Passenger ships use radio technology instead of satellite communications for broadband connectivity
A Scandinavian company is investing in radio-link technology across busy passenger shipping routes to turn the Baltic Sea into the world’s first broadband sea.
Ferries and cruise ships in the Baltic Sea can use radio technology instead of satellite communications for broadband connectivity for passengers and crew.
Nowhere Networks is setting up a radio-link network across the region where 15M passengers a year pass as an alternative to VSAT and coastal 4G communications.
This technology provides low latency communications for passengers with 100 times higher capacity than satellite links, according to Nowhere Networks.
Shipping company Rederi AB Eckerö has used the Nowhere Networks radio-link technology for around a year on the line between Grisslehamn, Sweden, and Mariehamn, Finland.
Following these trials the shipping company and Nowhere Networks decided to expand the network.
There is now coverage from Stockholm, Sweden, and from Visby in Gotland to Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia.
“This is just the beginning,” said Nowhere Networks chief executive Asbjörn Frydenlund. “By the end of the year we will cover traffic to Turku, Riga and Oskarshamn. At the current rate, we will have digitalised the entire Baltic Sea by the end of 2020.”
He expects ships and their passengers will then “be fully connected at the same speed and with the same stability as on the mainland.”
Nowhere Networks uses highly positioned heavy-duty antennas on land and on ships to achieve connectivity at long distances and high capacity.
It is the same technology mobile operators use to link their mobile masts. It combines moving and stabilised antennas with cloud-based software that constantly monitors, adjusts and ensures the ships get the best possible connection.
The software builds up its intelligence on ship operations and requirements over time.
Eckerö provides passenger and car ferry services on the Åland Sea in Eckerö Linjen and the Gulf of Finland under Eckerö Line cruises and between Stockholm and Mariehamn as Birka Cruises. It also handles shipments for the export industry between Finland, Sweden and the continent in Eckerö Shipping. The group has six ships in its fleet.