Update Facebook and Twitter via Satellite Phone using iOS or Android Devices

XGate iPhone and Android apps used by our SpeedMail Compression Software now lets users post to popular social media sites when connected to a Wi-Fi enabled satellite data feed.

Global Marine Networks (GMN), the leaders in advancing satellite data speed and services, today announced an update to its XGate iOS app and XGate Android app that let users update their Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter feeds when connected to a Wi-Fi enabled satellite data service. XGate Social Media Services are immediately available to SpeedMail subscribers in addition to accelerated satellite phone email, web browsing and weather data services.

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are the way millions of people share their lives with others every day. Yet until now satellite phone users, who are often in the remote places or emergency situations where they most want to update others of their status, have found it hard to post to social media sites,” said Dr. Luis Soltero, President and CTO of GMN.

“Now, satellite phone users can update all of their friends, business contacts or followers via satellite phone with the press of a button in the XGate application.”

SpeedMail powered by XGate offers email, web, weather, and now, social media services, designed for the unique needs of satellite data users. Satellite data feeds are significantly slower and/or much more expensive than most cellular data services, but have the advantage of working in places and times where cellular networks are not available. SpeedMail uses three to twenty times less data for each of its services than standard email, web, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter apps, saving satellite users time and money.

To access SpeedMail services, users simply need to connect to a Wi-Fi enabled satellite data feed, as would be found on a marine vessel, or created by a device such as the RedPort Wi-Fi Optimizer. SpeedMail will also work over cellular data networks, allowing customers to use a single app regardless of network, or to save on cellular data usage charges.

SpeedMail data services are a fast, reliable and easy-to-use satellite phone email, web, weather data – and now – social media service. Features include:

  • Up to 20 times faster email transfer speeds through compression and custom server protocols
  • Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn posting
  • Mid-file restart and automatic satellite phone connection control
  • Access to free GRIB weather files

SpeedMail’s web service accelerates web browsing an average of three to five times faster than uncompressed rates through compression, page re-rendering and ad-blocking, giving users easier and more reliable access to web sites.

Pricing and Availability

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter updating are available to both new and existing users for standard SpeedMail subscription rates. Existing SpeedMail subscribers can download the latest version of XGate in the XGate downloads center. Currently, XGate Social Media services are available for all users of the following Windows, Apple Macintosh and Linux versions:

  • Windows XP, Vista and 7, both 32 and 64-bit versions
  • Apple Mac OSX 10.4 or later computers
  • Apple iOS (iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch)
  • Google Android
  • Any Debian-based Linux system

Compatibility

SpeedMail works with any IP-based data service, including the following satellite phones.

Compatible USB-based satellite phones:

Compatible Serial or Ethernet-based phones and terminals:

Spotlight on…Thuraya IP Satellite Broadband Terminal

Measuring just 158mm x 225mm x 50mm the Thuraya IP is a truly portable solution.

With the ever-growing popularity of smartphones and tablets it is becoming increasingly more important to be able to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues no matter how remote the location.  At Global Telesat Communications we see this reflected in the demand for the purchase and rental of satellite internet terminals.

The good news it that communication via satellite is becoming more a cost effective and realistic option and the Thuraya IP Satellite Broadband Terminalis a great example of this.

The Thuraya IP will work anywhere in the Thuraya coverage area.

The terminal itself is priced at just £1,750 ex VAT which makes it not only the cheapest terminal in its class but also the fastest as it offers speeds of up to 444kbps.  Furthermore there are a variety of flexible airtime plans including the Entry Plan with no monthly fee – perfect for those who will not be constantly using the terminal.  For high end users the Unlimited Plans even offer a free terminal!

The plans available are as follows:

Service Entry Access Value Unlimited 144k* Unlimited 144k**
Activation Fee $60 $60 FREE FREE FREE
Monthly Fee FREE $48 $540 $3,000 $4,260
Rate per MB $7.50 $4.80 $3.60 FREE FREE
Static IP Address $36.00 $36.00 $36.00 $36.00 $36.00

*Fair Usage Applies of 15GB a Month, if this is passed bandwidth will be throttled .

**Fair Usage Applies of 30GB a Month, if this is passed bandwidth will be throttled.

Pay As You Go plans are also available for the Thuraya IP.

