Panbo – The Marine Electronics Blog has an excellent post comparing Inmarsat FleetBroadband and Iridium OpenPort equipment and services in real time boating conditions. These two mobile satellite solutions, offering high-speed Internet and voice services, are relatively new on the marine market that makes this review even more valuable. Panbo’s authors has been using both systems on one boat sailing from Northeast US to New Zealand and provided detailed accounts on speed of data transfer, voice quality, service up-time, power usage and use of data compression software.
With the price tag of around $5,000 (installation and airtime not included), both FleetBroadband (150-series) and OpenPort can be an affordable but robust option to satisfy communication requirements and tighter budgets of smaller leisure boats and fishing operators.
Inmarsat released an update to the firmware (Ver. 1.10) for its BGAN Explorer 727 satellite terminal. All users are recommended to update their terminals.
Due to compact size and relative ease of installation, mobile satellite equipment very well suits requirements of telemetry applications. Iridium satellite system capabilities have been used by scientists to receive data about ice sickness in the Arctic Ocean. A buoy with sensors installed in the remote area can acquire and transmit up to five hours of data for each measurement of deep-water waves under the ice. Since Iridium allows two-way data transfer, the buoy could not only transmit the data, but also received setup commands from the control center.
BYM News reported that the system lasted one year before being crashed by ice and trasmitted 6MB of data during that time. This equals to a speed rate about 1.5 bit per second 🙂
I assume some sort of solar power was used to provide juice to both sensors and the Iridium transceiver.
Iridium Satellite LLC, the operator of a fleet of 77 LEO satellites and the only global provider of mobile satellite voice and data services, named Matthew Desch as its new CEO.
According to Associated Press, Mr. Desch would like to focus on offering additional data services, the segment growing 50% during the last year. He plans to introduce new data offerings during the next 12 years.
It would be interesting to oversee these developments, as Iridium will have to introduce some new equipment to achieve these objectives. It’s been lately getting hotter and hotter in this business! 🙂
Ameinfo.com reports that Thuraya is planning to introduce the second generation terminal for its ThurayaDSL high-speed satellite service in the first quater 2008. The company wants to increase maximum transfer speed, make it smaller and add more functionality.
Although the preliminary design was reportedly approved last spring and talks have started with the manufacturer (Hughes), we have no information whether the improved modem will be based on the current laptop-sized Hughes 9102 terminal, which supports up to 144Kbps (only theoretically) and weighs about 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg).
Sounds like a long, long shot for Thuraya, given the fact that right now Inmarsat BGAN terminals already offer greater transfer speeds and satellite footprint, lots of fucntionality and comparable size and service rates.