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First Responders Inmarsat Iridium Portable Satellite

August 21, 2023

Comparing SATCOM solutions for public safety agencies

Sadly, the frequency and severity of disasters in the United States is severity of disasters in the United States is increasing. Most recently, the nation’s deadliest wildfire in more than a century tore through Maui with devastating affect. As Scott Bowman, acting deputy CIO for FEMA, explains “multiple factors — including type, size and scope of the disaster — drive the use of specific communication methods.” So while SATCOM systems won’t be required for every emergency situation, speedy communications and strong connectivity will be. Whether you’re considering a SATCOMS solution as a primary communication tool or as an indispensable backup, our dedicated team is here to provide you with the information needed to make a well-informed and strategic choice.

Exploring in-demand portable SATCOM solutions

Portable SATCOM systems offer the flexibility necessary for dynamic environments. Designed to be easily transported and deployed, portable SATCOM systems enable first responders to establish vital communication links wherever they are needed most.

Service provider:
Physical Dimensions:
Main Case (LxWxH): 61.25″ x 21.75″ x 16″ | 149 lbs / 160 lbs
(LxWxH): 17″ x 13.75″ x 6.75″ | 25.3 lbs
(LxWxH): 20.66″ x 17.20″ x 8.40″ | 36.4lbs
(HxWxD): 7.8″ x 7.8″ x 1.6″ | 3.1lbs
Mains / Car Battery
Battery 5 hours
Battery 6 hours
Battery 3.5 hours
Portable auto-pointing VSAT antenna
Class 11 Antenna (autopointing)
HGA-2 Antenna (autopointing)
Dual band: GNSS & BGAN
Connectivity Speed:
20Mbps x 5Mbps
Up to 464 Kbps down, 448 Kbps up
Up to 700Kbps down, 352Kbps up
Up to 464Kbps down, 448Kbps up
Average Setup Time:
3.5 minutes | 5/10 minutes setup on ground with/without bracketing
1 minute
1 minute
>5 minutes

Key Features:

Wireless Network up to 100-foot
Wireless Security: WPA (TKIP) WPA2 (AES) + WEP 64 and 128bit
Latency: 500-650ms, ideal for VoIP
Operating Temperatures: -20°F to 140°F at 100% humidity
Wind speeds: 20MPH without added weight (.98m dish)
Streaming Services: Available on demand
Integrated wireless 4 port router
Universal “Fly-And-Drive” bracketing

WiFi hotspot up to 100 meters
Wireless Security: WPA2 and MAC address whitelist
Operating Temperatures: -25°C to +70°C (-13°F to 158°F)
Humidity: 95% RH at +40°C
Streaming Services: 32Kbps, 64Kbps, 128Kbps
External Ports: 1 x RJ45 LAN / PoE, 1 x RJ11 Phone, 1 x AC/DC external power, optional 3 x RJ11 for Fax group support
Ingress Protection: IP67
Operates stationary or in-motion
Includes standard analog phone

WiFi hotspot up to 300 meters
Wireless Security: WPA2 and MAC address whitelist
Operating Temperatures: -30°C to +55°C (-22°F to +131°F)
Humidity: 95% RH at +40°C
Streaming Capability: 256 Kbps
External Ports: 2 x RJ45 LAN / PoE, 1 x RJ45 WAN, 1 x RJ14 Phone, 1 x AC/DC external power
Ingress Protection: IP66
Certifications: MIL-STD-810G
Operates stationary or in-motion
Includes standard analog phone

WiFi hotspot up to 100 meters
Operating Temperatures: -25°C to +55°C (-13°F to +131°F)
Humidity: 95% non-condensing at +40°C (+104°F)
Streaming IP Data: 32, 64, 128 kbps
External Ports: USB port for Ethernet, or recharging port for other devices
Ingress Protection: IP66
EXPLORER Connect App: convert smart device into satellite phone, terminal access and pointing assistance

Service provider:

Popular SOTM (Satellite-On-The-Move) equipment

SOTM systems maintain uninterrupted communication while in motion, ideal for vehicles, aircraft and even marine vessels. There has been some really exciting developments here of late, particularly with the Kymeta u8 LEO. Leveraging the OneWeb network, this innovative device is making global mobile connectivity a reality. No lag, no dropouts, no experience of slowed speeds during busy periods – just consistent, high throughput connectivity.

