BGAN FAQ

explorer-510_thumbnail.jpgGeneral Questions about Inmarsat BGAN:

1. How fast is internet access over Inmarsat BGAN?
2. What is Streaming IP Data and HDR?
3. How do I make a voice call to my BGAN?
4. How can I tell how much usage is occurring?
5. I cannot register on the Inmarsat network. What is wrong?
6. Can you recommend BEST PRACTICES to keep usage costs down?
8. My web browser displays web sites in a foreign language?
9. What is Forced Routing?
11. How do I check my prepaid BGAN account balance?
12. Can I get an Email Alert Notification that my BGAN Prepaid account is getting low?
13. How do I reload my prepaid account?
14. What value-added BGAN services are available from Outfitter Satellite?
15. How do I access my Inmarsat Voicemail?



inmarsat_isathub_wideye_isavi_thumbnail.jpgGeneral Questions about Inmarsat IsatHub or the Wideye iSavi:

1b. What is the Wi-Fi range of the iSavi?
2b. How do I get to the web interface that controls the iSavi?
3b. I can't get an internet connection. What is wrong?
4b. My iSavi won't turn on. What is wrong?
5b. Can the iSavi be used in the rain?
6b. Can multiple computers, smart phones, and tablets use the iSavi?
7b. Where can I find basic operating instructions for making calls and getting online?
8b. Can an iSavi be converted from IsatHub plans to BGAN plans?

 




1. How fast is internet access over Inmarsat BGAN?

Inmarsat Broadband Global Area Network or BGAN is a global satellite communication service that uses small portable and vehicle-mounted terminals to provide voice calling, internet access, streaming IP data, short messaging (SMS), and ISDN services. The coverage area of BGAN is nearly global except for the polar caps.

Streaming IP Data: The fastest data speed available from any BGAN is via Streaming IP Data in HDR (high data rate) mode. HDR typically achieves data transfer speeds over 650 kbps. Streaming IP Data is billed on a per minute basis based on the amount of connection time. The most typical application is video conferencing or video broadcast. Some video codec systems for broadcasting video, such as LiveU, allow two EXPLORER 710 terminals to bond to provide data speeds as high as 1.2 Mbps. This enables the transmission of close to standard definition television video over BGAN.

Not all BGAN terminals offer HDR mode. The Cobham EXPLORER 710 is our recommended terminal for HDR applications.

Standard IP Data: This is the most commonly used BGAN broadband service. It is billed based on the number of MB (megabytes) of data transferred instead of the connection time. There is no Quality of Service (QoS) for Standard IP Data. Rather, it is offered on a shared-bandwidth best-effort basis. Data speeds up to 492 kbps are available on Class 1 terminals. Other terminal classes have lower maximum data speeds. Our measurements typically have found Inmarsat BGAN Class 1 Standard IP data rates between 320 and 410 kbps.

What does this mean? We have calculated the time it would take to transmit 1 MB at various speeds. The 1 MB of data transfer includes the file size and any error correction protocols used by your computer software:

  • Time to transfer a 1 MB file at 200 kbps: 40 seconds
  • Time to transfer a 1 MB file at 300 kbps: 27 seconds
  • Time to transfer a 1 MB file at 400 kbps: 20 seconds
  • Time to transfer a 1 MB file at 600 kbps: 14 seconds

2. What is Streaming IP Data and HDR?
Streaming IP data is available at various data rates, including: 32, 64, 128, 176, 256, 384, and HDR (high data rate). Streaming IP is billed on a per minute of connection time. There is a Quality of Service (QoS) guarantee over the space leg. It is wise to make arrangements such as a dedicated line from the Inmarsat PoP to the end user's final destination. If this is not done, the data stream will be carried over the public internet after it leaves the Inmarsat PoP.

The higher streaming IP data speeds are useful for applications such as VPN, video conferencing, and video broadcasting. The 32 kbps mode can be effective for certain voice over IP (VoIP) applications.

HDR is available as a full channel or half-channel in symmetric or asymmetric. Full channel symmetric HDR speeds are guaranteed to be at least 580 kbps but can reach up to 800 kbps. Typical data speeds are around 650 kbps.

Full channel asymmetric mode is lower cost than full channel symmetric because it gives only 64 kbps in the network-to-mobile direction while the balance is in the mobile-to-network direction. It is useful for media-grade video streaming applications.

