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Hybrid solutions are a future application for VSAT

Fri 19 May 2017 by Martyn Wingrove

Hybrid solutions are a future application for VSAT
NSSLGlobal provides a series of VSAT and L-band solutions

NSSLGlobal has linked VSAT with mobile networks for fast broadband near coastlines and for crew entertainment services

Ship connectivity that combines satellite coverage and cellular systems is a future scenario for maritime broadband. Vessel operators can receive reliable connectivity by using the global coverage of Ku-band with the capacity of 3G or 4G mobile networks.

To deliver these services, NSSLGlobal launched a cellular-VSAT hybrid system for maritime vessels in May this year to improve performance and reduce the costs of connections. The Cellular Marine System will complement NSSLGlobal’s airtime VSAT offering VSAT IP@Sea, and L-band services. It will enable vessels to transfer from satellite to mobile connectivity, while operating up to 25km offshore.

According to NSSLGlobal group maritime sales director Henrik Christensen vessels can obtain high speed internet, with download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, for operational and crew welfare broadband use. The hybrid solution is supported by a cellular roaming service through a major global cellular operator. It will switch seamlessly from satellite coverage to the 3G or 4G networks when these are available. Mr Christensen said it is ideal for vessels operating in coastal areas or waiting to get into harbour.

“With constant connectivity an ever-increasing need for ship operations and crew welfare, we need to ensure we provide fast and flexible access to internet services,” he said. “By giving our customers the option to switch between VSAT and 3G and 4G mobile connectivity, they can now get high speed internet at the most cost-effective rate.”

"We need to ensure we provide fast and flexible access to internet services"

VSAT IP@Sea combines extensive Ku- and C-band coverage with six global teleports that support 24 satellite beams and two network operation centres. L-band back-up comes from Inmarsat, Thuraya and Iridium networks. This can also be integrated with the CrewVision maritime entertainment service that NSSLGlobal launched in April.

That followed NSSLGlobal’s acquisition of Norwegian IPTV company SnapTV, which had developed video-streaming technology and entertainment products. CrewVision is an onboard video-based entertainment system that provides a range of new and classic films, box sets, documentaries and worldwide news and sports summaries for seafarers.

Shipping companies can choose and pay for specific content packages that can be viewed on high definition televisions or on tablets and computers. NSSLGlobal said this would encourage communal activity using the entertainment system, reducing the need for seafarers to view content in their own cabins.

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