Key Features

  • Internet access – High speed Internet at speeds of up to 444 Kbps.
  • Streaming – Select guaranteed quality of service up to 384 Kbps on demand for bandwidth hungry applications like video streaming.
  • Remote Connectivity – Broadband access to your corporate network, for up-to-date and instant access to company and customer information.
  • Email – Send and receive email via the Internet or other email applications.
  • File transfer – Send and receive large files.

Thrane & Thrane Signs Significant BGAN Development Agreement With Inmarsat

Inmarsat and Thrane & Thrane have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development and delivery of key components to implement new services on the Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN).

The MoU agreement has a total value to Thrane & Thrane of DKK 78 million and will be executed over the next 18-20 months.

The Thrane & Thrane scope of supply will facilitate, among other things, implementation of three new BGAN services by Inmarsat:

  • Low Data Rate (LDR) services – enabling new compact and robust terminals. Possible applications include development of low-bandwidth systems for Machine to Machine (M2M) communication, such as data collection and remote monitoring. There will also be application possibilities in both the maritime and the aeronautical market.
  • High Data Rate (HDR) services – offering enhanced throughput compared to existing services, which could be used, for example, on new systems for live news broadcasting or helicopter surveillance.
  • Data-based Maritime Safety services – providing the next step in introducing Global Maritime Distress Safety Services (GMDSS) to FleetBroadband users.

Thrane & Thrane Explorer 700 BGAN Terminal

“The new BGAN services will also provide Thrane & Thrane with significant development possibilities for new terminals and new features for existing terminals,” comments Walther Thygesen, CEO, Thrane & Thrane. “We’re looking forward to the opening of new market opportunities with these new services, as they provide the foundation for expanding our BGAN portfolio with new products and systems.”

Thus, the agreement marks the continuation of Thrane & Thrane’s long-lasting and close collaboration with Inmarsat with respect to, among other things, BGAN infrastructure development.

The agreement will have no impact on Thrane & Thrane’s previously announced expectations to revenue and operating profit for the financial year ending April 30, 2012.

Satellite Communications in a Marine Environment

Being on your boat should not mean that you are alienated from the outside world. Whether it’s staying in touch with the office or simply checking the latest news or weather, satellite communication systems are the simplest and most cost effective way to do so.  Regular mobile phones have limited capabilities at sea, whereas satellite phones provide far better coverage, with many capable of being used worldwide. Not only does this make them perfect for staying in contact with family and friends but also their value in terms of safety is infinite.  In a world that never stops, being connected on the move is more important than ever and thanks to satellite communications from GTC this is easier than ever, even when you’re on a boat.

The marine market is flooded with electronics so why should boating enthusiasts spend their hard earned cash on satellite communications?  Perhaps because voice, data, SMS and GPS capabilities (on Thuraya models) are available in one compact handset which can prove vital in case of an emergency.  Satellite phones and broadband terminals can also be used to download essential weather reports or simply just to keep in touch – whether it be for business or pleasure by voice or data.

A popular option for many boating enthusiasts is a portable satellite phone allowing them to take their sat phone between vessels and also carry with them when on land.  All handsets from Thuraya, Iridium, Globalstar offer voice and data services while Inmarsat will introduce to data to its Global Satellite Phone Service (GSPS) in 2011.  Furthermore the handsets can send and receive SMS with most satellite operators offering a web facility to send free SMS to a sat phone.  Data connections are easily facilitated by connecting the phones to a laptop via a USB cable which is included with the phone. With sat phone prices starting from £420 for the Thuraya SO-2510, these days a satellite phone is a more affordable option than ever before.  However, it is worth noting that sat phones can only achieve data speeds of up to 9.6 kbps which is slow for anything other than small emails.

If significantly higher data speeds or simultaneous voice and data usage is a necessity why not consider a fixed satellite broadband terminal?  There are products available specifically for marine application, some offering data speeds of up to 432kbps – Inmarsat FleetBroadband, Iridium OpenPort and Thuraya Seagull.   However, fixed marine terminals do carry a larger price tag than satellite phones with the cheapest terminal, Iridium OpenPort, offering data speeds of 128 kbps starting from £3,260.00.  Fixed terminals consist of the antenna which should be placed above deck which connects down to a below-deck unit where handsets and laptops are connected for voice and data usage.

FleetBroadband Antenna

FleetBroadband Antenna

 

There are also marine docking stations available for satellite phones providing a halfway point between a fixed and portable satellite solution – these accessories allow the sat phone to have a safe fixed docking point on the vessel with an external antenna to boost signal strength but can also easily be unclipped from the docking station for portable use.

