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Old 26-05-2014, 22:50   #1
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Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

What do you folks know about using Smart Phones with internet capability for internet offshore?

I have heard there are devices that can adapt a smart phone receive satellite signals so it can be used for both communications and internet. True of false, and if true, what equipment is needed?
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Old 27-05-2014, 01:36   #2
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Re: Smart Phones, Sattelites, and internet

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Originally Posted by Vino the Dog View Post
What do you folks know about using Smart Phones with internet capability for internet offshore?

I have heard there are devices that can adapt a smart phone receive satellite signals so it can be used for both communications and internet. True of false, and if true, what equipment is needed?
How far offshore? No towers are orientated to pickup signals at sea that I'm aware of, so not sure how many miles you can go and still get a signal. It will obviously vary depending on your cruising grounds, but in general a few miles at best is a safe bet.

I can't imagine how a smart-phone would be able to receive satellite signals. Different frequencies and technologies. It would be awfully cool if somebody could correct me though...
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Old 27-05-2014, 02:45   #3
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Maybe this is what you looking for
Iridium | Products | Iridium GO
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Old 27-05-2014, 03:54   #4
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

anybody gotten quotes on price and monthly charges?
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Old 27-05-2014, 06:43   #5
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Smart phones use the cellular telephone system, or wifi, so those are not going to work past line-of-sight distance. Satellite phones can send and receive e-mails and text messages anywhere in the world, but at speeds far too low for anything like browsing this forum, never mind trying to stream videos or anything else along those lines.

If you want high-speed internet service, past line-of-sight distances, then you are talking about equipment that will cost many thousands up front, and service charges that will run into the neighborhood of a thousand or more a month. Unless you have more dollars than sense, not what you would want to spend just for casual net surfing.
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Old 27-05-2014, 07:01   #6
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

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Originally Posted by Vino the Dog View Post
What do you folks know about using Smart Phones with internet capability for internet offshore?

I have heard there are devices that can adapt a smart phone receive satellite signals so it can be used for both communications and internet. True of false, and if true, what equipment is needed?
That is true. You can also use an Ipad or similar tablet. However, for either to work past cellular range offshore, you will need to subscribe to a high speed satelite provider and buy the necessary equipment to turn your boat into a hotspot. At the extreme slow end of the spectrum, you could get into an Iridium phone plan for a mere couple thousand dollars plus air time. You would not be happy with the speed of the system though.

Or, for only abour four to seven times more, you could get into an inmarsat high speed satelite plan that you would be happy with, except for the cost that is.

There is no inexpensive way to get internet offshore. If you find one, please post it.
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Old 27-05-2014, 08:02   #7
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Thuraya XT-DUAL Delivering GSM and satellite capabilities in a single phone
Thuraya XT-DUAL is a phone that operates efficiently both within the reach of any GSM network and when connected to the Thuraya satellite network - providing the highest flexibility to shift between available networks wherever you are.



Thuraya XT-DUAL | Thuraya
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Old 27-05-2014, 08:06   #8
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

SatSleeve for AndroidTransform your Android phone into a satellite smartphone

The perfect blend of mobility and simplicity, the Thuraya SatSleeve is the smartest, fastest and simplest way to transform your phone into a satellite smartphone. Thuraya SatSleeve provides access to phone calls, emails, instant messages and popular social media apps in satellite mode across 161 countries within Thuraya’s coverage network.The SatSleeve for Android comes with an adaptor for Samsung Galaxy S4 inside the package. Adaptors for Samsung Galaxy S3 are available separately.



SatSleeve for Android | Thuraya
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Old 27-05-2014, 11:19   #9
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Steve,
"Internet" access offshore is VERY expensive (by whatever means/device)....
It always has been, and for the foreseeable future (next decade at least), it always will be VERY expensive...

I'll refer you to a recently updated thread right here....
Whats the best offshore internet connection?

There, you'll see that unless you're willing to shell out at a minimum $5000, plus data costs, plus installation costs, then you should really be thinking of "internet access" when in port / at anchor....and NOT when offshore....



Regardless of the marketing and advertising, handheld satellite devices (whether Iridium, InReach, Thuraya, Globalstar, etc.) are all VERY low-speed digital systems....with some handling Voice and data, and some just data...
But, all using VERY low-speed digital transmissions of approx. 2.4k baud...
And, NONE allow any internet capability...

Yes, there are "smart phone apps" and other such features in some of these, that allow SMS and e-mail, (and possibly allow posting to twitter?), but these are all short messages, sent on a very low-speed data rate...

Yes, even the new Thuraya service that was just posted about....Thuraya specifically hypes:
Quote:
In addition to call and SMS functionality this model also has satellite data functionalities for emails, instant messaging, social media apps.
But, remember Thuraya's satellites only cover Europe, Baltic, Med, N. Africa, Mid-East, Asia, and Australia.....
See their coverage map here...
Network Coverage | Thuraya




Sorry Steve....but if you want internet, the answer here is: False..
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vino the Dog View Post
What do you folks know about using Smart Phones with internet capability for internet offshore?

