Shipping companies operating vessels in northern seas are enhancing their connectivity by switching to faster L-band satellite communications
They are installing or upgrading terminals to use Iridium Certus network with data rates up to 700 kbps.
Iridium upgraded this network’s bandwidth capabilities in February and terminals supplied by Thales and Cobham Satcom are being upgraded through a firmware update.
Distribution networks with providers such as IEC Telecom supply these services to ships. More vessels sailing the shipping routes across northern Russia and in Arctic waters around Canada are upgrading to Iridium Certus 700.
Russia’s Northern Sea Route is the shortest sea passage between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
There has been a significant increase in maritime traffic across the main transport corridors in the Arctic, says IEC Telecom Norway managing director Alf Stian Mauritz. This includes the Northwest Passage in Canada and Arctic Bridge from Canada to Europe.
“Vessels operating in this region require robust solutions that can be relied upon under harsh weather conditions,” said Mr Mauritz. “Iridium Certus is the only global network able to meet these requirements,” he said.
“With this new speed (700 kbps), northern shipping operators can share greater levels of data with their shore offices, make voice over IP calls and access a faster email exchange,” Mr Mauritz added.
Iridium Certus 700 could also benefit northern seas oil and gas operations and support vessels.
Satellite-based technologies are facilitating operational efficiencies and optimised navigation, reducing fuel consumption, and improving crew welfare options.
IEC Telecom provides this connectivity and its compatible network management solution, OneGate.
“With our technical support services, ship operators get better visibility over their remote assets,” said Mr Mauritz. “Such solutions can help operators in northern regions enhance their crew welfare options, access reliable cyber security, online filtration and customise cloud-based features,” he explained.
Iridium Certus is powered by a global constellation of 66 cross-linked low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. This constellation was upgraded in 2019 as Iridium replaced all its satellites and upgraded the supporting ground infrastructure.
These satellites orbit 780 km from the Earth with shorter transmission path, stronger signals, lower latency, and shorter registration time than medium Earth orbit or geostationary satellites.