Smart phones are fantastic, but you venture into a place without cell or Wi-Fi coverage and they become little more than an elegant glass slab on which you can lay your cup of coffee.
Well, that's unless you have a point of Wi-Fi satellite access.
In these situations, you need the Iridium GO!
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The Iridium GO! looks like a classic portable hotspot device that you can use to create a Wi-Fi hotspot for your devices using the cellular network. But instead of connecting to terrestrial cell towers, the GO Iridium! connects to the constellation of Iridium communications satellites in orbit 500 miles above the Earth.
Your devices – up to five – then connect via Wi-Fi to the GO Iridium! (the deice has created a hot spot of about 30 meters radius) and allows you to perform the following operations:
The Iridium GO! is built to MIL-STD 810F specifications and is water and dust resistant to IP65. It comes with a battery that is suitable for about 7 hours of use and 16 hours standby.
Sounds good, does not it? But there are disadvantages.
First of all, it is not cheap. The device alone will cost you around $ 800, and then there is the data. Iridium GO Unlimited data and text messages give you 150 minutes of talk time, as well as unlimited text and data for $ 149.99 per month.
You can also opt for the Iridium GO prepaid service, which offers either 500 minutes of voice or 1,000 "minutes of data" or 3,000 SMS priced at $ 795.
Data speeds are also slow. Overall slow compared to 3G speeds. You expect a maximum of 10 kbps and use Iridid's approved – and highly optimized – applications (compatible with iOS and Android). This tool is not suitable for regular Internet browsing. Therefore, it will not provide you with an overview of new cat videos when you are away from civilization.
Despite the inconveniences, if you want to stay connected when you're off-grid, this solution is one of the fastest and easiest to use, and works surprisingly well as long as you're aware of the limitations of Iridium . network, and do not expect 3G / 4G style performance from the service.