Photos and some Skype over the BGAN from Masaya Volcano

Video screen clip of photos downloading over the BGAn link

Photo download video clip (5.4MB) - showing the time taken to download a new thumbnail page and a new photo.

On Saturday Paul went back up to Masaya volcano for a couple of hours in the morning. Again we used the BGAN terminal to connect to the Internet. As before, we used Skype text chat throughout as our back channel for communication. The Ricoh WiFi camera worked well for taking pictures and sending them over the local WiFi network to the Asus server, where I could then access them from the UK. This time I managed to get a video of the process to show the performance of the service (see clip). The thumbnail images came down in about 11 seconds and a full picture took about 23 seconds. This is certainly usable for getting live photos from the field.

Next we tried a video stream from Paul. We’re using an Edimax WiFi IP camera that John boxed up for protection. Paul could see the video stream at his end. Back at the OU – I could get the web page to load, but the embedded video did not appear. Given the limited time we had, I decided that rather than try to reconfigure the video stream we should move on and try audio.

Paul in a shelter at the Masaya volcano.

An example photo sowing Paul at the Masaya volcano in a much needed sun shelter.

Paul started the Asterisk VoIP server running on an Asus Eee PC, and after a few false starts used the SIP phone client on his iPhone. The audio got through in each direction, but was breaking up badly and was not really fit for purpose. So, we switched to voice over Skype running on Paul’s Asus and my Laptop. This relayed audio very clearly from the UK to Masaya, but I could not hear anything from Paul. We’ll have a look at the data rates for the link and see if that helps to explain the poor performance.

Overall, not bad going for just a couple of hours. The photos seem to be pretty reliable and indicate we can generally get an effective link for Internet access. The challenges seem to be around streaming data, such as video and audio, where time delays become problematic. Still, we have more options to try and another week to do them in.

Web page showing thumbnail photos from Masaya Volcano.

Thumbnail web page viewed from the UK showing the latest photos from Masaya.