Satellite Hotspot vs. Satellite Internet: Exploring the Differences and Benefits

Introduction to Satellite Hotspots and Satellite Internet

Satellite internet connectivity, whether as a dedicated service or as an on-the-go solution, is a main requirement for adventurers, remotely stationed researchers, isolated film crews, or anyone beyond the reach of traditional means of connectivity anywhere in the world. At OSAT, providing satellite internet solutions to private or business teams or individuals is something that stands at the forefront of our capabilities. This article aims to break down the differences between satellite internet and satellite hotspots.

Satellite Hotspot: Internet On-the-Go

For cost-effective and ultra-portable connectivity, our satellite hotspot devices enable people to access the internet from remote locations via their smartphones, tablets, or laptops. The Iridium GO! exec Wi-Fi Hotspot, for example, acts in the same way as your household router: simply sync your smartphone to it, and you can send WhatsApp messages, emails, even short, low-quality video files from the most far-away locations including the mid-Atlantic or Antarctica. Other such units include the Thuraya SatSleeve Hotspot. It transforms your smartphone into a smart satellite device, allowing you to make calls, use email, send messages, or enjoy your favorite social media apps all while outside of mobile coverage. It is the smallest, lightest, and most capable in the industry, and comes with safety baked into its firmware in the form of a programmable SOS button that works even if your smartphone isn't connected.

Satellite Internet: Broadband Connectivity Anywhere

For larger-scale operations where budget is less of a concern, satellite internet in the form of a broadband terminal gives remotely-operating customers the benefit of an at-home internet experience from any location in the world. Whether on land or at sea, satellite broadband internet caters for more data-hungry applications such as web browsing or large file-sharing. The Thales VesseLink 200, for example, is an entry-level marine broadband terminal for use on leisure and commercial vessels of all kinds. Running the Iridium Certus 200 service, this terminal offers connectivity anywhere in the world for basic voice, data and internet requirements.

Coverage and Speed: Comparing Satellite Hotspots and Satellite Internet

Arguably the crux of many people’s decisions when it comes to choosing the right satellite connectivity solution is the operating speed. Being stationed in a hazardous area, warzone, or at the scene of a natural disaster, for example, demands the need for hi-speed satellite internet. Whereas completing a personal challenge of, for instance, crossing an enormous land mass may only mean a hotspot is required for regular but small-scale message sends. A couple of examples are as follows:

  • Viasat: Viasat is a prominent provider of satellite internet services. They offer different service plans with varying speeds and data limits. Their plans can provide download speeds ranging from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps, depending on the available service options in your area.
  • Starlink: Starlink aims to provide global broadband coverage using a constellation of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Business users of Starlink’s services can expect download speeds of up to 350 Mbps and latency of 20-40ms, enabling high throughput connectivity for multiple users at once.
  • Iridium GO! Exec Satellite Wi-Fi Hotspot: The GO! exec is the world’s first portable, touchscreen-enabled satellite access device for smartphones, laptops and tablets. Powered by the Iridium Certus 100 midband service, it enables Wi-Fi connectivity for select email, chat, social media, weather, and light web-browsing apps, delivering upload speeds of up to 22Kbps and download speeds of up to 88Kbps.
  • Thuraya WE Satellite-GSM Hotspot: With the Thuraya WE you can automatically switch between Satellite and GSM networks with a click of a button and transform any area into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Up to 10 smart devices can connect and share internet within a range of 100ft or more, all while enjoying up to 384Kbps data speeds for basic file sharing, messaging, and email access.

Portability and Mobility: Choosing the Right Solution

All of our satellite internet solutions are designed to be as portable as possible, however, satellite hotspots are the devices to go for if you want true on-the-go connectivity. The Iridium GO! exec, for example, is a lay-flat, 7.8” x 7.8” unit that can fit in the tightest of gaps in a bag, suitcase, even the back shelf of a car or on the back seat. Indeed, its previous model version, the Iridium GO!, is even more portable – although offers slower speeds – at just 4.5" x 3.25" x 1.25". There is plenty of choice, whichever satellite internet device you purchase; from terminals to hotspots each one caters for space being at a premium.

Cost and Affordability: Considerations for Budget-Conscious Users

Because of the technology inside them and the capabilities they offer, satellite internet terminals and hotspots have a price point starting at $925 for the entry-level Iridium GO!. Its newer evolution, the Iridium GO! exec, is $1,579 for the device only; you would still need to top it up with enough airtime to last you the adventure, excursion, or challenge. Similarly, the Thuraya WE Satellite-GSM Hotspot comes in at $1,875 for the terminal itself without an airtime plan. Due to these price points, it is advisable to plan well in advance to ensure you enough funding for all the equipment you need.

As always, our team of experts at OSAT is here to help. So, if you need any advice about our satellite internet terminals or hotspots, contact us via:

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