For many years, satellite phones, or the type of mobile phones that connect to orbiting satellites instead if terrestrial cell sites, have been able to connect to the Internet. Bandwidth varies from about 2400 bit/s (in telecommunications and computing, “bit rate” is the number of bits that are conveyed or processed per unit of time), for Iridium network satellites, a company, based in McLean, Virginia, United States which operates the Iridium satellite constellation—a system of 6 active satellites used for worldwide voice data communication from handheld satellite phones and other transceiver units—and ACeS (Asia Cellular Satellite) based phones—a regional satellite telecommunications company based in Jakarta, Indonesia—to 15 kbit/s upstream, or in computer networking, the direction in which data can be transferred from the client to the server (uploading), and 60 kbit/s downstream, or in a telecommunications/computer network, is the data sent from a network service provider to a customer, for Thuraya (from the Arabic name Thurayya meaning Star) handsets, an international mobile satellite services provider that delivers communications solutions on more than 140 countries across Europe, the Middle East, North, Central and East Africa, Asia and Australia.
Globalstar also provides internet access at 96000 bit/s—like Iridium and ACeS a dial-up Internet access connection, a form of Internet access that uses the facilities of the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to establish a dialed connection to an Internet service provider (ISP) via telephone lines, is required and is billed per minute. However, both Globalstar, a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation for satellite phone and low-speed data communications, somewhat similar to the Iridium satellite constellation and Orbcomm satellite systems, and Iridium are planning to launch new satellites offering always-on data services at higher rates.
With Thuraya phones the 9,600 bit/s dial-up connection is also possible, the 60 kbit/s service is always-on and the user is billed of data transferred (about $5 per megabyte—Mbyte (MB), a multiple of the unit byte for digital information storage or transmission with three different values depending on context: 1048576 bytes (220) generally for computer memory; and one million bytes (106) generally for computer storage). The phones can be connected to a laptop or other computer using a USB or RS-232 interface.
Due to the low bandwidths involved, it is extremely slow to browse the web with such a connection, but useful for sending email, Secure Shell (SSH) data, a cryptographic network protocol for secure data communication, remote shell services or command execution and other secure network services between toe networked computers that connects, via a secure channel over an insecure network, a server and a client (running SSH server and SSH client programs, respectively), and using other low-bandwidth controls. Since satellite phones tend to have omnidirectional antennas, which in radio communication, is an antenna which radiates radio wave power uniformly in all directions in one place, with the radiated power decreasing with elevation angle above or below the plane, dropping to zero on the antenna’s axis, no alignment is required as long as there is a line of sight between the phone and the satellite.
See: NewSat’s Internet By Satellite