Emergency Management Newsletter – Third Edition
Digicom Global, Inc. is your emergency management communication specialists. We specialize in satellite and radio communications devices.
For satellite communications we represent Globalstar and Iridium for voice and data solutions and Spot for GPS tracking and communications. Our radio division offers Kenwood two way radios, Raytheon interoperability solutions, and CON-SPACE, OTTO Communications, 3M Peltor, and Impact Communications brands for two way radio accessories.
For our third edition of this newsletter we are addressing a brand new product category, satellite wi-fi devices. Globalstar released its Sat-Fi device on 6/23/14 and Iridium released their Iridium GO! in July 2015.
Both of these products promise to allow you to do something you’ve never done before. Use your smart phone to make and receive satellite phone calls and send and receive emails and text messages with NO cellular infrastructure; it’s like having your own personal cell tower. They are available for Android, Apple iOS, Mac and Windows. You can also use multiple other smart phones, tablets or laptops to send emails off the wi-fi modems. Range is up to 100 feet from the devices.
There are numerous applications for these products especially for people who work beyond the range of cellular or in situations where cellular is taken out by manmade or natural disasters.
Some of the industries that will benefit are:
- Energy/Oil & Gas
- Commercial/Coast Guard/Recreational Marine
- Emergency Management
- Military operations
- Natural Resources
What’s the difference in these products?
The Globalstar Sat-Fi markets itself as the world’s most powerful satellite hotspot. It’s certainly the fastest at about 4 times the data speed of Iridium’s product. Click here for Globalstar Sat-Fi Brochure. This is still only 9600 baud, but can be considerably faster with compressed data. The Sat-Fi modem supports up to eight concurrent devices. Browsing the web will be pretty slow, but sending emails etc. can be done easily and coming second quarter of this year, the next generation Sat-Fi will be capable of 256k. The Sat-Fi comes with an AC/DC power supply and a wi-fi antenna, mounting accessories, plus your choice of 3 different antennas. The patch antenna is a low profile, hockey puck type antenna for mobile use, the mini stick helix antenna for mobile command vehicles or fixed locations or a marine antenna. 32-86 feet cables are optional for in building applications.
The device itself is only 6.3 x 6.3 x 2.4 in. and it can operate in extreme environments from -67 to 185 degrees F.
The Iridium GO! does much the same thing as the Globalstar Sat-Fi, but at lower, 2400 baud, data speed and can run just five concurrent devices off the modem. It’s key advantage is portability. It has an internal battery so can be used away from a vehicle. The battery standby lasts up to 16 hours OR 7 hours of talktime. It also win’s in the sexy category. It has a sleeker design and measures just 4.5 x 3.25 x 1.25, weighs 10.4 oz and comes with a pop up antenna. It’s manufactured to military spec 810 F and IP 65 for driven rain.
Which one should you buy?
If you’re in forestry, a back packer or in any situations where you need portability the Iridium Go! Is the way to go as you can fit the device in your jacket pocket. Also Iridium covers some areas that Globalstar does not, including both poles, China, India and southern Africa. For most public safety customers and most customers not needing portability, Globalstar’s faster data speeds and included external antennas will give you better performance. Their airtime rates are also more reasonable than Iridium’s and start at $40.00 per month for 40 minutes of use or $480.00 annual plans offer 480 anytime minutes. Plans go from there to $150.00 for unlimited use. The Sat-Fi lists for $995.00 and the GO! Lists for $895.00, but without the external antennas. If you can wait, hold out for the next generation Sat-Fi. It will have the size and portability of Iridium’s GO! but its 256k data speed will be 100 times faster.
On the system side, Globalstar just replaced their entire satellite constellation with next generation satellites. Iridium’s satellite’s are scheduled to be replaced sometime in 2015-2016. Traditionally Globalstar phones sound a bit better than Iridium’s due to their lower earth orbit satellites.
Will these replace traditional satellite phones? They could in some situations, but basic satellite phones will always have their place. If you don’t need the data capability and you want a simple solution to grab and go a satellite phone may be the best choice. We have satellite phones available for as little as FREE depending on the rate plan. New prepaid Crew Calling plans are available too for people who want multiple users to use the same phone without cost to the device owner. Feel free to contact us about any of these products. These are NEW products and if not yet up on our website, will be very soon.
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