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Iridium GO! keeps its promises [Update]

Since its announcement last February, the GO! is expected to come from dealers at the beginning of this month. Company E SAT gave me one to conduct some tests. Although too late to perform these tests at sea, the Quai des Antilles on the Ile de Nantes offers a wide sky clearance also than the deck of a boat, enough to connect satellites of all-round. Two types of test were conducted : requests and receipts of GRIB weather files from an iPad featured with Weather4D PRO app, functions related to the telephony from an iPhone.

Iridium GO! in the Buren Rings on the Quay of Antilles. An invitation to travel ?

Description of GO!

The device is a WiFi router that allows you to connect with a smartphone or a tablet to the Iridium network, using two applications on iOS and Android. It is featured with a built-in GPS receiver to allow distress call and tracking service. The WiFi access point supports up to 5 concurrent connections.

Iridium GO!

For all functions related to voice : connection of the smartphone, voice calls, SMS, address book, Twitter link, tracking and SOS. The main use will be calls from the smartphone, sending and receiving SMS.

Iridium Mail & Web

For functions related to data : Messaging settings, Messaging, Web, Facebook, Twitter link, Weather, Photos. The main use will be sending and receiving emails from your smartphone or tablet.

GO! has a specific communications pricing and thus requires a dedicated SIM card. You can use a standard SIM Iridium card, but it loses the benefit of this pricing.

Prices in euros incl. VAT

The cost of the minute for data (Messaging, voicemail, and also call Iridium to Iridium) is divided by two. Which means that with a card 200 min, You can mix as well :

  • 50 MN voices + (150 MN x 2) = 300 MN data
  • 75 MN voices + (125 MN x 2) = 250 MN data
  • 100 MN voices + (100 MN x 2) = 200 MN data
  • etc..

The principle of the billing increments of 20 seconds is preserved.

Download GRIB weather files

The procedure is identical to that described for the Optimizer in a previous post (¹). Once activated the GO! fliping up the antenna, expected to see WiFi network appear in the settings of the iPad connect to it :

Implementation

1 – Register to Iridium Mail & Web

Once in possession of your GO! and an active phone number Iridium (MSISDN), You must register (for free) to service Iridium Mail & Web. You will need to provide a phone number that was assigned to you and choose a user name (User Name) and a password. You will then receive a confirmation email with a verification link to activate your account. Warning : This isn't the same registration than for the AxcessPoint, although the form is similar. This "User Name" will form the root of your Iridium mail address, such as username@myiridium.net.

2 – Download the application

From iTunes AppStore install Iridium Mail & Web. Launch the application and enter the settings in the page "Settings"..

3 – Prepare the request in Weather4D Pro (²)

Create a zone, Add parameters, make sure that the file does not exceed 45-50 KB, Once registered, Select the area and then "SaiDocs Request > Iridium Mail ». The request is automatically redirected in the Outbox :

4 – Check the passage of the satellite and start the Send/Receive Mail

In Weather4D Pro (²) prediction of passage of the Iridium satellites module allows you to optimize requests sending and receiving GRIB files without interruption, and therefore minimize the time, and costs, of connection :

Once request is sent, return in Weather4D Pro consult the next satellite crossover time (about 5 minutes later). And you repeat the same process to receive the GRIB file back :

The GRIB file is in attachement with Inbox message. a tap on the attachment to open it in Weather4D Pro. File about 45 KB (uncompressed) is transmitted compressed to nearly 39 KB. If you exceed this size, After sending the request the server may return an empty response to you in the Inbox Big Mail. It will then decide whether or not you want to receive the file :

The size displayed in the window is often higher than that which will be actually received in case of agreement (button Download).

Telephony functions

The Iridium GO application! allows to connect WiFi to the device and launch calls.

Once connected, the application on the smartphone displays the Iridium connection status and the number of people connected to the GO! A call can be made very simply, taking care to enter international country prefix preceded by the sign +. As for messaging, the conversation will be even clearer that the satellites will be nearby. The reception level should preferably be at the highest. I would remind you that there may be only one call at a time in voice.

Disconnection notifications are welcome and a message reminds the opening in implementing the SOS function :

SMS messages run without problem, both in reception and emission, with a pellet of notification of messages unread on the home page icon. I have not tested access to social networks, But having regard to the low rate of the service and the cost per minute, It is best to avoid !

The sending of the SMS GPS position is also effective and significant. You can create an address for a group mailing list.

My first impressions

The unit is particularly attractive and keeps its promises, to the extent it succeeds the advertised functions. The most innovative being the possibility of call with any smartphone running Android or iOS. Concerning requests for GRIB files by e-mail, It gets the same result as with an Iridium phone 9555 or 9575 and an AxcessPoint router, but as for those, It seems to me imperative to connect to the Iridium GO! an external fixed receiving antenna.

Actually, baud rates identified during my tests, with systematic passage of satellite over my position, were disappointing : from 39 up to 52 seconds to connect to the server, download speeds 1119 up to 1616 bps at best. To compare, with Iridium 9575 and external fixed antenna, I got the connection time of 14-15 sec. and download rates that have often largely exceeded the 2400 bps up to sometimes more than 3000 bps (³).

[Update December 14/10/2014] I'm going to be able to perform tests at sea with connected external antenna of 18 to 24 october.

Stay tuned !

Pricing [Update 2016]

Iridium GO! is sold 995 € (Update 2016) by iTabNav.fr. This makes it a serious competitor to the 9575 + Optimizer (± 1810 €). A comparison will follow soon.

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(¹) GRIB weather files on iPad and iPhone in the open ocean
(²) See the iBook tutorial «» Weather and routing with Weather4D/4 d PRO
(³) See the note : Navigation on iPad the full solution
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Author : Francis

Since 2009 independent IT trainer and consultant for boating. Translator of many navigation applications on iOS and MacOS. Professional in boating for over 25 years, I provide training for applications and consulting and assistance for the integration of mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) on pleasure boats.

2 comments

  1. Thanks for the always informative articles.
    A question: Once connected to the wifi of Go, How to make so that the ipad does not attempt to update all data from other applications (as is the case as soon as a wifi network is connected). In other words: How to ensure that only the weather4D app connects to the satellite network to retrieve the precious file?
    Thank you

    and we hope to have news of the pricing of the isathub!