April 1st, 2014 – LightSquared, operators of the MSAT communications satellite constellation, are pleased to announced a multi-year strategic partnership agreement with ViaSat, Inc. ViaSat offers fixed and mobile satellite network services, which features ViaSat-1, the world’s highest capacity satellite; satellite broadband networking systems; and network-centric military communication systems and cyber security products for the U.S. and allied governments. Together, LightSquared and ViaSat will introduce ViaSat L-band Managed Service, an exciting new mobile satellite service that will combine the power of LightSquared’s MSAT state-of-the-art SkyTerra 1 L-band satellite, with ViaSat secure, all-IP, true packet-switched satellite technology.
Considered one of the most powerful communications satellites ever built
SkyTerra 1 L-band satellite provides ubiquitous coverage throughout North and Central America. Launched in 2011, the L-band satellite supports transmissions to small, cost effective MSAT G2 Satellite Radio by using a 22-meter reflector-based antenna, the largest satellite reflector ever employed on a commercial satellite. ViaSat L-band Managed Service will be the first to use this advanced satellite technology to support higher data throughputs to smaller devices and facilitate an order of magnitude capacity improvement over comparable L-band legacy systems. The new managed service is a reliable, always-on, low latency service that offers broadcast and multicast data transport and embedded voice over a highly secure network.
ViaSat L-band Managed Service will enable the development of specific applications designed to serve the communications needs of consumer, enterprise, and government segments. This unique device ecosystem will initially include M2M, vehicular, and aviation devices designed to support a range of applications from communications for emergency first responders, to monitoring oil and gas flow through pipelines, to mobile workforce management, and tracking and monitoring of high-valued assets whether fixed or mobile.
Download speeds up to 10 times what they are able to achieve today
“Our strategic cooperation with ViaSat provides LightSquared with an expanded foundation for near- and long-term business opportunities,” said Doug Smith, chairman and CEO of LightSquared. “This agreement gives new and current LightSquared partners access to a lineup of products and services with smaller form factors and will offer download speeds up to 10 times what they are able to achieve today.”
“The LightSquared SkyTerra 1 L-band satellite has brought the same kind of bold innovation to personal mobile communications that we’ve brought to satellite broadband with our high-capacity ViaSat-1 Ka-band satellite,” said Phil Berry, VP and general manager of MSS at ViaSat. “Together with LightSquared, we are bringing to market products and services that address the unmet needs of a variety of mobile communicators.”
March 26, 2014
Although the cause of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines MH370 remains a mystery, apparently the ultimate fate of the airliner does not. Based on intense analysis of satellite data provided by the British satellite communications company INMARSAT, the Malaysian government has concluded light MH370 terminated in the Southern Indian Ocean.
In a March 24th press release, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stated that, through the use of "Doppler” analysis provided by INMARSAT, which has "never before been used in an investigation of this sort", Inmarsat engineers concluded that the plane's last known position was in the middle of the Southern Indian Ocean, some nautical 1500 miles Southwest of Perth, Australia.
Prime Minister Razak went on to say that "This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must conclude that flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean." There can be no survivors.
INMARSAT’s assistance in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was enlisted almost immediately after the aircraft disappeared. Although ACAR, the main Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, had been apparently disabled by the cockpit crew, one of Inmarsat’s geostationary satellites continued to receive a series of automated hourly 'pings' from a terminal on the plane. Analysis of these pings established that MH370 continued flying for at least five hours after the aircraft left Malaysian airspace
"We looked at the Doppler effect, which is the change in frequency due to the movement of a satellite in its orbit. What that then gave us was a predicted path for the northerly route and a predicted path the southerly route," explained Chris McLaughlin, senior vice president of external affairs at Inmarsat. "That’s never been done before; our engineers came up with it as a unique contribution." Although this information was relayed to Malaysian officials almost immediately after flight MH370 disappeared, there was a delay of several days before officials redirected the search efforts to include the area described by the satellite data.
