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.
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.
Military Information Technology Online takes a look at various applications of the Inmarsat BGAN products and services. Specific attention is paid to secure and emergency communications in the military and business sgement.