Communicate Off the Grid with Satellite Phones

It seems like hardly a week goes by without news of another cyber threat that has compromised a supposedly secure website. The people responsible for these hacks aren’t the only ones we should be watching, however. The bigger threat for the average American are potential attacks on the electrical and communication grids, according to lengthy reporting from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Experts who advise on security for the power grid recently told the Gazette that hackers and geo-terrorists can learn the same technologies that run the grid. In addition, the grid is open to thousands of users today, increasing the number of access points.

Luckily, many people today are prepared to live off the electrical grid, thanks to solar technologies and other renewable sources that can be easily set up. But what about communicating off the grid?

Grid-Free Telecommunications via Satellite

You’ve likely heard of satellite phones, which don’t require cell phone towers to work. Rather, they connect to satellites orbiting the earth and are the tools of choice for people who travel to remote locations outside of cell phone coverage range. People use them on boats, hiking around national parks and when visiting parts of the world where you can’t take a selfie to upload to Facebook.

Today, consumers are finding that satellite phone technology is more accessible than ever. So how can satellite phones work without the benefit of electrical charging? Easy. Most of them have solar recharging technology or are compatible with solar recharging devices.

Benefits and Limitations of Satellite Phones

Satellite phones are not intended to replace cell phones, which remain a good tool to keep with you at all times. Here are a few limitations to keep in mind:

  1. Satellite phones need to access the sky so they only work outdoors.
  2. They need external antennae to do this.
  3. They are heavier than cell phones.
  4. Their bandwidth is compromised for power so voice quality isn’t as strong as that of Smartphones.

The major benefit is that satellite phones work all the time. Even violent storms won’t stop one from communicating. And depending on the service provider you select, you can get continent-wide or global coverage.

Get a Phone that Fits Your Present Lifestyle

Today’s power failures are rarely scheduled, so get a satellite phone that works for your life as it is now. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • If you work or live in an urban area, go for a smaller one—about the size of two packs of cigarettes, back-to-back, with a stubby antenna and a belt clip loop.
  • Iridium phones and its satellites are built for those who live or travel to remote sites. The backcountry skiing blog notes that Iridium works all over the world, although its connection can be a bit slow.


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