They are positioned about 930 miles about the earth. A satellite phone is in actuality nothing but a radio transceiver. It sends signals directly to a satellite (part of a network of satellites). (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.globalcomsatphone.com/support5.html, Hamid, Triska. The nature of LEO satellites makes them the most common form of satellite communication. How satellites work A satellite is basically a self-contained communications system with the ability to receive signals from Earth and to retransmit those signals back with the use of a transponder —an integrated receiver and transmitter of radio signals. That said, they would be around for a long time in spite of their limited appeal to the general public. Satellite phones are not so popular as the ubiquitous cell phones because they are relatively expensive to acquire with exorbitant call charges. The gateway directs the call through the regular landline or the local cell phone service providers.If a person from the ship wants to make a call to an another satellite phone, the signal is sent to the satellite and is relayed to the receiver phone without the help of any gateway. Back in the day, satellite phones are easily recognized by their size. Due to their size, operators require several of them (over 50 in some instances) to cover the earth. A satellite phone should work fine wherever and whenever. When you gaze through the clouds on a brilliant blue day, you might catch sight of a plane or two leaving vapor trails in its wake. Trees, buildings, hills or mountains, vehicles, etc Satellite phones v. Cell Phones. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Though satellite phones are the best means of communication in remote places or when the cell phone infrastructure is down due to natural disasters, it would take some time before it becomes very popular. How do you call an ambulance to provide the necessary medical attention? Therefore, phones do not work inside buildings or vehicles unless used with an external antenna. [Quick Explanation For Beginners], Emergency Communications Plan [SHTF Quick Guide]. Satellite phones, or sat phones, are mobile two-way communication devices that use satellites orbiting the Earth to receive and transmit data. Inmarsat and Thuraya both use geostationary satellites which orbit 35,786km (22,236 miles) above the Earth. They were huge, almost the size of bricks and are quite heavy too. Sept. 24, 2002. For instance, you don’t need a large antenna or phone. The satellites orbiting the Earth are not dependent on cellular service. "Satellite Phones Vs. Cellular Phones." The antennas are vital. (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.globalcomsatphone.com/satellite/telephones/cell_satellite.html, Globalcom. Satellite phones work with either low earth orbit systems or much higher geosynchronous systems. It is important to understand why satellite phones are necessary in today’s world. At any one time, two LEO satellites may be right above you. "Satellite Phone FAQs." Satellite phones must have "line-of-sight" to the satellites in order to operate. The call is processed by the satellite and is then sent to the earth through a gateway. "Junta Tightens Media Screw." The satellite processes the signal and relays it back to an Earth station. Outfitter Satellite offers Iridium, Globalstar, Thuraya, Inmarsat GSPS, Inmarsat BGAN, and Inmarsat FleetBroadband satellite phones/terminals. – This involves using the satellite system constellation and normal cellular or landline infrastructure. But firms and groups that require huge data transmission speeds use GEO satellites because they are far better in that department. A. Globalstar satellite phones offer many of the same characteristics as cellular phones, including a similar user interface and design. How cellphone cells handle calls. But they are just one part of the cog that answers the question: how do satellite phones work? (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.iridium.com/Products.aspx, Iridium. We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. Huffington Post. Simple call. The signal from your device transmits directly to the nearest satellite, which then sends the signal to the nearest gateway, or land-based center, which then transmits the signal to the receiving phone; the receiving phone can be a land line, cell phone or another sat phone. This picture shows two ways in which cells work. They are designed to remain in a fixed location since they match the earth’s rotation by spinning in tandem with it. Buildings, trees and other obstructions can have an impact on the signal strength and … Contact the Embassy of Bangladeshwith any questions. Possessing a satellite phone is illegal in Bangladesh and can lead to jail time. Geosynchronous satellites, aka, high earth orbit or GEO orbit satellites. Depending on the how the particular service is designed coverage may be a specific area all the way to the entire earth. These are: Both types of satellites come with several advantages and disadvantages. Do Globalstar satellite phones work just like cell phones? Jun. For these and other reasons, LEO satellite communications are famous for better call quality, reliability, less power consumption and lower delay times. There is no need for special gateways or infrastructure on the ground. Service in outdoor locations with trees, hills, mountains, buildings or other similar structures or geographical features may impair or prevent the use of satellite communication equipment. Australian government. Satellite phones must have “line-of-sight” to the satellites in order to operate. (Jan. 21, 2013) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7016238.stm, Globalcom. You can communicate with anybody in any part of the world when the cellular network is down. Quite a few people have asked me about satellite phones, and one of the most affordable I've come across is the BlueCosmo Inmarsat IsatPhone 2.1 Satellite Phone Kit. Working slightly differently from mobile phones, satellite communications depend on having a clear line of sight to the satellite in the sky. They are huge and because of their considerable distance above the earth, they can cover a wide area. Satellite phones, on the other hand, do not rely on towers, but instead transmit signals via satellites orbiting the earth. Many people don’t see the need for them since we have cell phones and other simpler and cheaper means of communications. The process reverses itself when the receiving unit replies to the message, whether audio or text. In this case, the phone's antenna must point directly at the satellite with a clear, unobstructed view to get transmission. 