Using the BGAN Launchpad


Using LaunchPad to align and register your BGAN terminal

To achieve the best signal strength possible, you will need to position your BGAN terminal in the direction of the satellite as accurately as possible for establishing a data connection.

The quality of the service will be compromised should the antenna be pointed in the wrong position which results in a reduction of the quality of service and data rates achievable via the network.

Here are two ways to point the antenna for best results:

1) Depending on which BGAN terminal you are using there will be audio and visual indicators to aid in pointing the terminal properly.

2) Use the launchpad

Use the following steps in BGAN Launchpad to help you point the antenna correctly and to register on the network.

a. The world map available on Launchpad interface will show your given location and help in pointing the terminal:

* There will be a drop down menu on map which you must select the nearest city of your current location. Your location will be indicated by a red dot.

* Below the map is an area which will help you to choose what Satellite to point your BGAN terminal to (Americas, Asia-Pacific, EMEA).

* You can choose 1 of 2 satellites that can be accessed from your location with affiliated angles and elevation. You may find that one satellite has a stronger signal due to lack of obstructions such as trees, mountains and buildings.

b. The more the sound increases the better the signal strength. You will also be able to see visually the number of bars on the Launchpad is increasing in bars the greater the reception.

c. When the maximum signal strength is obtained, click “Register with the network now” The BGAN terminal will attempt to make a connection. You will see the following screen when the connection to the network has been successfully established.

The BGAN terminal is now ready to use with the Inmarsat network.

Isat Phone Pro Satellite phone for Crisis Deployment

isat phone screen

Isat Phone Pro Satellite phone ideal for Worldwide Crisis Deployment

Emergency communications aid agency Télécoms Sans Frontières (TSF) have adopted Inmarsat’s new handheld satellite phone for worldwide deployment in crisis zones. Currently being used in Haiti and Indonesia, in the wake of the natural disasters in those countries, the Isat Phone Pro satellite phone is being praised for it’s outstanding voice quality and worldwide coverage. The IsatPhone Pro is an integral part of three emergency telecom kits being routinely deployed by the country’s national emergency response teams as they undertake to control the deadly cholera outbreak that has hit the country following January’s devastating earthquake.

TSF teams have also extensively employed the IsatPhone Pro satellite telephone throughout Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands in the aftermath of the tsunami that claimed hundreds of lives in that country last October. The lack of telecommunications on those impoverished islands has further prompted TSF to permanently maintain their presence there, in partnership with the European Union, in order to establish an emergency response system for use in any future natural disasters.

TSF’s Myriam Annette is quoted as saying: “An additional 14 IsatPhone Pro handsets will be deployed in the next few weeks to help Indonesia’s national disaster management agency and non-governmental organizations, which are still working to help the population in the very poor Mentawai Islands. The satellite phones will be included in emergency telecoms kits also containing BGAN equipment to enable relief workers to stay connected with coordinating bodies in Padang and Jakarta.”

Annette goes on to say that “Our staff is unanimous – the service is excellent in terms of voice quality and global coverage,” noting that the TSF also plans to purchase additional quantities of IsatPhone Pro satellite telephones for allocation to its bases in France, Thailand and Nicaragua. “The IsatPhone Pro will now be systematically integrated into all our operations.”

The Inmarsat-2 F1 Celebrates 20 Years in Orbit

satellite in space

The Inmarsat-2 F1 which was launched off aboard a McDonnell Douglas Delta rocket on Oct 30th 1990, was only supposed to be in orbit for a decade however the life of the satellite has extended into its third decade of service.

The F1 which was designed and built out by the British Aerospace and Hughes (US) was one of 4 Inmarsat Satellites launched in the nineties to provide world telecommunications solutions.

The sole purpose of the F1 was to serve the maritime market specifically the shipping sector coverage millions of miles of territory at the time. Inmarsat’s chief technology officer and program manager of the Inmarsat 2 Gene Jilg, says he is not surprised at the life cycle of the satellite.

