Inmarsat BGAN RAN 8.53 Software Upgrade from July 7 to July 14, 2020

A planned software upgrade of the BGAN RAN to version 8.53 will affect Inmarsat BGAN customers.  The details and timeline of the upgrades are given in this blog article.
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The "Lure" of Deep-Sea Fishing Expeditions

The "Lure" of Deep-Sea Fishing Expeditions

For many fishing enthusiasts, deep-sea fishing is the ultimate experience. Miles of crystal-blue ocean on all sides; the cool sea breeze; the chance of hauling in a record-breaking catch — all are intensely attractive prospects. If this sounds wonderful to you, it may be time for a deep-sea fishing expedition!

Popular hubs for deep-sea fishing include Louisiana and Florida, which both provide several entry points into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Most Pacific deep-sea fishing originates in Canada and Washington State. It's always worth checking marinas anywhere though to see just what they offer.

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Save Money on a Cruise by Bringing a Satellite Phone

Save Money on a Cruise by Bringing a Satellite Phone

Save Money on a Cruise by Bringing a Satellite Phone


Who doesn't want to go on a cruise? Visit exotic destinations, relax in a luxurious cabin, with access to great food and entertainment? It's no wonder cruises are so popular. Millions of people find them to be the perfect means of getting away to unwind while exploring parts of the world in the process!

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Climbing Mount Everest? Bring your Satellite Phone

Climbing Mount Everest? Bring your Satellite Phone

Climbing Mount Everest? Bring your Satellite Phone

 

Since it was first officially summited in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, Mount Everest has captured the imagination of adventurers across the world as the ultimate destination to challenge the bravest among us. Today, hundreds of people visit Mount Everest every open climbing season to make their own attempt to climb to the top. Some reach the peak, but many are forced to turn back due to the mountain's many life-threatening hazards. And, unfortunately, some never make it home.  They encounter an obstacle they can't overcome, and are claimed by the mountain.   A lightweight Thuraya satellite phone can help improve the odds.

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9201 and the Optimizer

For many years, the Hughes 9201 was queen of the BGANs. Fast, easy to configure, and relatively portable with great battery life, the 9201 has served the niche market of providing internet access where nothing else can for many years. But with new technology like the Cobham 710 and the Hughes 9211 with HDR capabilities and improved interfaces, the 9201 is fast becoming obsolete with a broken-functionality web interface and a troublesome alternative app. With that in mind, there is a great way to breathe new life into the old queen of the BGANs and it starts with a functionality already built in.

Little Known Function

Built into the 9201 is a functionality called “ACA” or “automatic context activation.” When paired with a device like GMN’s Optimizer, the BGAN can be set in this mode and require no interaction to initiate a standard data connection. In the past, using this functionality without using a device like the Optimizer to curb unwanted data usage could result in high bills or using prepaid units unnecessarily. By using this setting, it drastically reduces setup time and interaction with the device itself and enables the user to get right to work.

The Optimizer

The key to this setup is a personal hotspot and firewall device called the Optimizer. The Optimizer has a two-fold purpose. First, it provides a Wi-Fi hotspot for devices to connect to. Wi-Fi has become the de facto standard for connecting devices to the internet, and the Optimizer excels at this. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the Optimizer provides a physical firewall for your mobile device or computer meaning that the only data the Optimizer allows your device to pull from the BGAN is routed through their app or connection compression. This allows you to keep the setting on your device the same and not have to worry about unwanted data usage while connected to the BGAN. The Optimizer stops any and all unwanted traffic.

Ease of Use

Historically, using the 9201 could be a rather complicated process. Making sure drivers are updated, settings are correct, initiating a connection through the web interface, and so on. Using ACA and the Optimizer streamlines using the connection process immensely.

  1. Setup and point the BGAN
  2. Accept the signal using the button on the terminal
  3. Connect the Optimizer via Ethernet
  4. Plug the Optimizer in to power or battery
  5. Connect to the Optimizer’s network
  6. Open Speedmail/XGate and check email or surf the web
  7. When finished, power off the 9201

How It Is Done

  1. Access the 9201 via the web portal (connect to the BGAN, open a browser, and enter 192.168.128.100)
  2. Click on ACA on the left
  3. Under “ACA Settings for TE’s Using DHCP Assigned IP Addresses” select Dynamic Background ACA Only to “On”
  4. Click Apply, then Restart Terminal

A Word to the Wise

Remember, this method is NOT recommended if you connect directly to your BGAN. The chance for unwanted data use is much higher using this method. It is recommended to only use this feature if you are connecting to the BGAN through the Optimizer. The Optimizer will automatically stop any unwanted traffic from any device connected to it, thereby mitigating any concern over high bills or high unwanted usage.

