We were the first beta testers of a Mobile Command Center with full Internet Access in 1999. Our mobile command center was also the first unit with WiFi and Internet Mobile Access.
The next generation of this system of Broadband Satellites was introduced in 2004. And the next wave of technology almost exists for the 10 times that speed. Looks like Moore’s Law may just apply to Satellites, however with the former practice tries by Motorola and the incompetence with the FCC we saw previously we may find that there are significant obstacle to over come still.
The biggest gripe back then was the Iridium pricing of $134.50 per month and the ridiculous cost of $1.34 per minute. Of course GlobalStar proves that they are worse at 150 per month and 1.39 per minute and International calls at $1.79. The cool thing about Inmarsat is that it is 20 years old and still has the 9.6 kbps data speed and sometimes you can get the 64 kbps. Inmarsat A is ancient and 18,000 ships have the maritime Global distress system aboard. GMDSS. If you look at most all commercial ships you will see the antennas on top that can run fax machines, Telephones and various data interfaces. Previously they ran below deck Telex systems. This system as you would guess is purely analog which has much advantages in weather conditions at sea. Inmarsat B is a whole different story with it’s digital technology, you can definitely get 64 KBPS all day long for broadcasting audio streams, video (a little jumpy), and voice and fax transmissions.
The pricing of data transmission due to speeds can save users up to 40% simply because it takes less time per minute to down and upload data. Of course the hardware runs about $ 10K, but for what it is that is not bad considering the original costs of data transmissions. Now here is the new deal Inmarsat C, two way data communications, terminals are portable and small, brief case style. Costs for terminals are only $4K approx. and everyone in the TV business has one or more. Inmarsat also has a system for voice, which needs only a little antenna of 9.3 or more inches and comes in a small dome. These were recently featured in Popular Mechanics in Nov 01. Trac Phone antennas for boats, RVs etc are expensive at $6,500 but work well. This is also known as the SatCom system mobile. It is a briefcase laptop system and is only 5 lbs. Costs only $3,000. People call it their brief case phone. It uses a SIM card for multiple users a system if you will remember never took off in the US like the smart card phones in Europe. Remember the PCS Phones had that little slide in cards, but they were too expensive for mass production in cellular technology. Inmarsat F77 is another innovation of 2001. ISDN and mobile packet data service capabilities. Delivering Fax, phone, voice and data. 64kbs, Absolutely and without a problem. Almost trouble free, this is nearly fully operational. We are almost there. This technology takes advantage of the B-GAN services that will be provided by the Inmarsat 4 being launched in 2004.
This will be cool. US Based ComSat Mobile, a division of Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications has announced it’s cooperation with Fleet F77 in the first half of 2002. Ah ha, now we are getting somewhere ? Says the people at Stratos, who are arrogant Canadians. Why is this so cool? It means that users can send and receive data but only be charged for the data sent and received. Serf the web in broadband from anywhere or even a remote log cabin on vacation, emails and web browsing for about $89.95 per month all in real time with about 2-3 second delays for distance or in another system the one we have now it will be a half second delay with even higher speeds (I will talk further about this in a minute). Internet based systems like this means we can track every ship, truck, terrorist school bus in the country real time, just like they now track all the aircraft as we saw on TV during the 9-11 act. We watched charts of the US with every single aircraft flying.
Imagine the system capabilities for efficiency, safety, storm and weather watching, and safety of our people. I am really liking this a lot and everyone in America will be safe and the President can have his missile defense program because we will be able to track everything that moves which is not cloaked and right now that is everything that we know about. We can even track stealth bombers by frequency disruption patterns from cell phones. We win. Guess what these systems have a built in safety switch so important transmissions get there first for instance a ship in high seas in trouble, DEA transmitting while profiling a smuggler, or mayday distress calls. So if you are surfing or on line sending emails it will be delayed until the safety priorities are taken care of and at those speeds and numbers of users and the forthcoming Craig McCaw’s Law I predict to replace Moore’s Law for satellites that will not be more than a nano second by 2005. In other words you will assume a solar flare or even a thunder cloud.
Orbicomm is another data source with no voice capacity and handles two-pager and alphanumeric operations using a small network of LEO Satellites. Another web site we found of interest to you if you are using any of these technologies.