Backpacking 101: The Ten Essentials

Backpacking 101: The Ten Essentials

People have been hiking and climbing since the beginning of time, adventurously seeking Earth's most remote and stunning landscapes. An age old tradition, backpacking is one of the most adventurous and economical ways to vacation. Whether you're a penniless student, a passionate outdoorsman, or a thrill-seeking daredevil, backpacking is an enchanting way to explore the magical nooks and crannies of our often unappreciated, majestic planet.


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Firmware Upgrade Notifications

Effective August 25, 2016, some Inmarsat terminals may need a firmware upgrade.  Read the article to find out more.

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Should you rent Iridium or BGAN?

Most people rent Iridium satellite phones for a one-time need such as a hunting or vacation trip.  A satellite phone is especially relevant if you are traveling to a remote location like Alaska where cellular communication is unavailable.  Sometimes, it can be critical to make a phone call because of a health emergency.  Usually an Iridium 9555 handset is the best choice.  First, it is exceptionally easy to use.   Also, rentals as short as 7 days are available with no airtime commitment.  Some people need a more sophisticated product that can support email or web browsing.  In this case, we recommend the EXPLORER 510 BGAN terminal.  Read more here.


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New Russian BGAN coverage

As of July 12, 2016, Inmarsat created a new MEAS region covering the Middle East and Asia.  The new coverage region is outlined in red below.   Furthermore, Russian BGAN users operating on the MEAS satellite will use the SAS in Moscow that was built by Morviazsputnik.  The new SAS will route all MEAS traffic originating or terminating in Russia.  Inmarsat BGAN and FleetBroadband terminals inside Russian territories must select the MEAS region.  Because of technical issues with the terminal implementation, Inmarsat Aero terminals operating over Russia are not required to select the MEAS region.  Read more here
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Review of Iridium PTT

In 2015, Iridium launched a Push-to-Talk service.  Iridium PTT immediately received the "Top Emergency Response Innovation" award at SATELLITE 2016.  For more on that see the Mobile Satellite Users Association 2016 Mobility Satellite Innovation Awards.   Iridium PTT uses mobile handheld satellite phones instead of the bulky terminals currently used by Light Squared (MSAT) or Inmarsat BGAN based push-to-talk services.  

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Reducing Internet Usage on Macintosh Computers

As you might expect, reducing internet usage on Inmarsat BGAN terminals is critical to controlling your budget.   In order to achieve that you need to make changes to your Mac's configuration.  So, here are some simple changes to reduce unnecessary background programs.

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Reduce Internet Usage on Windows Computers

If you are using a Windows computer with an Inmarsat BGAN or IsatHub, you should attempt to reduce internet usage that is not necessary.   This helps keep your operational cost low and increases the performance of your primarily application.  Keeping internet traffic to a minimum is not typically even a consideration for Windows users.   Most Windows machines use internet access almost continuously for background processes such as updating anti-virus definitions or applying the latest Windows or Java update.  The list of background applications is almost endless.   Now, imagine that you are using an Inmarsat BGAN Class 2 terminal to transmit email or even video conference.   The BGAN terminal provides a data speed 350- 400 kbps (typically) but up to 464 kbps (best case).  This is a relatively limited speed compared to the megabit per second speeds available from terrestrial internet providers available in a typical home or office environment.  Because the data speed is so limited on Inmarsat BGAN, it needs to be completely focused on the primary application and not shared with competing background applications such as downloading the latest Windows update.   Fortunately, simple changes to your Windows configuration can substantially reduce unnecessary internet traffic.  This blog article explains some basic steps that you can take to resolve this problem.

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Reduce Data Traffic on Android Smartphones

A recent survey of American smart phone users found that the average smart phone uses 1.8 GB of mobile data monthly.   In addition to that, the average smart phone uses between 6.8 and 8.9 GB of Wi-Fi data each month.   That means we are consuming about 20 MB during every hour that we are awake.    Wasteful data usage on your Android smartphone may not be of much concern for cellular users with unlimited data plans.   The same cannot be said of users of Inmarsat IsatHub or Inmarsat BGAN satellite terminals which pay by the megabyte for their data traffic.  Fortunately, simple changes to the configuration of your Android smart phone or tablet can reduce its data consumption dramatically.  This blog article provides some practical advice.

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