Satellite Communications: What system is best for you?
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Before investing in a satellite phone (satphone) or terminal,
it is important to review your needs. There are many communications
solutions, but it is not difficult to narrow the range of options
to two or three. You can then analyze cost vs. utility and make
a decision with confidence.
We will be happy to assist you in this process. Please email
us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you review your needs, consider whether
local telephone service or cellular service is adequate, both
in cost and reliability.
A. Does your work necessitate a portable phone or terminal?
- If you need portability (lightweight
devices), go to "B" below.
- If you are planning communications for
a fixed location, go to "C" below.
B. Portable solutions
- Do you need worldwide coverage? If so, the Iridium
satphone is the only option. The Iridium is used primarily for voice
communications, but it works well for email also. You can use Iridium in remote
and rural areas of one region only, but it is your best
option if you travel to different regions.
- Do you need voice
communications in remote or rural areas? Again, the Iridium
satphone may be the best solution. For voice
only, in the Middle East and much of Asia and Africa, the Thuraya
satphone has a proven history. The Globalstar satphone may also be suitable.
In the area of interest, you should investigate cell phone
service, but be aware that coverage in most parts of the world is reliable
only in cities. Remember that you can send and receive
email over the Iridium phone also.
- Do you need reliable email
access, but not voice communications? The RBGAN
probably the best solution. The RBGAN
is well suited for travelers who must send and receive email
as opposed to occasional visits to an office or cybercafé.
C. Fixed solutions (one location)
- First, check the costs and reliability of telephone, cellular,
and Internet access in your location. Internet access can
be dialup or broadband service. Ask other users in that location
what they think of their service, and note down the total
If local Internet access
is unavailable, costly, or unreliable, continue:
- Determine if
you need broadband connectivity, which means that
you can access the Internet at a bandwidth at least as
fast as DSL (256 kilobits per second = 256 kbps). Also, determine
many people will use the connection at one time, for
example a network in a country office.
- If you need to access
Web sites regularly or send and receive large amounts of data,
you will need broadband VSAT. The
name (Very Small Aperture Terminal) is technical, but it means
"dish antenna connected to a modem." VSAT systems
are common throughout the world. However, the selection of
a VSAT solution requires assistance from a qualified service
provider. Please contact us for the names of service providers
for your area of interest.
- If your requirement is primarily email, with occasional
activity on the Web, you should consider the RBGAN
install an external antenna for the RBGAN, with a 12-meter cable. One
advantage of the RBGAN is that you can pick it up and take
it to the field when you travel. Also note that the RBGAN will have
global coverage in mid-2005.
D. Other solutions
- There are other solutions as well, including HF radio and the
rapidly growing possibilities of wireless data connectivity,
including WiFi and WiMax. Depending on your area of interest,
we can refer you to experts and service providers who can
advise you on these and other options.
For further information and assistance, contact us at email@example.com.
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