3. How do I make a voice call to my BGAN? If you are calling from a U.S. landline, 011 is the international dialing prefix. For many other countries the international dialing prefix is 00. From a U.S. landline, dial 011870XXXXXXXXX, where 870XXXXXXXXX is your 12-digit Inmarsat mobile number. This call will not be billed to your Outfitter Satellite BGAN account. Instead it will be billed by the international long-distance carrier of the landline phone at whatever rate you have negotiated with them for calls to the 870 Inmarsat country code. Rates for these calls are often very high so we recommend that the user of the BGAN call the person back from the BGAN if the call is going to be of long duration. Outbound calls from the BGAN are billed at the rates indicated on your BGAN service contract.

4. How can I tell how much usage is occurring?
If you have a prepaid plan, you can make a FREE phone call to get your current prepaid balance. Just dial 00870772000591.

The prepaid balance will be read to you in IPU or Inmarsat Prepaid Units. Refer to your Inmarsat BGAN service agreement for the prepaid consumption rates for different kinds of services such as voice calling or standard IP data. We recommend that you do a prepaid balance check before and after each internet session in order to monitor usage.

For some service plans, we offer Terralink Data Manager access. This is a password protected web portal with a configurable firewall, near real time traffic logs for voice calls and data usage that updated about every 15-20 minutes, web compression controls and filtering controls. The traffic logs allow you to enter a date range and get a cumulative usage report for that date range. The traffic logs are NOT rated traffic so there may be small differences between these logs and your actual billed usage.

5. I cannot register on the Inmarsat network. What is wrong?

  • A common problem is that the Inmarsat BGAN terminal needs a new GPS fix each day. Make sure you have a good GPS fix.
  • Make sure that you are using a valid APN setting. We can provide you with the correct setting.
  • Make sure that the antenna is pointed correctly and that the minimum required signal strength is achieved:
    • Hughes HNS-9201: 50 dBHz is the minimum requirement. We find that 55 dBHz of signal is usually easily achieved prior to registering.
    • AddValue WIDEYE SABRE I: 45 dBHz is the minimum requirement. We find that 50 dBHz can usually be achieved easily prior to registering.
    • Cobham EXPLORER 500: 45 dBHz is the minimum requirement.
    • Cobham EXPLORER 100: 41 dBHz is the minimum requirement. We find you can usually get 49 dBHz easily prior to registering.
  • If you are operating in extremely cold temperatures, make sure that you are using the BGAN terminal within its operating temperature.
  • As a last resort, do a FACTORY RESET on the terminal. This procedure is found in the User Manual. You can also call us for technical support.

6. Can you recommend BEST PRACTICES to keep usage costs down?

The most effective procedure is to use an application firewall that only allows traffic from a limited number of applications on your computer to pass through the BGAN terminal. The firewall could be a stand-alone product configured between your computer and the BGAN terminal or firewall software built into your operating system, such as the Windows firewall. Third-party firewall systems are not supported by Outfitter Satellite, but on some plans we can offer a firewall service that can limit the types of data traffic being passed through the Inmarsat PoP.

Another approach is to configure your computer, smart phone or tablet to minimize the amount of unnecessary background processes that access the internet. We have several blog articles on how to do this for various popular operating systems, including: Macintosh, Windows, iOS, and Android.Most computers have many background process including virus updates, software patches, data backup and other such processes. If these processes are allowed to continue while you are using the BGAN it will significantly increase your usage costs.

Web browsing is often a source of unexpectedly high data usage. Web caching prevents you from download the same graphics over and over so turn off automatic cache or history deletion and increase your cache volume to its maximum recommended size. Also, most browsers have settings that let you shut off animated graphics, background sound, and graphics. A free Basic Web Compression Feature is available on most of our service plans. Basic Web Compression pre-compresses graphics and text from a web page prior to downloading them over the satellite into your computer in a manner similar to what most cellular smart phone services do for their browsing services. Graphics viewed over the web browser will be of lower viewing quality, but your browsing costs will be reduced by as much as 40%. The pre-compression service is fully automatic. If you want Basic Web Compression turned on, just contact Outfitter Satellite technical support.

Finally, disconnect from the internet when you are not using it. Leaving a standard IP data session running opens the possibility to unexpected usage.