Outfitter Satellite currently has used 9201 devices for purchase as well as Optimizer units. Because the 9201 is a Class 1 BGAN, it still has fast internet connection speeds of up to 492 Kbps and is also capable of video streaming. If you currently own a 9201, pairing with the Optimizer can make this reliable, proven BGAN viable and easier to use for the foreseeable future.

#NoCellService

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BGAN Access Point Name Change

BGANs, like other satellite terminals, rely on a SIM card to provide service. Recently, Outfitter Satellite’s partner Marlink changed the access point name (APN) to access the Inmarsat network through their SIM cards. This will affect all BGAN users, postpaid and prepaid, with Marlink (formerly Vizada or Astrium) SIM cards.

Does This Affect You?

To check and see if this change affects you, check your APN settings. Depending on which BGAN device you have, this is done differently. Some of our most popular BGAN units are the Explorer 510/710 and the Hughes 9201.

Explorer 510/710

  • Power the device on and silence the pointing tone (if enabled) by pressing the power button again
  • Connect to the device’s Wi-Fi network (by default, Explorer510 or Explorer710)
  • Open a web browser and type in the search bar 192.168.0.1
  • In the bottom right corner, click the compass icon to bring up the connections page.
  • Next to the Standard IP Data connection, select the gear
  • Click the Parameters Box
  • If it says “Sim Default” under APN, this change does not affect you
  • If it says “User Defined” and the User Defined name is “xantic.bgan.inmarsat.com”, this change does not affect you
  • If it says “User Defined” and the User Defined name is “vizada-USA.bgan.inmarsat.com” then this change DOES affect you
  • Change the User Defined Name to “marlink-USA.bgan.inmarsat.com”
  • Click “Save”

Hughes 9201

  • Power the device on and silence the pointing tone (if enabled) by pressing the power button again.
  • Connect the 9201 to your computer with an ethernet cable.
  • Open Launchpad then select BGAN Services then LaunchPad APN Options.
  • Under current Default APN, if it says “xantic.bgan.inmarsat.com”, this change does not affect you.
  • Under current default APN, if it says “vizada-USA.bgan.inmarsat.com” then this change DOES affect you.
  • Change the User Defined Name to “marlink-USA.bgan.inmarsat.com”
  • Click “OK.”

Other Units

If you have a BGAN that is not listed here, we would be happy to assist you in checking or updating your APN. Contact us at 615-889-8833 and choose option 7 for tech support.

#NoCellService

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BGAN Charging Options While on the Go

Internet access while in the most remote of locations is possible these days with a BGAN unit, but BGAN charging options while on the go must also be considered. Designed to bring internet to wherever you are on the planet, a BGAN unit like the Explorer 510 is convenient and easy to setup as well as light weight and portable for transport.

The Explorer 510 has an on-board lithium-ion battery rated at 36 hours of standby time and 3 hours of connection time. While this provides a substantial amount of use time, it will eventually need to be recharged. There are several options for charging up the 510, even in off-grid situations.

Standard 110/220 AC power

The fastest and most common way of charging, through a standard AC outlet at either 110 or 220 volts.

DC Car Charger

If there is no standard AC power available, but access to an automobile is available, charging through the DC barrel plug makes a great option.

Solar Charger

Solar charging systems that include a solar panel and backup battery provide clean DC power to the 510 and, when sunlight is available, provide a virtually unlimited amount of power for the BGAN as well as other devices

Outfitter Satellite provides options for rental and for purchase of the Cobham Explorer 510. The rental 510 kits include the AC charger with Euro and US plugs, as well as the DC car charger. New and used 510 kits for purchase include the AC charger with Euro and US plugs with the DC car charger available for purchase separately. The 10 watt solar panel with 72wHr battery, available new and used, is a great way to keep the BGAN charged when in off-grid locations.

