The laptop built-in wifi is unable to connect with any signal, but using the little Engenius EUB-362 EXT, and a tiny $15 omni antenna, a wifi scan shows about 15 access points, about half of them unencrypted. There is one commercial operation--the strongest signal. But they want $15 a day to use their wifi. I can connect pretty easily with 2 of the next strongest signals that are unencrypted, for free. Access is pretty steady, though occasionally I lose the link as we swing (not sure why, exactly...maybe
the mast gets in the way?) Since I'm not sure where the access point is, it's hard to speculate.
While we were motoring down the waterway yesterday, I spent an hour playing with the EUB-362, and was able to actually pick up signals on the fly as we went by more populated areas. I had to be pretty quick, though. The signals faded pretty quickly as we went by, and it takes about 30 seconds to connect. And I'm collecting my AOL email via Outlook and it's kind of a pig. I'd have trouble getting a completed send/receive on email (checking about 4 different mailboxes these days!). Dave even offered
to slow down the next time I got a good signal. What a good guy.
I was fooling with the settings on our 'Big Gun' wifi setup (the EOC-3220) night before last and managed to change a setting on the configuration, that shut down my access to it. This morning I figured out how to do a factory reset on it (thanks to notes from a friend who had done the same thing). But it doesn't seem to be necessary to use that much power in here and I can use the little guy without needing to turn the inverter on.
I highly recommend the EUB-362 for a simple solution for mobile people looking for a little more boost to their signal. See the Electronics page on the website for links on where you can get one.