to provide a USB tether for the Internet with the DataHub cannot be the same device you use to log in to the DataHub to configure it.
Use Ethernet or Wi-Fi to connect your DataHub to the Internet
If you prefer to use a Cellular Router to provide the DataHub with Internet, please try either of these methods:
Move on to Step 6
Congratulations! You are now ready to move on to Step 6: How to connect to your Satellite device.