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Old 09-04-2013, 00:51   #16
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Re: Inmarsat IsatphonePro data capability

The fundamental point that is missed in a lot of cost calculations, is>

How long do you expect to use the system (i.e. how many years?)

This needs to be considered along with normal queries

Where do you intend to operate (some systems are cheaper but with less coverage)

Do you want voice

Do you want email

Do you want to download/upload documents/data in remote locations

All these need to be considered. Personally, I intend long term use and need the ability to download/upload in remote locations, so the Iridium Pilot ticked all my boxes.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:10   #17
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Re: Inmarsat IsatphonePro data capability

+1 Agreed, those are essential questions.
Different needs imply different technical solutions, and there is a reasonable budget for each need that may be unreasonable for other usage profiles.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:40   #18
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You do not need to pay a monthly fee for email on the Isatphone Pro, depending on where you obtain your airtime. To my knowledge, there are only 2 really robust email providers for sat phones, GMN and UUPlus. One or the other is essential to use email and download weather attachments on the IsatPhone because of the very skinny bandwidth available. Either service can be directly subscribed to for $20-40 a month, or some airtime providers bundle the email service with airtime sales. We use OnSatMail, which is really a rebadged UUPlus for AST customers.

The dealer that provided the Oceana I reviewed here:

http://www.panbo.com/archives/2012/0...at_phone_.html

Can be found as a link in the first paragraph. That dealer is one of many that can hook you up with AST and OnSatMail.

With UUPlus, the email client uses the Isatphone to make a direct digital call to their email servers. Like a very very slow ISDN call. The PC is never "generally" connected to the web. So no other Internet apps will work. Just email, but that's what you want. No black box required its all in the software. I know GMN does this via a Xgate and a Red Port, I'm not sure if the Red Port is required for just email. But the general service Internet firewall available in both products is essential if you don't want to get into tuning a PC just for satellite email.

Luis can answer that and probably tell us who offers Xgate Mail as a rebadged product.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:18   #19
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The Pilot and it's competing Fleet Broadband offering from Inmarsat are a step up from the portables. I helped install and test a Fleet Broadband unit for another cruiser. It worked really well, you could even surf the web at something like 2G cellular speeds...but the monthly cost was high enough they restricted their use of the system to email and weather.

Im not sure what I would do with 100 MB a month beyond email. Even in the San Blas, over a 2G cellular connection that only worked 1/2 the time (during the day the crowded towers prioritized voice calls), we managed to fully use a 2GB prepaid monthly cell plan. 100Mb won't last long or allow very much beyond daily email. Weather for us is $3 day when there is no other Internet. Add some regular email (text only) on top of that and a handheld could cost $5-7 a day. But the 2GB for the month was $15 on cellular and reliably worked OK for Email.

From Florida down the Thorny Path all the way to Grenada, then the ABC's Colombia and Panama we only lacked Internet in a couple isolated Bahamas anchorages, the south anchorage in Barbuda, a couple of spots in Martinique, one spot in the Grenadines and several spots in the southern less traveled areas of the San Blas. Some of those could have been fixed if we took the time to go buy a SIM card for the local cell network. But it's maybe 20 nights over 2 full years. Other routes could be different.

The other significant advantage is the portability. We have the phone in our ditch bag, so should we ever end up in the life raft (shuddering at that idea), at least we will be able to talk to someone. I really like the idea of a Beam mount, active antenna and the IsatPhone. Or the equal Iridium set up for this reason alone. I think the IsatPhone cost advantage goes away in this configuration.

One final tip...if you can get an older Kindle with built in cellular delivery of books that has the old experimental browser in it, it works with mobile Gmail everywhere there is cellular service. For free! It's very slow to enter a new email, my wife used it frequently, but I did not have the patience for more than short "text" message sized emails. But she did a couple small blog posts that way.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:49   #20
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Originally Posted by galacticair View Post
My Iridium handset worked with the free satphone email program Vizada Skyfile Mail, which bypasses the need for paying email software like Xgate, Mailasail or Uuplus. That's a big cost saving over time and another reason I'm a fan of Iridium for data/email...
This was the first I've heard on Skyfile mail. Looks like it works like UUplus from a brief look at the documentation. It's supposed to work with the IsatPhone see:

http://support.iec-telecom.com/Inmar...E_20110330.pdf

http://support.iec-telecom.com/Inmarsat/IsatPhonePro/

I may try it someday and see...but you might be able to use your existing account with this software? Let us know if it works.
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:02   #21
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Re: Inmarsat IsatphonePro data capability

It is difficult to make the isatphone work when connecting directly to a computer using a USB connector. We have videos on our website that show you how to do this.

Videos and Audios: Satellite Communication Solutions. GMN

it is also imperative that you configure your windows firewall for use with the isatphone or you will get consistent timeouts due to contention between your email and all the other programs wanting access to the internet.

Optimize Windows 7 Firewall - YouTube

note that even if you get all this setup correctly it still make not work for you. The inmarsat drivers seem to have issues with some 64bit win7/win8 computers. If yours is one of them then you will never be able to make this work regardless of which email software you decide to try.

XGate has a free 3 day trial. You might sing up for it and give it a try. maybe you will be one of the lucky ones.

