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I'm the only server admin for my brother's online retail business. I spend a lot of time travelling internationally and am often outside of GSM coverage. I'm looking for a alert delivery system (pager, sms to a backup phone, etc) which meets the following requirements:

  • Small enough to carry all the time
  • Global coverage, ideally much broader than GSM
  • Battery life measured in weeks (or maybe days) not hours

Options I've considered:

Is there a service or device I'm missing which will fit this requirement? Something like the service but for receiving messages would be ideal.

For the record, options I've considered which would not work:

  • Traditional pager, coverage is limited and always single country
  • GSM mobile, coverage is patchy outside urban areas
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closed as off topic by Sven, pauska, Ward, sysadmin1138 Jan 1 '12 at 21:15

Questions on Server Fault are expected to relate to server, networking, or related infrastructure administration within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Unfortunately, this is a service recommendation which is off-topic for ServerFault (see 'not about' in the FAQ) and is likely to be closed. Saying that, your best best is speaking to a local supplier and seeing what they reccomend. – tombull89 Jan 1 '12 at 21:05
As @tombull89 said this is off topic and will be closed. – t1nt1n Jan 1 '12 at 21:15
Hire a backup server admin on retainer? – ceejayoz Jan 2 '12 at 2:41
A better question might be - you've got an alert on your satelite pager. It's a good thing you had the satelite model, because you're vacationing abroad and there's zero GSM coverage; there's no good Internet links near you; and no easy, obvious chance of travelling to a place with better facilities. So what will you do with your alert anyway? I think @ceejayoz raises a valid point in more ways than you might think. If your brother's business is important enough to need 24x7x365 coverage then it needs more than one person providing that cover. What if you, god forbid, fell ill? – RobM Dec 2 '12 at 19:04
Secondary / backup server admins are obviously worthwhile. However, the example you cited is fairly uncommon. There are definitely situations where there is no GSM coverage, but there is GSM coverage say at the top of the hill (20 minutes walk) or internet in a nearby town (30 minute bus ride). I had that situation in a house in Costa Rica when the DSL was out. :-) – chmac Dec 3 '12 at 19:26
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The only options I know of are the Satellite options, and you found both of them. Those are the only systems that have global coverage no matter where you are. And as you found out, Satellite requires both bulk and poor battery life; and will remain so until the sat operators upgrade all of their satellites which will take a decade and several billion dollars.

I'm afraid there is no good, relatively cheap solution to handling always-on-call personell and frequent global travel. The only solution I know of is to plan your pager infrastructure before every trip, and either don't travel to places where you can't get coverage or put an alternate system of some kind in its place. Yes, it's labor and expense. Possibly enough labor to justify another person for pager-duty.

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Thanks for the response, it's good to know I have found all the readily available options. I'm thinking the sat phone may be the way to go, or restrict myself to areas of GSM coverage. The other issue being, no point in alerting me unless I can actually take action! At least with the sat phone I'd get a 3kbps link at $1.50 a minute to try and resolve issues! :-) – chmac Jan 2 '12 at 21:43

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