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Old 09-07-2017, 14:34   #1
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Iridium Next

So I see that in the last few days there have been two launches of Idridium Next satelite's - the deployment of the new array is well underway:

https://spaceflightnow.com/tag/iridium-next/

But the question that perhaps every cruiser wants to know:

1. Is there existing hardware still compatiable? (I think I read somewhere the answer is yes - but don't quote me on that).

2. What data speeds will be available to the cruising community?

I may take my boat off shore in 18 months and had lined up a Pactor P4 - but given the changing landscape I may very well wait and see how this works out.

The constellation will provide L-band data speeds of up to 128 kbit/s to mobile terminals, up to 1.5 Mbit/s to Iridium OpenPort class terminals and high-speed Ka band service of up to 8 Mbit/s to fixed/transportable terminals.[15] [From Wikipedia]

From above if a L-band terminal is a IridiumGo or similar handset I will be very happy with 128kbit/s

Anyone have any more information?
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:06   #2
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Re: Iridium Next

As best as I can tell, current hardware will continue to work at current speeds. I have not seen an announcement about new hardware and pricing.I think they have 5 more launches to get all the birds flying, then they need to be positioned and turned on.
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:46   #3
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Re: Iridium Next

Yes at the current rate it should take 5 more launches to get 66 satellites of the new constellation up. I will have to decide within 6 months and think there will be no new products yet at that time but we can hope :-)
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:16   #4
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Re: Iridium Next

Quite a few users are having the same questions now that the launches are under way. Since there has been no official communication from Iridium, you can assume that the old (recreational) equipment will not work at the higher speeds. Their sales are slowing as people who can will wait. You will see a flood of old phones on the used market.

Companies that have good news for existing users will clarify the speeds and rates way in advance. If they have bad news for existing users they will keep as quiet as Iridium.
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Old 10-07-2017, 14:36   #5
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Re: Iridium Next

The fragments of info I have got from reliable sources are:

Existing equipment will continue to work and there will be a software update.

It is likely there will be some improvement in speed as a result of the software update but not a big one. Whether that means and extra few thousand baud or more is anyone's guess.

I think the most likely scenario (for recreational yachtie) is having to buy new hardware and getting a decent speed upgrade that way, but could easily still be 2 years away - then there is the whole pricing issue.

-Al
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Old 24-07-2017, 15:18   #6
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Re: Iridium Next

I have been looking into this as well. I currently have both a Sailor 150 broadband as well as an Iridium set-up with a Beam RST 310 Docking station. I started out with the Iridium set up and then upgraded to the Inmarsat. That has worked flawlessly for 7 years now and the Iridium sits in the Ditchbag now...without the Docking station of course

A lot comes down to Airtime or Data costs and not how "fast" you can get things moving. I guess that is why the Iridium GO and Aurora have a "Unlimited data" package; you can leave the thing on all month ($125 / month) and you won't get too much data. So, when the Next generation constellation is ready, it will be faster but can you really afford that much Data? I don't think the cost of Data or Airtime is going to change much but time will tell.

So, now I find myself ready to leave Panama and cross the Pacific and I don't need my Sailor 150 speeds anymore. (retired) It does make nice phone calls though. Still waiting a bit but I am down to Iridium Go (SLO) or the Red Port Aurora. Speed is the same for both. But on a crossing how fast do you need it to be if you are just downloading Gribs?
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