Mobile Internet

JimboT

New member
If you are looking for full function mobile satellite based communication Google "mobile VSAT communication". It's not inexpensive!
Also keep in mind that any of the geosynchronous based satellite communication system come with around 800 millisecond latency on each up/down leg, which can make anything interactive like conversations or video conferencing "awkward". Some database applications that have a lot of interaction between the host database and the client on you computer can be painfully slow also.
How about just for email with attachments?
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Hughes is a nightmare. Avoid. Not only do they have horrid customer service, it is expensive, and the latency is measured in seconds, not milliseconds. Be prepared to timeout trying to log into sites frequently and forget about using RDP if you are trying to work over sat. BTDT.
HughesNet is what you mean and it's a geosynchronous VSAT so as mentioned latency is going to be bad and bandwidth is modest (about 25 Mbps for a consumer). OTOH they have generous data caps in the tens of GB per month. The gen 5 (Jupiter) architecture measures latencies of about 650 ms and jitter in the 25 ms range. Which is pretty good for what it is but terrible compared to LEO and terrestrial competition. Their biggest customers are using it for backhaul of 4G/LTE and enterprise VoIP mainly so latency is manageable.
 
Last edited:

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
How about just for email with attachments?
Any of the satellite solutions are going to handle that fine but expensive relatively speaking. For example a 100 MB/month Iridium-based BGAN is about $400/month at around 128 Kbps speeds. It's usually measured in Kbps at Dollars/minute, so it might be $10/min to have a 128 Kbps connection and you basically pre-buy some at a discounted rate. To get the full channel bandwidth it'll be something like 650 Kbps at like $30/min or put another way you'd get for $30 about 38 MB.

A system like HughesNet or ViaSat will get you on the order of 12 Mbps to 25 Mbps downlink speeds and 3 Mbps uplink for $100/month for around 30 GB/month soft data cap where your speed will slow above some amount of data used. They generally limit speed on your account rather than volume but it can scale pretty readily if you want. VSATs have the data capacity compared to systems like Iridium designed for lots of voice channels primarily.

Where it could get expensive is hardware. A Hughes 9202 terminal for Iridium is about $3,000.

The equipment for a VSAT like ViaSat might be $500 or $750 or there about for a basic stationary dish. If you want to use that portable you'd have to set it up and aim it each time, which requires some sort of tool. Hughes sells their DAPT for about $150 I think.

To get a tracking dish would be quite a lot more money. An automatic aiming dish is probably more like $5,000.

For the occasional email and data you're really better off financially and convenience with terrestrial LTE cellular data plans, if you can. The hope was OneWeb and still for Starlink to bring cost and performance uniformity to the market, but we'll see. Satellites aren't cheap to build, launch and maintain so it's hard to imagine it being exactly affordable high performance for a consumer for some time yet.
 
Last edited:

FlipperFla

Active member
We travel with a Verizon Hotspot. Works great. It gets better reception than my Wife’s IPhone on the same network. There are two ports for external antennas that I have seen on Amazon and EBay for around $30. I was going to get then but there was no need. It’s great cruising down the road with real time info for exploring, research, streaming. One nice benefit while traveling we don’t have to make reservations at campgrounds, or dispersed camping in advance and locked into a schedule. Now about a hour or two before we decide to stop. We can pull up Mapping on Gaia real time with multiple mapping options, google earth, USFS all real time. Pretty cool driving down a trail watching you rig on google earth, found tons of interesting places on each side of the trails we have normally drove right by not even knowing they were there.
 

Daviticus

New member
Forgive me for not knowing the intricacies, as I am just learning about mobile data and comms, but I install these in police vehicles on a daily basis:


They seem feature-packed and are vehicle-ready, and the antennas are compact. I could not tell you about the network setup or services unfortunately, but I can say I’ve installed these in rural Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana sheriff and emergency response vehicles that I’d imagine need connectivity in remote areas.

