Review: Inmarsat BGAN – Broadband Global Area Network (Satellite Internet)

inmarsat-bgan-mobile-satellite-review

If you are more interested in basic connectivity rather than broadband speeds and bulk transfers, Inmarsat's BGAN network is a potentially interesting option.

Rather than a big bulky dish and separate modem, a complete BGAN satellite system is about the size of a laptop computer – and it does not need to be carefully aimed and can usually be set up in a matter of minutes.

And BGAN service covers the entire planet, other than the poles, perfect for sailing nomads or expeditions who plan to roam continents. Terminals are available from several vendors that utilize the satellite network.

But...BGAN is slow and extremely expensive!

A basic BGAN terminal like the IsatHub iSavi costs around $1,300 – and is capable of "broadband" speeds of just 384Kbps down and 240Kbps up.

Faster, fancier, and more rugged BGAN terminals go way up in cost – but even the highest end plans and radios top out at less than 512Kbps.

Download speeds of 384Kbps are not enough to even dream of streaming YouTube, but it is plenty for checking email and some basic old-school super-slow web surfing.

But it is the data costs that will kill you: starting at $3.85/MB ($3,850/GB!) sending data via BGAN can quickly get ridiculously expensive.

BGAN terminals can also double as satellite voice phones as well, making calls anywhere in the world for $0.99/minute.

The key to using BGAN is extreme data-usage management – focusing on email and other text-centric communications rather than interactive graphical web surfing.

Specifications

Testing Status: We do not intend to obtain a setup to test.

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Purchasing Options

Amazon | IsatHub iSavi

BGAN Ratings
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Quick Take

The key to using BGAN is extreme data-usage management – focusing on email and other text-centric communications rather than interactive graphical web surfing.

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