If you’re looking to purchase a satellite broadband terminal but don’t know where to start, our blog is here to help. There are many factors to take into account when considering a satellite terminal.
The main use of a satellite terminal is to allow connection to the internet at broadband speeds from virtually anywhere in the world. As most terminals are no larger than a laptop they can be transported easily and are therefore ideal for people requiring internet connectivity while travelling in remote locations. Some terminals offer voice capability through a telephone handset which means they can also be used to make satellite phone calls.
There are two main networks to choose from when considering a satellite terminal; Inmarsat BGAN and Thuraya. Most terminals currently available work on the near-global Inmarsat BGAN network and offer data rates of between 384 kbps to 492 kbps. Some terminals, such as the Thrane & Thrane Explorer 700, allow simultaneous multi-user access to the internet but most users will find the Thrane & Thrane 300 or Wideye Sabre 1 BGAN terminals more than adequate as they are small, light and cheaper than the multi-user models.
The Inmarsat BGAN network covers everywhere in the world from 72 degrees north to 72 degrees south. This means that the only place the network is not available is in the poles. If you are interested in purchasing a BGAN terminal please look at our Inmarsat BGAN terminal page to see the range of Inmarsat BGAN terminals currently available.
The alternative network to consider is Thuraya. Thuraya offer just one terminal, the Thuraya IP, which is a small and light terminal capable of a data rate of up to 444 kbps. The Thuraya network covers two thirds of the globe consisting of most of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia. If you are interested in purchasing a Thuraya terminal please look at our Thuraya terminal page to see more information on the Thuraya IP terminal.
If you’re still not sure about the Inmarsat and Thuraya coverage why not have a look at our coverage page to double check that the Inmarsat or Thuraya terminal will work where you are going.
Once you have chosen the satellite broadband terminal most suitable for your requirements you will need to buy airtime to use with the terminal. If you do not need global coverage and will be travelling within the Thuraya network coverage area you may find that some of their airtime options can work out better value for money than BGAN. Thuraya offer post-paid plans which include a set amount of data that you can transfer each month without incurring any additional charge. Once this amount is exceeded you will be charged at a standard rate for your usage.
If you need to use your terminal outside the Thuraya network area then an Inmarsat BGAN terminal is the best option for you. Although this can work out a little bit more expensive in some situations, you will have the peace of mind knowing that, unlike Thuraya IP, the terminal offers near-global coverage. With BGAN you have the option of buying post-paid or pre-paid airtime. Post-paid airtime involves a monthly fee and a minimum contract term and is suitable for someone who is going to use an unknown amount of airtime over a long period of time. Prepaid airtime is more suitable for short term users who know in advance the rough amount of data they will be transferring. Once this data has been transferred you will not be able to use your terminal until you top it up with extra credit.
Once you have made a decision on what you think best suits your needs then why not get in contact with us to ask any final questions.