5. "Satellite Networks." If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. Our satellite phone handsets work great for the adventurer! In the absence of an extreme disaster, they are still very useful in places with limited cell phone coverage, areas hit by natural disasters, and in countries where government policies limit the use of regular cell phones. The only way to tell the difference is the presence of the antenna jutting out of the device. View Products. Can other people unlock my car door with their remote? How do satellite phones work? Another feature of LEO satellites is they are constantly in motion: moving at speeds of up to 17,000 miles/hour. "Thuraya Launches Dual-Mode Satellite & GSM Phone." https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/travel/satellite-phone.htm (Jan. 21, 2013) http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-06-23/news/bs-hs-space-weather-20120623_1_solar-flares-solar-weather-coronal-mass-ejections, Dobie, Michael. Anything solid can block the phone to satellite signal. – Sending and receiving messages between two satellite phones is more straightforward especially if both phones use the same satellite network. Besides, they hardly provide the best quality of communication compared to normal phones. Of course, this varies depending on which satellite phone you're using, but the capabilities do … "Iridium Satellite, ProtectingAmerica.org and the American Red Cross Partner to Educate First Responders on Importance of Testing Satellite Phones." For most folks, their only encounter with a satellite phone is when they see it being used in movies or TV shows. When a crew member makes a call from a satellite phone the signal goes directly to the satellite of that service provider. (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/21/north-korea-cell-phone_n_2518006.html, Perry, Douglas. (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Thuraya-satellite-phone-gsm-mobile,news-14390.html, SatWorks. This means the antenna on the phone must be outdoors with nothing solid obstructing it's view to the sky. While Iridium phones use a non-directional antenna, which means that the antenna need not point in any particular direction, Inmarsat uses geostationary satellites. In more general terms, a satellite is any Satellite phones are mobile devices that do not receive their signal via terrestrial (land based) towers, but rather from satellites in orbit around the Earth. Each type of network has its plusses and minuses. Weird & Wacky, Copyright © 2021 HowStuffWorks, a division of InfoSpace Holdings, LLC, a System1 Company. At that speed, many of them need about two hours to get around the earth. the signal from the calling phone is picked up by a satellite above the earth’s atmosphere and relayed to the receiving phone. 17, 2008. "The Satellite Phone Subsidy Scheme." In the first place, not all satellite networks or phones use similar satellites. "Brewing Solar Storm Looms Over Technology." Another questions that is pretty often asked is “Do satellite phones work on cruise ships?”. From the Earth station, the signal is transferred to the receiving phone through regular cell or landline networks. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Satellite phones work everywhere with a clear view of the sky. E yes in the sky, space mirrors bouncing phone calls round Earth, heavenly compasses helping us home—these are just three of the things that satellites do for us. Satellite phones don't have texting or data plans. What … The type of satellite used by different networks depends on factors such as finance and target clients. Mar. Satellite phone to a cellular network – This involves using the satellite system constellation and normal cellular or landline infrastructure. In a few countries, just having a sat phone on your person can get you into a whole lot of trouble. This satellite then transmits the signal to the recipient of your message, who can then reply in kind. Could Satellite Technology Make TV Programming Truly Global? Satphones inventor’s name is unknown. If you have a satellite phone, you should be able to call the nearest medical facility and ask for help without any issues. If a phone in cell A calls a phone in cell B, the call doesn't pass directly between the phones, but from the first phone to mast A and its base station, then to mast B and its base station, and then to the second phone. This ground station then provides them with a route back into the rest of the world’s phone networks - not just other satellite phones. Satellites offer global coverage from pole to pole, in mountainous regions, deserts and anywhere at sea. The advantage of a satphone is that its use is not limited to areas covered by cell towers; it can be used in most or all geographic locations on the Earth's surface. A satellite phone is the ultimate survivalist communication tool during extreme disasters. For example, an operator would need about 4 satellites to cover most of the world. This is because it is very expensive to use and only the very rich, big corporations and governments can afford it. "Products." These days though, there are units as small as the common smartphones we use. Baltimore Sun. e.g. "Bangladesh Jails Indian Rebel Chief." Although it is possible to make telephone contact through a landline or mobile phone from almost anywhere in the world, there are certain areas where a satellite phone is the only method of communication. Satellite phones, though, work just about anywhere on the planet. Do satellite phones work on cruise ships? Why it's wrong: Satellite phones are definitely capable of SMS messaging, checking email, and even browsing the internet. (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.satworx.com/networks.php, Thuraya. Because they work through satellites positioned high in Earths orbit they need unobstructed view to function properly. BBC. (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.thuraya.com/. Tom's Guide. (Jan. 21, 2013) http://www.protectingamerica.org/newsroom/article_239/Encouraging-Emergency-Workers-to-Prepare-for-Disasters-Before-They-Strike.htm, Lee, Jean H. "North Korea Loosens Cell Phone Restrictions for Visiting Foreigners." As a result, the Soviet Union is credited as the ground-breaker when it comes to satellite technology, having launched the first satellite in 1957. Calls signals emanating from a satellite phone are picked up by the host satellite high above the earth. They work most effectively when used outside, with as few obstructions (tall buildings, mountains, trees, etc.) How do satellite phones work? However, several important components have to be in place before the exchange of messages can be achieved. A GPS receiver relies on radio waves, the receiver communicates with satellites that orbit the earth. How does satellite telephony work? Satellite phones work on the principle of sending radio signals to the satellite they are connecting with for the sake of building a communication tunnel. "Services." One of the main differences between satellite and cell phones is that the user must put up a larger satellite antenna in order to receive satellite signals. "Satellite Phone Frequently Asked Questions." There are certain inherent limitations as to how they operate, and where. When you make a call or send a message on a sat phone, it sends a signal to one of multiple small satellites in orbit around the earth. Protecting America. Launching and maintaining satellite networks is expensive business. 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