The range that Wave WiFi equipment can connect to shore stations can vary greatly depending on the type of equipment and antenna positioning on board the vessel, as well as the configuration of the shoreside station. Both frequency and antenna height of Shoreside WiFi hot spots effect signal propagation. 5 GHz WiFi has less range because of its higher frequency (shorter wavelength), but it has better speed and less interference. 5 GHz is typically accessible for 1000’. With a longer wavelength, 2.4 GHz WiFi connects further than 5 GHz. It is typically accessible at 1 mile or less but with a good base hotspot 3-5 miles can sometimes be achieved. Speeds degrade based on signal strength for both frequencies so more distant connections are slower. A stronger signal has more bits that can be packed in the signal, which adds speed and increases the range of connectivity. While Wave WiFi systems have very sensitive receivers, connection distances will vary due to the quality and propagation characteristics of the shoreside station as well as the type of system, set up, and installation on board.
Cellular connections vary greatly with factors like carrier, topography, cell tower height, and antenna beam direction, all coming into play. Most cell connections are good for approximately 5 miles, but some carriers focus their beams on shore which limits what can be picked up on boats. Some areas like Atlantic City New Jersey have Cell towers very close to the shoreline on top of tall buildings. On an offshore delivery using an external cell antenna, an MBR550 was able to connect briefly at 20 miles offshore but that is an extreme. In real world situations 5-10miles is more typical, and even that varies depending on the area, carrier and set up. Weak cell signal also degrades performance creating slower or limited connection.