Meanwhile, Inmarsat's engineers continued to analyze the pings and developed a much moredetailed Doppler affect model for two possible paths that the aircraft may have flown. They were able to establish an "extraordinary matching" between Inmarsat's predicted path and the readings from other planes on that route. "By yesterday they were able to definitively say that the plane had undoubtedly taken the southern route," said McLaughlin.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the passengers and crew of Flight MH370.
A satellite phone sends as well as receives calls by making use of satellites high above the earth, instead of broadcasting towers as in the case of cellular communication. Historically, people believed that satphones are reserved only for seamen, soldiers and those who go on exotic excursions, like Indiana Jones. In the past, the cost and size of handheld satellite phones have prevented this technology from having mass appeal. However today in 2014, all this has changed now as the cost and size of portable satellite devices have decreased significantly. Smart phones beware.
Smartphones may be everywhere, but if you happen to be in a place without any cell signal, communicating is impossible. However, Iridium's new device solves this problem by transforming your smartphone into a Wi-Fi hotspot via satellite. Introducing The Iridium Go, a portable hotspot device that enables you to have access with the outside world, irrespective of where you are, at speeds of up to 2.4 kbps.
Wifi Hotspot via Satellite - No Matter Where You are on the Planet
The device measures 4.5 x 3.25 x 1.25 inches and weighs 295 grams. When you're in the middle of nowhere and want to place a call, get info on storm warnings, or check your email, all you have to do is open the Iridium Go app on your iOS or android tablet or smartphone, flip up the device’s integrated antenna and the connection immediately converts into a satellite transmission with a radius of approximately 100ft. The Iridium Go is very rugged and withstands harsh weather conditions and links up as many as five mobile devices simultaneously.
Small Enough to Fit in Your Pocket
The Go may not be designed for watching Netflix and uploading your Antarctica expedition on YouTube. However, the device will enable you to make a call no matter where you are, send as well as receive text messages and notify someone of your location coordinates . The Iridium GO supports a range of communication capabilities such as voice, email, social networking, photo sharing, two-way SMS, SOS alert and GPS tracking.
The Iridium Go is compatible with the upcoming satellite network, Iridium Next, which can boost its speeds and take it nearer to those that the modern 3G/4G networks provide. Pricing of the device is not yet clear, but shipping of the Iridium Go is scheduled to start within the first six months of 2014.
The other day I was on the internet Christmas shopping for a crash helmet for my teen age son. He’s recently gotten involved in an activity that makes wearing a helmet the prudent thing to do. Although Florida does not have a helmet law...our family does.
The first thing that jumps out at you is the tremendous variety of options that are available. Crash helmets come in all variety of shapes and sizes with an endless choice of styles, decorations, color schemes, ventilation options, face protectors, bluetooth options and so on. Prices range for $40.00 to $400.00, and more! I also learned that there is a complicated and comprehensive system that rates crash helmets on their ability to withstand impact. What a concept!
Maybe he could just be extra careful?!!
So I found myself thinking…how much should I spend on a product that probably will never be used? Occasionally we do read about motorcycle accidents, but not all that often. He’s a pretty cautious kid, usually exhibits pretty good judgment.
I also knew style was important to him. He’s a kid so it’s all about being cool. The last thing he was concerned about was how it would stand up in the event of an accident and (God forbid) a severe blow to his head. Then it dawned on me again as it has so often previously. One of the reasons that kids (especially boys) have parents is to protect them from themselves, to exercise mature judgment in the absence of their own.
The answer is obvious, isn’t it? You buy the safest most well-constructed and highest safety rated helmet that you can afford! If it happens to look really cool that’s a bonus, but it’s not the priority. Granted, he probably will never need it but what if he does? Is saving a few hundred dollars going to matter? Like I said, the answer is obvious!
We all do it
As I write this article I’m thinking to myself how obvious this thought process is and yet, I also know from personal experience how often we overlook or ignore the obvious. We all do it. It’s human nature. What’s important and what is not? Where can we do without and where can we not?
