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April 23, 2012

Can I surf the web with my IsatPhone Pro?

IsatPhone Data ServiceIsatPhone Pro Data Service

One question we see a lot is "Can I surf the web with my IsatPhone Pro?" 

The answer is more complex than yes and no because of a number of factors. The first thing we ask in response is "What do you need it for?" If the answer is email, or weather only, then the IsatPhone Pro is a good choice. If someone thinks they're going to access the web the same way they do at home or work to surf for fun or to shop, the answer is that the speeds are so slow as to make it virtually (but not completely) impossible. 

What we wish people would ask is: "What services can I use with my IsatPhone Pro and what do I need to know about each service?" Of course, if you already own an IsatPhone, this question is even more important. 


IsatPhone Pro Voice Service

IsatPhone Pro phones offer reliable and clear voice service. There's a reason that tens of thousands of IsatPhone Pros have been sold, and it is this: voice service with low hardware and airtime costs. 

In the age of the Internet, it is easy to forget that most companies still have excellent voice services that allow you to do things like interactive banking, and that calling real people is still a way to get things done. Need to transfer money once a month, or check on stock prices? Voice services can do this. You can even have your email read to you by a computer. It's not always the most efficient option, but it may work for you. Make sure you consider these options for any satellite service. 

IsatPhone Pro Data Service

Technically, IsatPhone Pro satellite phones can access email, weather and web services. It's important to note that specialized hardware and software is required to achieve good, or sometimes even usable results. That being said, we do have many customers using IsatPhone Pro phones for satellite phone email and weather data like GRIB files. There are also a few customers who happily access small, specialized web sites via their IsatPhone Pro. 

IsatPhone Pro Data Speeds 

IsatPhone Pro data services use the Inmarsat GSPS data network. Inmarsat says that users will achieve a throughput of 2.4 KBps, or 2400 Baud. This is equivalent to dialup networks as they were commonly used in the 1980's and early 1990's. The last standard modem that most people had before they switched to DSL or cable modems was 56K, or more than 20 times faster than today's IsatPhone data services. To compound the problem, in real-world testing, we have experienced actual IsatPhone data speeds considerably slower than the stated speeds. At these rates, downloading a typical web page can take over an hour with an IsatPhone Pro. 

Today's computers are loaded with software that continually use data in the background to check for updates, stay in touch, or demand services. This means that just connecting a computer to an IsatPhone and establishing a data call will overwhelm the amount of data the system can handle. To use IsatPhone Pro data service, we highly recommend the use of a satellite firewall such as the GMN Optimizer to block unwanted data requests by your computer. 

Need "always-on" web connectivity? Satellite broadband services like Inmarsat FleetBroadband or Iridium OpenPort give you better costs per megabyte and faster speeds, allowing for excellent web access when used with optimized hardware and compression services. 

IsatPhone Pro Email Service

To successfully use IsatPhone Pro for email, you'll need two things: 

1) Satellite Firewall & Wi-Fi Hotspot

A satellite firewall will block unwanted traffic, saving you time and money, and will generate a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to your computer or smartphone. See GMN's solution, Optimizer. 

2) Satellite Phone Email Service

A satellite phone email service with compression will maximize your airtime use saving you time and money. Look for a service that gives you at least 15 times the average speeds of download, and make sure it supports your computer or tablet. XGate satellite phone email service gives you an average 20X acceleration speed, and supports Windows, Apple Macintosh and iOS (for iPad/iPod/iPhone) and Linux. Learn more about XGate satellite phone email.  

IsatPhone Pro Weather Data Service

1) Satellite Firewall & Wi-Fi Hotspot

A satellite firewall will block unwanted traffic, saving you time and money, and will generate a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to your computer or smartphone. See GMN's solution, Optimizer. 

2) Weather Data and Compression service

Weather and oceanographic data services give you access to up-to-date weather, and compress the files needed, saving you valuable time and money on satellite airtime. See GMN's satellite phone weather software, WeatherNet. 

IsatPhone Pro Web Service

Which brings us back to our original question: "Can I surf the web with my IsatPhone Pro?". Now you know that you can access email, and get weather data. You also know that IsatPhone Pro data speeds are so slow that "surfing" the web is impossible because download times for a single page can run hours, not seconds. However, we have had customers who want to access specific low-bandwidth pages for data they can't get through a voice service. If you're in this situation, here's what you'll need: 

1) Satellite Firewall & Wi-Fi Hotspot

A satellite firewall will block unwanted traffic, saving you time and money, and will generate a Wi-Fi hotspot to connect to your computer or smartphone. See GMN's solution, Optimizer. 

2) Web acceleration service

Web acceleration services do many things such as strip out backgrounds, block ads, compress images and text and re-render the page giving you 3-5 average speed improvement. See GMN's web acceleration solution, XWeb. 

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