OCENS launches its EMC² line for disaster recovery and business continuity communications.


OCENS launches its EMC² line for disaster recovery and business continuity communications.

 Seattle, WA

September 28, 2012

OCENS Inc. of Seattle, WA recently launched its new EMC² (Emergency Mobile ComCenter) line consisting of kits that provide communications for disaster recovery and business continuity. Kits range from a single satellite phone to a satellite internet hotspot with up to 11 independent phone lines. Every kit comes in a watertight and crush resistant Pelican case and includes a backup battery, solar charging panel, and backup lighting. Kits weigh anywhere from 5 to 28 lbs., and each is small enough to be used as a carry-on. The Standard and Team kits feature a Pelican case with wheels and a pull handle and that is dimensionally small enough to fit in an overhead bin.

The EMC² uses satellite technology so that you can make calls or get online when landlines and/or cellular networks are down. The ComCenters are designed for on-demand use and come bundled with airtime that is valid for two years. Additional airtime can be added on at any time.

All but the Voice Only kit include a satellite hotspot, called BGAN, that provides an internet connection with 3G/4G speeds, has built in WiFi, and a built in phone line that can be used simultaneous to the data connection. The “Team” kit editions include 9 smartphones that are preconfigured for voice calls over the BGAN connection and can also be used to access the internet and email.

The BGAN terminal is powered by a lithium-ion battery and every kit includes a GoalZero backup battery and solar charger. The backup battery will fully charge the BGAN terminal and can also charge phones, laptops, and other devices and can be fully recharged via the solar panel in approximately 4-6 hours.

The kits also include a GoalZero Solo solar charging LED flashlight and all but the Voice Only kit include a GoalZero Estrella 3 watt LED light.

The EMC² kits provide an easy and cost-effective solution for Emergency Managers and Business Continuity Planners because everything you would need to operate an emergency communications center is included. Satellite technology makes it very reliable and a completely ubiquitous communications platform. The solar charging component makes it that much more independent since it can remain operational even during power outages. OCENS adds further value to its kits by bundling in VoIP services and airtime that is valid for two years with no monthly or additional costs. This makes it easy for a business to budget for a complete backup system and amortize its operational costs over 24 months. For the grant writer, it provides a single fixed cost which removes the complexity of factoring in a budget for ongoing monthly subscription costs.

OCENS is a satellite service provider that is continuously innovating and adding value for satellite voice and data services and is proud to support its new line of Emergency Mobile ComCenters. See the complete EMC² line and full products details here: hwww.ocens.com/disaster

OCENS is a provider of a broad range of fixed and mobile satellite communications solutions for industries such as business continuity / disaster recovery, first responders,  military and private security, wildland firefighting, mining and exploration, oil and gas, forestry, and broadcasting, as well as leisure activities such as overland travel, hunting, adventure sports, and maritime. Products and services include mobile satellite phones and hotspots, asset and personnel tracking, SCADA, backup communications, VoIP, network controls and metering, web and email compression, and weather services. OCENS tailors complete solutions to meet the customer’s specific needs and offers consistent support to the end-user throughout the use of its products and services.

Contact: Matt Haase, Sales Manager-Land Mobile Division

Tel: (206) 878-8270

Fax: (206) 878-8314      

Email: matt@ocens.com         

Web: www.ocens.com



“Be Prepared” Satellite Phone Voice Services: What does it cost to save a life?

The cost-of-ownership for Iridium, Globalstar and the IsatPhone Pro’s handheld voice services are compared. IsatPhone Pro’s hardware prices and newly available prepaid airtime plans establish it as the lowest cost option for always-ready emergency voice communications.

Perhaps it’s simply because you like to be prepared, just in case the car gets stuck on the way home from this winter’s ski trip. Or just in case the next hurricane knocks out all the phone lines and cellular service between here and who knows where. Or maybe just in case you break a leg on your next back-country hiking or hunting trip. Whatever the reason, you’ve realized the only way to talk to someone to ask for help in a crisis without conventional communications is to have a mobile satellite phone handy. Now what do you do? And what is the least expensive means of satisfying your passion for preparedness without having to pinch every other penny in your possession?

