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August 14, 2013

7 Steps To Get Satellite Email and GRIB Files on iPad or Android

"How do I get email and GRIB weather files to my iPad, Android tablet, or iPhone over my satellite phone?"

This is a question we get asked frequently, and the answer can greatly benefit your overall cruising experience. Here's our step-by-step guide on how to choose GRIB software for your iPad or Android tablet (also works for iPhone and Android phones), save the most airtime money, and get the most out of your satellite data connection. 

optimizer wifi hotspot1. Create a WiFi Hotspot Over Your Satellite Phone Data Feed

The best way to do this is with Optimizer. The Optimizer is a small router that, when connected to your satellite phone, creates a WiFi hotspot. You connect to that hotspot with your iPad or Android (like any other wireless network). It also has a powerful firewall that will block all traffic except XGate email service; thereby saving you from wasting satellite airtime while internet-aware apps on your iPad or Android look for updates.

usb to serial for old satphones2. Possibly Purchase a Cable to Connect a Satphone to the Optimizer

You only need to purchase a serial-to-USB adapter if your satphone requires a serial connection (many older phones do, including the popular Iridium 9505a). 

3. Set Up Compressed Email

XGate satellite email service is designed for data transfer (like email or GRIB downloads) over slow satellite connections. Its incredible compression and optimization technology compresses emails up to 90% of their original size, therefore generating massive airtime savings for you. XGate can also be used to update Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Subscriptions for XGate can be purchased for as little time as one week to up to 2 years. 

4. Download a GRIB Weather Viewer for Your iPad

weather4d pro app iconinavx app iconWeather4D Pro or iNavX are both great iPad (or iPhone) apps for viewing GRIB weather files. When a GRIB file is requested from the app, an email message is created in XGate and sent over your next satellite connnection. The requested GRIB file will be retrieved the next time you make that connection - this saves you money and transfer time, since connection costs can be fairly expensive depending on what satphone you have and data compresses better the more of it is sent at a time. 

5. Or Download a GRIB Weather Viewer for your Android Tablet

There are several available in the Google Play Store. XGate works with them to request and then receive the weather information, just like it does with the iPad apps. 

6. Not Recommended: Browse Internet Over Satellite for Weather

Even though this method may seem like it will cost less money (you don't have to pay for software, for example), it ends up costing way more in the long run because of how costly it is to browse the web and download files - even small files - over an unfiltered satellite connection. We've had customers who decided to go this route and then decided, after a few painful airtime bills, that they would be much better off with a GRIB viewer and XGate.

For a detailed look at comparison satellite data speeds, please check out our blog post comparing Iridium, Inmarsat, and FBB satellite email and data speeds

optimizer xgate for weather email

7. The Best Way to Go

With only the Optimizer, the correct USB to serial adapater (if needed), and XGate satellite phone email and a weather app you will be able to maximize your satellite phone for email and weather over your iPad or Android tablet.

Have you taken advantage of the 3-day free trial of XGate? You do not need a satellite connection for the 3-day trial; you can use your home internet connection (network connection) to explore all that XGate has to offer.

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