January 31, 2023

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“Samsung is working on satellite communications for the Galaxy S23” – Tablets & Phones – News

Nice.. Iridium is a much better network than the GlobalStar that Apple uses (Iridium has really global coverage because the satellites are staggered, while globalstar has a “bent” architecture that has to send everything straight to Earth). The Iridium satellites are much smarter and can really work together, the Globalstar is a kind of mirror that “reflects” the signal back to Earth so you have to be near an Earth station.

It is also very interesting to use this not only in emergencies but also for SMS and small pictures.

At the moment I am using a Garmin InReach Mini which also uses the Iridium network for SMS (no pictures) and emergency assistance. It would be nice to have that in one device. Although you may have to manually align the antenna due to the lower gain, as Apple also does on the iPhone 14, but because there is less use of it, this isn’t really a problem.

Apple’s option is very limited with emergency assistance only (besides, I have a lot of normal smartphone requirements that can’t be used on iOS). Otherwise, I’d buy a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon), which can also call for emergency-only help and has no subscription costs, which the InReach Mini has. But the ability to send and receive SMS wherever I am (a lot higher) is the area of ​​application for me, and it doesn’t have to be an emergency.

But smart from Samsung to focus on this. For me, it really is a feature that I would pay more for. InReach has already cost me 300 euros and the subscription is 20 per month (in the months I use it). This is more useful to me than another extra camera or a few gigabytes of extra storage space that I don’t use anyway. But it has to be more than emergency help, normal communication out of network coverage is the scenario I’m looking for.

Iridium is a much better network than Globalstar. I agree with you completely. But no reachable antenna or Iridium phone antenna that extends can be compared to the antennas in your smartphone that can make a connection by adjusting and aligning, but never become perfect.

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But the Iridium also needs a clear view of the satellite and it doesn’t turn on if you’re stuck in a valley, work less or go into shifts and start if you’re among dense forests or in a city. In an emergency, I really prefer to trust the Accessibility rather than the Samsung S23. Despite that, I think it’s great that Samsung did this.

Just like Globalstar, Iridium also works with ground stations/gateways, but after Iridium 1 went bankrupt, quite a few ground stations were scrapped to save restart costs like Iridium LCC. After a major financial infusion and subscription hardware purchase by the US Army, Iridium was bailed out.

Iridium also has two systems, the reliable Iridium Network for voice, SMS and slow data and the Iridium Next system that replaces older satellites. Unfortunately, satellites have a limited shelf life. That is why “spare parts” are often launched. Satellites that are on standby until the satellite fails or is hit by debris, etc. in space. You also see networks shifting with satellites for coverage and capacity, Ukraine now being an example. So coverage is always a risk.

I find the job beautiful and amazing on the one hand. On the other hand, I find this interesting for daily practice:

Anyone who buys a modern phone often studies the possibilities, price plans (eg prepaid or subscription SIM card), coverage areas, etc. in advance. Iridium has cheaper prepaid region SIM cards for example and more expensive global cards. These customers are familiar with the possibilities, the impossibilities, and the coverage of satellite communications.

My concern is precisely the average consumer: they have no idea under what circumstances a satellite connection will or will not work. Your device software can certainly help you with this (see Apple’s implementation), but it’s annoying when someone is walking in the mountains or going into a valley and only concludes that the satellite connection won’t work if you fall with a motionless broken leg there. So the job is actually more dangerous than the comfort it provides. Unfortunately, I see very little of this in the correspondence and news reports so far. So what if the average consumer doesn’t just think they have the same connectivity everywhere as they do now on 2,3,4 and 5G? I have already heard that colleagues think that their cell phones are satellite or that the cell phone is completely wireless, rather than fixed transmission towers connected to the network with cables.

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But honestly: for me it would be something to buy Samsung’s top model again.