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Globalstar Quality of Service Problems that Started in February 2007

Globalstar Quality of Service Problems that Started in February 2007

PROBLEM:  In early 2007, Globalstar announced unexpected problems with their satellites. Evidently, the S-band satellite antenna power amplifier on the satellites had degraded and two-way voice and data services were impacted. Simplex services such as those used for some Globalstar-based locator systems, such as SPOT, were not severely affected.

SOLUTION:  Globalstar adjusted the configuration of its remaining functional satellites to cover the continental US.  This was done at the expense of parts of the coverage map, especially in the high north latitude, such as Alaska. Even in the areas that continued to have service, there was a significant increase in  dropped calls. The remaining satellites were farther apart so that path redundancy was often lost, too. This is the feature by which if line of sight between your Globalstar device and the Globalstar satellite is lost, the sat-phone simply switches to any other Globalstar satellite it can see so that your call is not interrupted.

SOLUTION #2:  Some Globalstar dealers such as Outfitter Satellite also offered trade-in promotions to help Globalstar customers switch to Iridium products.

SOLUTION #3:  Globalstar launched eight first generation, replacement satellites in 2007 to compensate for the degraded satellites.  Unfortunately, this was only a partial solution and had limited impact. Globalstar's second generation satellites are now expected to begin launching in the fall of 2009.  They expect to launch 4 satellites every 3 months until 24 additional second generation satellites are deployed. In principle, the 24 second generation and 8 first generation satellites (newly launched in 2007) would mean that there would be as many as 32 operational satellites.   If the launch schedule holds, noticeable improvement in quality of service would be expected by mid-2010.

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Problems with Iridium 9555 Data Services

Problems with Iridium 9555 Data Services

PROBLEM:  In principle the new Iridium 9555’s USB data kit should have been more straightforward to use than the clumsier  RS-232 serial port data kit used by the older 9505A.  Most of our customers had no problems using the 9555 for data.  However, some customers had serious problems that used up a lot of technical support time.

SOLUTION:   In June 2009, we stopped renting the Iridium 9555 for customers wanting data services.  We are waiting for Iridium to write better USB drivers.  We can support 9505As needing data over a computer’s RS-232 serial port, PCMCIA port, or (usually) the USB (port).

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