De­vel­op­ing Crew In­ter­net Ac­cess

The new gen­er­a­tion of sea­far­ers is born with a mo­bile in hand

OffComm News - - FRONTPAGE - By Ado­nis Vi­o­laris, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Telac­count Overseas Ltd, Bern­hard Schulte Ship­man­age­ment. Re­cent tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances have put broad­band at sea within reach of even the small­est ves­sels. Un­til some years ago, ves­sels trav­el­ling more than five mile

Im­ple­ment­ing in­ter­net cafés

Set­ting up a VSAT sys­tem re­quires know­ing and work­ing with a num­ber of ven­dors to make the sys­tem com­plete. While pre­vi­ously some ser­vices have been gen­er­ally based on us­age charges ( the more you use the more you pay), VSAT providers usu­ally charge a flat monthly fee for un­lim­ited in­ter­net ac­cess, which can range from $ 2,000 to more than $ 5,000 per month de­pend­ing on the speed, and may also in­clude the hard­ware. VSAT of­fers a num­ber of ad­van­tages at a fixed monthly rate, but un­for­tu­nately for the Ku band an­ten­nas th­ese only work within lim­ited cov­er­age ar­eas. Ar­eas in­clud­ing the south­ern At­lantic and south­ern Pa­cific re­main with­out Ku cov­er­age. So far only if you in­stalled a C band 2.4m an­tenna, like the ones that are used on the pas­sen­ger ves­sels, will you be able to have an In­marsat like global cov­er­age. Ku- VSAT satel­lites, which un­til now are most in­ter­est­ing to our com­mu­nity, cover the most well trav­elled ar­eas of the globe, but there are re­gions where the ser­vice is un­avail­able. In­marsat has bet­ter cov­er­age, but does not cover the poles. Irid­ium Satel­lite, with its Pi­lot pro­vides pole to pole cov­er­age, but does not pro­vide the high band­width avail­able from Ku or L band sys­tems. The Irid­ium Pi­lot link pro­vides three sep­a­rate phone lines and a data chan­nel con­fig­urable from 9.6 to 128 Kbps. But users are charged a per­me­gabyte fee, or a monthly fee with data lim­its, and the scal­able in­ter­net con­nec­tion isn't as fast as VSAT or In­marsat. Three Ka band satel­lites, us­ing a new net­work, will de­liver speeds of up to 50 megabits per sec­ond ( Mbps) to our ves­sels. Op­er­a­tions are ex­pected to start in 2014 to sup­port a next gen­er­a­tion global ser­vice, ap­pro­pri­ately named Global Xpress.

All You Can Eat

Very Large Al­lowance ( VLA) or All You Can Eat ( AYCE) are the im­me­di­ate In­marsat re­sponses to the flat rates from VSAT com­pe­ti­tion. Based on our ves­sel’s us­age, we can see that to­day a ship can sat­isfy its op­er­a­tional and crew re­quire­ments within the range of 10 to 15Gbyte per month. This may in­clude crew us­age of in­ter­net brows­ing, VoIP, in­stant mes­sag­ing and so­cial net­work­ing. The In­marsat AYCE is a man­aged ser­vice, i. e. when us­age reaches the up­per lim­its of the plan, the com­pany would start re­duc­ing speed to pre­serve the re­main­der of the plan un­til month’s end. This would al­low users to con­tinue their light brows­ing, email, and mes­sag­ing but would limit stream­ing us­age like video and au­dio con­fer­enc­ing, Skype and other band­width hog­ging ap­pli­ca­tions. Dur­ing our tri­als we tested both a VSAT V7 from KVH and In­marsat VLA with FB500. We can report that both sys­tems have per­formed sat­is­fac­to­rily, and both crew and op­er­a­tions have ben­e­fited from this ex­pe­ri­ence. With both sys­tems we are able to im­prove en­ter­prise com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the ves­sel through uni­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tions, stream­lined ves­sel op­er­a­tions, and of­fered the crew un­lim­ited in­ter­net ac­cess in both tri­als.

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