Offshore vessels and platforms have always struggled with finding reliable, reasonably-priced internet solutions. The increasing use of technology for control, monitoring and troubleshooting these vessels and platforms increases the need for a highly dependable option.
VSAT or Very-small-aperture terminals are an ideal option for maritime operations for several reasons. First, they provide a dependable and reliable internet connection which an offer narrow or broadband operating through two-way communication through satellite transmission to the most remote locations. Second, they can be operated as mobile systems, with geosynchronous and geostationary satellites able to transmit the signal between the antenna.
What to Consider
Choosing between different maritime VSAT providers can be as confusing as selecting internet providers for an office or even a residence. Every company seems to offer different packages, features, and options.
In addition, there will also be specific services to choose from maritime VSAT providers. This can include Ka-Band, Ku-band, and hybrid options. They will designate the radio frequency as either Ku-band, which supports high-speed broadband applications, or Ka-band, which is less commonly used in maritime applications as it often has problems with transmission and reception in tropical areas. Ka-band tends to offer higher bandwidth requirements, which is a factor for cruise ships more than for shipping vessels or platforms. Hybrid systems use both, which allows the system to choose the best band at a particular moment in time.
Expertise and Experience
Along with reliability and dependability with the internet connectivity, choosing maritime VSAT providers based on their reputation for global coverage while at sea will be a critical factor. Reviewing coverage areas and the quality of service provided should be a critical factor in making a final choice.
While cost will be a determination, reliability should be the priority. By selecting an experienced, proven VSAT provider for maritime applications, the quality and dependability of the system will never be in question.