Portable VSAT

Portable VSAT technology has changed rapidly in the last few years. It used to be that most common VSAT units were the common case-based flyaway VSAT units and drive-away systems.

Recently, several different manufacturers have begun offering smaller and lighter manpack flyaways and flat-panel flyaways as light as 14lbs.

As a rule of thumb, the more mobile (lightweight and small size) the terminal, the more it will usually cost. This is due to the additional engineering necessary to achieve the smaller form factor and the additional costs for the rapid deployment features that allow for quick set-up and break down.

Maritime VSAT

Maritime VSAT terminals are gyroscopically stabilized so that no matter how the vessel moves, the VSAT antenna “tracks” and maintains a precise aim to the desired satellite.

Maritime VSATs include domes to protect the antennas from the elements. Maritime VSAT antennas are housed within a special fiberglass radome designed to prevent the antenna’s very delicate and precise aiming from being affected by wind or other environmental conditions, as well as to protect the sensitive electronics from the harsh and unforgiving environments that maritime VSAT antennas sometimes operate in.

Vehicle Mounted Mobile VSAT

Vehicle-mounted auto-acquire VSATs also come in a variety of sizes, with a model to fit almost every satellite network and need. Vehicle mounted VSAT systems normally start as small as .75 meters and go up to 1.2 meters, which is enough for most applications. For broadcast applications there is another type of VSAT terminal called an SNG antenna, short for satellite news gathering.

Vehicle-mounted auto-acquire VSATs deploy and stow with the push of a single button on the automatic satellite controller that is located inside of the vehicle. These terminals typically deployed and come online within just a few minutes. Vehicle mounted VSAT antennas are very popular with Emergency Management professionals, as they allow quick establishment of on-scene voice, video, and data communications.

More antenna sizes exist in 1.8 and 2.4 meter auto-deploy vehicle-mounts, but these are so large that they normally require  the reflector be made with removable side panels to reduce the overall width of the antenna as the vehicle goes down the road.

Fixed & Fixed Semi-Permanent VSAT

For a fixed location, VSAT antennas are the very best- and sometimes only- way to bring broadband to areas that are underserved by landline, cellular, or other technologies. As long as the fixed VSAT antenna can be installed in a location that has a clear view of the Southern sky, it will deliver have high speed Internet. For commercial buildings with flat roofs there are non-penetrating roof mount that are ballasted by concrete blocks, and there are also non-penetrating ridge-mount mounts for peaked roofs. For ground mounting it is normally best to mount a steel pole into buried concrete. For fixed antennas that will be exposed to harsh winter conditions, it is recommended to also install a de-icing system so that the dish and essential electronic components do not freeze over.

A De-icing unit on a fixed VSAT terminal. VSAT broadband service plans are always available in different service levels, with less expensive packages for smaller consumer usage up to larger packages to support dozens of workers, with options like Voice over IP and managed Virtual Private Network that can be added.

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