Before diving into our analysis of available options for “just-in-case” satellite voice systems, one simple truth needs to be addressed. Like any cell phone, a satellite phone that isn’t activated under an airtime plan is nothing more than an expensive paperweight. Furthermore, if you’ve waited to activate your satellite phone until your emergency actually happens, you’ve waited too long. The whole reason you’re considering a satellite phone is because you’re concerned about losing communications during a natural disaster or personal emergency. What do you need to activate a satellite phone? Yes, communications.  What have you just lost with your regional, local or personal emergency? That’s right, communications. So indeed, you’ve saved yourself from paying a monthly service fee for your satellite phone’s airtime plan by purchasing that satellite phone and putting it in the drawer inactivated. In so doing, you’ve also emasculated the potential of this phone to possibly save your life. Consequently, any meaningful analysis of the costs-of-ownership of a life-saving satellite phone has to consider up-front hardware AND on-going airtime costs.

Three competitors presently vie to provide you with your just-in-case voice solution. There’s Iridium, the seasoned veteran with its 9555 and Extreme 9575 phones. Globalstar, injured and out of commission for five years but returning in 2013 with high hopes of climbing back into the mix. And then there is the IsatPhone, new to the handheld game but aggressively priced and carrying with it Inmarsat’s heritage of success in fixed phone installations.


Of the three competitors, Iridium is the only truly global satellite phone. Pole-to-pole coverage grants to the Iridium network unprecedented reliability and access to voice communications no matter where you roam.  But such system capability doesn’t come cheap. Its 9555 phone is routinely priced around $1200. The high-end 9575 Extreme does contain built-in GPS which can be accessed for personal tracking and its SOS button can be triggered for emergency help but you’ll need to shell out almost $1500 to purchase the 9575 phone.

Iridium airtime service doesn’t do anything to lighten your cost-of-ownership. The least expensive way to keep an Iridium phone active and relevant to you as a communication solution during an emergency is with a postpaid airtime plan. Whereas Iridium once offered a postpaid voice-only plan that creative resellers were able to market for as little as $25 per month, Iridium slammed that door shut in mid-2012. As such, their least expensive postpaid plan now runs almost twice as high at $45 per month ($540 per year). This excludes any of the per minute charges you’d actually pay when you talk over the phone (although if the issue is getting someone to you in time to save life and property, the per minute rate you’re paying is probably the least of your concerns). Couple that with the price of the 9555 or 9575 and your first year cost-of-ownership with Iridium runs between $1700 and $2000! Global coverage is great but if emergency voice communication is your criterion and cost is a deciding factor, you are paying an awful lot to make sure you can make such a call from the North Pole.


The Globalstar system has been largely offline since early 2007 when solar radiation zapped the duplex transceivers on the majority of the satellites in the Globalstar constellation. As such, no matter how inexpensive or cost-effective Globalstar airtime has been since 2007, the lack of Globalstar coverage over the past five years has excluded it from any consideration as a just-in-case satellite solution. But the company has been inching its way back to being a bona-fide sat com provider in 2011 and 2012 and should complete the re-launch of its constellation by early 2013. In September 2012, most locations in the Globalstar footprint (see coverage map below) receive 45 to 50 minutes of coverage in a given hour.  This amount of up-time and the imminent launch completion convinces us it should now play a role in your just-in-case satellite phone considerations.


GlobalStar Coverage Map

Globalstar’s 1700 phone sells for $499. Because of the state of its network, the company has been offering unlimited airtime at the unheard of rate of $40 per month. Amazingly, if you have an active phone and can find a working satellite, you will spend less to talk through the Globalstar satellite network than you will on most cell phone plans.

However, because I’m going to assume you wouldn’t mind paying $10 a minute if it will save your life, the fact that Globalstar’s $40 per month provides unlimited talk time is largely irrelevant to our calculus here.  What we’re more interested in right now is knowing it will cost me $480 for my first year of Globalstar airtime to be prepared to make that all-important one or two minute call for help. Combining $480 in annual airtime costs with the $499 price of the Globalstar 1700 and the first year cost-of-ownership with Globalstar is $979, almost one-half the first year cost of Iridium. It’s hard to say what Globalstar will do with its airtime plans once the full satellite constellation is in place (prior to the Globalstar constellation demise in 2007, low end airtime plans were in the $50 per month range), but right now in late 2012, it costs you much less to buy and maintain an active Globalstar phone than it does with Iridium.


Your third option is Inmarsat’s IsatPhone Pro. Inmarsat has been a global leader in satellite communications for decades, but it entered the handheld market only very recently (in the US not until late 2010). Although coverage extends from 70N to 70S, the fact that its geostationary satellites are positioned at the equator makes an IsatPhone Pro sensitive to the direction the antenna on the handheld phone is pointed, particularly at higher latitudes. Users above about 45 degrees of latitude must have clear views of the sky to the south and orient the phone’s antenna in that direction to minimize signal drop.