“The Inmarsat-2 design was robust, the contractors were diligent and competent, and Inmarsat carefully monitored the program. The satellites have stood the test of time,” he said.

To find out more about International Satellite Services, visit us on the web at or call 888-511-3403

North Sea lifeboat relies on high speed marine satellite system


RNLI, the UK’s lifeboat charity and Inmarsat have one thing in common, saving mariners lives who find themselves in dangerous situations.

When it comes to the evaluation of the latest in high speed marine satellite systems, the FleetBroadband Skipper 150, there is no organization better qualified to test safety than the RNLI.

Lack of communications can mean death in turbulent sea conditions during a rescue attempt, as a recent video portrays. The high speed marine satellite system, the FB150 provided a reliable satellite communications telecommunications link for the crew of the Pride of Humber lifeboat as they struggled with the North Sea. The video reveals how crucial the demand is for lifeboat crews to have the capability of internet and email while at sea and how the FB150 meets that demand.

Because the rescue team had guaranteed service up to 100 nautical miles offshore, the technology of VHF and MF radios they were previously using could not operate.

Superintendant Coxswain David Steenvoorden said: “On one long ‘shout’ [rescue mission] we had an extremely rough, head-on sea, so we had the biggest amount of motion you can get on a Severn Class boat. However, we never lost the FB150 satellite connection – it performed extremely well. We like to see if we can test new kit to destruction, but in this instance we couldn’t.”

The FB Skipper 150 provided the team with the ability to check their positions with the coastguard, download the latest weather forecasts, provide wind and wave information. While en route back to shore, they were able to connect to a specific web portal to complete routine paperwork. They were able to work as if they were back in the office, a huge time saver for everyone on board. Because the data rate offered bandwidth up to 150kbps, this allowed the crew to email videos and photos back to shore while at sea via satellite.

RNLI operations staff officer Peter Bradley concluded: “FB150 has given very clear voice communications, very quick data communications and very secure communications.

“We’re very happy with the way the trial has gone.”

Offshore support vessels upgrade to Fleetbroadband 500

fleet broadband

Oil and gas support vessels to benefit from comms upgrade

Bourbon Offshore, a division of the Bourbon Group headquartered in France, operates in 30 countries with 388 offshore vessels at sea and a further 111 on order. Recently Bourbon ordered the Thrane & Thrane FleetBroadband 500 for installation on 25 of its offshore oil and gas support vessels, a move designed to upgrade their ship-to-shore capabilities to state-of the-art real time satellite communications technology. Specifically, the FBB Sailor 500 will be installed on 25 new platform supply vessels and anchor handling tugs being built at Sino Pacific Shipyards in Dayang and Zheijang, China.

Having originally decided to go with the earlier version Fleet 77 marine satellite internet system, the decision was made to upgrade to the Fleetbroadband 500 instead, allowing Bourbon to take advantage of the Sailor 500’s superior feature set (functionality) and the inherent significant cost savings over the Fleet 77.

“Inmarsat Fleet has served the marine and offshore sectors well. It made the best use of satellite technology available and enabled real use of internet at sea,” a satellite communications spokesman said. “This has provided tangible benefits to users, but the huge jump in bandwidth provided by FleetBroadband (Sailor series terminals) enables a next generation of offshore vessel applications.”

Thrane & Thrane business development director Mike Kellner said it was vital operators chose not only a solution that can withstand the harsh offshore environment, but also one which benefits from a strong support network. Kellnor added: “As the project to supply SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband for Bourbon Offshore’s ‘newbuildings’ demonstrates, a foundation of reliable feature-rich hardware is vital, but the support and customer focus behind it is important too.”

Fleetbroad 500 to provide satellite link to Replica Endeavour


Replica Endeavour retraces Cook’s famous voyage

The Tall Ship, HM Bark Endeavour, a replica of Captain Cook’s famous vessel will begin a 13 month voyage next April, retracing its 18th century voyage around Australia. Often referred to as a “floating museum”, The Endeavour will stop at 18 ports 15 locations throughout Australia. While the circumnavigation will use traditional sailing and navigational techniques it will use anything but a traditional 17th method of communication on the water.

