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Old 21-01-2011, 14:22   #31
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Use XGate, all explained here. No Web browsing, but reasonably fast and reliable email. I then had saildocs.com send me text weather forecasts via email. Did this once or twice a day when offshore to stay on top of weather, and calls averaged about 2-3 minutes max, sometimes less than a minute.
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Old 21-01-2011, 16:43   #32
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Paul -- XGate is ~$20/mo, another recurring charge on top of satphone airtime and 3G cellphone internet, plus the equipment costs. There is so much shareware floating around that I'd expect someone to make the program available for next to nothing with no recurring charge. Do you see any other options?
John, remember that both ends of the satphone link need to be running the proper protocol (SCPS?). Regular TCP/IP has the already-mentioned problems with satphone latency and dropped connections, so software at your end only won't do the trick.

With XGate, both ends of the link use the satphone-aware protocol, and you get a mailbox with decent spam-filtering. It would be nice if you could use the satphone protocol with a regular free POP email account somewhere, but I don't thing that's going to be supported.

I could be wrong...
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Old 21-01-2011, 17:29   #33
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I used a regular imap account with iridium going across the Atlantic. No real issues I also used mailasail which had better compression. Both systems worked well

Dave
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Old 21-01-2011, 23:09   #34
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John, remember that both ends of the satphone link need to be running the proper protocol (SCPS?). Regular TCP/IP has the already-mentioned problems with satphone latency and dropped connections, so software at your end only won't do the trick.

With XGate, both ends of the link use the satphone-aware protocol, and you get a mailbox with decent spam-filtering. It would be nice if you could use the satphone protocol with a regular free POP email account somewhere, but I don't thing that's going to be supported.

I could be wrong...
Paul -- How could I forget? I mean other than not understanding the technology enough...

It actually makes more sense now - thanks for the info and the alphabet soup! Now, was the guy from Globalstar blowing smoke when he said that a full page out-going e-mail could be sent in less than a $1 minute? We'll see.

John
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Old 22-01-2011, 02:25   #35
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Iridium vs Pactor

I did my homework, compared costs and purchased an Iridium 9555 plus Xgate subscription as my email account. Sailed Australia, New Caledonia and Vanuatu in 2010 and it worked very well for email, weather gribs, and local weather reports - definitely not for web browsing, even with XWeb. From this experience I have concluded:
- I would like both a pactor modem with my HF radio and an Iridium phone - there were times other boats with only pactor were getting better connection, but more often the iridium was getting the better connection and speed - not all of the time though
- I would like a docking station and external antenna to improve phone operation and significantly to be able to keep the phone on to receive that rare call. Cost very prohibitive though
- the small chuck style external antenna doesn't work well in the boat and you need to find an external location with good line of sight to the sky - this okay most of the time if you have good hard dodger but can be iffy in rough weather
- connecting and disconnecting the data cable from phone to computer revealed that the iridium is not as robust as claimed - socket on phone broke and I had to permanently splint the cable to the phone to ensure a connection to the computer and worried that this would break down any time, and it is a worry when this is your only means of getting weather updates
-operating costs proved relatively modest when used for data downloads and uploads via Xgate. Calls would add to this significantly.
- 5 months continuous use as described cost me US$250 (daily grib and weather and emails in and out every couple of days) and the infrequent phone call, plus the cost of six months XGate subscription ($120?)
- HF and pactor use would have cost nothing except the XGate or SailMail subscription, but initial purchase and installation would have been a lot more - so for one seasons cruising I was financially ahead with the Iridium phone
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Old 22-01-2011, 02:30   #36
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using a 9500A with skyfile use it both on the boat with a fixed antenna and travel with it using the "hockey puck" antenna. It has been used in Iraq for voice comms and delivering the boat to Hawaii from Ca. We have used both prepaid and a monthy plan. I bought both thru outfitter Sattelite.
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Old 17-03-2013, 11:59   #37
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

I know this is an old thread, but XGate, which is being pushed here, still uses TCP/IP, at least with the IsatPhone from Inmarsat. I would assume it is the same for Iridium (although Iridium is faster than Inmarsat to connect). But, the Inmarsat internet gateway, that Xgate, Sailmail, and most others use, is slow to connect, and still consumes bandwidth with all the IP handshakes that need to take place, and in turn, costs $$. On my last trip, a 30k file was taking 4-5 minutes to receive using XGate. Which to me, was way to much.