Service provider:
Physical Dimensions:
(LxWxH): 35.2" × 35.2" × 5.5"
| ~68 lbs
Terminal (HxWxD): 2.3″ x 12″ x 9″ | 7.5 lbs
Antenna (HxØ): 4.1″ x 14.5″ | 6.2 lbs
Transceiver (HxWxD): 1.8″ x 11″ x 9.2″ | 5.1 lbs
Antenna: (HxØ) 6″ x 18.8″ | 12.1 lbs
Transceiver: 1.67″ x 9.72″ x 10.63″ | 5.5lbs
Antenna: (HxØ) 6.3″ x 18.76" | 13.2lbs
Integrated ACU and power supply | 12 VDC to 36 VDC
10–32 VDC OR AC/DC supply with 12 VDC
12 or 24VDC vehicle power
10.5-32VDC input 150W max
Electronically scanned array
Electronically steered phased array
C10 Antenna
Mechanical tracking antenna
Connectivity Speed:
Up to 150Mbps x 30Mbps in-motion / parked
Up to 704kbps down, 352kbps up
Up to 492Kbps
Up to 492 kbps
Install Difficulty:

Key Features:

No moving parts
Less than 100W nominal power consumption
Operating Temperatures: -40°C to +70°C with shroud; equivalent to +55°C + solar loading
Scan Angles: Az 360°, El +15° to +90°
Ingress Protection: IP66
Low-Profile Design: Mount high-speed internet on vehicles/trucks/RVs that need speed
LTE configuration offers cellular and WiFi connection options

WiFi range up to 300 meters
Wireless Security: WPA2 with MAC address whitelisting
Operating Temperatures: -30°C to +55°C (-22°F to +131°F)
Streaming Capability: 256 Kbps
LAN: 3 RJ-45 Ethernet Ports with PoE (Power over Ethernet Class 2)
Ingress Protection: IP66 (Antenna), IP31 (Terminal)
Certifications: MIL-STD-810G

Wireless Security: Port forwarding, MAC filtering, Firewall tasks
Operating Temperature: -13°F to 131°F (-25°C to 55°C)
Humidity: 95% RH at +40° C
Streaming CIR 1:1: 32, 64, 128, and 256 Kbps (both directions)
Global Voice via RJ11 phone port

Operating Temperatures: -25°C to +55°C (-13°F to +131°F)
Streaming CIR 1:1: 32, 64, 128 and 256Kbps up to 450Kbps BGAN X-Stream when stationary
Voice/Premium Voice : 4 kbps AMBE +2 / 3.1 kHz audio, 64Kbps
LAN Interface: 4 x RJ45 10/100 Mbps ethernet connections
Ingress Protection: IP56 (Antenna), IP30 (Transceiver)
4 RJ-45 Ethernet ports for multiple device connections
Includes IP handset

Service provider:

Hopefully the tables above give you some idea of the types and scope of SATCOM systems available. At Ground Control our expertise spans over 20 years in satellite communications, and more than two decades supporting and collaborating with first responders. Some of us have even served as first responders in our previous roles. So if you’re evaluating satellite communication equipment and seeking unbiased advice, feel free to reach out to us at, or click to view our entire product collection.

Further, even with the comprehensive information provided above, we always emphasize the importance of practical testing. Our team has hands-on experience with various SATCOM models, and we subject all devices to rigorous internal assessments. However, the real-world operational landscape is multifaceted, with diverse environmental factors and geographic conditions that require careful consideration. So in all cases, we strongly recommend agencies test equipment on site, with their people, under conditions closely mirroring those encountered in the field. Effective preparedness demands a comprehensive approach aligned with the dynamic nature of emergency operations.

Maintaining satellite communications equipment

Finally, regular maintenance, proactive troubleshooting, and proper training are key to maximizing the performance and longevity of your satellite communications equipment. These systems can be expensive, we’d argue not as expensive as you think, but we understand how important it is for equipment to uphold effective performance. So with that in mind, below are some simple maintenance tips to ensure you get the most out of your devices.

1. Regularly inspect and test equipment

  • Conduct routine inspections of your satellite communications equipment to identify any signs of wear and tear, loose connections, or physical damage
  • Test network connectivity checking signal strength and quality, data transfer rates and satellite alignment

2. Check and apply new software and hardware updates to ensure optimal performance and security.
3. Monitor battery performance

  • Follow manufacturer guidelines for charging, storage and replacement of batteries
  • Conduct periodic battery tests and quickly replace aging or faulty batteries

4. Train team members on the proper operation, maintenance and troubleshooting of all communications equipment. Encourage prompt reporting of issues and/or abnormalities.
5. Implement backup and/or redundant systems, mitigating risks associated with equipment failure and/or service disruption. Ensure these are also included in regular inspections and tests.

Ready to take the next step?

With Ground Control, you're not only in capable hands backed by over 20 years of SATCOMS expertise, but you also have access to flexible and discounted packages tailored specifically for first responders.

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