For satellite phones both pre-paid and post-paid satellite airtime is available offering a range of options to suit different requirements.  Fixed satellite terminals require airtime packages on a post-paid basis although some will not charge a monthly fee meaning lower costs for those who will not be using their equipment regularly throughout the year.

There are many different equipment and airtime options available for marine users making satellite communications suitable for all budgets, locations and voice and data requirements.  Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Inmarsat announces plans to construct new satellite constellation offerering download rates of 50Mbps

Inmarsat have announced that they have contracted Boeing to construct “The Inmarsat-5s” – a new satellite constellation consisting of 3 satellites.  This move is part of a $1.2 billion investment to create a global wireless broadband network called Global Xpress.

These satellites will be the first commercial global satellites to operate in the high frequency Ka-band.  Inmarsat will be able to take advantage of the increased bandwidth available to offer download speeds of 50Mbps and upload speeds of 5Mbps which will revolutionise data usage within the satellite communications industry.  Currently Inmarsat can only achieve download speeds of around 0.5Mbps with its BGAN X-Stream Service.

These services will be available as soon as 2014 and the satellites have a lifespan of approximately 15 years.

Read more from Inmarsat

Using Iridium and Thuraya satellite phones for data connection

For those who frequently require internet connection in remote locations using a satellite terminal on the Inmarsat BGAN satellite network is a good choice with their portable terminals, fast data speeds and very reliable service.

But what about those who will only occasionally want to use a data connection while in remote locations?  It is little known that satellite phones can also provide data services.  Although the speed will not be as fast as Inmarsat BGAN, if you only require need data services every now and then, a satellite phone will suffice and will be a much cheaper alternative to BGAN.  Every Iridium and Thuraya sat phone that we stock is capable of sending emails directly from the phone and the Thuraya SG-2520 even has an in-built browser meaning you don’t need to connect to your laptop to use the internet.

Iridium offers a data speed of 9.6kbps and each Iridium 9555 comes with a USB cable to connect to your laptop making data connections with your sat phone very simple.  Thuraya’s basic data service offers speeds of up to 9.6kbps.  However, their GmPRS service offers enhanced speeds of up to 60kbps (downlink) at an additional fee making data connections with your satellite phone more viable.  With GmPRS you are charged by the volume of data you send and receive rather than the duration of the data call (as is the case with Thuraya’s basic data service).  Uplink speeds are available at up to 15kbps.  The GmPRS service is available on both post-paid and pre-paid data SIM cards.

As with Iridium phones, all Thuraya phones come with the data cables required to set-up your data connection quickly and easily. 

So if you need to send and receive emails or browse the web while on the move a satellite phone could be just what you need.  If you are not sure whether a sat phone or a satellite terminal would best  suit your needs why not contact us with your questions?

Satellite Internet Access Using Satellite Terminals

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.

 

Inmarsat BGAN Explorer 700 Satellite Terminal

Inmarsat BGAN Explorer 700 Satellite Terminal

 

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.

The role of satellite communications in Haiti

When natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis strike, traditional fixed and wireless communications are often destroyed making satellite communications essential in the recovery of the affected area.  Nowhere is this currently more apparent than in Haiti where satellite phones and data terminals are being used around the clock to aid the various aid agencies in their work as well as being used by journalists streaming news reports from the area.

According to Urgent Communications speaking with Iridium’s vice president of data services, Patrick Shay, Iridium voice traffic in Haiti has increased from 100 minutes per day to around 40,000 minutes per day since the earthquake hit on January 12.  Likewise Inmarsat’s chief executive Andrew Sukawaty said in an interview with the BBC that they have seen a dramatic increase in traffic in Haiti since the earthquake and are adding channels and capacity in the area to ensure they can keep up with demand.

Global Telesat Communications have helped equip international aid agency Humanity First with the Wideye Sabre 1 satellite terminal for both voice and data communications using Inmarsat BGAN while they are in Haiti.  To add to the medical team of 14 already in Haiti, a further team of 21 arrived on January 24 to support hospital teams and assist in refugee camps.

As with previous natural disasters, satellite communications are proving to be vital in the aftermath of the event and can hopefully enhance the work that aid agencies are carrying out to improve the situation in Haiti as soon as possible.