Aside from these limitations, the IsatPhone is an excellent solution for voice communications. Voice quality is high and because those Inmarsat satellites aren’t moving, once you’ve achieved a signal lock, the connection is very stable. The price of the phone is around $700 after an Inmarsat price hike in early 2012. This has been more than compensated for by Inmarsat with its globalization of prepaid service on September 1, 2012. This change lowered the annual cost of airtime service to less than $200 for the IsatPhone Pro and consequently has elevated the phone’s status as a cost-effective, “just-in-case” satellite solution immeasurably.

The minimum year one cost of ownership for the IsatPhone and airtime service is under $900 ($897 for a complete hardware/airtime kit from OCENS).  This is almost $100 less than Globalstar and less than half the cost of Iridium. The IsatPhone Pro’s comprehensive coverage (both temporally and geographically) gives it a further leg up on Globalstar.

The following chart offers a summary comparison of year one costs of hardware and airtime from the three providers:

Cost Comparison Chart

Inmarsat’s low annual airtime cost also means it delivers to you the lowest on-going cost year-in, year-out.  Second and later year costs of operation of the IsatPhone Pro are $300to $350 less than Globalstar or Iridium.

Ongoing Cost Comparison Chart

Consequently, IF your objective is the least expensive route to accessible satellite phone voice communications just in case everything goes to heck in a hand basket, the IsatPhone is your answer. It does this by merging middle-of-the-road hardware costs for its handheld phone with annual airtime costs substantially below Iridium and Globalstar.

 CLICK HERE to see the OCENS IsatPhone Pro “Be Prepared” kit.



Satellite Internet: Fixed Site VSAT Service from OCENS

OCENS provides commercial grade VSAT Satellite Internet, the ideal solution for a remote fixed site as well as semi-permanent exploration camps or construction sites.VSAT service is a flat monthly fee that covers all of your internet and data usage and service is available worldwide.OCENS can design and install a complete local area network solution including wireless access points and gateway routers.

OCENS can also integrate compressed multi-line VoIP services that will conserve bandwidth and boasts competitive toll rates as well as unlimited site-to-site calling.

With a complete VSAT solution from OCENS, your site can be online, networked, and have live phones after a single install. You will also receive direct customer support from a single provider for your entire site communications system.

See more details and submit a quote request here.

New Press Release: OCENS adds the Hughes 9202 BGAN terminal to its rental fleet


OCENS adds the Hughes 9202 BGAN terminal to its rental fleet.  

Seattle, WA

September 12, 2012

OCENS Inc. of Seattle, WA recently added the new Hughes 9202 BGAN terminal to its already extensive satellite phone and BGAN rental fleet. The 9202 was released by Hughes this year and is the newest Inmarsat BGAN terminal on the market. BGAN uses the Inmarsat satellite network to provide a high speed internet and simultaneous voice connection with coverage virtually anywhere in the world between 60N and 60S latitudes.

The Hughes 9202 is the ideal solution for a traveler or worker who will need an internet connection wherever he may find himself but also needs to pack as light as possible. With simply a 9202 and a smartphone or tablet, you can have a mobile internet and voice connection virtually anywhere you go.

The next generation 9202 inherited many great features from Hughes’ previous flagship terminal, the 9201, only the designers streamlined it and packed it into a form factor that is about half the weight and size. Hughes also added an analog RJ11 port so you can connect any analog POTS handset to make calls. The new UI (User Interface) is sleek and user friendly and the browser-based interface is also mobile and tablet friendly. With the 9202, the cryptic LED light strip of the 9201 was exchanged for a user-friendly backlit LCD display that allows you to access the entire settings menu.

Popular features that were passed down from the 9201 include onboard WiFi, a built in compass, audible pointing, a high capacity lithium-ion battery, and ISDN capabilities.

Where the 9201 is a Class 1 terminal, it has a maximum throughput on a standard IP connection of 492 kbps. The 9202, a Class 2 terminal is limited to 464 kbps, albeit a negligible difference in speed. A Class 1 terminal, however, can provide the full spectrum of Inmarsat’s streaming (dedicated bandwidth) service which is up to 384 kbps. The 9202 is limited to 128 kbps streaming. For most users, though, this is an easy trade-off for having a terminal that is 50% smaller.

