VSAT Strengths

Communication costs are easier to predict and control with the fixed monthly charges associated with VSAT, as opposed to the pay-as-you-use system more commonly associated with MSS communications.

Costs are insensitive to distance, meaning for internationally operating companies, vessels can stay connected to shore and offices without having to worry about expensive long distance call charges.

The recent changes in antenna financing and leasing over long term contracts lowers the entrance costs into VSAT.

Larger deployment of TDMA networks offers a comparable service to SCPC networks, but sharing and segmenting bandwidth across vessels (through TDMA) offers further cost reductions.

Often potential employees will look at what type of services are offered on board a vessel and naturally, they will favour vessels with VSAT that can offer communication with their family and friends ashore at a reasonable price (telephone, SMS, email, internet, etc.)

Many VSAT providers also offer the option of television, which in addition to Internet on board provides further entertainment for crew.

Telemedicine is also an application that can significantly benefit crew and vessel operators, and can be offered efficiently through the VSAT, with a more guaranteed quality of service, during urgent scenarios; as well as being accessible at any time

VSAT networks only have three potential points of failure: the satellite, the hub and the remotes onboard– each of these can be equipped with built-in redundancy and automatic back-up services in case of failure.

Satellite outages are rare but, should one occur, traffic can be automatically rerouted to back-up systems in a manner that causes minimal interruption to the service.

Some VSAT providers own and operate their own teleports. This offers a further advantage to end users as that provider is able to maintain full control over the network, as opposed to providers who lease network capacity from other providers.

Choosing a VSAT provider that owns its own teleports can mean more in-depth competence and it enables the provider to offer a single point-of-contact to customers.

VSAT can offer more bandwidth, far more complex networking schemes and access to applications that offer operational efficiency and enhance crew welfare.

The modularity of VSAT systems means components can be separated and easily recombined, allowing for quick time-to-market and fast upgrades.

Bandwidth use can be monitored throughout the duration of the contract and modified according to how much bandwidth is being used/not used.

Some companies capable of providing customised VSAT services can offer bandwidth on demand – where the regular CIR/MIR can be boosted significantly to meet operational or charter client needs.

VSAT networks already constitute a private network. By adding encryption technology satellite can provide a Virtual Private Network (VPN) resulting in a secure connection with land based offices.
In this rapidly expanding, competitive market, VSAT Service Providers can be expected to install new antennas and systems quickly and efficiently and provide immediate connectivity.

Many providers can facilitate remote access tools, providing access to a computer or an IP enabled device onboard from any remote location. This can enable remote support, monitoring and troubleshooting, with no onboard intervention.

After a preliminary site survey, an actual VSAT installation and line-up can be completed in a few hours. The whole installation typically takes about two days.

Some antenna manufacturers offer single cable to the antenna solutions, which supports the pre-works/cabling a customer or installer would do prior to antenna installation.

Ship owners can opt for a private VSAT network and specify their desired Committed Information Rate (CIR), so that they are not sharing the connection with other shipping companies. And if one vessel in the owner’s fleet needs more capacity, then any spare capacity will automatically go to that vessel.

With efficient use of available bandwidth, all vessels in a fleet essentially become an office, sharing a closed, secure network.

The fuel optimisation process starts when ships are in port. With certain VSAT add-on services, crew can access information about when the vessel should arrive at its next port and the system will calculate what the optimal speed should be by looking at the weather, the wave height etc. It then calculates the best route. These services can sometimes also be accessible with an MSS service.

Via the VSAT network, the system can constantly and quickly calculate the best route, changing course and speed if necessary. This means that very quickly there is a potential for return on the investment in the system.

When considering the long-term optimal performance of a large fleet, VSAT can be used to deliver engine and fuel data to HQ, where management and experts can pinpoint specific trends and challenges, enabling them to operate more efficiently.

Shipping companies commonly use real time applications with a relatively high demand for bandwidth. This is easily accommodated with VSAT by having a priority mechanism and dedicated bandwidth available.
Automatic Beam Switching (ABS) handles switch overs from one satellite to another satellite in the network.

ABS virtually eliminates user intervention required for seamless satellite switching. virtually eliminates user intervention required for seamless satellite switching.



VSAT Considerations