Internet over a satellite phone

Internet over a satellite phone

Steve Wall - 23-Sep-2013

When it comes to using the internet over satellite systems it can be a very costly exercise with expectations not being met in terms of speed so we thought we could go through some of your options.

The first option you have is to use a handheld satellite phone's data service. This is available through all the Iridium, Inmarsat, or Thuraya handheld phones. This method can be rather frustrating in getting it to work properly in the first place to only have the end result of 2.4kbps (although most providers advertise higher rates than this they are only available through compression software that wont work on all data). this means this method of connection is only suitable for the most basic emails or if used with services like Sail Mail you can also get some basic weather maps.

The next level is to go for the BGAN high speed satellite internet units. These offer speeds of 364kbps to 496kbps (and even faster when combining units in a network). These are great for users constantly moving around that require a reliable connection wherever they are but with data rates of around $10 per mb you need to definitely be able to justify the usage.

The top level of portable satellite internet units is the Orion re-deployable systems. These are full office connections to be used in remote area's. they bring realistic speeds (up to 2mbps) to completely isolated sites. Although this sounds perfect there are a few catches, the first is that its not something you want to be moving every week since setup takes 1-1.5 hours and the unit itself is rather large so you need a vehicle to move it around. These services also have high initial investment cost so they normally wouldn't be suitable for requirements less than 3 months.

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