Inmarsat, the unquestionable world’s leading provider of satellite communications on the water, will provide a state-of-the-art real time Fleetbroadband 500 satellite terminal for the voyage. Among other things, the FBB 500 will allow the crew to keep in touch with the media and supporters as well as carry out an educational role.

Of course, an accurate replica of Cook’s original Endeavour does not have the usual space required for modern day satellite communications posing a challenge for the installation. Says Inmarsat spokesman Todd McDonnell, “As a living museum, the Endeavour’s communications capabilities must be hidden from all visitors seven days a week. But despite these challenges, the engineering team has managed to provide a hidden yet permanent modern day capability to the entire ship’s crew and sea-going passengers, for both operational and recreational use.”

The Thrane & Thrane FB500 satellite communications terminal will provide a voice and data connection to the modern world via both 3G and satellite. Equipped with Satcom Gadget’s Least Cost Routing solution, the fleet broadband 500 switches seamlessly satellite connectivity whenever she sails out of 3G cellular range, thereby always utilizing the most economical connection. There is a third connection option via wireless WAN, if required.

In addition to voice and data, the fleet broadband 500 solution for satellite communications on the water will also provide access to the internet and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to chart their journey using Wi-Fi LAN access from all decks on the vessel. The Endeavour will be able to provide video footage, diary entries, interviews and pictures which can be downloaded by schools and museums as she sails around Australia.

The circumnavigation will begin in Sydney and trace James Cook’s original voyage 240 years ago when he became the first explorer to chart the east coast of Australia. From Queensland, the Endeavour will sail across the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Top End to Darwin, before sailing into the Indian Ocean and along the Western Australian coast to Fremantle. The ship will then cross the Great Australian Bight, taking in South Australia and continuing around Tasmania, before crossing the Bass Strait to Victoria and returning home to Sydney by May 2012.

Inmarsat named Volvo Ocean Race Partner once again


Inmarsat has once again been selected to provide Satellite Communications for one of the toughest tests of sailing endurance – the Volvo Ocean Race.

Those taking part in the 2011-12 Ocean Race can rely on voice and high speed data connectivity from the marine satellite services terminal – Fleetbroadband.

The race is also endorsing the Isat Phone Pro satellite phone, Inmarsat’s new global handheld satellite phone, by including it in the boats’ safety kits.

“FleetBroadband has proved it can deliver a flawless performance in tough conditions and that is absolutely essential for us,” said Knut Frostad, chief executive officer of the Volvo Ocean Race.

“We need to be able to get reliable and high quality material off the boats and deliver it to the world with immediacy.

“You could say that the DNA of the Volvo Ocean Race is really based around moving images. And to be able to transmit these images from the boats is core to our communication and story building around the race.

“In many ways Inmarsat’s FleetBroadBand has revolutionized the sport of offshore sailing. And by enabling us to be so connected to the boats, we can monitor them 24 hours a day from our Control Room in Alicante. This is crucial for our safety procedures and the onboard safety equipment is a vital tool for the crew in emergency situations.”

The race covers more than 39,000 nautical miles and starts in Alicante, Spain and finishes in Galway, Ireland 2012

Each one of the 70 Volvo Race boats will be outfitted with a Thrane Sailor Fleetbroadband 500 system providing simultaneous voice and high speed data communications which members of the crew will utilize to send live and store and forward video as well as email bulletins, radio interviews, photos and blogging. The video footage will be in HD.

Inmarsat is also outfitting each vessel with a Fleetbroadband 150 for crew welfare plus Mini C systems for global positioning.

The global audience of race fans is estimated to be up to 1.3 billion people

Lightsquared and Inmarsat moving forward with co-operation agreements

Lightsquared and Inmarsat logos

The Satellite Network operator/manager Lightsquared has notified Inmarsat that it now wishes to move forward with the next stage of the agreement between the two organizations.

