Vlog 29: Internet Explorer

A question that I’ve had a lot lately is “how do you get the Internet on board a narrowboat in the middle of a canal?” So in this video I explain how I do it for both local WiFi and 3G or 4G access when cruising. Hope it’s useful!

The two networks that most narrowboat-dwellers seem to cite as the most useful, fast and widespread are Three and EE. I’ve got a plan with EE costing £31/month for unlimited 4G data and it’s very good.

Amazon links for the kit I use (or similar)
Huawei Mifi (this version does *NOT* take external aerials): https://geni.us/CtC_HuaweiMifi
I now use this Netgear, which will take an aerial: https://geni.us/CtC_NetgearMiFi
Poynting 4G Omni aerial: https://geni.us/CtC_MiFiAntenna
10,000mAh battery pack: http://amzn.to/1UjR2vm

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  1. I have a plan with Smarty which gives me unlimited data for £20 pm
    I believe Smarty are owned by EE

    • Cheers. Smarty is on the Three network which a lot of boaters swear by but some have found isn’t as good at coverage as EE, sadly. Great deal though!

  2. Hi David,
    I have read through these vlog notes and FAQs but I am having a little trouble finding a suitable up-to-date 4g mifi device. I was looking at the Huawei devices which come highly recommended, you also having one. I have finally bought a boat and will be moving onto it in the next month or so. I really do need a good internet connection as I need it for my work and living inside a Faraday cage would affect its peformance somewhat.
    The biggest problem I am having at the moment is finding one with an external aerial and also the aerial itself. I found a brilliant one with a huge battery https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B073RNXCHK but it seems it doesn’t have any external aerial capability.
    Do you have any recommendations? The items on Amazon seem to leave out if they have sockets for an external aerial.
    By the way, I managed to buy a SIM only 100Gb, 12 month contract with Vodafone for £20 a month. I just hope that the signal coverage is good.



    • Agreed, it’s most annoying that Amazon doesn’t make it clear about external aerial ports. Also, beware – I ordered (three times in a row) what was listed as a specific model of that Huawei device when my old one broke recently, and three times Amazon sent me a slightly different model (by a few crucial digits at the end of the number) which didn’t have the aerial sockets! I ended up buying one from Netgear instead which definitely does.

      As for power, I run mine off a USB connection wired straight into the battery so it’s permanently charged. This is the one I bought: https://amzn.to/2FexlSo

  3. Hi David,
    First off, I hope you don’t mind my greeting you by first name right off the bat. I just wanted to tell you I’ve been enjoying your vlog about living on the narrowboat. The idea of what you’re doing really appeals to me, even though it’s very unlikely I’d get the chance to do something like it myself. Not the least of which is because I live in America, but there’s also my wife, Susan, who has no interest in this, my current obsession. And seeing how I drive her crazy with my various other activities, that’s pretty fair.
    I can’t recall how I found your vlog, but it interested me right away for a couple reasons. I like the tiny house movement, which would be ridiculous for me as I’m a big guy (6’4″), and the minimalism of the narrowboat strikes me in the same way . But far and away is my memory of sharing a couple of days with my Mom and Dad when they rented an Erie canal boat, ages ago now. My Dad, who was quite the character, really enjoyed cruising the canal and working the locks, and I think convinced my Mom to come along only by promising to do all the cooking while on the trip. My memory of navigating the boat and working the locks with Dad is very vivid, and precious to me.
    I’ll close here by saying thanks for the vlog, and cruising the cut for all of us.
    Doug Farrell

    • Hello Doug. What a lovely set of memories and thank you so much for sharing them. I’m delighted you’re enjoying watching the vlogs. Perhaps a little narrowboat vacation in England sometime … no need to break it to the wife until you’re both over here and it’s too late to back out ;-)

  4. Almost 30 videos and not a single one showcasing your culinary skills, oh dear! I’d say it’s about time for a Cooking on the Cut episode, all the cool channels are doing them! Another great set of videos as usual. Very appreciated from here in the USA where our boats are a bit wider and, in my opinion, far less cool.

    Brandon from Michigan

    • I have no culinary skills and I’m not cool. So that clears that up.

      (In truth, I don’t see what cooking has to do with narrowboating; the kitchen gear is the same as any other kitchen: hob, oven etc) so it’s not really boat-specific. I suggest anyone wanting food videos look elsewhere, it’s not something I’ll be doing)

      Glad you like the videos. Cheers!

  5. Excellent as usual and not too nerdy!
    Amazon do the aerial for £13 + and it’s well worth it as we have our Huawei attached to the wall indoors (with Velcro) and the aerial on a small mast. Yes, we got 4G most of the time in most of the places last year. I’ve a separate USB aerial. In the marina or anywhere you have a wifi hotspot the external one locks onto the signal and you can use it directly on your laptop or get your laptop to act as a router using a cunning program like Connectify. Amazon do the USB aerial:
    Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BBU7BNM

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