However, if you really want to do easy data over the isatphone then you need to get an optimizer.
Satellite Phone Data Optimizer, Router and Firewall | GMN
the optimizer does the following for you.
1. includes the drivers for isatphone... no drivers need to be installed on your coputer.
2. provides wifi connectivity to you isatphone. this means that you can now use windows, mac, ios, and/or android to do email over your satellite phone.
3. provides a firewall that blocks all traffic except email and web...

the optimizer video describes in more detail the benefits of using the Optimizer with isatphone and other slow circuit switched devices.

take care.

--luis
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:26   #22
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Originally Posted by lsoltero View Post
It is difficult to make the isatphone work when connecting directly to a computer using a USB connector. We have videos on our website that show you how to do this.

Videos and Audios: Satellite Communication Solutions. GMN

it is also imperative that you configure your windows firewall for use with the isatphone or you will get consistent timeouts due to contention between your email and all the other programs wanting access to the internet.

Optimize Windows 7 Firewall - YouTube

note that even if you get all this setup correctly it still make not work for you. The inmarsat drivers seem to have issues with some 64bit win7/win8 computers. If yours is one of them then you will never be able to make this work regardless of which email software you decide to try.

XGate has a free 3 day trial. You might sing up for it and give it a try. maybe you will be one of the lucky ones.

However, if you really want to do easy data over the isatphone then you need to get an optimizer.
Satellite Phone Data Optimizer, Router and Firewall | GMN
the optimizer does the following for you.
1. includes the drivers for isatphone... no drivers need to be installed on your coputer.
2. provides wifi connectivity to you isatphone. this means that you can now use windows, mac, ios, and/or android to do email over your satellite phone.
3. provides a firewall that blocks all traffic except email and web...

the optimizer video describes in more detail the benefits of using the Optimizer with isatphone and other slow circuit switched devices.

take care.

--luis
The Optimizer function (firewall) is built into UUPlus since it does not depend on the PC's TCP/IP stack as Xgate appears to based on your description.

The WiFi Access Point function of the Optimizer is really nice for us IPad (or any other OS) users and a valuable feature not duplicated in UUPlus.

Who bundles Xgate?
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:42   #23
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Re: Inmarsat IsatphonePro data capability

There is a number of dealers that sell xgate and optimizer. you will find them listed on the dealer page at GMN. if you are looking for a company that gives XGate away for free as part of the service you might take a look at satphonestore.com or GMPCS. However, they only provide XGate for free if you purchase airtime through them. Other dealers are happy to provide you with XGate subscriptions but require you to purchase them.

--luis
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:05   #24
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Originally Posted by lsoltero View Post
There is a number of dealers that sell xgate and optimizer. you will find them listed on the dealer page at GMN. if you are looking for a company that gives XGate away for free as part of the service you might take a look at satphonestore.com or GMPCS. However, they only provide XGate for free if you purchase airtime through them. Other dealers are happy to provide you with XGate subscriptions but require you to purchase them.

--luis
Thanks Luis, nothing is ever completely free! Bundled just means its free with airtime, but I have not seen the airtime cost change any with free email service bundled in. So it would seem to make sense for a user to obtain it with their airtime saving hundreds each year.

Im sure this is a sensitive topic, perhaps could change in the future, but the current offerings make this the most cost effective approach. One that Im not sure everyone is aware of.
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:13   #25
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Re: Inmarsat IsatphonePro data capability

There is also the issue of support. The nice thing is that there are many suppliers of XGate/Optimizer. So pick the company you like to work with and go with them. If low price is your goal then find a provide that sells in expensive airtime that bundles xgate for no additional charge. If support is what you are looking for then find a provide that might charge for the service but answers the phone when you call. The nice thing about selling through a distribution network is that you can find a partner that can provide you services and support that best fit your needs.

take care.

--luis
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:13   #26
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Re: Inmarsat IsatphonePro data capability

Quote:
Originally Posted by ebaugh View Post
This was the first I've heard on Skyfile mail. Looks like it works like UUplus from a brief look at the documentation. It's supposed to work with the IsatPhone see:

http://support.iec-telecom.com/Inmar...E_20110330.pdf

FTP - IEC TELECOM

I may try it someday and see...but you might be able to use your existing account with this software? Let us know if it works.
Yes, I'll try Vizada Skyfile Mail again with the Isatphone. I do however think I've tried multiple times and couldn't get it to handle the config so far...

On the other hand Skyfile Mail works great with Iridium. Very much the same functionality as UUplus/Onsatmail.

Vizada is less known in cruising circles (they don't focus on the sailor market), but they are owned by Astrium/EADS and Skyfile Mail is apparently a simplified version of what they offer for many large offshore ships.
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Old 09-04-2013, 13:56   #27
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Originally Posted by galacticair View Post

Yes, I'll try Vizada Skyfile Mail again with the Isatphone. I do however think I've tried multiple times and couldn't get it to handle the config so far...

On the other hand Skyfile Mail works great with Iridium. Very much the same functionality as UUplus/Onsatmail.

Vizada is less known in cruising circles (they don't focus on the sailor market), but they are owned by Astrium/EADS and Skyfile Mail is apparently a simplified version of what they offer for many large offshore ships.
The original IsatPhone phone shipped needs a firmware update to work. I don't know how old yours is. I did have to upgrade mine when the data usage of the phone was introduced. Make sure you have that installed.
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