Iridium Satellite Phone Fixed Installation Tips

Iridium Satellite Phone Fixed Installation Tips


Antenna Location:

For optimum performance the antenna must have an unobstructed view of the sky in all directions almost down to the horizon.  Tall buildings, towers, mountains, and heavy trees blocking some portion of the horizon could potentially limit your ability to get a solid reliable signal.  If an unobstructed view is not possible, antenna placement should minimize the obstruction to the greatest possible extent. GComm offers a unique hardware solution that utilizes a dual antenna configuration to minimize more severe obstructions. Consult with your GComm representative for more information on your best antenna location.

 Antenna Types,

There are two basic types of Iridium antennas; passive antennas (non powered) and active antenna (powered).  Which type you choose is generally determined by the length of the antenna cable required to complete the installation. The cable required for a passive antenna such as model AD510-1 or AT1621-73W-TNCF fixed mast antenna, are generally no longer then 85 feet.  For active antennas, such as the AD511, the cable runs can be much longer, up to 520 feet, because power applied to the antenna boosts the signal to overcome cable loss.  In all cases the shorter the cable the better the solution.

 Satellite phone equipment options.

Generally speaking for fixed installations your options are limited to either a satellite phone in a docking station, or a fixed station Iridium transceiver.  Both options perform equally as a satellite phone link, however the phone in the docking station gives you the “grab and go” capabilities should you have to abandon your facility. Both can have a dedicated intelligent handset with full menu functionality attached and both have a standard RJ11 phone jack. The RJ11 phone jack accepts standard phone cable which is thin, flexible, easy to install and can be run for very long distances.

The RJ11 phone jack allow you to connect up to 3 analog phones; or connect to a cordless phone set with multiple cordless extension. Corded phones or wireless extensions can be placed anywhere in your facility that you need access to the satellite phone. The RJ11 phone jack also allows you to connect the satellite phone to your office phone switch or PBX system. Your phone switch sees the satellite phone as just another outside line that any phone in your office can use.

Many of the fixed station transceivers offer an additional RJ45 Ethernet port that will allow a computer to be connected to the unit. With the computer connection you can send and receive text messages, emails and do low bandwidth data connections. It also offers internal configurations and diagnostics.

 Satellite phone equipment Location.

There are several things to consider when selecting a location for installing your satellite equipment. 

                Power source: The phone/dock or fixed transceiver will need a power supply. That supply needs to be tied into the facilities back up power grid or have a separate back up power supply. If you are using an active antenna, it will also have the same power requirement.

                Security and availability:  Select a location that will be secure from tampering or accidental damage. The location also need to be somewhat accessible to allow periodic inspection.

                Antenna cable run.  Depending on your facility, this may be the most important factor you consider.  The longer the cable run the more expensive and difficult it is to install. If you are in a one or two-story facility this is generally not an issue, but if you are on the lower levels of a 20 or 30 story high rise facility, consider installing the satellite equipment in an equipment or telephone room near the roof and run your antenna cables from there out to the roof. Then complete the installation by running phone line from the satellite phone equipment to analog phones or wireless phones located in your offices, or to your facility PBX system.