I have heard there are devices that can adapt a smart phone receive satellite signals so it can be used for both communications and internet. True of false, and if true, what equipment is needed?
If all you want is to send short messages (SMS) / texts, etc. (and make some expensive phone calls), then an Iridium handheld satellite phone (such as the 9555, etc.) is a great piece of gear....
Iridium Satellite Phone Communications | M2M Solutions | Broadband

inReach 2-Way Satellite Communicators, Street Atlas USA, Atlas and Gazetteer, Topo North America, XMap, Digital Map Data, and Professional Mapping Solutions - DeLorme


But, NONE of these handheld satellite phones, devices, sleeves, or adapters allow for "internet" capability thru the satellite networks when offshore...
(for that, you need to spend BIG $$$$$)
Please read this thread here....
Whats the best offshore internet connection?




Now that I've answered your questions....do you mind replying with an answer to one of mine??
What are needs / what's your application, that you require internet access when offshore???
(just curious here, as most of us find in port / at anchor Wi-Fi or cellular/3G/4G connectivity to be all the internet access we need....)



Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie
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Old 27-05-2014, 11:57   #10
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

If you need serious internet access -- Inmarsat Fleetbroadband and lots of money. If you need say 2GB per month, you can have that for $1500 per month. Unlimited data for $2700. Certainly worth it on a superyacht, or for an offshore sailor with serious business commitments who must be online.

If you just need to send short text emails or SMS's -- Yellow Brick. Very affordable price plan, and your bought units don't expire (unlike with every other satellite service I know of) and you can switch it off without penalty when you're not using it and save the monthly fee. Very cool system; IMHO one of the very best offshore comms tools (different people communicate in different ways, but for me a short text message covers 90% of my communications needs; voice doesn't add that much).

For text emails you can also use Sailmail with an SSB radio and Pactor modem for a reasonable cost (I think it's $250 a year). You can also download weather and grib files.

For non-business text emails, and if you have a ham radio license, you can use the same equipment (HF radio + Pactor modem) to use the Winlink system for free.

Neither HF radio solution is usable without knowledge, learning, fiddling. You don't just push a button, so this is not suitable for people who are not willing to become technically adept.
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Old 01-06-2014, 22:58   #11
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Quote:
Originally Posted by ka4wja View Post

Now that I've answered your questions....do you mind replying with an answer to one of mine??
What are needs / what's your application, that you require internet access when offshore???
(just curious here, as most of us find in port / at anchor Wi-Fi or cellular/3G/4G connectivity to be all the internet access we need....)

Fair winds..

John
s/v Annie Laurie

John,

Don't really need it at all. Merely curious as to the state of the art and if it is worth considering. I am at the moment, sitting in a pub a few blocks from the boatyard where I am hauled out, and do not find lack of internet even the slightest loss.

Thank you very much for your information.
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Old 02-06-2014, 00:49   #12
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

I saw this cool little $299 gadget at a West Marine store for keeping in touch via satellite. DELORME inReach SE Satellite Communicator | West Marine
It does text, email and social network posting, 2 way SOS to IERCC, and I read that someone had connected to OCENS weather for GPS location for $60 per year.. It says subscriptions are only $11.95 (or $14.95 month-to-month with no contract. There's also a $25 annual fee. One reviewer said they charge $65 per month for unlimited text & email if you plan on using it a lot... still very reasonable.
Wish I had one!
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Old 02-06-2014, 03:00   #13
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Wait...aren't we cruising to get away from all that?!?

I love riding 2 wheels...especially when one is up in the air
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Old 05-07-2014, 15:22   #14
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

[QUOTE=svMarite;1554706]Wait...aren't we cruising to get away from all that?!?

Why is it that every time this discussion comes up someone has to make this kind of remark? The answer is no. Some of us have responsibilities that require coms. If you don't, that's fine, but these remarks are not helpful.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:48   #15
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Re: Smart Phones, Satellites, and Internet

Quote:
Originally Posted by ohYes View Post
I saw this cool little $299 gadget at a West Marine store for keeping in touch via satellite. DELORME inReach SE Satellite Communicator | West Marine
It does text, email and social network posting, 2 way SOS to IERCC, and I read that someone had connected to OCENS weather for GPS location for $60 per year.. It says subscriptions are only $11.95 (or $14.95 month-to-month with no contract. There's also a $25 annual fee. One reviewer said they charge $65 per month for unlimited text & email if you plan on using it a lot... still very reasonable.
Wish I had one!
Yes on the above.
I got the InReach Explorer for $379 about a month ago.

I'm still experimenting with it. But it allows me to have texts, limited to 160 characters, and a tracking capability.

InReach

I can link it to my smart phone so I can use the contact list in my cell to send texts. IOW, I use the Earthmate App to text and the Earthmate app makes the bridge between the two devices.

i also signed up for the OCENS weather, $8/mth for 72 hr forecasts that are centered on my current location.

I signed up for the $65/mth unlimited texts and 10 min tracking. When I get to Europe, I'll just suspend it and my only cost will then be $24/year.


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