The 9202 rental package comes standard with a watertight Pelican case, AC charger with international adapters, cat5 network cable, and quick-guide instructions. Optional rental accessories include a compact analog handset and DC car charger. Prepaid data airtime is available in 20, 40, and 100MB bundles as well as pay-as-you-go. OCENS can ship same day to anywhere in the world.

OCENS was one of the first service providers to offer the 9202 terminal as a rental option, and like the rest of its product line, boasts very competitive pricing and outstanding customer support.

OCENS is a provider of a broad range of fixed and mobile satellite communications solutions for industries such as mining and exploration, oil and gas,  forestry, wildland firefighting, business continuity / disaster recovery, broadcasting, emergency response, military and private security, as well as leisure activities such as overland travel, hunting, adventure sports, and maritime. Products and services include mobile satellite phones and hotspots, asset and personnel tracking, SCADA, backup communications, VoIP, network controls and metering, web and email compression, and weather services. OCENS tailors complete solutions to meet the customer’s specific needs and offers consistent support to the end-user throughout the use of its products and services.


Contact: Matt Haase, Sales Manager-Land Mobile Division

Tel: (206) 878-8270

Fax: (206) 878-8314      

Email: matt@ocens.com         

Web: www.ocens.com


OCENS.Mail Service for Apple iOS and Android Devices


OCENS always strives to provide easy-to-use value-add services for use with your satellite system. OCENS.Mail was designed with that ideal in mind; to give you a means to inexpensively send and receive email over your satellite system regardless of where you are located or what satellite system you have.

With OCENS.Mail for iOS and Android (empowered by the Optimizer 102) we can now provide you with OCENS.Mail service directly to your mobile devices; giving you the benefit of a truly mobile communications platform without the need for an AC powered computer, cables and precious space.


Apple iOS

To setup OCENS.Mail on your Apple iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

  • Connect your iOS device to a WiFi (non-Optimizer) or cellular network
  • Go to the App Store and install the XGate app
  • After the app is installed open it
  • The initial screen will ask for Full Name, OCENS.Mail username & OCENS.Mail password
  • Once finished, you will be taken to the main Page of the app

Initial app setup

  • Tap Settings
  • Tap Server
  • Select xgate.ocens.net
  • Select port 443 (Unless using the Iridium AccessPoint, then leave it on port 3333)
  • Tap Save
  • Tap Connection in the Settings page
  • Select Network Connection
  • Tap Save
  • Return to the main
  • Tap Mail
  • Tap the arrow button
  • Tap Send/Receive Mail to start a mail transfer
  • The webXacc listings are now updated within the application and can be used


Setting up the app to use with a satphone:

  • From the Main XGate screen tap Settings
  • Tap Connection
  • Select your satellite device (use the “webXacc” listings for Optimizer connections)
  • Tap Save
  • Connect to the WiFi network of your satellite device (use the Optimizers WiFi if set to a webXacc setting)

Mail Transfers are done by tapping the arrow button in Mail and selecting Send/Receive Mail.






To setup your Android smartphone or tablet, follow these steps:

  • Connect your Android device to a WiFi (non-Optimizer) or cellular network.
  • Go to the Play Store and install the XGate app
  • After the program is installed open it
  • The initial screen will ask for your Full Name, OCENS.Mail username & OCENS.Mail password
  • Once done, you will be taken to the Main Page of the program.

Initial app setup

  •  Select Settings
  • Select Mail Server in settings
  • On the Server drop down, select xgate.ocens.net
  • Change the port from 3333 to 443 (unless using the Iridium AccessPoint, then leave the port on 3333)
  • After those settings have been changed, hit your back button, then the back button again to go to the main page
  • Select mail, then Send/Receive Email
  • Select Send/Receive Email at the top to start a mail transfer
  • Once finished, all the “webXacc” Optimizer settings will be available.

Setting up the app for use with a satellite device:

  •  At the main page select Settings
  • Select connection
  • At the Select Router drop down, choose the entry that corresponds to your satellite service (If using an Optimizer be sure to select the “webXacc” entry for your setup)
  • Connect your Android device to the WiFi network of your satellite device.

Mail Transfers:

To receive and read email:

  • Click on the mail link from the main page
  • Click on Send/Receive Email
  • Click on Send/Receive Email button to start the transfer
  • Once the transfer is finished, hit your back button
  • Click on email
  • Click on the received messages to read them



To send email:

  • Click on Mail from the main screen
  • Click on Email
  • Click on your device menu button and select compose
  • Write your email then click send
  • Hit your back button to go back to the mail menu
  • Select send/receive email
  • Click on the send/receive email button to start a mail transfer