When the sh** hits the fan
My family is also concerned about preparedness, as I know you are as well. I cannot recall purchasing an item as a part of my preparedness regimen when I didn’t have that same conversation with myself that I had with the crash helmet. What’s important and what is not? Where can I cut and where should I not? You talk about buying things that you hope you’ll never use. Spend some time on SurvivalBlog.com or any of a number of similar websites perusing the variety of products and services that they support. Do you really think you’ll need a solar stove to bake bread in the back yard? Should we really spend a couple of hundred dollars on seeds so that we can grow our own vegetables when we can get all that we need at the grocery store? You know the answer.
Hello out there!!
Perhaps you have already recognized the need for being able to communicate beyond shouting distance in the event cell and landline service cease operating. Ruling out smoke signals and semaphore, there are only a couple of realistic options. Ham radio and satellite come to mind immediately.
There’s a lot of information available on Ham. It’s a valuable technology to be sure and I encourage you to investigate it thoroughly. But it’s also expensive, cumbersome, has a very steep learning curve and can potentially put your security at risk. Handheld satellite technology, while not inexpensive, costs much less than Ham and also offers the added benefits of portability, privacy and simplicity, just to name a few.
When there are no options.
Granted, it’s a tough decision, to spend several hundred dollars or more on something for which you almost certainly will have no use…unless you have no options. You have no options, the key to everything that is “preparedness”. You have no options.
We’re no different from each other. Our landlines and cell phones are more than dependable. Whenever we want to speak with someone we simply call them. We have options.
But what if we don’t one day? Given some of the scenarios with which we concern ourselves, it’s very possible.
Consider waking up one day to landlines and cell phones not working. You may have experienced it before. I have. We’re in the hurricane belt so we’re subject to electricity and telephone outages from time to time. The difference is…we know it’s just a matter of days, maybe a week or two, before the power company has the electricity working and the phone company has restored phone service. Will that also hold when the SHTF?.
The 6 o'clock news…UGH!
If you’re like me watching or listening to the news usually makes me angry. You may also have friends who no longer pay attention to the news for very reason. Maybe you have yourself. I’ve tried, but I can’t. Knowledge is still power, even if the knowledge makes me angry.
- I can’t imagine being unable to communicate beyond shouting distance.
- I can’t imagine having no knowledge of what is going on in the world beyond what I can see from my front porch.
- I can’t imagine not being able to contact loved ones and like-minded friends when the time comes.
- I can’t imagine thinking to myself…”I sure am glad I saved a few hundred dollars instead of …”
Don’t misunderstand, I would never advocate spending more than one can afford. To be sure, reducing debt and increasing savings is an essential cornerstone of preparing. What I do advocate that we research our purchases carefully so that we can make prudent and informed decisions prioritizing where to spend and where to save and, in so doing we anticipate as best we can, what life could be like if and when it all comes apart.
I think there are plenty of areas to cut expenses. I just don’t think crash helmets and satellite phones are two of them.
Perhaps as many as 10,000 people have perished with hundreds of thousands more displaced from their homes in the Philippines as a result of Typhoon Haiyan. Named “Yolanda” by the Filipino authorities, the typhoon is considered by many to be one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful, storms in recorded history causing certainly one of the worst natural disasters in history.
Yolanda struck the eastern coastal provinces of Leyte and Samar on November 8, 2013, a day certain to be remembered as one of the worst days in the history of the Philippines.
Initially slow to get started due to looting concerns and the lack of infrastructure in place to support it, aid has since ramped up to a furious pace as troops and supplies continue to flood to the area from all over the world.
Always a significant challenge in any such natural disaster is providing the communications required in order to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid to thedevastated areas. Also, one cannot underestimate the need for the desperate victims of Yolanda to be able to communicate with their families both within the country as well as throughout the world.