For what it’s worth.
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Forgive me for not knowing the intricacies, as I am just learning about mobile data and comms, but I install these in police vehicles on a daily basis:


They seem feature-packed and are vehicle-ready, and the antennas are compact. I could not tell you about the network setup or services unfortunately, but I can say I’ve installed these in rural Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana sheriff and emergency response vehicles that I’d imagine need connectivity in remote areas.

For what it’s worth.
These are multiple network routers, meaning they can connect devices in the vehicle seamlessly to whatever connectivity you install. They AFAIK have cell LTE modems built in but can extend to a wide area WiFi, LMR (voice two-way Land Mobile Radio) data infrastructure if it's installed or satellites if they add them. Realize that the MG90 router alone is $1,600 and that's before any service subscriptions or anything optional.
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
What OP needs is a paged alert someone back in office can hit when they need to summon you.. have a special email that auto forwards to your phone sms, and either a satellite based SMS or APRS SMSGTE, or all of the above.

When you get paged, you simply hop in your vehicle and either drive to the highest point nearby and fire up an amp and directional LTE antenna or head into town w/decent cellular coverage to get your business done, then go back to camp.. Having a motor bike or something helps if your camping outta your vehicle so you can just toss your gear into a backpack and rip ass if needed without packing up camp.

This is how I've been doing it for over decade now, patiently awaiting SpaceX Starlink to untether me from civilization.. Still its very rare I cant respond within an hour as long as I dont venture too deep into backcountry..
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

ericvs

Active member
What OP needs is a paged alert someone back in office can hit when they need to summon you.. have a special email that auto forwards to your phone sms, and either a satellite based SMS or APRS SMSGTE, or all of the above.

When you get paged, you simply hop in your vehicle and either drive to the highest point nearby and fire up an amp and directional LTE antenna or head into town w/decent cellular coverage to get your business done, then go back to camp.. Having a motor bike or something helps if your camping outta your vehicle so you can just toss your gear into a backpack and rip ass if needed without packing up camp.

This is how I've been doing it for over decade now, patiently awaiting SpaceX Starlink to untether me from civilization.. Still its very rare I cant respond within an hour as long as I dont venture too deep into backcountry..
Do you have a list of products you use for this setup? It sounds amazing!
 

dreadlocks

Well-known member
I use a D710G Kenwood Radio on my vehicle and primary use APRS Packet Radio, the speaker under the dash can be unplugged and I plug in an external speaker I setup on the roof rack.. I added onboard 120VAC charger this off season with the intent to plug it into my trailer off an extension cord and keep the radio running/broadcasting.. I can always send a test message from a location and see if I get an acknowledgement and see if its working.. the Kenwood alert when a message comes in can be heard across camp like this.

I've toyed on/off with idea of Iridium Tracking/SMS setup but have not yet bit the bullet, my APRS Setup works very well in the mountains with so many mountain top digis in Colorado.. cant give any recommendations in this area but there's plenty of discussion going on these forums about em.. the recurring costs have kept me back, if it was something I could expense at work I'd of been on it by now.

My Cell booster is a hodge podge system I put together with some generic no name chinese amp and a yagi, it wont help you get a signal where there are no signals.. just help solidity a weak signal that fades in and out, you need good maps of the area to use em and know where to point em.. mostly use it so I can get solid SMS communications and still have to drive usually for decent enough signal for good data.. Its old, pre-LTE and has needed replaced for a while, so mebe I'll get better data through it with one of these newer units.. I dont have high expectations so haven't bit the bullet.

We also get our work phones on different providers than eachother and our personal phones, so in the end we've got pretty much modems for all the networks.

The paging system I control through my own web portal, it kicks off scripts that try to sms me, and if no acknowledgement try to SMSGTE me.. if I dont acknowledge anything it keeps trying, messages are short indicating who/what/why and priority.. there are paid services that can do that kinda logic too, pagerduty comes to mind.
 
Last edited:

FJR Colorado

Explorer
I have a Samsung phone with a company TMobile unlimited plan. Works great in 80% of all places and the tethering is superb.

For another 10% of all places, I have a Netgear Nighthawk with an ATT sim card. External antenna. The monthly fee is as low as $25 and you can just activate for months when you have a need.