If only looking for email only, you are best looking for a solution that uses a dedicated server to dial into, with a proprietary communication protocol meant for sat/HF connections. These will prove much quicker. A few to look at are UUPlus (also rebranded as OnSatMail, and SPSMail.net) and Amosconnect (free). The former is a bit better for a non-techie, the later a bit more designed for large vessels, but seems to work just fine, but may need some help to get up and running. Both of these delivered the same Grib (30k) in < 2 minutes on my IsatPhone.

Just my $.02.
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Old 17-03-2013, 13:58   #38
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

When using narrow band satellite phones you should really consider using an Optimizer. The Optimizer does several things for you.

1. it has a firewall that blocks all access to the internet except compression based emiail and web. This includes DNS. This tremendously increases the available bandwidth since only email is allowed to pass through.

2. WiFi is used to connect to the satellite phone. No drivers are required to be installed on the host computer. This simplifies the installation for the end user and makes the installation more reliable.

3. The Optimier allows users with Mobile devices such as iPads, iPhone, Android tablets and phones to do email through the satellite system. All that is required is that the XGate email client be installed on the device.

Over Isatphone typical download speeds using the optimizer are about 12Kbytes per minute. For Iridum its 15 but its not unusual to see 18 and as much as 20 kbytes in one minute.

here is a nice blog which discusses the use of Optimizer with bench marks for both isatphone and iridium.

Iridium AxcessPoint proves its worth in Atlantic Crossing

info on the optimizer can be found on the globalmarinenet home page.

take care.

--luis
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Old 17-03-2013, 15:38   #39
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Having used iridium across the Atlantic several times. I have the following observations.


TCp/ip is a very unfortunate protocol for satphones as there is a lot of " line turnarounds " but I don't think now you have any choice.

Actual throughput is around 2400 bps no matter what you do, compaction techniques hide this sometimes.


Disconnects and redials are an issue and often consume the most money.

Low level POP3 clients and simple SMTP commands don't have much overhead , but they are a terrible way to send binary data. A sever with something like Zmodem would actually be useful. Anyone with a bit of tech smarts could set up such a custom server easily enough.

Forget web usage , it just can't be done on a 2400 bps link.

Dave
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:35   #40
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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Originally Posted by lsoltero View Post
[Good info about the Optimizer ]
Luis, can you give us, or point to, a description of what protocols you are using for the XGate email connection? Are you running standard TCP/IP, and a replacement for PPP and/or SMTP? I'm not asking for any proprietary details, but I had thought that you were also running an optimized TCP/IP as well. Now I'm not so sure. Are you doing some kind of ACK spoofing?

I am far from a network protocol guru, but I sure would appreciate some info or pointers. Could you run us through the stack?

Thanks,
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:41   #41
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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Originally Posted by lsoltero View Post
When using narrow band satellite phones you should really consider using an Optimizer. The Optimizer does several things for you.

1. it has a firewall that blocks all access to the internet except compression based emiail and web. This includes DNS. This tremendously increases the available bandwidth since only email is allowed to pass through.

2. WiFi is used to connect to the satellite phone. No drivers are required to be installed on the host computer. This simplifies the installation for the end user and makes the installation more reliable.

3. The Optimier allows users with Mobile devices such as iPads, iPhone, Android tablets and phones to do email through the satellite system. All that is required is that the XGate email client be installed on the device.