Telecoms Sand Frontieres (TSF), working in conjunctions with the United Nations, has provided two teams equipped with BGAN satellite technology and handheld Isatphone Pro satellite phones by Inmarsat to coordinate relief efforts throughout the island chain.
Anticipating the extent of the disaster, Inmarsat was able to get the equipment to the islands before the typhoon struck. This proved significant in expediting the search and rescue efforts by the Minister of Home Affairs and facilitating victim communications with loved ones thought the world. One cannot underestimate the importance of just being able to tell loved one that you are ALIVE!
“We were able to set up three telecom centers for relief co-ordination before the influx of humanitarian aid arrived in the aftermath of Haiyan,” said a TSF spokesman.
Once again, Inmarsat stands at the forefront of disaster rescue and relief efforts worldwide. Thanks to BGAN satellite and the Isatphone Pro, a horrible situation is made just a little less horrible.
Satellite Communications Technology
Complicated or… not so much?
One of the most often asked questions that we get from prospective portable satellite internet and voice customers concerns the skill level required to operate the communications terminal itself. Because the technology behind the construction, launching and operation of the satellites themselves is so incredibly complex the natural tendency is for people to assume that it also takes a high level skill in order to operate the satellite telephone itself.
Nothing could be further from the truth
While it is true that there are some satellite terminals on the market that do have a steep technical learning curve, the very popular MSAT G2, does not. Arguably perhaps the most underrated workhorse communications terminal available today the MSAT G2 is truly “plug and play”. There may be technical “installation” expertise required for installing the G2 in a vehicle or on a sea going vessel but there is no expertise required for assembling the terminal for “operational” status. Within 15 minutes of delivery you can have your MSAT G2 assembled, powered up and READY TO COMMISSION. It just doesn’t get any easier than that.
What does “READY TO COMMISSION” mean?
Your MSAT Service Provider, perhaps (but not always) the same person you purchased the terminal from, will need to register your portable satellite radio onto the MSAT satellite network. As a result of the registration process he will have some numbers that will need to be programmed into the satellite terminal handset. He can either provide you the numbers and commissioning instructions to do this yourself or, more commonly, he will walk you through the process over the phone.
How complicated it the “COMMISSIONING” process?
Would you believe 5 steps and 5 minutes? That’s all there is to it!
We do this ALL THE TIME for our customers. With your cell phone in one hand (or sitting on a table in “speaker mode”) and the G2 handset in the other hand your MSAT Service Provider will take you through the 5 steps, step by step, culminating in “commission pass” appearing on the handset LED display. Congratulation, you’re operational, child’s play compared the effort it took to learn how to operate the REMOTE for your new flat screen TV!
Yes, but how difficult is it to learn to OPERATE the telephone?
This might take another 5 minutes. Actually, you will have probably learned to operate the terminal via the COMMISSIONING process. If you can operate a cell phone you can operate the G2 as they have virtually identical dialing and answering protocols. Squeeze the PTT microphone, wait ½ second and begin talking. When you’ve finished talking release the PTT mike and listen for a response. You just learned how to operate the Dispatch Radio function. (For more on Dispatch Radio…link.)
Remember, by definition satellite telephones including the iSatPhone Pro are engineered for installation and use in remote locations; off shore vessels, over the road trucks, remote terrestrial outposts, just to name a few applications. Customers typically do not have ready access to technical support from these locations. While the vessel captain or the over the road driver has his own highly defined skill set, that skill set most probably does NOT include the use of satellite technology. The MSAT G2 does an excellent job of providing current generation satellite technology in a straight forward easy to understand operational protocol.
When it’s all said and done.
Looking to send data over your satellite phone but don’t know where to begin? Problem solved…and for less than the cost of dinner for 4 with a bottle of wine in a nice restaurant!
