Satellite Hotspot Gets You Online Anywhere, But At What Cost?


No matter how powerful our smartphones are, and what advanced 4G services they can access, their usefulness takes a nosedive when you can’t find a data signal. Thankfully, we can usually get by with the likes of GPRS or another slower-speed connection, but sometimes even that signal’s not available. When you’re going to be out in the middle of nowhere, there will soon be a way to get your smartphone online even then, but there are some pretty huge caveats to consider.

Satellite communication provider Iridium offers globetrotters reliable communication via its hand-held satellite phones. Now it plans to extend those services to providing satellite-based WiFi hotspot connectivity through the Iridium AxcessPoint.

The $200 AxcessPoint connects to a separate Iridium satphone for communications, making it pretty expensive for an accessory that can’t even get online by itself. Those phones are in the $1000 range, and then the actual data service is a little over a dollar a minute.

For that kind of money, it must have some pretty impressive performance, right? You’d better dissuade yourself of any dreams of watching Netflix from a mountaintop, because we’re looking at data speeds around 26-27Kbps – that’s roughly 1000 times slower than modern LTE, and slower than nearly all dial-up internet connections.

Getting your phone online through the AxcessPoint will be slow, expensive, and require lugging around a bunch of extra hardware. On some occasions, though, there just aren’t any other options. The Iridium AxcessPoint will be out sometime in Q4 2011.

Source: Iridium

Via: PCMag

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!