That leaves me with 10% of all places where I don't get squat. Skyroam is sounding like a possibility...
 

Sneaks

Member
HughesNet is what you mean and it's a geosynchronous VSAT so as mentioned latency is going to be bad and bandwidth is modest (about 25 Mbps for a consumer). OTOH they have generous data caps in the tens of GB per month. The gen 5 (Jupiter) architecture measures latencies of about 650 ms and jitter in the 25 ms range. Which is pretty good for what it is but terrible compared to LEO and terrestrial competition. Their biggest customers are using it for backhaul of 4G/LTE and enterprise VoIP mainly so latency is manageable.
I guess different perspectives and potentially geographical locations can be a factor. Their data caps are no better than major mobile carriers for significantly higher costs. I typically use 5-6G a day - not including recreational use - and then once you hit the cap, they throttle you down to ISDN speeds (112k). I would have been thrilled with 650ms latency, I saw a low of ~900 and a high of 6.9 seconds. Maybe they have improved in the last few years as this was in 2017. I took the hit on ending the contract early and went back to 7mbps DSL (only other option up here).

And yes, HughesNET, sorry to have shortened it but that’s nicer than we call it around here. I have enough of their junk mail to make plenty of camp logs
 

DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
I guess different perspectives and potentially geographical locations can be a factor. Their data caps are no better than major mobile carriers for significantly higher costs. I typically use 5-6G a day - not including recreational use - and then once you hit the cap, they throttle you down to ISDN speeds (112k). I would have been thrilled with 650ms latency, I saw a low of ~900 and a high of 6.9 seconds. Maybe they have improved in the last few years as this was in 2017. I took the hit on ending the contract early and went back to 7mbps DSL (only other option up here).

And yes, HughesNET, sorry to have shortened it but that’s nicer than we call it around here. I have enough of their junk mail to make plenty of camp logs
It's a physics limitation. Even if everything in the path was perfect just the round trip time to a Hughes bird like Echostar 19 is 240 ms (light speed out and back to 22,236 mile location). That's just the actual flight time of the RF, not including any error correction, processing and the ground gateway and routing take a bite. For low latency or jitter-sensitive applications or if buffering isn't viable it's just not an option.

As to their business and customer service, yeah, Echostar. Meh. I get it.
 
Last edited:

JimboT

New member
Any of the satellite solutions are going to handle that fine but expensive relatively speaking. For example a 100 MB/month Iridium-based BGAN is about $400/month at around 128 Kbps speeds. It's usually measured in Kbps at Dollars/minute, so it might be $10/min to have a 128 Kbps connection and you basically pre-buy some at a discounted rate. To get the full channel bandwidth it'll be something like 650 Kbps at like $30/min or put another way you'd get for $30 about 38 MB.

A system like HughesNet or ViaSat will get you on the order of 12 Mbps to 25 Mbps downlink speeds and 3 Mbps uplink for $100/month for around 30 GB/month soft data cap where your speed will slow above some amount of data used. They generally limit speed on your account rather than volume but it can scale pretty readily if you want. VSATs have the data capacity compared to systems like Iridium designed for lots of voice channels primarily.

Where it could get expensive is hardware. A Hughes 9202 terminal for Iridium is about $3,000.

The equipment for a VSAT like ViaSat might be $500 or $750 or there about for a basic stationary dish. If you want to use that portable you'd have to set it up and aim it each time, which requires some sort of tool. Hughes sells their DAPT for about $150 I think.

To get a tracking dish would be quite a lot more money. An automatic aiming dish is probably more like $5,000.

For the occasional email and data you're really better off financially and convenience with terrestrial LTE cellular data plans, if you can. The hope was OneWeb and still for Starlink to bring cost and performance uniformity to the market, but we'll see. Satellites aren't cheap to build, launch and maintain so it's hard to imagine it being exactly affordable high performance for a consumer for some time yet.
I will need email every day. I have been looking at the Thales. One time cost is manageable for the freedom it offers . I will only use it two months per year do the data fees are manageable as well.. My plan is to take August 15th to October 15 every year and roam North America but I have to be in contact with my office.
 
Top