BGAN Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use a BGAN on a boat?
Yes and No. The BGAN units are designed for land based use and are a directional device. This means you need to point it at the satellite to maintain the connection. The problem is that when anchored on still water a change in wind direction will drop you off the satellite. Many customers have used them on vessels successfully however you need to consider how much of a compromise you are willing to take. If you just need emails you can hold the device in your hand and compensate for the movement of the vessel while you hit send/receive, get all your emails then disconnect, write up all the responses and then do the process again to send the replies. This can work well however if you expect to just sit there connected and watch a video or just use it like you would in the office, it just won't work.
How fast is the BGAN Explorer 510?
The Explorer 510 is like your old original ADSL speeds of 464kbps in perfect conditions. It's not super fast but its enough to be able to get most requirements achieved.
Is it expensive to use Satellite Internet?
Yes. A rough guide we recommend is that its $11 per mb of data transferred (that’s sent and received). If you are expecting heavy usage there are ways to get this rate dropped but you would still be looking t around $1 per mb which isn’t really cheap but is viable if the data is critical.
Is it hard to setup a BGAN unit?
The BGAN’s are designed to be very simple to use. Its just a matter of pointing it in the right direction pressing a button and you are up and running. It should only take a minute.
Can I send SMS text messages?
Yes, you can send and receive SMS messages. However you need to use the explorer connect App.
Can I use the BGAN overseas?
The Inmarsat network has full global coverage allowing you to use your phone across the globe, on land or at sea. Your Inmarsat phone will operate at the standard rates within the Australian/New Zealand territory, and outside these areas it will still work however incoming and outgoing calls will be charged at a higher rate. Please note however that the Satellites are located around the Equator so polar regions do not have particularly good coverage.
Using the Explorer 510 Bgan
Can people call me on the BGAN?
Yes, however please note you need to have the BGAN switched on, connected to the satellite system and have your mobile connected to the Wi-Fi and the explorer connect app running for them to be able to call you. If you are just on holiday, we recommend telling people to call you at set times if they need to call. Something like between 6pm and 7pm when you would normally be camped up for the evening having dinner and can have the device outside connected to the network.
Is it expensive for people to call the satellite phone?
Yes. The BGAN devices are on a global phone number. This means your phone provider will charge a premium international rate to call the device. These rates can be as high as $30 per minute so if you expect people to need to call you we recommend getting a normal satellite phone as all our phones are on local number services so its normally free to call them.
Setting up the BGAN
Switch on the EXPLORER 510 by Pushing and holding the power button for 2 seconds until the Status LED flashes rapidly green. When the Status LED flashes slowly (power on) or is constant green (power on with DC input), the EXPLORER 510 is ready for use. You should hear a sound from the unit at this point indicating it is in pointing mode. The Inmarsat satellite is based on the Equator above the NT/QLD border so point it roughly in that direction then fine tune the device to get the most high pitched annoying sound as possible. Tap the power button and the device should connect to the network and then setup a default background data connection.
To connect your user equipment
Check that the WLAN LED is on (green or yellow), meaning that WLAN is ready. On your device, search for available WLAN networks. Select the EXPLORER 510 WLAN access point when it appears in your list of available wireless networks. The default name is EXPLORER510. NOTE: You may have to enter a password. By default the password is the serial number of your EXPLORER 510 and the encoding type is WPA2-AES. The serial number is found on the label at the back of the EXPLORER 510.
To make phone calls
If you want to use WLAN to make calls over the BGAN network, you must have the EXPLORER Connect app installed on your smartphone. Calling from the EXPLORER 510 - To make a call from a phone connected to the EXPLORER 510 you need to dial 00 then 61 for Australia then drop the zero from the mobile number or area code : Example: To call Rent A Satellite Phone Support : (0400997561): dial 00 dial 00 61 400997561
To switch off the device
To switch off, hold the power button for 2 seconds until the Status LED flashes rapidly yellow (closing down).
Connecting to the control dashboard
If using the explorer connect app just connect to the Wi-Fi and the device status should be visible. If you don’t have the app, connect to the Wi-Fi and then load an internet page and go to the address http://192.168.0.1 this is the web interface and shows the same information as the connect app. From this dashboard you can force the device to start the pointing mode again and give you a visual indication of your signal strength, once its over 55db signal strength press register and the device will connect to the network. To enable the data connection go to the terminal access tab and select Standard data, this should show a green stop icon if already enabled and a black Play icon if it's been disconnected. Please note: you DO NOT want to connect to a streaming connection. These are billed per minute and are not recommended for most users as you will incur a large usage bill. For most areas of Australia you should be able to get a signal strength of at least 60db, if you are getting less than this signal strength check your surroundings and make sure there is nothing blocking/interfering with the connection.
The explore 510 does not have a ethernet connection directly on the device however the rental kit includes a usb to ethernet adapter if you are not able to connect via Wi-Fi. With active use the BGAN will only last a few hours on battery. It is always recommended to use the power connections wherever possible. The rental kit includes wall and car chargers to assist with keeping the device charged. Although the unit does have some weather protection when any cables are connected it is exposed, try to avoid using the device in bad weather or if needed place it inside a plastic bag and tape it sealed. This should not impact the signal too much and will help keep it protected.
As the BGAN is expensive to use we always recommend making sure that any device connecting to it is restricted as much as possible. Ensure there are no automatic updates enabled, no live data feeds, no active programs in the background and definitely no cloud storage services (One drive, Drop Box, iCloud, or any others) running. This program not only will slow the connection but can easily cost you thousands of dollars as they will update in the background without you knowing. If using the device for emails try to use a desktop application like outlook not load a web page and log in as this will use more data. If using a desktop application try to set it up to just download the email headers, you can then just click on individual emails and download them if important so anything that can wait is not downloaded. Where possible also set your emails to plain text only, most modern emails are full HTML, this means they look nice and pretty but you don’t need to waste money downloading a company logo. If possible even just have a separate email address for while you are away. This will cut down on the junk emails and only critical people with your new address can send you anything. If you do need to access websites there are web browsers like Firefox where you can limit the resolution of images and block them entirely. This will greatly improve load times and save you a lot on wasted usage.