Posted: Feb 05, 2014 04:44 pm EST
(HumanEdgeTech) Yesterday we covered the new sat phone sleeves. While handhelds work fine for expedition blogging; heavy usage such as video conferencing is a different animal.
This is where things get a bit more complicated so here goes a cheat sheet.
Quick run through different data speeds:
2.4 kb/s Iridium
134 kb/s Iridium OpenPort
60 kb/s Thuraya (with GMPRS activated)
444 kb/s Thuraya IP
492 kb/s Inmarsat BGAN system
+800 kb/s HumanEdgeTech Sat2Speed (custom solutions)
Note that this is raw speed. Different compression tricks making the files smaller can decrease the time, but not change the speed itself.
What you can do at the different speeds
2.4 kb/s Dispatches and pictures with a system such as CONTACT 5. No video (has been done, but with difficulty).
60 kb/s Short videos for internet.
134 kb/s Video conferencing with Skype of low quality.
400 kb/s Video conferencing and video uploads of high quality (not live).
1 MB Minimum bandwidth for live video.
How to choose a unit
Inmarsat is by far the most popular system but lacks polar coverage. We recommend Hughes 9201 or 9202 that sell for $3k - $5k. Plans at $4 - $7/MB.
Iridium OpenPort is the only choice in the polar regions. The unit sells for just over $5k and data plans are $5 - $20/MB.
Thuraya IP has the smallest coverage area and units are around $4k. The system has some good unlimited plans if you need lots of traffic.
The full package
The modems will act as your gateway to the internet. Some units such as the OpenPort require a computer with an ethernet port. Others like the Hughes 9202 function as a WiFi hotspot, allowing any WiFi enabled device (smartphones, pads, computers) to go online.
For convenience, HumanEdgeTech offer customized ready-go-go packages that include computers and power.
All entries in this series:
1. Exweb Tech Week 2014: The Death of the Satellite Phone
2. Exweb Tech Week 2014: High Speed Satellite Internet Made Easy
3. Exweb Tech Week 2014: Best Sellers and Innovations