What Is BGAN and Is It Right For Your Business?

Thanks to the latest developments in satellite communications, we can make voice calls or access the internet from almost anywhere on the planet. As the industry standard for mobile satellite internet, BGAN service provides a reliable internet connection via portable terminals you can use almost anywhere. So what is BGAN, and how does it work?

What is BGAN?

BGAN (Broadband Global Area Network) uses a special terminal to connect devices to earth-orbiting satellites, providing almost global connectivity. As long as BGAN terminals have a line of sight to a satellite, they can be used anywhere.

Most satellite internet services use bulky, heavy satellite dishes installed at a fixed location. However, a BGAN terminal is much more compact – about the size of a laptop computer – portable for mobile use. For example, teams based in remote areas can use a BGAN network to set up a temporary or mobile office and work as usual, regardless of their location.

A BGAN terminal must first find its position using GPS to establish a satellite connection. Initial setup typically happens outside with a clear view of the sky and a general idea of the satellite’s location. The average setup time for BGAN systems is about two minutes, even less with a strong signal.

What’s the Difference Between BGAN and VSAT?

BGAN is just one system used for satellite internet communications. Another option is VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal), which provides high bandwidth internet to transmit data. VSAT also supports many users, bandwidth-on-demand services, encrypted data transfers and VPN connections.

Even an inexperienced user can set up a BGAN terminal and connect to the internet in just a few minutes. This makes BGAN an ideal mobile connectivity solution for single users, small teams or organizations that occasionally access satellite networks. However, BGAN has slower speeds than VSAT, peaking at around 490 Kbps.

Conversely, installing a VSAT terminal requires a certified technician to point and peak the terminal, an additional cost. VSAT uses a fixed small dish antenna, so it is not portable once installed. However, VSAT is much faster than BGAN, offering upload speeds up to 5 Mbps and download speeds up to 20 Mbps. Because VSAT supports a comprehensive range of simultaneous applications, it can accommodate large-scale usage in oil and gas, mining or even military operations.

If you’re deciding between BGAN and VSAT, consider your business’s specific needs. For example, a large company with hundreds or thousands of users may need the superior performance and support of VSAT. However, a startup or small business might not have enough space for VSAT equipment. If portability is your highest priority, BGAN might be the best fit.

Benefits of BGAN

Here are eight benefits of using a BGAN service for mobile satellite internet:

  • Portability: Because a BGAN terminal is so compact, you can set it up almost anywhere to establish a mobile internet connection.
  • Ease of use: Any user can set up a BGAN terminal and connect their device to the internet within five minutes.
  • Seamless connectivity: With BGAN, you have access to a seamless network with nearly global coverage.
  • Simultaneous voice and data: Just one BGAN terminal enables you to use both voice and data services simultaneously.
  • Flexible applications: BGAN terminals come in portable, fixed and vehicular options for any use case.
  • Cost efficiency: After the initial cost of equipment, the price of a BGAN service plan is based on the amount of data transferred and received, typically ranging from $3 to $7 per MB.
  • On-the-go communications: Because BGAN has auto-tracking antennas, you can stay connected to the internet while in a moving vehicle, ideal for land-use applications.
  • Secure connections: BGAN supports major VPN products and encryption standards to meet military and government requirements for security.

Where is BGAN Used?

Because BGAN offers reliable, portable satellite internet, it’s ideal for many industries, such as:

  • First responders
  • Construction and mining
  • Oil and gas
  • Utilities 
  • Remote offices
  • Maintenance fleets
  • Agriculture
  • Telecommunications 
  • Foreign aid
  • Engineering 


Where can I use BGAN mobile satellite internet? You can connect a BGAN terminal from almost anywhere in the world, except in polar regions where line of sight to geostationary satellites isn’t possible.

What services does BGAN provide? With a BGAN terminal, you can use high-speed internet, phone, fax, SMS text messaging and streaming services, including simultaneous voice and data.

Where can a BGAN terminal be used? A BGAN terminal performs best outside, where it has the best line of sight to the satellite. However, it could also work when pointing through a window, although this might weaken the signal strength.

How many devices can connect to the internet? A BGAN terminal creates a WiFi hotspot that can connect up to 11 devices at once.

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If your organization needs reliable, versatile mobile satellite internet, BGAN might be the right solution. IP Access has partnered with industry-leading providers of ultra-portable satellite hardware with global coverage.

IP Access’s ensure you stay connected no matter where you are, and from almost anywhere in the world.

Contact us today to learn more about our flexible, affordable satellite internet solutions.