    8. My web browser displays sites in a foreign language?
    Your APN or Access Point Name controls the Point of Presence (PoP) at which the data stream leaves the Inmarsat network and enters the public internet. On many of our service plans, if you use VIZADA.BGAN.INMARSAT.COM as the APN your internet connection is routed through a POP in Europe. If you visit popular sites such as Google.com, you will notice that you are seeing the euro-version of these sites. If you change your APN to VIZADA-USA.BGAN.INMARSAT.COM then your internet connection will be routed through a POP in New York City. Please call for technical support to determine which APN should be used for your BGAN.

    9. What is Forced Routing?
    Certain countries including Russia, China, Australia and the United States sometimes may require that Inmarsat route data traffic originating from BGAN terminals within their territories through gateways within their country. This allows the host country to control or monitor the data that is transmitted. The customer is expected to comply with all local laws.

    Skype software is a free alternative but the user should be aware that Skype was designed to use as much bandwidth as is available to provide the best possible quality making it cost much more to use that DigiGone.

    11. How do I check my prepaid balance?
    If you have a prepaid SIM card, you can make a FREE voice call from your BGAN to check your prepaid balance. To do this dial 00870772000591. You will be given the prepaid balance in IPU (Inmarsat Prepaid Units). If you have a standard prepaid SIM card, then 1 MegaByte equals 9.1 IPU. 1 Minute of Voice-to-Fixed calling equals 1 IPU. Regional prepaid SIM cards have different unit-per-megabyte and unit-per-minute parameters.

    12. Can I get an Email Alert Notification that my BGAN Prepaid account is getting low?
    Upon customer request, we can setup a monitor to send an alert email at two different balances, for example 50% of your original prepaid balance left and 10% left remaining. This system is not perfect. The monitoring system only checks the balance every 20 or 30 minutes so it is possible to use more megabytes than you expect before you receive the alert message. Additionally, the monitoring system can be further delayed by other issues such as system maintenance.

    13. How do I reload my prepaid account?
    Reload online by clicking the RELOADS tab above. Urgent after-hours requests can directed to Technical Support by calling 615-889-8833 and pressing 7 but a minimum $500 prepaid order will apply.

    14. What value-added BGAN services are available from Outfitter Satellite?Outfitter Satellite is a Vizada Solutions Certifed Partner. Outfitter Satellite is an Astrium Services Elite Partner. This allows Outfitter Satellite to offer a wide portfolio of value-added services that can enhance the benefits of Inmarsat BGAN connectivity services by increasing your business efficiency and managing your communications costs.

    • Monitoring and Usage Capping: The monitoring system is especially powerful for BGAN customers on postpaid plans. Typically, our clients request that an email notification be sent to them each time a certain number of "units" of usage occur. It is also possible to suspend further usage after a specified usage threshold is reached during the current "running month". The client can call in to reset a new running month and continue using the BGAN service. Please call to discuss limitations of the monitoring system.
    • TerralinkTM Interconnect Broadband Services: TerralinkTM Interconnect is for Inmarsat BGAN and FleetBroadband users needing end-to-end bandwidth guarantees, secure VPN, live streaming video, VoIP, or videoconferencing. Dedicated support to customers is available all along the implementation phase to provide a tailor-made TerralinkTM Interconnect solution. TerralinkTM Interconnect services are shown in the table below for various applications.
      • IP-Sec
      • ISDN
      • Leased-Line
      • MPLS
    IP-SecISDNLeased LineMPLS
    Multiple Sites Supported


    Supported
    Multiple Users Supported

    Recommended
    Supported
    Bandwidth
    Good
    Excellent
    Excellent
    Costs Economical

    Expensive
    Expensive
    Security Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Deployment
    Time
    Short
    Short
    Lead time needed
    Lead time needed
    Main Benefits VPN over terrestrial internet only so the field unit does not need VPN hardware or software. The expense of the VPN connection over the space leg eliminated.
    Security of being a circuit-switched call that does not go over the internet. Bandwidth can be guaranteed (up to 256 kbps max).
    Very secure. Guaranteed Bandwidth.
    Very secure. Guaranteed Bandwidth.
    Main Disadvantages The method is economical but the main downside is that there is no bandwidth guarantee.
    Some land-based carriers are no longer offering ISDN service.
    High cost and lead time.
    High cost and lead time.
    Applications Web
    Email
    FTP
    Store & Forward Video
    Corporate Access
    VoIP
    Store & Forward Video
    Live Streaming Video
    Web
    Email
    FTP
    VoIP
    Corporate Access
    Store & Forward Video
    Live Streaming Video
    Web
    Email
    FTP
    VoIP
    Corporate Access
    Store & Forward Video
    Live Streaming Video


    Some Vizada proprietary trademarks are found on this page including: Vizada SolutionsTM, SkyFile® Mail, TerralinkTM, and Universal CardTM.

