Iridium Voice and Data Explanation

Iridium Voice services.

As a satellite travels over the horizon, calls are handed to adjacent spot-beams; this occurs approximately every fifty seconds.

For a reference, A satellite only stays in view for seven minutes at the equator.  This means that during a phone call at the equator, a call will be handed over to a new satellite every 7 minutes.

When the satellite disappears from view, an attempt is made to hand the call to another satellite. If no other satellite is in view, the connection is dropped. This may occur when the signal from either satellite is blocked by an obstacle.

When successful, the inter-satellite handoff may be noticeable by a quarter-second interruption.

The satellites are also able to transfer mobile units to different channels and time slots within the same spot beam.

The Iridium Data Air time service is called Openport .  The equipment is now called Pilot Maritime Terminal.

Capabilities of Iridium Maritime data services ( Pilot, Open Port ) :

  • Coverage is the 100% of the planet.  Iridium is a Low Earth Orbit constellation and has a polar orbit.  Iridium can deliver coverage over both poles.    One will have a very high elevation over the poles with Iridium LEO constellation.
  • Data speed is up to 128kbps symmetrical service, if you activate that service on the sim card.  It also offers lower speeds of 32 and 64Kbps as well. But the top end is 128kbps on the sim card at activation and if you are alone on the beam could get the maximum of 134kbps.   Note:  whatever you select on the activation of the sim 128, 64 or 32 is the max speed you get.  This is done on the back end, not on the device.   The user is committed to the speed elected for that sim.
  • You connect into the 1 Ethernet RJ 45 connector
  • If the Pilot is powered on, the unit is always on standby at 2,4kbps data speed.  It takes about 20 seconds to reach 128kbps.
  • Presently, on the existing Iridium constellation, each hand off from one satellite to another, will mean the data speed drops back down to 2,4kbps and then it will take the 20 seconds to ramp up again.
  • Openport is NOT an ideal solution for video. It is great for e-mail, data transfer, web browsing but not for real time video.
  • From the Iridium Gateway in Tempe, Arizona, USA we interconnect with the internet-cloud.  Also you can have VPN or MPLS options if needed for the terrestrial backhaul.

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