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Inmarsat’s Broadband Global Area Network service – BGAN – is the world’s first mobile communications service to provide both voice and broadband data simultaneously through a single, truly portable device on a global basis. It is also the first to offer guaranteed data rates on demand.

What is BGAN?

BGAN is short for “Broadband Global Area Network”. This network is comprised of three satellites owned by Inmarsat. These three satellites are in stationary orbit around the planet so that no matter your location, you may connect with one of the satellites using any of the many BGAN Terminals. Only the extreme polar regions are unable to connect because line-of-sight to the orbiting satellite is not possible.

Services available through a BGAN terminal are High-Speed Internet, Phone, Fax, ISDN, SMS Texting, and Streaming services, which are simply unshared Internet channels used by video/news broadcasters. Inmarsat has been a leader of global satellite communications services for over 30 years, and they license several manufactures to develop BGAN Terminals that communicate with any of the orbiting Inmarsat satellites. With Inmarsat’s BGAN service, you can set up a broadband mobile office in minutes – wherever you are on the planet. Delivered via the most advanced commercial communications satellites ever launched, BGAN provides affordable, mobile broadband services at speeds up to half a megabit in a highly compact, easy to use form.


Where does BGAN work?

To connect to the satellite, a BGAN terminal must have line-of-sight to one of the 3 BGAN satellites, meaning there can’t be any trees, walls, or building between the terminal and the satellite. Often, a BGAN terminal is placed outside, but in can be inside and point through a window if the satellite can be seen.

If you are within one of the three colored regions above, BGAN service will operate on the same service plan with BGAN Satellite. More on BGAN’s Global Coverage Area.


These three satellites (owned by Inmarsat) are in stationary orbit around the planet so that no matter where the BGAN is, it may connect. Only the extreme polar regions are unable to connect because the satellites are below the horizon, and can’t be seen.

BGAN Coverage Map

Which terminals can I use?

There are about 18 kinds of BGAN terminals, most of which are small enough to fit inside a laptop case. They all do pretty much the same thing, which is high-speed Internet and phone. Connecting your computer to a BGAN terminal is done with a simple Ethernet cable, or with some terminals, through a Wi-Fi connection, which is nice when you want to be inside while the terminal is outside, or you have a smart device where Wi-Fi is required.


Pros of BGAN

  • BGAN terminals provide broadband Internet and phone from most any location globally.
  • BGAN terminals work in locations where there is no wireless (cellular) Internet service.
  • BGAN terminals are very portable, and will easily fit in a laptop case.
  • BGAN terminals can provide Wi-Fi for any in range device, such as smartphones.
  • BGAN terminals work on land or sea on the same service plan.

Cons of BGAN

  • BGAN Service is expensive. It costs about $4 to $6 per Megabyte transferred.
  • BGAN Terminals are expensive and cost anywhere from $1,600 to $10,000 or more.
  • BGAN terminals need to be manually pointed, although pointing is easy once learned.

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