Satellite Communications: RBGAN
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HumaniNet recently conducted a
comparative analysis of VSAT (fixed big dish) systems versus
RBGAN terminals. The obvious advantage
of VSAT is bandwidth, which can be purchased in large or small
amounts. The initial cost is usually $5000 - $10,000 installed,
depending on the location, configuration, and overall system
requirements, such as the size of the network to be supported.
Monthly satellite service cost depends on the amount of bandwidth
purchased and they type of service.
RBGAN is optimal for users who need primarily
email and limited Web usage. The 3.3-pound terminal has the advantage
size; thus it is easy to carry and secure. For many users, a
portable terminal is essential. Even for a fixed location, however,
an operation that needs primarily email for day-to-day operations
may find that RBGAN will meet their requirements.
Cost comparisons are fairly straightforward:
A (VSAT): assume a VSAT system that costs US$ 5000 installed
and a conservative $250 per month for the service. Over a three-year
period, total costs (not including local network costs) are approximately
$14,000. Net cost over three years: $389 per month. Over five
years: $333 per month.
Case B (RBGAN): assume total
purchase price of $1600, including shipping, accessories, and
usage of 1 Mb (megabyte) per day, 250 days per year – thus
250 Mb per year. Monthly access and usage fees would cost $2783
per year. Adding the $1600 system cost, net monthly cost over
three years is $276, and over five years $259 (uncompressed
services for email will make a significant difference
in the comparison. An RBGAN user who sends and receives 1.8 Mb
per day of email and uses the UUPlus
would incur total monthly service costs of under $250 per month.
This assumes a very conservative 50% compression; at 70% compression
the costs drop to under $180 per month.
Above 2 Mb per day, the
VSAT solution is more economical, although it would be some time
before reaching the “break even” point
for the greater initial cost.
Most RBGAN users, however, are logging
less than 200 Kb (kilobytes) per day, which holds costs to
under $70 per month, with no compression
required. Email access for around $2 per day is pretty respectable.
For users who move about regularly, RBGAN is hard
to beat. One should simply plan to conduct heavy Internet usage,
downloads, Web research, and exchange of large files, when
non-satellite connectivity is available. Battery life is listed
as 24 hours
on standby, and one hour of continuous use; an optional DC
adaptor allows the user to run the unit from a vehicle.
welcomes inquiries on the RBGAN, broadband VSAT, and other
communications questions. Our purpose is to assist
teams in finding solutions to technology and communications
problems. You may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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