Land-Based Satellite Broadband Buying Guide
At Global Telesat Communications we sell a range of satellite broadband terminals which operate on networks including Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya. If you're looking to purchase a satellite broadband terminal but don't know where to start, our buying guide is here to help. The following information is designed to help you pick the right satellite terminal for you requirements.
Compare all our satellite terminals with our satellite terminal comparison chart
What can I use a satellite terminal for?
Although satellite phones can be used to send text messages and small email files they are not suitable for transmitting or receiving large files due to their very low data rates. Satellite broadband terminals are small portable devices which, together with your laptop computer, enable you to connect to the internet with broadband speeds virtually anywhere on the planet. They allow you to keep in contact with friends and family through email, blogs or social networking sites and stream live video wherever you travel, no matter how remote that region may be. Some terminals also allow voice connectivity to enable you to make phones calls using a specially designed handset.
Which network is best?
Inmarsat and Thuraya both have satellite networks which allow the use of satellite terminals for connecting to the internet at broadband speeds. The Inmarsat BGAN network offers almost global coverage and a wide range of terminals which vary in price and connection speeds. The Thuraya IP network covers almost two thirds of the globe but currently has just one compatible terminal. Although Thuraya IP airtime is generally priced very competitively in comparison to BGAN airtime the majority of our customers choose the BGAN network due its reliability, range of terminals and numerous flexible airtime options.
Which satellite terminal best suits your needs?
There are various satellite terminals to choose from and the one most suitable for you will vary depending on a number of factors including budget, size, required data or streaming speed and the number of users sharing the terminal.
The Inmarsat BGAN network offers near global coverage and is generally a more popular choice than Thuraya due to the wider range of terminals and airtime options. Terminals range from the entry level Wideye Sabre 1 terminal, a very capable terminal capable of providing data download speed of up to 384 kbps, to the Thrane & Thrane 700, the biggest and fastest satellite terminal available. This terminal offers data connection speeds of up to 492 kbps along with the ability for multiple users to send and receive data and make voice calls all at the same time. Our preferred terminals for the majority of users are the Thrane & Thrane Explorer 300 or 500 terminals.
If you decide that the Thuraya network is the most suitable for your needs, there is just one terminal available; the Thuraya IP terminal. It is an ultra-light weight and compact satellite terminal and the world's smallest, most durable terminal to provide speeds of up to 444 kbps. This convenient 'always-on' terminal enables fast, reliable data connectivity even from the most remote regions across more than 140 countries in Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
If you're still not sure which terminal suits you please take a look at our comparison table or visit our terminal page where you will see a more comprehensive guide of all terminals available through Global Telesat Communications. If you need a satellite terminal for a short period of time and wish to avoid the expense of buying one, why not have a look at our satellite terminal rental page to see which terminal could best suit your needs.
Pay-As-You-Go or Pay Monthly Airtime?
Once you have chosen the most appropriate network and terminal for your requirements you will need to decide how to purchase airtime to use with your terminal. If Thuraya is your chosen network provider you will have to buy airtime through a pay monthly contract. If you choose the Inmarsat network you can choose between pay-as-you-go and pay monthly airtime.
Pay-as-you-go airtime allows you to buy a specified amount of data and once this has been used or expires you can either top-up or purchase a new card. This is very similar to the way that a pay-as-you-go SIM card works for a regular mobile phone
There is a wide range of pay monthly, quarterly or annually contracts available for the BGAN network and in most cases we recommend you contact us for advice unless you know the specific plan you require.
If you plan to use your satellite terminal regularly throughout the year and do not want to worry about expiry dates or the inconvenience of topping-up pay-as-you-go SIM cards you may find it more convenient and cost effective to use a post-paid SIM card.
About Inmarsat BGAN
Inmarsat's Broadband Global Area Network - BGAN - provides both simultaneous voice and data, globally. It also offers a portfolio of guaranteed, on-demand IP streaming rates, and is the service of choice for many people working in areas that have little or no terrestrial connectivity.
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Browse our range of portable satellite broadband terminals or if you feel you need further information before you make your decision please don't hesitate to contact us