Both Lightsquared and Inmarsat signed an agreement in December of 2007 whereby Inmarsat will support a spectrum plan that increases the total capacity available through the Lightsquared ATC network.

For their part, Lightsquared will begin paying out Inmarsat $115 million every year increasing at 3% per year with a minimum commitment of five years. Phase 1 of the agreement was designed to enable the rebranding and efficient re-use of radio spectrum covering all of North America through a transition period lasting a year and a half.

Overall, this agreement plays two crucial roles. It will aid Lightsquared in the launching of the 4G ancillary terrestrial component (ATC) network and at the same time protecting the continued growth of Inmarsat’s mobile satellite services across the world.

“Inmarsat has already initiated programs to ensure our customers are protected from interference risks and has conducted analysis of the issues over an extended period,” said Perry Melton, Inmarsat’s chief operating officer. “Inmarsat is confident the effects on customers will be minimal, and where needed, will be dealt with responsibly.”

In a letter to distribution partners, Chris D’Aguiar, vice-president of sales and marketing, highlighted the measures already being taken to minimize the impact on users. They include:

* The Inmarsat B to FleetBroadband migration incentive

* Safety services over SwiftBroadband program

* Ongoing efforts encouraging users to upgrade to more spectrum-efficient broadband services.

Iridium Solar Storm

solar eclipse

We’ve recently had several inquiries from our customers regarding the recent major “solar storm” and whether we should expect any impact on the Iridium constellation. Solar storms generate increased radiation which can cause issue with satellites and even some terrestrial electrical systems.

First of all, solar storms are not all that unusual as we’ve experienced many of them during the 14 years the satellite constellation has been deployed. The Iridium constellation is a Low- Earth Orbiting (LEO) satellite system rather than the more common fixed High Earth Orbit or Geosynchronous satellite constellations. By their very nature, LEO constellations are much less susceptible to solar flare ups than the geosynchronous variety of constellation. Also, due to the robust design of the iridium constellation, our system default detection and mitigation processes and the altitude at which our birds fly, we have minimal concern over these kinds of phenomena.

What many people don’t realize, although it was announced last August in conjunction with the U.S. National Science Foundation, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab and Boeing, is that the Iridium constellation is actually part of the world’s first real-time solar detection system. As part of “AMPERE” (the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment), Iridium satellites actually contain sensors that enable 24-hour tracking of Earth’s response to supersonic sun plasma blasts. These sensors provide data tracking which allow for more dynamic and realistic predictions of space weather effects. Iridium is proud to be a part of this advanced solution– an excellent example of the important, unique, global data collection capability that we enable today and plan to continue to deliver through Iridium NEXT.

All Iridium satellites are designed with a high degree of on-board subsystem resiliency, an on-board fault detection system, and isolation and recovery capabilities. Our constellation is monitored 24/7 by a talented and experienced operations team. Iridium satellites were originally launched with far more fuel than required for normal operation, so fuel is not a concern. All satellite components are “hardened” against radiation exposure, and we are fortunate that our low orbit (780 km) experiences relatively low degrees of radiation. Finally, we benefit from a new operational regime with the U.S. Air Force, which gives us increased ability to monitor significant space debris and decreases our chances of having another collision in space.

Confidence in the Iridium constellation’s health remains high. We are proud of the reliable, critical communications lifelines that we provide on Earth…and in space….today as well as those we will realize in the next generation of Iridium satellites. Iridium appreciates your ongoing support of our team, our services and, finally, our amazing network.

CNN uses BGAN for Remote Video Streaming


Satellite Video Streaming via BGAN

BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) by Inmarsat played a big role in the top innovation award won by CNN for the coverage of the conflict in Lebanon in 2006

CNN walked away with both the Innovation Award for Content and Creation and Judges Award held in Amsterdam by the International Broadcasting Convention.

Watch the video below which shows how CNN utilized BGAN for mobile satellite video streaming