#NoCellService

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BGANs and Streaming IP Data

BGAN terminals offer a portable way to stay connected to the internet even in the most remote locations; however, you may have a need for a more powerful class of BGAN for distant communication—enter the new class 1 BGANs and streaming IP data. Depending on your use case, there are several different options to explore.

What It Means

Standard IP data connections over a BGAN device are considered “shared” connections, meaning that the connection is shared with other users which can affect the speed at which data can be transmitted. In normal web traffic, this is not normally a concern, but for video applications, a dedicated connection is more desirable. The Streaming IP connections are dedicated, and you decide what speed you wish to transmit and receive data.

Define the Usage

The expense involved with the hardware and service for a class 1 BGAN, specifically the Hughes 9211 or the Explorer 710, and HDR streaming IP data generally carve out a very specific use case. Generally, streaming IP data is reserved for broadcasting television signal, or is used for direct, real-time video communication, both from remote locations. Broadcast journalists can easily setup these portable units on location just about anywhere to stream broadcast-quality video anywhere on the globe. Technicians can stream detailed video for medical procedures or aircraft engine repair, where high definition is of utmost importance.

Pick Your Speed

The Explorer 710 and the Hughes 9211 are capable of utilizing BGAN HDR connection speeds. Full-Channel HDR service is capable of speeds up to 800 Kbps. But there are options beyond just the premium level. Half-channel HDR is capable of speeds up to 400 Kbps with a cost savings associated at that service level for those applications where higher transmission rate is unnecessary.

Pick Your Symmetry

HDR connections can also be divided into symmetric connections and asymmetric connections. Symmetric connections offer the same download and upload speed at the chose rate, meaning the BGAN transmits data at the same speed it receives it. For a cost savings, an asymmetric connection gives a higher transmission speed then receiving speed for applications where a high data transmission rate is more necessary than a fast receiving speed.

Things To Consider

  • Streaming IP connections are charged by the minute versus Standard IP connections which are charged by the megabyte
  • Transmission data rates, called “quality of service,” are guaranteed only on the “space-leg” of the transmission, meaning from the terminal to the satellite and back to the Inmarsat receiving station. Other transmission legs can degrade connection speed
  • Physical codecs (like Librestream or Stream Box) and software codecs are used to break the transmission into data sections and reassemble them on the receiving end
  • Latency, or the time it physically takes for the signal to complete circuit of 22,000 miles out to the satellite and back to the ground and across the internet to the end user, is minimized in HDR streaming data and can be handled easily by physical and software codecs.
  • Streaming is available for monthly and prepaid service plans, but must be specifically requested at activation; streaming service is not activated by default to protect end users from unwanted accidental usage.
  • Two terminals can be linked together (called muxing) to double transmission speeds for ultra high definition video applications
  • Only the Explorer 710 and Hughes 9211 are capable of HDR service.  Other Class 1 BGANs are capable of Streaming IP data, but are not able to support HDR.

Outfitter Satellite offers both the Explorer 710 and Hughes 9211 for purchase. Service rates for HDR and Streaming IP data are located on the prepaid and monthly service pages at our website.

#NoCellService

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Experiencing the American Wilderness

Experiencing the American Wilderness

Experiencing the American Wilderness


Despite the continuous development in America, there is an enormous amount of untouched wilderness remaining, thanks to national parks and other conservation efforts. The continent-spanning size of the United States makes it home to multiple ecosystems. Mountains, deserts, grasslands and several types of forest can all be found in the contiguous 48 states.


Here are three of the best places to experience the deep wilderness as untouched as possible, in several different biomes. These places do have one major thing in common, though: they are truly remote and each has its dangers. Make sure you are fully prepared and can stay in touch with civilization by bringing a satellite phone with you.


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Countries with Satellite Phone Restrictions

Countries with Satellite Phone Restrictions

Countries with Satellite Phone Restrictions 

Whether you're a frequent world traveler or planning your first vacation to another country, it's important to know the laws of the land where you'll be visiting.  Failure to educate yourself could result in consequences ranging from confiscation of restricted items, fines, arrest and detainment.  

Satellite phones are an excellent investment for world travelers, but certain countries restrict their usage in various ways or ban them entirely.  Even if a country has ceased restrictions on satellite phones and now allows them, it can be helpful to know that a restriction was once in place, as local authorities may not know that the law has been overturned.

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