NPR’s Ivan Watson reports that Russian planes are continually bombing cell phone towers in an effort to knock out telecommunications networks and what’s left of the GSM network in the country only works sporadically. Also, he reports that the INTERNET in Georgia has been compromised by a cyberattack. This was reported earlier in the day by WIRED’s Danger Room. [Click here to listen to the NPR audio file.]
With an already limited GSM network in South Ossetia and Abkhazia now compromised by bomb attacks it seems that folks heading into Georgia have very little option other than Thuraya and Iridium satellite phones. While networks may work from time to time I am not sure anyone is going to want to rely on them as their only source of communication. With the INTERNET also under assault aid teams will also be relying on Inmarsat’s BGAN and the new ThurayaIP.
It seems Inmarsat has a serious challenger in the arena of satellite modems. With the recent launch of the ThurayaIP I am sure that many in the humanitarian community are now considering this newcomer as a worthy alternative to the BGAN. Until now the BGAN was really the only option for remote INTERNET connectivity when heading to the field. The spec’s are impressive (the size of an A5 sheet of paper, built in 802.11b WiFi, and Skype compatible) I think this new entry will give the venerable BGAN a run for it’s money.
Check this out:
- “Standard” background IP service with bandwidth of up to 444 Kbps for Internet access, etc
- Dedicated streaming IP services ranging from 16 Kbps to 384 Kbps for bandwidth hungry applications like video streaming.
- Absolutely Portable – Exceptionally small in size (A5 size), ThurayaIP can be easily moved across locations and set up instantly.
- Highly Competitive – Offers the most attractive and competitive service with volume based charging via various bundling options and unlimited usage price plans.
- Robust – Conforms to IP 55 standard ingress protection standards; enabling outdoor installation in extreme weather conditions for extended periods of time.
- Unmatched Flexibility – Easy to use in both portable and semi-fixed environments. Instant LAN setup through multi-user support allows an entire team to share a single unit.
- Convenience– Simply connect ThurayaIP to a laptop, point to the satellite and enjoy satellite Broadband services.
- Stand Alone – Easy to setup and start working- no laptop or PC is required to navigate setup. An embedded button and LCD in the terminal guides you through the whole setup control.
- Complete security with GmPRS encryption algorithm (GEA2) – Connect seamlessly via your preferred VPN application.