In Part One of “Tablet Computers: Your Lifeline in Emergency Situations”, we learned some of the basics for disaster preparation and survival. We provided resources, links, and apps for developing contingency plans as well as making your own emergency disaster kit. As an added bonus, we suggested a few non-tablet goodies for beefing up your emergency kit. Today we’ll be focused on tablet computers and related accessories. These items may prove to be lifesavers in the event of a disaster.
Might we suggest that you include a tablet computer as part of your emergency kit? Here’s why. In a truly devastating disaster you will likely be dealing with power outages and the inability to use your phone. This can apply both to land lines and cell phones. Yes, cell phones. If the towers are out of commission then so is your cell phone. No towers, no phone. In the same way, if you don’t have electricity, you won’t have a usable home computer, and hence little access to news and the outside world.
This is where tablet computers have a few advantages. So long as they are charged, tablet PCs are independent of the power grid. Therefore, you’ll be able to access all the information on the tablet as usual. So, for example, you’ll still be able to access the FEMA app, which is good. Unfortunately, even if your tablet is 3G or 4G enabled, if the cell phone towers are out of commission, then so is your Internet access. Obviously this will severely limit what you can do with your tablet, that is, unless you have one of these.
Thrane & Thrane Explorer 300
Let’s Talk Tablets is proud to present the Inmarsat BGAN Thrane & Thrane Explorer 300 Terminal.
The Thrane and Thrane Explorer 300 BGAN Terminal is a portable satellite modem, which provides immediate 2-way, worldwide high-speed Internet access and simultaneous telephone capability. Designed with weatherproofing technology, the BGAN portable satellite modem remains effective in most environments, including those that are humid, arid, and/or dusty. About the size of a laptop computer, the Explorer 300 has a built-in satellite link that allows access to the Internet (or a private network) via the Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN).
Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company provides BGAN, which uses three geostationary satellites to provide nearly global coverage. BGAN is both Mac and PC compatible, and, as such provides seamless access to popular applications. A versatile and cost effective communications tool, BGAN runs at more than twice the speed of current terrestrial GPRS mobile phone networks.
In an emergency, you can connect to the (BGAN) satellite network by simply inserting a prepaid data card into the robust Explorer 300 modem. Once this is done, you’ll have instant access to the Internet or a private network. The card is debited according to the amount of data transferred rather than the time spent online. Integrated software enables you to control expenses through real-time service tracking. So, whether you’re sending or receiving information, the prepaid data card measures your Internet usage by data transferred (in megabits per second), not time; so you can keep the Explorer 300 active, without the worry of “having the meter running”. This is a definite asset in disaster scenarios, when your Internet use will likely be short and sporadic. Other services such as telephone calls, faxes, and streaming video are billed by the minute.
The Explorer 300 allows dedicated, secure links to be set up over a virtual private network (VPN). It also offers remote LAN and intranet access.
Here is a list of additional features provided by the Explorer 300:
- File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
- Instant messaging
- Video streaming
- Data File Sharing/Transferring
The Explorer 300 is lightweight, compact and ready for travel. It’s quick to set up, and easy to operate. Whether you’re at sea, or on land, you can set up a broadband mobile station in minutes, as seen in the video below.
In an emergency, you can count on the Explorer 300 to provide fast, reliable Internet access, whenever you need service. BGAN, the high-speed Internet Protocol (IP) data service provides coverage to virtually every location on the planet, and it can’t be disabled by natural disasters. Combined, the two technologies provide Internet access and telephony anytime, anywhere. Even if you’re not facing a disaster, you can still use the Explorer 300 to stay in touch in locations where local telecom is non-existent, poor, and/or expensive.
The Explorer 300 can be used with a single tablet computer or laptop. It can also be connected to a Local Area Network (LAN). In a case like this, LAN would be beneficial, in that, multiple devices could access the Internet simultaneously. Connections can be made using a variety of means, including Ethernet, USB, or Bluetooth technology. Once more, you can make a phone call and access your data applications at the same time.
Finally, we come to cost. As you know, convenience usually doesn’t come cheap. The Explorer 300 is no exception to this rule. It currently comes at $2,775.00. While I fully recognize the sticker shock associated with this device, in a case of life or death, the Explorer 300 could prove invaluable in saving your life as well as the lives of those around you. It’s well worth considering.
Pelican® 1400 case
For additional protection, the owner of the Explorer 300 may also consider the purchase of a Pelican® 1400 case. Pelican cases provide watertight protection as well as substantial padding for transportation. You can buy one on Amazon in Black, Orange, or yellow.
Thrane & Thrane Explorer 500
If money is not a concern, you can by the 300’s bigger brother, the Thrane & Thrane Explorer 500 BGAN Terminal. This bad boy is faster and offers better voice communication than its smaller brother. It’s a steal at $3,615.00. You can view the Explorer 500 official website or purchase it from Amazon.
Pelican® 1450 Case
For additional protection, the owner of the Explorer 500 may also consider the purchase of a Pelican® 1450 case. Pelican cases provide watertight protection as well as substantial padding for transportation. You can buy one on Amazon in Black, Orange, or Silver.
I hope you found part 2 of this series to be useful, informative and educational. Some of the equipment and accessories mentioned above might not necessarily be cheap, but in case of emergencies or disasters you simply can’t put a price on safety and preventative measures.