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Old 23-05-2013, 04:16   #1
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Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Hi, Everybody

We are in a bit of a pickle. Our boat has an Iridium 9522 satellite phone. The signal strength is good (full 5 bars). We are able to make phone calls, but our internet connection fails every time at the moment of "hand shake," dropping the data call within 5 to 90 seconds, with no download or upload taking place.

This system as is has worked 100% in the past.

Our PC is running Windows Vista. The serial/USB port adapter is working perfectly. All physical connections are okay. Anti-virus software and Windows Update have been disabled. Skype and iTunes have been removed. The email and internet servers are configured correctly and our service provider seems to have run out of ideas and appears to be clutching at straws.

We are really hoping that someone has experienced and solved this problem before.

Thank you.
Any ideas would be hugely appreciated.
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Old 23-05-2013, 05:48   #2
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

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Originally Posted by coldwetandsalty View Post
..............Our PC is running Windows Vista. .............Any ideas would be hugely appreciated.
I would start by changing the Windows system.
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Old 23-05-2013, 06:06   #3
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

If you are using XGate I would contact Luis Soltero at GMN.
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Old 23-05-2013, 06:34   #4
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Thank you, Talbot

Much appreciated.

Will recommend skipper to upgrade to Windows 7.
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Old 23-05-2013, 06:57   #5
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Oops - double post
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Old 23-05-2013, 06:58   #6
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

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Originally Posted by coldwetandsalty View Post
Thank you, Talbot

Much appreciated.

Will recommend skipper to upgrade to Windows 7.
While Vista is universally hated it is not realistically the cause of your problems. I suspect that Talbot was being funny, but since he did not indicate this in any way you might end up spending money on an Windows 7 license in vain.
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Old 23-05-2013, 06:59   #7
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

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While Vista is universally hated it is not realistically the cause of your problems. I suspect that Talbot was being funny.
Not entirely, there have been a lot of phantom problems like this that were eradicated by going back to XP SP3 or on to W7. Lots of really good reasons for staying with XP
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Old 23-05-2013, 07:06   #8
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

I have had a similar issue. You can deal with it (or at least I have been able to) by just repeatedly trying to connect. It will eventually connect, and then the connection is as solid as ever.

I talked with Luis (Xgate), and he says it's not a problem with his part of the system. He thought it was either my antenna coax or my usb cable, but I have back-ups for both and swapped them in with no improvement, so my take is iridium has some sort of problem (and they don't know about it or don't care).

It's a pain in the ass. I came very close to buying an iridium pilot system, but the handset was working fine 2 months ago, so I did not. Now, out cruising, it's not easy to find a solution.
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Old 23-05-2013, 07:07   #9
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Thanks, Madsb

Agree with you 70%, but at this stage we are desperate to try anything after three weeks of dealing with tech support and not making much headway.
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Old 23-05-2013, 07:12   #10
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Thanks, Estarzinger

It sounds like we have exactly the same problem, but different service providers.

We have tried repeatedly connecting and sometimes it is better, and sometimes worse, but still no joy.

The skipper did you this tactic two years ago with same equipment, and apparently identical results to yours.

Antenna, coaxial cable and and serial adapter all fine. I am wondering if a larger antenna might improve matters.
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Old 23-05-2013, 07:32   #11
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

^^ my primary antenna is the big external fixed iridium unit. It unfortunately seems to make no difference for this problem vs. using the little hockey puck antenna. I would love to hear a solution . . . . but strongly suspect it is an issue at the iridium gateway and not on our boats.
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Old 23-05-2013, 08:02   #12
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Thanks Beth and/or Evans, for this suggestion. It sounds very plausible at this stage, as this is the point at which our connection breaks.

We have a short stick antenna as apposed to your big one, or the hockey puck.

Regards
Dave
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Old 23-05-2013, 09:22   #13
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

I did have a couple of occasions with my Iridium phone where I had good reported signal strength, and was able to make voice calls, but was unable to reliably negotiate an internet connection. I was using a stern-rail mounted antenna, and also tried it with the hockey-puck antenna with the same results.

The problem was traced to solar-flare activity. The satellite signals were strong, but the solar noise was stronger, and it turned out that it wasn't just Iridium satellites that were being affected. Apparently voice calls can tolerate a higher error-rate than data calls. This persisted for about a day, then things returned to normal.

I couldn't say if this is what is causing your problems.
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Old 23-05-2013, 09:53   #14
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Thanks, Paul, for your response.

This boat also has a stern rail/pushpit mounted antenna. Thank you for ruling out us having to replace this.

There was supposed to have been an enormous solar eruption two or three weeks ago and apparently we are due for more solar activity than usual for the next few months. (This from CNN or BBC, I forget which, but not from the service provider.)

Very reassuring to know that we are not the only people who have experienced these particular problems.

Regards
Dave
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Old 23-05-2013, 10:15   #15
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Re: Problems with Iridium internet Connection

Interesting to hear the solar flare explanation. Sounds from post #9 that OP's issue has been persisting for 3 weeks which sounds long for an environmental factor to be at play... (not an expert, just my sense)

Another approach to test your Iridium data setup: try a different internet email software. Won't be as complete as XGate, but worth seeing if it works before you change Windows, etc...

2 cheap recommendations you can quickly test:
(1) Vizada Skyfile Mail: free software based on what Vizada offers for container ships. I've used this with great success.
Download link: Vizada - SkyFile Mail by Astrium Services
Registration link: https://webmail.skyfile.com/ (free: click on registration*)

(2) UUplus (sold via SPSMail)
Download/registration link: SPSMAIL.NET | Satellite Connection Software - Email, Weather, FTP and More...
(7 day trial or $15/month with various subscription lengths available)

*In a previous forum discussion the question was raised whether Skyfile Mail registration is only accepted for Iridium minutes supplied by Vizada (a minutes wholesaler). I don't know the answer - I bought my minutes from an online satphone store and they worked with Skyfile Mail, even though I have no idea if these are Vizada issued minutes or not...
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