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Inmarsat terminal standards

Inmarsat– A

Inmarsat-A — the first standard in communication system Inmarsat, put into operation in 1982.

Provides bidirectional telephone communication, telex, fax, e-mail, data transmission (at rate up to 64 kbit/s) in analogue mode. Satellite terminals of standard Inmarsat-A have relatively small size, they are mostly used at ships and onshore facilities. Currently the standard has gone out of date, its operation was stopped from 31.12.2007.  


Inmarsat-B is the digital standard in Inmarsat communication system. It was put into operation in 1993. It was developed in elaboration of the standard Inmarsat-A with regard to more rational use of frequency resource. It provides the whole range of services of Inmarsat-A at lower cost. Satellite terminals Inmarsat-B are mostly used at ships and onshore facilities. Currently the standard has gone out of date, its operation was stopped from 09.01.2017.  


Inmarsat-C is an Inmarsat standard, put in operation in 1991. It provides low-speed data exchange between terminals and onshore users. 

Inmarsat-C standard provides the following services:

  • message exchange  (ship-ship),
  • sending e-mail messages  (ship-land, land-ship),
  • sending messages to PSDN mailbox,
  •  sending facsimile messages  (ship-land),
  • sending enhanced group call to terminals Inmarsat-S (EGC),
  • transfer of telex messages,
  • reporting geographic coordinates, course, speed (Data reporting),
  • sending and receiving distress signals.

Inmarsat-C standard is approved for use in GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System). Subscriber terminals Inmarsat-S are used for communication between ships and for collection of information from remote onshore facilities and cargo handling management. Subscriber terminals are compact in size, they are equipped with omni-directional antennas and embedded GPS receivers, some models may be used with navigation receivers GLONASS/GPS. 

Inmarsat-C standard does not provide telephone communication, information exchange is based on accumulation, storage and further transmission of information (Store-аnd-Forward). Information transmission rate makes 600 bit/s.

Inmarsat-C standard makes it possible to use dispatch control systems for mobile vehicles: automobiles, marine/river vessels and aircrafts, transmit and receive small portions of information.

Inmarsat- Mini-M

Inmarsat Mini-M standard is put in operation in 1992. It provides global communication – telephone, fax, data transmission with comparatively inexpensive and compact terminals. Inmarsat Mini-M standard uses digital methods of information transmission at the rate of 4.8 kbit/s for fax and data transmission mode, operation is performed in zonal beams. Subscriber terminals Inmarsat Mini-M are used for arrangement of satellite communication on mobile objects including ships, automobiles, as they are intended for mobile use as portable compact devices. Currently the standard has gone out of date, its operation was stopped from 09.01.2017.  

Inmarsat– М4 GAN

Inmarsat standard М4 GAN was put in operation in 1999, provides work in  (Global Area Network (GAN)), including voice communication (4.8 kbit/s), fax (groups 3 and 4), high-speed data transmission (up to 64 kbit/s), ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), MPDS, access to Internet/Intranet, e-mail, video conferences. 

Subscriber terminals Inmarsat-M4 provide operation in networks with circuit switching, as well as in networks with packet switching. Difference is in the fact that in the first instance the service is rated by connection time without regard to amount of information transmitted, in the second – the amount of transmitted and received data is rated whereas connection time is not considered.  

Subscriber terminals Inmarsat-М4 have comparatively small size (compatible to a laptop computer), they are used at stationary onshore facilities and as portable satellite terminals. Currently the standard has gone out of date, its operation was stopped from 09.01.2017.  

Inmarsat Fleet

Inmarsat Fleet standard is used for communication between sea subscribers and provides services similar to standard Inmarsat M4. Fleet subscriber terminals may be divided into 3 types:  Fleet 77, Fleet 55 and Fleet 33. Each type of terminals provides particular set of services. 

Terminals Fleet 77 operate in global beams and provide low-speed telephone communication

(4,8 kbit/s), fax  (2.4 or 9.6 kbit/s), ISDN networking  (56/64/128 kbit/s, Audio 3.1 KHz, Speech 64 kbit/s), and Multiservice Packet Data Service  (MPDS) — up to 64 kbit/s. Operation in MPDS mode is rated not by connection time, but for transmitted/received amount of data.

