The first revolution
Cobham SATCOM helped to revolutionise communication at sea in 1991, when Norwegian satellite service provider Marlink deployed the first maritime stabilised VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) antenna on a ship – a cutting-edge Sea Tel system.
VSAT slowly gained ground with the offshore industry at first, followed by cruise and luxury vessels, while today, thousands of merchant ships enjoy the higher bandwidths and fixed price costing it provides. VSAT is now the platform on which the maritime industry is changing. Digital transformation is bringing significant advantages in vessel and fleet management, environmental impact and business sustainability by enabling ship owners and operators to leverage the power of data with high throughput and global networks.
However, for service providers and engineers alike, the successful implementation of maritime VSAT once presented a very specific set of problems, from the complexity of designing a solution and procuring all the elements for multiple suppliers to the physical installation of the hardware and commissioning on the network. VSAT remained a complex and costly proposition until 2011, when the SAILOR 900 VSAT was launched.
The second revolution
As a market leader in satellite communications, Cobham SATCOM has proven its expertise in meeting the challenges of cost and complexity and overcoming them with its extensive portfolio of robust, cost-effective, feature-rich, marine-stabilised SAILOR and Sea Tel C-band, Ku-band and Ka-band VSAT systems.
They all provide seamless, dependable, ‘always-on’ global connectivity (network dependent). But the second revolution in maritime VSAT comes before the antennas are even on board. Understanding the procurement, delivery and installation were major cost and complexity barriers, SAILOR 900 VSAT and all SAILOR VSAT antennas since address these concerns, making choosing to upgrade to VSAT much easier for end-users and partners providing the service.
The benefits of looking at the entire VSAT value chain when developing new SAILOR VSAT antennas are significant. More ship owners could see that getting faster internet on board was now easier and could in fact save them money. The result is that crew members have better facilities to stay in touch with friends and families, passengers and guests can access social media and ships can become safer and more efficient through satcom enabled digitalisation.
With availability of HTS (High Throughput Satellite) capacity in recent years, VSAT has gone from strength to strength. It can now deliver even faster speeds and lower service costs, which is driving even more digital transformation. But as ships depend more and more on data, securing an always available link is a must to enable operational efficiencies for vessels, fleets and the entire logistics value chain. With reliability driven by design, build and material quality, backed by a new generation of software control, Cobham SATCOM VSAT delivers the dependability needed.