Which Thuraya Wi-Fi Hotspots Are Best?

Comparing Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot and Thuraya WE Satellite-GSM Hotspot

At OSAT, we offer two powerful Thuraya satellite Wi-Fi hotspot solutions for when you need to connect to the internet from a remote location within Thuraya’s coverage area. The Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot creates a portable Wi-Fi Hotspot that allows you to make calls, use email, send messages, or enjoy your favorite social media apps outside of mobile coverage. It gives you satellite connectivity without physically docking your smartphone to a unit and freedom to move indoors. Whereas the Thuraya WE Satellite GSM Hotspot allows you to automatically switch between satellite and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) networks with a click of a button using the Thuraya WE mobile app and web interface. With Thuraya WE, you can transform any area into a Wi-Fi hotspot, and allow up to 10 smart devices to connect and share internet within a range of 100ft or more. Some of the key comparisons between the two devices are as follows:

Network Compatibility

  • Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot: The SatSleeve Hotspot primarily operates on Thuraya's satellite network, providing satellite connectivity in areas with limited or no terrestrial network coverage. It can also be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 5 devices.
  • Thuraya WE Satellite-GSM Hotspot: The Thuraya WE is a hybrid device that offers both satellite and GSM (2G/3G/4G) connectivity. This means it can switch between satellite and terrestrial networks to provide a wider range of coverage.

Coverage

  • Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot: It is ideal for remote areas where traditional cellular coverage is lacking, making it suitable for users who often venture into isolated regions.
  • Thuraya WE Satellite-GSM Hotspot: The WE offers more flexibility as it can connect to terrestrial networks when available, providing connectivity in urban and remote areas.

Data Speed

  • Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot: Satellite data speeds are generally slower compared to terrestrial networks, so the data speed on the SatSleeve Hotspot may be limited compared to the WE in satellite mode.
  • Thuraya WE Satellite-GSM Hotspot: When connected to terrestrial networks, the WE can offer faster data speeds depending on the available cellular network infrastructure.

Portability

  • Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot: The SatSleeve Hotspot is designed as a sleeve that fits over a compatible smartphone, adding satellite connectivity. It's compact and easy to carry but requires a smartphone for operation.
  • Thuraya WE Satellite-GSM Hotspot: The WE is a standalone device that doesn't require a smartphone to function, making it more versatile for users who may not want to rely on a smartphone for satellite communication.

Battery Life

  • Battery life can vary between models and usage patterns, but generally, satellite communication devices tend to have shorter battery life compared to standard smartphones. Users should consider their power requirements when choosing between these devices.

The Benefits of Satellite Hotspots

Anyone travelling to or through isolated regions can benefit from the power of a satellite hotspot. They work in much the same way as the Wi-Fi router in your home. Simply turn them on and connect your smartphone or laptop and enjoy internet access from your remote location. Satellite hotspots are therefore ideal for people working in remote or rural areas, maritime applications, and disaster-stricken regions. They are essential for rescue operatives at the scene of natural or manmade disasters because they are typically not limited by terrestrial infrastructure, meaning that if comms lines have been damaged in a storm, earthquake, or warzone activities, a satellite hotspot can bridge the gap to open up reliable communication via satellite once again.

Performance and Coverage of Thuraya Wi-Fi Hotspots

As with any Thuraya product, we always make sure customers are aware that Thuraya’s network coverage is not quite as far-reaching as, for example, Iridium’s or Inmarsat’s. While they are global and near-global respectively, Thuraya’s coverage only extends across EMEA & APAC regions, so it is very important to bear in mind that trying to use Thuraya hardware in places like North or South America will not work because of the positioning and orbit patterns of their satellite constellation. Having said that, customers operating in the remotest areas of, for example, Australia, the Middle East, or Africa can enjoy powerful and reliable performance levels from Thuraya Wi-Fi hotspot devices.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Thuraya Hotspot

Like any piece of satellite hardware, there are some aspects that differ quite vastly from other solutions, chief of which being coverage. However the nature of your adventure, trip, or project will help determine the type of hotspot you need. To help with this, below are our top considerations when it comes to choosing your next Thuraya hotspot:

  • Coverage Area: Thuraya’s coverage is region-specific, so it's important to determine if the hotspot provides service in the areas where you will be using it. Check the coverage map on the OSAT website to verify this.
  • Usage Needs: Define your usage needs. Are you primarily looking for voice communication, text messaging, or data connectivity/internet access? Different Thuraya hotspots offer different levels of service, so choose one that suits your requirements.
  • Data Speed: If you require internet access, consider the data speed offered by the hotspot. Thuraya provides different hotspot models with varying data speeds, so select one that offers the speed you need, whether it's for basic browsing or more data-intensive tasks.
  • Battery Life: Evaluate the battery life of the hotspot. How long does the battery last on a single charge? The Thuraya SatSleeve, for example, has a battery life of up to 70 hours (incoming calls and SOS function still available on main unit) with Wi-Fi off, or up to nine hours with Wi-Fi continuously on.
  • Portability: Consider the size and weight of the hotspot. If you plan to carry it with you on the go, a smaller and more portable device may be more convenient. Bear in mind that, if weight regulations are a priority, the Thuraya WE Satellite GSM hotspot is 1kg.

Finding the Right Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot for Your Needs

Depending on what form you want your communication solution to take will very much determine the type of Thuraya hotpot you go for. To put it simply, the Thuraya SatSleeve empowers your smartphone to become a smart satellite phone, allowing you to make calls and send SMS and emails direct from your everyday device. However, the Thuraya WE Satellite GSM hotspot forms a dedicated Wi-Fi zone to which multiple devices can connect, so would be an ideal comms and connectivity solution if there was a team with you.

As always, our team of experts at OSAT is here to help. So, if you need any advice about Thuraya Wi-Fi hotspots, contact us via:

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