BGAN Launchpad 5.0
BGAN Management Utility
The BGAN Launchpad 5.0 utility is an application designed to help subscribers acquire a signal, register on the network and establish connections for data, voice and fax, for their BGAN terminal. While each terminal also has a web interface that can be accessed through an IP address the Launchpad tool is a far superior interface for managing you BGAN connection and services. Launchpad 5.0 is the latest software version for use with all portable terminals (Explorer 300. 500, 700, Hughes 92xx series and Sabre Wideye 1), vehicle terminals (Explorer 325/727, Hughes 93/9450 and Wideye Safari) and maritime terminals where BGAN is referred to as Fleetbroadband (Sailor & Skipper series).
In addition to access management, the utility offers several other useful metrics such as signal strength, data speed (including streaming) battery life, GPS coordinates and temperature. The application is available in 6 Languages.
Features and Benefits of the BGAN Launchpad 5.0 software application:
- Signal acquisition tool
- GPS coordinates
- Network registrations (and auto-set)
- Contact list support
- Diagnostic reports
- Transmission logs (Calls & Data)
- Data session management
- SMS portal to send/receive
- TCP accelerator for improved data throughput performance
- Service configuration settings including streaming
While not mandatory, we strongly suggest installing the Launchpad application on your computer (PC and Mac versions available) prior to departure to ensure familiarity with the various options and features. This will maximize the utilization of the device and optimize performance of your communications while out in the field.
Signal Acquisition, Pointing and Registering
The first time you run Launchpad you will be asked to select a terminal and interface. On subsequent occasions, when connecting to the same terminal, this step will not be required. Launchpad will then go in ‘Pointing Mode’ until the terminal is properly aligned with the satellite. After the terminal has been successfully aligned Launchpad will then ‘Attempt to register’.
Note: When you launch the application you may be requested for a SIM PIN if this was requested when you initially activated service.
In addition to the LCD display on the actual terminal which uses a series of bars and a light indicator there is also a ‘Tools’ icon which provides 2 additional methods to assist with pointing. The first is by nearest country/city and the second will utilize a GPS finder. Regardless the signal strength monitor will also help establish when you have reached the optimum position. All terminal have visual aids, and sometimes audible as well, to assist with pointing.
Once the connection has been established simply depress the register button and after a minute the status bar at the top of the application should display ‘Registered with network. Ready for phone, text and data. Launchpad has a setting to enable auto-registration on page 40 of the Launchpad manual.
Connection & Service: Voice, Messaging, Data, Streaming
After pointing and registering, typically a 5-minute process, subscribers can immediately make and receive voice calls.
By clicking on the ‘Connect’ icon subscribers will establish a standard IP session (billed/measured in Mb’s) and can now browse the web, message and send email. The standard IP connection is a shared connection and data speeds may vary depending on the number of subscribers in your area who are also utilizing BGAN service.
Streaming (billed/measured in minutes), non-shared, dedicated channels are available (speeds vary based on the terminal type) from 32kb’s to 256kb’s and beyond.
Don’t be intimidated by the Launchpad manual. Most of the steps described on this page can be accomplished within 5-minutes from powering up your BGAN terminal. The menu system is fairly intuitive and self-explanatory.
In most cases streaming is an unnecessary expense as there are enough spot beams to provide an average speed with a standard IP connection that is still faster than the maximum available streaming speed. In other words while streaming IP is a guaranteed throughput there is a good chance that you would get a faster speed on standard IP. Generally speaking there is very little contention on the BGAN network. Streaming is generally required for live broadcasts and applicable to media applications and even then standard IP may be worth a try (unless your BBC, FOX or CNN).
Vehicle BGAN terminals such as the Cobham Explorer 727 or the Hughes 9450 have active antennae’s that dynamically acquire a signal and do not need to be ‘Pointed’. When they are powered up they default to network registration which will save a couple of minutes.
Launchpad can be configured to automatically open a standard IP data connection after network registration. To enable this feature simply check the dialog box ‘Automatically open a Standard Data connection after network registration’ which will display by selecting ‘Automatic Connection’ from the Launchpad Services menu and click ‘Ok’.
BGAN Terminal Web Interface
As a supplemental and even alternative method of accessing your BGAN terminal All BGAN Terminals can be accessed directly by typing in its local address from any browser window. Web Interface screens provide much of the same information that the BGAN Launchpad provides, including connecting to the Internet. Below is a chart of the URL that will access the web interface: