My name is luis soltero, CTO of Global Marine
Networks, and I have been in the HF and Satellite communications
business for 15 years.
We have a lot to say about this subject and would like to take a few minutes to fill you in on the latest in the HF vs. SAT phone
discussion what has now been ongoing for about 15 years.
Frist let me talk about HF vs Sat phones. There is a nice recording here that has a podcast on the subject
Index of /downloads/audio
You will also find a discussion on using your iPad
for satellite communication as well as a discussion about different Broad Band satellite systems.
I am certain that you will find the information valuable.
1. Handheld satellite phones offer some really nice advantages over pactor. Here they are.
a. It is much less expensive to purchase
a satellite phone
plus several years of airtime than it is to purchase
a new Marine SSB
Here are some common prices.
$1195 - Iridium 9555 global coverage airtime $659 - 500 minutes valid one year
$595 - Isatphone mostly global coverage $750 - 1000 minutes valid 2 years.
speed of iridium is 2400 baud although if you purchase an AxcessPoint Wifi
device or an WXA-200 router you can get over 3000 baud... Check this out.
Navigation iPad : the integral solution – Navigation Mac
speed of isatphone for download is about 60% of irdium for download (2000 baud) and bout 45% for upload (1600 baud).
Both of these phones are faster than pactor III on a usual connection. Typical pactor connections are between 1-5Kbytes per minute. Iridium is 15 (20) kbytes per minute).
and there is no contention so you can do your email
antime you want.
c. satellite phones are more flexible than HF.
i. they are portable
ii. you can get all of your email
and much larger selection of weather
iii. there are no time constraints on usage or time of day for usage.
iv. the can be used to dial 911 or 505 (sos) in case of an emergency
from your liferaft
v. you can make and receive voice calls to regular land based phones
vi. you get free incoming SMS.. i.e. "call home" there is an emergency
vii. you can browse the internet in a pinch (its slow... but hey it works if you must have it).
for all these reasons it would be silly to go off shore without one.
2. handhelds vs broadband satellite devices...
the major advantage of broadband devices over portables is price
of airtime. It takes 1Mbyte of data 68 minutes to transfer over iridium. At $1.29 per minute this means that 1 Mbyte of data cost $87. Note that 1Mbyte is a ton of data in the narrow band satellite business. Your typical grib file is 10Kbytes. So you can download 100 grib files for the cost of 1 Mbyte.
Compare this $90 per Mbyte price
to the 3 broadband satellite services aout there.
BGAN ~ $5 Mbyte
FBB ~ $10 Mbyte
IridiumOpen Port ~ $12 Mbyte.
So... 10 times cheaper for data than a handset.
If you use a broadband satellite device the same way you would use an isatphone or an iridium handset your monthly airtime bill would be ** VERY ** low.
And.. these devices are fast enough to browse the internet. So... if you must browse then you have plenty of bandwidth to do so... Although you will want to use compression
based software to reduce your airtime bill...
CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News
is about 1Mbyte... this means that on an uncompressed link this page may cost you $10. If you use compression
(our xweb compresses on average 2-5x) then that page cost $2. I.e. considerable savings.
One of the disadvantages of Broadband devices (as mentioned before) is that they are ethernet based. Wich means that if you connect your computer to an open connection you might end up with a surprisingly large bill. This is because processes running on your computer such as aniti virus programs, windows updates, adobe flash updates, etc... will detect the open internet connection and try to use it.
so... when using abroadband device you MUST use a firewall that blocs all unwanted traffic. This works fine if you use a service
that provides you with compression but its difficult when using regular internet tools.
One device that you might want to look at is the wxa-200
Acceleration Appliance - Satellite Hardware - Redport Satellite Router and Firewall - Buy from Global
this device is designed to prevent airtime shock... When you hook it up to a broadband device ** NO ** traffic will go over it EXCEPT compressed email and web. Only your email and the compressed web pages you want to browse will be downloaded over the link. All windows updates, antivirus, etc... will be blocked from accessing the internet.
3. Free satellite E-Mail.
Iridium Satellite is now providing ** FREE ** email service
to any subscriber using a 9555 or 9575 with the Purchase of an Iridium Wifi
Iridium Axcesspoint Wifi Device - I-axwifi - 9555 Phone Accessories - Iridium Phones Terminals
This $179 device has additional advantages...
a. wifi connectivity to your phone
it allows any computer to connect to the phone via wifi. This eliminates the PROBLEMATIC USB interface to the computer. There are no drivers, modems, or windows DUNs to install. Simply connect via wifi to your device and voila... you are off doing email and weather
b. it has a built in firewall which removes all traffic over the slow link except compression based web browsing and email. So... it works like the WXA-202 device mentioned above for Broadband devices but much less expensive and only for iridium.
Every iridium user should consider acquiring one of these...
4. Apple Mobile devices.
You can now use your iphone
, ipod touch, or ipad
with your satellite phone
. If using a 9555/9575 you will need an AxcessPoint wifi device since the only way to interface to these phones is via wifi.
If using any other phone (including an isatphone) then a wxa-200 is required.
Once again... all this information is summarized in the audio recordings listed here.
Index of /downloads/audio
I know you will find this information useful.