    15. How do I access my Inmarsat Voicemail?
    From your Inmarsat BGAN, dial 00-872-772-001-899 and enter your voicemail PIN code when prompted. When you first access your voicemail, the default PIN is the last 4 digits of your mobile number. Note: not all BGAN service plans have voicemail enabled. If you want voicemail and do not have it, please call us for support.




    IsatHub and iSavi:

    1b. What is the Wi-Fi range of the iSavi?
    The Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n access point of the Wideye iSavi has a range of 30 meters (100 feet) if there is a direct line of sight. Walls and obstructions will reduce the range.

    2b. How do I get to the web interface that controls the iSavi?
    Connect to the iSavi using Wi-Fi. The SSID and password for your iSavi is on the product label underneath the serial number. Once you have connected, use any browser to go to

    192.168.1.35
    or alternatively iSavi. The default username is "admin" and the default password is "1234".

    If you cannot make the Wi-Fi connection, remember the Wi-Fi password is case sensitive.

     

    3b. I can't get an internet connection. What is wrong?

    • The iSavi needs a minimum signal of 42 dBH to operate correctly. Better signal improves the performance. If you cannot get the minimal signal, make sure you have a clear line of sight with the satellite. If you are pointing the iSavi antenna through a window, this will degrade the signal. If there is a solar treatment or metal screen over the window, if could entirely block the signal. We recommend taking the iSavi outside to a location with a clear view of the sky.
    • Make sure the iSavi has a new GPS fix.
    • If you have a usage monitor or a prepaid service, make sure you have a non-zero balance remaining.
    • The APN setting normally should be the SIM default. If you are using a different APN value please verify that it is correct.
    • The iSavi has a built-in firewall which can block certain traffic types or IP addresses. Verify that is not the problem.
    • Redo the network registration procedure. To do this, press and hold the Exit Pointing Mode Button for 3 seconds.

    3b. My iSavi won't turn on. What is wrong?
    To turn the iSavi on, press and hold the Power button for 5 seconds. If it does not turn on, charge the battery for at least 20 minutes and try again.

    4b. How do I switch from LED pointing to audio pointing?
    Press and hold the Exit Pointing Button for 5 seconds. To change back to LED pointing, restart the terminal.

    5b. Can the iSavi be used in the rain?
    The iSavi has an Ingress Protection rating of IP65 if all its weather flaps are closed. The IP65 rating means the iSavi is dust tight and water jets projected from a 6.3 mm nozzle against the product's enclosure from any direction will have no harmful affects. The test is done for 3 minutes involving 12.5 litres per minute at 30 kN/m^2 from a distance of 3 meters.

    None the less, if you do intend to use the iSavi in the rain, it is a good idea to put it in a large zip lock bag to protect it from the rain.

    6b. Can multiple computers, smart phones, and tablets use the iSavi?
    INTERNET: The iSavi has a best-case data speed of 384 kbps down and 240 kbps up. Since the iSavi offers only shared-bandwidth service, a speed of 150 kbps is more typical. As many as three or four iOS, Android, Windows, or Macintosh devices can use the iSavi simultaneously and achieve a usable internet connection.

    VOICE: Only one voice call can be made at a time, regardless of how many devices are connected to the iSavi. If an inbound call comes in, all connected devices will ring and the first to answer takes the call.

    TEXTING or SMS: You can send SMS messages from the web interface if you are logged on as an administrator. Messaging apps on smart devices can send texts but this would be billed as internet access to the iSavi account, not SMS messaging.

    7b. Where can I find basic operating instructions for making calls and getting online?

    8b. Can an iSavi be converted from IsatHub plans to BGAN plans?
    Originally, the Wideye iSavi by AddValue was limited to Inmarsat IsatHub plans. The newest firmware supports Inmarsat BGAN plans if an Inmarsat BGAN Micro-SIM card is in the iSavi terminal.

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