VSAT and MSS Hand-in-Hand
The choice between VSAT and MSS is not as simple as choosing one or the other. The two solutions are symbiotic and very often, ships with a maritime VSAT solution installed onboard will also be running an MSS solution in parallel.
A traditional reason for opting for a pay per use MSS system over VSAT was that you only paid for what you use, but as business moves further online, this notion has been challenged significantly, as bandwidth requirements continue to rapidly increase – along with costs if using MSS.
Fleet and vessel operators are continuing to move towards VSAT solutions on Ku-band, C-band, and soon Ka-band over traditional L-band (MSS) communications. L-band solutions such as Iridium OpenPort and Inmarsat FleetBroadband are now becoming common back-up solutions for ship owners using VSAT, but who still want connectivity in remote areas like the North and South Pole.
In recognising this increasing demand for VSAT and MSS solutions, Service Providers are more commonly now offering bundled solutions with VSAT packaged together with MSS back up. Some SPs even offer an ‘all-in-one’ type solution with VSAT, MSS, hardware and software.
Even many new, faster MSS services cannot cost effectively support business critical operations today in the same way that VSAT supports daily communications onboard. With VSAT, vessels are always connected to the Internet and are not forced to use the system restrictively or limit access when a cost threshold is approaching, or worse, cease access all together when a limit is met.