How to Choose the Best SATCOM for your Agency

SATCOM or satellite communication is an effective and efficient tool for communication. This technology is important because it is another way to communicate in remote areas in critical conditions. Two of the best companies in SATCOM technology are Viasat and Iridium.

There are two types of satellite communication technology—full system installation and phones. Viasat and Iridium are our choice of companies for finding the best SATCOM technology for your agency. Keep reading this article to learn about the best SATCOM options.

What is SATCOM?

SATCOM also means satellite communication is a reliable form of communication for those in critical situations. Satellite communication is great for those working as emergency personnel. For emergency workers, there is a possibility that they may be in a remote area or a place where signal and connection are not guaranteed. In order for emergency response personnel to do their job to the fullest, they need to have proper communication; SATCOM is an effective way to bridge the gap.

How does SATCOM work then? Satellite communication technology uses airborne radiotelephone communications. A communications satellite—an artificial satellite—relays and amplifies radio telecommunications through a transponder. These types of satellites are used for television, telephones, radios, the internet, and military communications (SATCOM). See the diagram below from Robert Koch on how SATCOM works to get a visual understanding.

SATCOM technology is not found in everyday life anymore, since the use of fiber-optics. However, satellite phones and communication are still necessary for areas where landlines are not available. For instance, large areas in South America, Africa, Asia, Oceania, and upper North America can be very remote.

Satellite phones are a valid form of communication in areas without landlines. Moreover, ships, rigs, and planes that are traveling can easily run into situations where connection can be challenging to find; therefore, SATCOM comes in handy. Lastly, hospitals, military units, and recreational facilities can use SATCOM technology as an efficient and effective backup when communication connections cannot be found.

Satellite communication can be used to connect, from the ground, with those in the air. This function is helpful for ATM or air traffic management. Although SATCOM has been applied to create satellite phones; something important to keep in mind is that satellite phones should not be treated like regular phones. SATCOM does require standard radio discipline and knowledge to be worked properly.

SATCOM is a form of communications technology that was developed in the late 1950s, yet it still proves to be practical, especially in emergency situations.

Viasat (On the Move SATCOM system):

Viasat’s On the Move SATCOM system is a great system for mobile critical communications situations. The Viasat SATCOM supplies mission flexibility which is extremely important for critical communications personnel and military operations.

gray blue and black aircraft
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Viasat is a great option for military personnel when choosing a SATCOM system because it is a secure system. On the Move comes with layered network resilience and redundancy. A layered network keeps information private and safe, plus it keeps out unwanted users.

In addition to security, Viasat’s SATCOM comes with enhanced situational awareness with real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance or ISR. This feature is great for critical communications workers because real-time information is paramount to safe operations. The network from Viasat provides end-to-end military SATCOM broadband service. More connection keeps more people safe.

In addition to all of these great features, Viasat also provides customizable service plans that are made to fit your mission and/or agency. They offer great customer service where they are available to answer any questions. Viasat has been a prominent company within the SATCOM technology industry for quite some time and their On the Move SATCOM package is a testament to their position.

Iridium: SATCOM phones

Iridium, like Viasat, is another critical communications company that is well known and established for its SATCOM technology. Iridium particularly is known for its satellite phones. Satellite phones are a great option for tactical teams, emergency responders like search and rescue teams, and individuals seeking out remote nature exhibitions. This technology is a useful tool that in some cases can be life-saving to have on hand. Below is a list of Iridium’s satellite phones.

  • Overview of their products
    • Iridium 9555
    • Iridium 9575A (U.S. government only)
    • Iridium Extreme
    • Iridium Extreme PTT
    • Iridium GO!

Today, we will be discussing the Iridium 9555 as a great option for all users, especially individuals, and the Iridium 9575A for U.S. government workers.

Iridium 9555:

The Iridium 9555 is optimal for individuals and tactical teams that need to move quickly. Iridium 9555 is light and compact with an internal antenna and weighing in under a pound. With four hours of talk time, this is just the right satellite phone for short operations or when out for a day hike.

Features:

  • Light and compact
    • 143mm x 55mm x 30mm
      • Internal antenna makes it more compact
    • 9.4oz (Just over a half a pound)
  • Long lasting battery
    • 4 hours of talk time
    • Standby time-30 min
      • Define standby time
  • Integrated speakerphone
  • Two-way SMS and short email capacity
  • Mailbox for voice, numeric, and text messages
  • 100 entry address book
  • USB data port
  • Industrial design
    • Meant for tough conditions
  • Check out the Iridium 9555 brochure below to learn more

Iridium 9575A:

The Iridium 9575A is authorized only for U.S. government workers. It has a military-grade design which includes a diamond tread, tapered grip, and wide temperature operation span. All of these design features put together make a very tough piece of technology.

Features:

  • Larger size
    • 5.5” x 2.4” x 1.6”
    • 8.7 ounces
  • Military grade design
    • Diamond tread
    • Tapered grip design
    • Can operate between 14 degrees Fahrenheit and 131 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Backlight for night viewing
  • Integrated speakerphone
  • 21 languages to choose from
  • 100 entry address book
  • Call history
  • Pin lock
  • Programmable SOS button
    • Great for emergency personnel

Both SATCOM systems and individual phones are useful for those who are involved in critical communications. Some smaller operations may find buying individual phones may be more useful than whole systems. On the other hand, larger organizations like the military may be more inclined to buying SATCOM systems.

four soldiers carrying rifles near helicopter under blue sky
Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

SATCOM has been around for half a century so some may consider it to be outdated. However, it is just the opposite, satellite communication has aged well and continues to be a necessary resource for effective and efficient communication in emergency situations.

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