Satellite internet / data service options

Discussion in 'OnBoard Electronics & Controls' started by groper, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: australia

    groper Senior Member

    Hi there folks,

    I'm looking for opinions on the myriad of satellite data modems, satellite WiFi hotshots, marine data services etc for Internet connectivity to obtain basic services such as web based weather services and email etc.

    I'm specifically looking for low cost options for a small private yacht application.

    Data speeds don't need to be too high, although not ridiculously slow either. The service needs to be reliable and available in all areas of the planet- -not just north America region for example.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: UK, USA and Canada

    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I think iridium is still the only world wide coverage. Global star is only close to land masses

    The person I talked to before buying my iridium system was Ed Wildgoose of mailasail.com he also sells a very good compression software which you will need to reduce data and thus online time. Oh and he has been a multihull sailor all his life

    Richard Woods
     
  3. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    Low cost, high reliability and worldwide coverage are mutually exclusive.
    Keeping an antenna pointed to a satellite and establishing 2-way communication from a mobile object requires a lot of technology (and money). Iridium is the only system without strict directional requirements, but compared to dish systems it is very slow.
     
  4. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: australia

    groper Senior Member

    I would be happy to only have a connection whilst at anchor. I've been looking at several bgan systems which claim to have around 250-450kps speeds. These can be found by several brands for arpund 1000usd. .. data costs are a n little expensive tho...

    I think the game is changing pretty rapidly in this area thus I started this thread to keep pace with what's available. Gone are the days where you needed to spend plus $10k on something that would enable reliable weather and communications far from civilization. ..
     
  5. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Adriatic sea

    CDK retired engineer

    My internet connection has been a direct satellite link for the past 6 years, download speed up to 2 mps. Next weekend I intend to install a new dish pointed at Astra-3; the higher frequency (Ka band) offers download speed up to 15 mps and upload 2 mps. This is a fixed installation, 600 usd for the equipment and 35 usd monthly for 15 Gb data.

    Looking at the construction of the transceiver I doubt it can be used on a boat. It has a 200 mm long and narrow waveguide, so if the alignment is just a fraction of a degree off, the signal is lost.
     
  6. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: UK, USA and Canada

    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    we got our iridium phone on ebay from a soldier returning from Iraq. I gather they were given to soldiers serving there and in Afghanistan as morale boosters. No need for them after deployment. Cost was USD600 incl the data cables etc but not air time of course

    RW
     
  7. groper
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: australia

    groper Senior Member

    So looks like im about to pull trigger on one of these;
    [​IMG]

    second hand on ebay - $400USD - gives me 250kbs data connection to the WWW.

    Ive also downloaded and been playing with GRIB file software, im been playing with the freeware one called ZYGRIB. Seems to work quite well and does what i need, graphically displaying the weather and sea states over the in built maps, forecast resolution at 3hour intervals etc... Allows me to select the area i want to download weather for, and allows me to customize the file and check its size before generating and downloading it. There seems to be numerous places on the net which will supply 7 day forecast in the compressed GRIB file format free of charge....

    Data costs are still very expensive @ $8 per MB, however the GRIB file compression typically means a 4 day forecast for wind and sea state, to use for say a 500mile passage plan, would be around 100kb to download - or 80cents per forecast - i can live with that...

    Any other info you guys want to add?
     
  8. Cruising Happiness
    Joined: Jan 2020
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    Location: Florida

    Cruising Happiness Junior Member


  9. Isochroous
    Joined: Mar 2020
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    Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

    Isochroous New Member

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2020
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