Iridium, Inmarsat, Globalstar, Thuraya, or Lightsquared, regardless of which constellation or which portable satellite internet device you’re using, with XGATE together with the Optimizer you’ll be:
sending and receiving emails
updating your Facebook page
downloading weather data (receive GRIB files)
redit card processing
transfering files - manually and automated.
web browsing and web caching with XWEB
sending videos and images
Compatible with nearly every known operating system available in the market today, the Optimizer powered by RedPort, will keep you in touch with the people that matter the most, be they family, friends or business associates. Not much larger than a deck of cards, the Optimizer interfaces with virtually every data capable satellite radio on the planet including the BGAN satellite, MSAT G2 and IsatPhone Pro, just to mention a few.
XGATE is state-of-the-art data compression software. The Optimizer is a router that creates the ultimate firewall and WiFi hotspot. Together they provide the perfect combination of airtime saving efficiency, virus protection, while easily accessing the services that you need.
That file that may have taken 10 MB’s to transfer now may take 2. What may have taken 60 minutes to transfer now may take 3. On average, XGAT uses only 5% of the data of a standard email program. That means that you will save up to 95% of airtime costs compared to using your satellite email without XGATE. That’s a HUGE savings!
Choose one of 22 available languages. Use an “included” email address or the same old familiar email address that you use with Outlook or Apple Mail. There are even options that allow you to set the SEND and RECEIVE addresses so others see whatever email address you would like them to see.
XGATE BigMail gives you a heads up when someone sends you an extra-large file, giving you the option to elect to download it now or wait until you are on another connection. XGATE gives you the files that you need when you need them, saving the video of Fido for later. XGATE servers scan every email for viruses and spam, blocking them before they go over your satellite system, saving you money in airtime costs and keeping your device clean.
XWEB works with XGATE to let you browse the Internet, with 3 to 5 times average acceleration, unheard of before in satellite technology. In fact, when was the last time you even considered browsing the internet over your BGAN satellite, IsatPhone Pro or MSAT G2? I thought so!
So, to summarize, the Satellite Optimizer with XGATE provides:
- The services that you want…Email, Internet, Weather, Social Media, Blogging and GPS Tracking
- The way that you want them…Easy, Affordable and Reliable
- The Devices that you use…Computers, Tablets, and Smart Phones using Apple iOS and Google Android
- The satellite networks that you need…Iridium, Inmarsat, Globalstar, Thuraya and Lightsquared.
Wessex Water, a British utility company equips its rapid deployment emergency response teams with BGAN satellite by Inmarsat. The company currently provides water and sewage services to nearly 1.3m people across the south-west of England. Company Managers decided to upgrade their communications systems to support a rapid response in remote areas where cell phone service is spotty, non-existent or unreliable.
Inmarsat partner Hughes, which supports a solution offering automatic rollover from 3G to satellite utilizing the very portable, very cost effective, light weight and ruggedized 9450 Vehicular BGAN satellite terminal. The 9450 allows utility company crews to stream live video from the scene of incidents, keeping communication channels open when cellular coverage is not available and synchronizing communications between mobile units and the command center.
“We’re proud to have been chosen by Wessex Water for this critically important service,” said Chris O’Dell, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Hughes Europe. “Wessex Water’s engineers previously faced an uncertain communications environment when responding to a major incident.”
Check out the new MSAT G2 Satellite Radio Promotional Video
On October 18th the island of Bohol in the Philippines was struck by an earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale. Damage is catastrophic.
Communities on the island are devastated with more than 3 million people affected. There is severe damage to thousands of homes as well as roads and other infrastructure. Some 600,000 families continue to be without electricity due to the landslides triggered by the earthquake.
Some communities located in remote areas of the island are completely isolated due to damage to the communications infrastructure.
Equipped with Inmarsat BGAN terminals, Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) has dispatched a team of telecommunications experts to the island to help with communications related issues.
“We are aware of the need for telecommunications in disaster zones and are reaching out to the most remote areas of the island, to not only help co-ordinate the much needed humanitarian aid, but also to provide means of contact for the many families affected by this disaster,” said a TSF spokesman.
Team members of the emergency telecoms group are equipped with portable Satellite Internet devices via BGAN and Isatphone handheld satellite phones.