GlobalStar: Satellite Phone & “SatFi” Hotspot
On a business note: when we lived in Baja North, Mexico, I can’t tell you how many times, while working on a new product, this phone saved our livelihood when the Mexican cell service went down (and did so on a frequent basis).
The bottom line: As much fun as these GlobalStar products are, the truth is, most of us don’t really need them. However, if you are a traveler, even in the United States (and after crossing the U.S. five times, I can tell you), there are still many, many places you won’t get cell service, and Public WiFi locations are few and far between. If you want, or need, to always be connected, the sat-phone or SatFi is by far the best way to go, in my opinion, and we’re about to order our second sat-phone.
For the nerds and techies out there: We figured we should at least cover satellite CDMA signals vs. satellite microwave, and why your RV’s satellite dish won’t work up North. GlobalStar uses satellite CDMA signals, and HughesNet (once DirecPC) uses, for the sake of simplicity, what we refer to in this article as microwave signals. Microwave systems use a dish to send and receive signals from earth to the orbiting satellite. You have more than likely noticed the satellite dishes on homes and even RVs. These are receivers (TV, one way signal) or transceivers (Internet, two way communication).
Microwave: They require that the satellite dish be pointed directly at a satellite. The power of the satellite (in the sky), the size of the dish, and the distance between them are directly related. You are also limited by line-of-site – if they can’t see each other (satellite and the dish), they can’t connect. DirecTV, Dish and HughesNet all use higher-powered, lower orbiting satellites. If you were around in “the old days” when some of the bars and taverns had the 10′ or 12′ satellite dishes (Mostly C Band), you can remember the difference between the early technologies and today’s technology. This is why you require a larger satellite dish up North. Satellites are generally orbiting in the south where the vast majority of the population is. When you’re up North, you are just plain too far away to use a standard size dish.