Winegard Connect marine WiFi and cell internet connection, simple and functional

Ben Stein

Ben Stein

Publisher of Panbo.com, passionate marine electronics enthusiast, completed the Great Loop in 2017.

17 Responses

  1. Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

    I should also mention one consideration I’ve found with the shape of the unit. As you may be able to see in the picture the Winegard is mounted on the aft end of the flybridge level of Have Another Day, right at the boat deck. That’s the bow of my dinghy just visible. when the dinghy is being moved by the crane I have a bow line on as a tag line. A couple of times now that line has ended up in the antennas of the Connect. It wouldn’t take a lot for a line to wrap around one of the five antennas. I’m guessing if it did and any force were applied the line would win over the casing of the Connect.

  2. Thanks for the review, Ben. I like how the interface is simplified, and that everything is all in one. The performance seems great as well – that is definitely a selling point. Omitting 5Ghz is really disappointing. I can’t use 2.4Ghz, even a high power Peplink or other solution, in a multitude of places that I visit, including semi-remote marinas.

    I also wish you could use your own SIM card and provider and avoid any contracts or fees from a 3rd party. Both Winegard and KVH have very low overall monthly amounts for the price. It looks like they might be reselling AT&T?

  3. Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

    Yep, Winegard is definitely reselling AT&T. I agree the limits are low if you’re a heavy user. I’m not sure that’s their target market though, seems to me they’re targeting the casual “just make it work” user.

    • Good to know on AT&T. I think the thing I’ve noticed after installing over 100 WiFi setups on other boats is that the “just works” goes to “everyone streaming Netflix” in about a week 🙂

  4. Baringa says:

    Hi! On your picture of the Antennas is one at the very left that is interessting to me. Can you tell which Antenna bracket it is?
    Best regards, Baringa

  5. Saffy The Pook says:

    2.4G only is a deal-breaker. Marinas are one of the most signal-dense WiFi environments you’ll find and having only three independent channels (one of which is taken by the AP) is a recipe for frustration. Between that, the antenna forest design, and the initial cabling issues, it sounds like this product needs at least another generation before it’ll be a good solution for the majority.

    • Ben Stein Ben Stein says:

      I want to be fair to Winegard, my mounting location is part of the reason the antenna forest design is an issue. If the device were on the hard top, up a mast, etc, that likely wouldn’t come in to play. I agree with you on 2.4ghz though on my own boat that’s a little less of a problem. I use a wired connection from the device to the boat network and have found the vast majority of marinas to only have 2.4ghz networks available (and generally poor service behind those 2.4ghz networks).

  6. Ron Micjan says:

    I was ready to plunk down some cash until the “you have to buy their data plan” statement. Do I really want another monthly cell bill? I have 4 users on my verizon data plan now, and another would cost $10/month and would give me another 15GB to use before data throttling on the (haha) “unlimited” plan. Looks like I’m still waiting for the right solution.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      I don’t understand, Ron. Verizon shows their least expensive “Go Unlimited” plan as $40/month for 4 or more lines, and that data is all throttled, hotspot included, in comparison to the “Beyond Unlimited” plan I have, which would be $50/each per month with 4 or 5 lines: https://www.verizonwireless.com/plans/unlimited/

      Plus I pay an additional $20 per month for “Smartphone line access” on each of the two phones on my account and that didn’t change when we went from 1 to 2. I’m not familiar with Verizon data-only plans, but don’t see anything like what you’re getting: https://www.verizonwireless.com/plans/connected-device-plans/

      So I’d really like to know more about the Verizon plan you have. Links please.

  7. Ron Micjan says:

    My plan is the “unlimited” which is $190/mo and $20/mo for each smartphone. (sorry, I miswrote $10 in the previous comment) Throttling occurs after 22gb on the device or 15gb if used for a wifi hotspot. I am currently using the mifi 5500 device which allows an external Wilson marine antenna up on the mast, very necessary on a steel boat and it has worked up to 30 miles offshore. I have 4 devices on this plan, 3 smartphones and the mifi device. I can add one more device before I have to change plans to a business plan.

    • Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

      Thanks, Ron. Your plan sounds a lot like what I got from Verizon a couple of years ago when they only offered one “unlimited” plan and which is now called Beyond Unlimited. I had to fight hard to keep it when we added my wife’s phone but now have two lines with full speed LTE — what they call Premium LTE — to those 22gb/15gb(hotspot) limits for $110 plus the two $20 line access fees.

      It’s really hard to track all the plans still active (though not necessarily available) but I’m pretty sure that if you added a fifth line you would also have to pay another $40 to 50 for your plan plus the $20 fee, for a total of at least $60 more on your monthly bill. And so far I can’t find where Verizon will let any of us add an unlocked SIM card as an additional line. If you or anyone knows how to do that, please tell.

  8. shrek says:

    What about coverage comparision with NeptuLink?
    thanks,

  9. David H David H says:

    I know it might be a bit premature, but i hope you guys are keeping an eye out for cell receivers as they become available that are compatible with the upcoming 5G cellular. From what I know now, they should use existing LTE bands… but they are also working to add a new portion up in K-band. What this means is Winegard, KVH, and others will have to develop a new antenna system that adds the new band. All the major cell companies are talking and working to roll it out, but have not seen anything from the marine or RV suppliers…

  10. Kal says:

    Sounds great, up until the requirement to use their data plan. We’re cruising in the SW Pacific. ATT, Verizon, Sprint…not applicable. If the Winegard Connect was unlocked so that we could use the best local cellular provider, which varies by locale and country, it would be a very attractive product.

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