Content From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadband_Global_Area_Network
The Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) is a global satellite network with telephony using portable terminals. The terminals are normally used to connect a laptop computer to broadband Internet in remote locations, although as long as line-of-sight to the satellite exists, the terminal can be used anywhere. The value of BGAN terminals is that, unlike other satellite Internet services which require bulky and heavy satellite dishes to connect, a BGAN terminal is about the size of a laptop and thus can be carried easily. The network is provided by Inmarsat and uses three geostationary satellites called I-4 to provide almost global coverage.
Downlink speeds of high-end BGAN terminals are up to 492 kbit/s and upload speeds are also up to 492 kbit/s – Best Effort as BGAN Background IP (BIP) is a contended (shared) channel. As with all geosynchronous satellite connections, latency is an issue. Common latency is 1–1.5 seconds round trip for the Background IP service. It is slightly better for the Streaming services at 800 ms – 1 second. This latency is mainly due to the great distance that has to be traveled before a packet can reach the Internet, but is slightly exacerbated by the back-end technology as normal latency over a Very small aperture terminal (VSAT) system is roughly 550 ms. BGAN users frequently use PEP software or other TCP packet accelerators to improve performance, and the BGAN user is often assigned a non-routable IP address and routed through a NAT server; this increases security and helps control usage costs.
BGAN terminals are made by multiple manufacturers. They all have similar capabilities. The main two that apply to basic BGAN usage are the Standard Background IP (Internet) and Telephone Voice. Data costs from the many ISPs that offer BGAN service average about US$7.50 per Background Megabyte. Voice calling is on average US$1 per min and varies slightly based on the destination of the call (Land lines, Cell phones, other Satellite phones which are the most expensive).
BGAN can be easily set up by anyone, and has excellent voice calling quality. It uses the L band, avoiding rain fade and other issues affecting satellite systems operating at higher frequency bands.
The actual process of connecting a BGAN terminal to the satellite is fairly straightforward. The BGAN terminal needs to find its position using GPS, before it can negotiate with the satellite, so a clear view of the sky is necessary to begin with. Once the GPS position is obtained, it does not need to do that again unless it is moved to a different region. Obtaining the initial GPS position can take a few minutes. The terminal then needs a line-of-sight to the geostationary satellite so a user would normally be outside, and have a general idea of what direction the satellite would be (with a compass if necessary). Turning the terminal slowly by hand, it will give some indication when the satellite is found. Then usually with the touch of one button, the terminal auto-negotiates with the satellite and connects. The average pointing time for a BGAN unit is 2 minutes, under a minute with an experienced user and a good signal. BGAN is being used in the world today for disaster response, telemedicine, business continuity, remote site monitoring (telemetry), military use, and recreational use.
Terminal manufactures are Thrane & Thrane, Hughes Network Systems, and Addvalue. Terminal cost is between US$500 and US$5000 varying based on class and capabilities of the various systems. Depending on terminal type users can connect their computers via USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, or Ethernet connection(s). This allows them to access the Internet, check e-mail, download files, or any other Internet activity they might do at a home or office. Many come equipped with a regular RJ11 Phone Jack for making PSTN calls, using an ordinary telephone handset, and many terminals have an ISDN connection to do ISDN phone calls. Some BGAN terminals have both so users can make either type of phone call. Users can also send faxes or SMS text messages. Most BGAN terminals can support a router or switch device so users can plug in multiple computers or even VOIP phones and set up a mobile office.
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