A brand new Hughes 9202 was fully charged overnight and then connected to the BGAN network. The terminal was tuned to the highest possible signal strength and brought online with background IP services on a public IP addresses. The public IP address was added to Network Innovations’ monitoring server to monitor latency, and the length of time the battery lasts. The DC power cable was removed, and the results were:
- The Hughes 9202 battery lasted for 7 hours and 34 minutes before the unit went offline.
The conclusion for battery life is that the Hughes battery lasted 38.5% longer than that of other BGAN terminals. This is mainly due to the fact that the Hughes battery is rated for 5000mAh at 7.4V.
Cold Weather Performance
Testing was done to the 9202 to ensure it would power up after continued storage at the rated storage temperature of -20C. The
device was placed in an environmental chamber at -20C for 8 hours, and then brought online. The device stayed online for exactly 2 hours before the battery died, compared to the test done at room temperature, in which the battery lasted 7 hours and 34 minutes before the unit went offline.
The physical user interface on the unit requires the use of four buttons, these buttons are marked with icons for power, WiFi, an X and alarm. The buttons have multiple uses to navigate menus on screen.
The compass on the Hughes unit is designed as a flat disc and requires the unit to be totally level to determine orientation.
The 9202 has a web-based configuration/status dashboard, an improvement from the Hughes 9201. This feature is important for customers who do not have the Inmarsat LaunchPad installed on their computer. Overall initial setup of the Hughes unit is quite simple and most users should have no problems. Additionally the Hughes dashboard is accessible even when the unit is powering up.
Profiles & Administration
With the 9202, there are options for ranges of IP address to start a profile. For example if an IP address between 192.168.128.200 to 205 were up on the network it would start profile A. If addresses 206 to 210 were up it could start another profile. Of course it can only do one at a time. So for example, if the units between 200 to 205 were low data machines, then turn on network, start standard data session, turn off network. If machines in the 206 to 210 range are high data then turn on network, start 32K streaming data, turn off network.
The 9202 also features a Streaming IP inactivity timer to prevent against unwanted usage costs due to forgetting to close a connection. The timer is in either seconds or minutes and will tear down a streaming context after X seconds or minutes of inactivity.
The 9202 does not support port forwarding whereas other BGAN models do. This is important if you wanted to have multiple nodes (PCs) visible from the Internet using a static IP address. Port fowarding allows you to forward information to a specific PC (port). However, the 9202 BGAN can support multiple PDP contexts, one for each attached device and thereby each attached device can have its own IP address and the full range of ports. This scheme is more flexible than the port forwarding scheme because there is no need to translate port addresses when two attached devices both (for example) serve web pages on port 80. In this case the equipment would be set up to translate requests from/via the public IP from another port number (say 6000) to port 80 and translate the IP address to the desired local device IP. The network based user would request his browser to go to the public IP and would need to specify the desired (non-standard) port number (in this example 6000) to access the desired web page.
The Hughes model simply provides a second IP for the second piece of equipment and the user uses the standard port number to communicate with the remote device. It appears as though each device has its own modem.
The Hughes 9202 has a built-in WiFi access point, to allow computers to connect wirelessly to the internet via the BGAN network. Testing was done to determine a rough coverage area for the WiFi signal. Outdoors, with no obstructions, the WiFi signal was high (-85 dBi) at 200’ distance. Through walls, the signal was still useable (-82 dBi) at 80’ through three walls composed of cinderblocks and drywall. The access point is a useful feature for users who do not wish to be physically tethered to the BGAN unit.
In summary the Hughes 9202 is a capable unit which delivers fully to the manufacturers claims. The terminals long battery life and the availability of WiFi service are great enhancements for BGAN users. Overall durability should not be an issue as the unit has an Ingress Rating of IP-55, meaning it is protected against objects as small as dust, and protected against water jets. The Hughes 9202 appears to be an excellent new BGAN terminal, adding some new connectivity features in a smaller form-factor.