Iridium Communications has launched its new Iridium GO! device which uses satellite communication technology to give smartphone users Wi-Fi access anywhere on Earth. Using Iridium’s network of 66 satellites and ground network infrastructure, Iridium’s new Wi-Fi device means you can access your email pretty much anywhere.

The Iridium GO! aims to let up to five people connect to the internet, make phone calls and receive text messages from some of the most hostile environments imaginable. While satellite communication has existed in the past, it was only available through large, bulky satellite phones that could only transmit voice calls and basic messaging.

The device is aimed particularly at those involved in search-and-rescue missions in remote locations, business people operating around the world and dedicated adventurers. Iridium’s global satellite network is supported by an extensive ground infrastructure ensuring high reliability of the communications network through multiple layers of redundancy and back-up systems for all critical functions.

The device has been designed to be simple to use and works by simply raising the antenna which automatically connects to the Iridium network and establishes a Wi-Fi connection.  The user can then log on to an Iridium GO! app on his or her device and then use his or her phone or tablet.

The device delivers a coverage radius of 100 feet and users can connect devices wirelessly without special adapters. Data connection speeds are quite slow though. The service is fine for calls, texts and emails but would be unsuitable for transmitting video or browsing websites which stream video or similarly large files.  The device will work on any smart device with a wireless network connection.