Connecting your RBGAN to the new satellite

back to SatCom index page

Posted: 7/9/2005
Last Updated: 7/29/2005

The information that follows is provided to assist RBGAN users. It is based on field reports from a few users who have made the upgrade, as well as available information from Bizub Communications and Inmarsat. HumaniNet accepts no responsibility for any difficulties, including software or hardware problems, that may occur in making the upgrade. This information is advisory only and the user must use judgment in accepting these tips.

Bizub Communications has provide some tips for switching your RBGAN to the new Inmarsat satellite.

Every computer that will be used with an RBGAN needs to be upgraded. The upgrade software first upgrades the "Launch Pad" software on the computer and then upgrades the R-BGAN modem. You can install the necessary software on an additional computer by downloading from the Inmarsat Web site or from a CD. For the second and subsequent computers, see Installing the upgrade on additional computers.

Web address for information on the upgrade:

  • If you are using a Windows PC, please download the file named "PC Software v3.11.0" and install it on your computer.
  • If you are using a MAC, please download the file named "Mac Software v3.11.0" and install it on your computer.
  • You must download the Java runtime environment (15 mb.) if it is not already installed on the computer. It is available from the link in the upper left corner of the upgrade page.

Downloading the upgrade software on your RBGAN is not free of charge. The file is about 5 megabytes in size so it will cost about $35 USD to download. Once it is downloaded, it can be written to a CD and passed along to other users, even after the July 16th deadline has passed.

Before you perform the upgrade, we recommend that you review some tips from a field user in Africa.

Once you have installed the new software, you cannot go back to the old satellite.


  • Important! Find a high place with a clear view to the satellite, which is east of the old satellite. (see account from a user in West Africa, below)
  • You need to have a signal strength of 60 or better, if possible. If less, a good connection is doubtful.

Note: the terminal may be able to sense the satellite’s “global beam” that is used for pointing but not its “spot beam” that is used for data exchange.

Report from West Africa - a true story: "Just to let you know that we are updated and getting good service from the village of _____ [in central Guinea]. I cannot do email from the ground because I get zero signal. Up on my roof I get zero signal. About four foot above that on top of my water tower I get 24 or so signal strength. From my kids' tree house in a mango tree about six inches higher I get about 33 signal strength. It functions better than it did before even though the signal strength is lower. It takes about twenty seconds to connect. In fact, it seems to connect in twenty seconds even with a signal of 16. I can get about forty holding it over my head in the treehouse. Looks like the kids will be moving out of the treehouse and Daddy is moving in. Kind of a tree top internet café."

If the RBGAN finds the new satellite, but you cannot get data exchange, make a “ping” attempt using the DOS prompt and a valid public IP address such as “”.

To ping on a PC, click the Start button, then "Run...", type "cmd", and then click OK. In the command prompt, type "ping".

To ping on a Mac, open Terminal from the Applications folder, and type "ping -c4"

The precise language of the ping response varies, but if the ping is successful, you should see text such as "Reply from" and/or "0% packet loss" near the bottom of the response. If the ping is unsuccessful, you will see "Request timed out" or "Host is down" or something similar, and packet loss will be listed as 100%.

A successful ping will prove that the terminal is able to connect. Make every effort to maximize signal strength before making a ping attempt.

On both Mac and PC, type exit to close the window when pinging is complete.

Return to RBGAN page or SatCom index page