Terminals Fleet 55 may work in global (voice), as well as in zonal beams. In zonal beams Fleet 55 provide almost the same performance as Fleet 77, except for ISDN 128 kbit/s. Fleet 33 provide voice transmission in global and zonal beams, as well as transmission of data and facsimile messages at the rate of 9.6 kbit/s and MPDS in case of operation in global beam.


Standard Inmarsat D/D+ was put in operation in 1996. It provides low-speed data transmission. Subscriber equipment Inmarsat D/D+ is mainly used in transportation management systems, remote control systems and for autonomous information retrieval from remote objects.

Inmarsat standards for aviation

Inmarsat — Aero

Inmarsat-Aero standard provides the following services:

Aero-L – provides on-line low-speed data transmission (600 bit/s). Subscriber terminals Aero-L are mainly installed on helicopters and light aircrafts. The standards meets the requirements of ICAO  (International Civil Aviation Organization) on ensuring aviation security and safety of aircraft management.

Aero-I – designed for small and average aircrafts; certified by ICAA — International Civil Aviation Authority – for ensuring aviation security and safety of aircraft management. Equipment Aero-l standard provides possibility for passengers and crews of aircraft to use telephone and fax communication, batch data transmission at rate from 600 bit/s to 4.8 kbit/s.

Aero-H – provides multi-channel telephone and facsimile communication and transmission of data to the benefit of passengers and crews of aircrafts. Standard Aero-H+ operates through third generation satellites and applies zonal beam technology.

Aero Mini-M – provides passengers of aircrafts with telephone and facsimile communication, allows to transmit data at the rate of 9.6 kbit/s. Used mostly for commercial aviation. Currently the standard has gone out of date, its operation was stopped from 09.01.2017.  

Broadband network Inmarsat BGAN

Inmarsat BGAN is a modern broadband network providing high-rate data transmission in IP networks at rates up to 492 kbit/s providing to the users high-quality telephone and facsimile communication, sending/receiving SMS.

Inmarsat BGAN network is put into operation in 2005; it operated through 4th generation Inmarsat satellites and satellite access stations owned by Inmarsat company. The network provides global coverage of the earth (except for polar regions). 

Inmarsat BGAN network provides the following services:

  • data streaming at confirmed rate up to 384 kbit/s;
  • batch data transmission at rate up to 492 kbit/s;
  • telephone communication, including high-quality voice service – Audio 3.1 KHz;
  • facsimile communication;
  • ISDN networking;
  • SMS.

Main peculiarities of broadband network BGAN:

  • Portability and mobility of subscriber satellite terminals;
  • Possibility of simultaneous work in several modes (for instance, web browsing and telephone communication);
  • Global coverage. Coverage area includes abount 85% of land in Europe, Asia and Africa, South and North America, Australia (about 98% population of the Earth);
  • VPN support (virtual private networks).

Satellite terminals Inmarsat BGAN.

For Inmarsat BGAN networking portable satellite terminals are used as subscriber devices. Some models of terminals have a remote antenna which may be installed as stationary; no complicated assembly and construction operations are required at that. Portable computers or video conference communication devices may be connected to terminals; also a local network for operation of a small working group may be created.   

Inmarsat FleetBroadband  (FBB).

Inmarsat FBB is a broadband satellite network for marine application. Services provided are similar to those of Inmarsat BGAN.

Inmarsat SwiftBroadband  (SBB).

Inmarsat SBB is a broadband satellite network for air application. Services provided are similar to those of Inmarsat BGAN.

Personal satellite communication Inmasat IsatPhonePro

Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro is a personal satellite communication standard within mobile satellite communication system Inmarsat. 

Operation in IsatPhone Pro standard is performed through geostationary 4th generation Inmarsat satellites and satellite access stations owned by Inmarsat company.  

Services provided by personal satellite communication network:

  • Telephone communication;
  • Voice mail;
  •  Transmission of text and e-mail messages;   
  •  Location positioning.