What an Optimal Maritime Satellite Communications Solution Looks Like

What an Optimal Maritime Satellite Communications Solution Looks Like
Satellite Communications Solution

In today’s world, keeping your ship connected at all times is vital. Whether you operate cargo ships, fishing vessels, patrol units or other seacrafts, satellite communications can assist your operations in many ways.

Choosing the right satellite communications system is a big responsibility and your decision can affect everything from crew morale to vessel safety. To make the right choice for your operation, read on to find out why state-of-the-art satellite solutions are an essential tool in the maritime industry and what you should be looking for in an optimal product.

Why every vessel needs a modern satellite communications system

Improving the connectivity of ships provides operators with the power to leverage data. This can be used for better operational efficiency across the board. Technical and engine monitoring, navigation and route management, cargo monitoring and so much more can be improved with the right technology and a constant high-speed internet connection.

A reliable, continuous connection affords you constant control. For example, with today’s array of products, you can maintain a watchful eye on operational tracking and vessel status through dashboard facilities, with an option to schedule reporting.

High-speed connections also improve communications, both ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore. As well as better port communications, crew welfare improves because your people are able to keep in touch with friends and family and enjoy better access to entertainment.

The options

There are several big names when it comes to satellite communications for the maritime industry.

You might recognise Iridium, Inmarsat and Thuraya. What these have in common is that they can offer a comprehensive, end-to-end solution. They can provide the necessary hardware and software to connect your vessel and internet access. They also offer simpler products to use as a backup.

Look for a good provider who can assist you in finding the right solution for your vessel or fleet. Opt for a company that has a wealth of experience and knowledge in providing satellite communications solutions across industries: maritime, offshore, government and even satcom for humanitarian missions. Their experience will be invaluable.

What to consider

To get the best possible value for your investment, however large or small, here’s what you need to look for in a maritime satellite system.

1.     Superb flexibility

Network flexibility is crucial. The very best providers of maritime communication systems enable all businesses to find options that meet their needs but also suit their budget. It is crucial that for even the most basic options, there is a guarantee of bandwidth and high data speeds.

A good provider will offer very dependable connections that can balance traffic between 4G, 3G, VSAT and L-band SATCOM links to always provide the best possible service.

Look into the positives and negatives of each of the above and you will see that none of these offer the perfect standalone solution. VSAT is not ideal when operating near the shore, for instance.

The very best system is one that can switch to cover gaps in coverage and provide a hybrid network for optimal connectivity. You may also wish to invest in a backup voice communications system like the Thuraya Seastar voice terminal for maximum coverage.

2.   Robust cybersecurity

The inclusion of endpoint security is also important in maritime satellite communications. It should feature central management and a robust threat management protection system. This will keep the ship’s data as safe and secure as possible.

A threat management system should have two stages of protection: offshore and onshore. The use of two different technologies enhances your security. Furthermore, the usage of local distribution for updates reduces bandwidth usage.

3.     Adequate bandwidth to suit your needs

You need to consider both your current needs for bandwidth and what you may need in the future. There are some points to bear in mind.

Most maritime operators are finding that their needs are drastically increasing as the industry relies more and more on connectivity. It is vital that you future proof in this respect.

You also need to consider your bandwidth management onboard in more detail. How much usage is required for operational needs compared to crew welfare, for instance? A network management system is a useful addition for this reason.

4.     A reliable support system

You need to ensure you have reliable support available 24/7 for all aspects of the system you invest in. Is there a support center that can direct you to troubleshoot for your connection, your hardware, your IT and all other aspects of your satellite communications system?

Can remote assistance and maintenance be sought so that you can get a problem resolved as soon as possible without the need to head to shore? Ideally, you should only need to make one call to get a problem fixed.

5.     Reasonable lifetime costs

When considering the price of a maritime satellite communications system, you need to consider the upfront costs of hardware and installation and the ongoing costs associated with maintaining airtime. Make sure you look at the costs over the first year and first five years as a way of comparing your different options.


Final Thoughts

When installing or upgrading satellite communications solutions for the maritime industry, it is essential that you work with a provider with years of expertise. By doing so, you’ll have the assurance that you are buying into a service that offers:

  • cost-effective solutions that help you manage your costs — short-term and long-term;
  • hassle-free installation;
  • high-quality data and voice services you can rely on;
  • connectivity packages that suit your needs 100 percent of the time; and
  • confidence in a reliable service provider with swift backup if needed.

Looking out for all the above ensures that you, your crew and your finances will be happy. You can spend more time concentrating on operations and your business.

By choosing a reputable satellite solutions provider to assist you in finding the best communications solution, you’ll feel confident that wherever your ship is, you have an efficient end-to-end satellite communication solution to help you manage operations and stay connected.