Over Isatphone typical download speeds using the optimizer are about 12Kbytes per minute. For Iridum its 15 but its not unusual to see 18 and as much as 20 kbytes in one minute.

here is a nice blog which discusses the use of Optimizer with bench marks for both isatphone and iridium.

Iridium AxcessPoint proves its worth in Atlantic Crossing

info on the optimizer can be found on the globalmarinenet home page.

take care.

--luis
I have to respectfully disagree. Not sure if you have an affiliation with the company that sells Xgate, and the Optimizer, but if you do, you should really disclose that when writing about your own products. If you don't, and are just a happy customer, I would suggest you try another service like UUPlus or AmosConnect and see the difference in time you spend connected, and in turn, save $$.

Yes, the optimizer does all the things it advertises, but for me, being able to access the sat connection over WiFi is not really needed, which, in the end, is really the main benefit of it.

Re: 1 above, this can easily be accomplished using Windows Firewall. Don't need additional hardware for it. GMN even has a firewall policy available on their website to use when running XGate for free.
Re: 2&3 above, Yes, you can use it over WiFi, and if you have a requirement to get your iPhone to get your Sat email, that this is a great product for you. Most cruisers I know are content to get it onto their computer and don’t really need to have it on other devices (but to each their own on this item). The driver install for the IsatPhone is trivial and is not really a selling point for the Optimizer. You still have drivers with the Optimizer, they are installed on the router itself, there is a driver involved regardless.

The bottom line though is it still uses Inmarsats Internet Gateway, which for email only access is a waste of bandwidth, and connection time to their gateway is about 1 minute per call.

Email only services with direct dial into their servers, will always provide faster connection and download time for emails over the sat phone, regardless of brand. No DNS, no IP, no services trying to get onto the internet (firewall), and custom designed communication protocols to reduce overhead on things like "logging in".

If you need WiFi access to the SatPhone connection, the Optimizer is a valid option, but I don't believe it is any faster then a direct connect from a well-tuned PC. Over the past 2 weeks, I consistently see a usage of about half the time to connect and get 30k files via the direct-connect services.
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:52   #42
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What sat phones now provide you with direct dial to any server. I don't believe the Motorola's do any more. Isn't it IP from the phone

Dave
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Old 17-03-2013, 16:55   #43
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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What sat phones now provide you with direct dial to any server. I don't believe the Motorola's do any more. Isn't it IP from the phone

Dave
I can only speak for the ISatPhone. It is just a modem, will dial any number you provide it.

So, for UUPlus, it calls a # in the U.S. (provided by them) to connect direct to their email servers. Amosconnect dials direct to their "hub" (server) as well, using a 655 number.

The number for the Inmarsat Gateway is 28, and provides a general internet connection over the phone.
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:21   #44
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I can only speak for the ISatPhone. It is just a modem, will dial any number you provide it.

So, for UUPlus, it calls a # in the U.S. (provided by them) to connect direct to their email servers. Amosconnect dials direct to their "hub" (server) as well, using a 655 number.

The number for the Inmarsat Gateway is 28, and provides a general internet connection over the phone.
That's interesting to know, cause I don't think that's possible with iridium now. ( but I could be wrong ). Where I doing it again , I,d set up my own dedicated server.

Anyway , now I think a sat text service is better , with HF weather fax. Its was way too expensive getting GRiBS over sat data access anyway.

Dave
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Old 17-03-2013, 17:37   #45
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Re: Internet / Email Access via Iridium

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That's interesting to know, cause I don't think that's possible with iridium now. ( but I could be wrong ). Where I doing it again , I,d set up my own dedicated server.

Anyway , now I think a sat text service is better , with HF weather fax. Its was way too expensive getting GRiBS over sat data access anyway.

Dave
I am ok with $1.50-2.00/day while underway. Still way cheaper than an SSB install, and more convenient for us. But $4-5 was way to much which is why I started looking into all this in more detail.

I know UUplus works with Iridium, so would be surprised if you can't dial any data # from their phones.

Please elaborate on the text service you are alluding to, would be interesting.
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