In the second quarter of 2014, Iridium Communications, a satellite communications firm based in Virginia, is set to unveil a portable device that will allow Wi-Fi hotspots to be created anywhere on the planet. The pocket-sized device is a modem that connects to Iridium’s satellite network.
Given the existing natural limitations of satellite network technology and the user’s geographical location, only low speeds are possible with the forthcoming portable modem. Speed rates will be around 20 kbps, a speed range that is particularly limiting given the bandwidth requirements of multimedia-rich webpages. However, if you are going to or live in remote places where there is no hope at all for getting any internet connection signal, the Iridium satellite modem becomes a crucial tool for connecting wirelessly anytime.
The Wi-Fi hotspot service has an estimated cost of $800. The corresponding data rates will vary according to Iridium’s airtime service plan. Seasonal or regional packages will be made available to users, while pricing estimates of around $1 per minute are to be expected for the company’s prepaid plans.
Along with its wireless internet connection service, a compression-enabled email application will also be offered by Iridium. The email application is designed to increase the efficiency of data transmission and to cope with the limitations of a satellite network. According to Iridium, the email app’s speed capability can be likened to sending twenty text-based email messages per minute. Several apps are also being developed with the constraints of a satellite network environment in mind.
Iridum says that the data speeds will become so much faster once the company’s new satellite fleet is launched into orbit. The expected launch is slated sometime in 2015, bringing data service speeds to a more convenient 1.5 Mbps.