Shipping companies seeking to use Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite constellation for communications can install smaller antennas after a key product launch
Faster satellite communications have become more important to maritime operations as ship fleets are connected to the internet for digitalisation applications, and seafarers require more bandwidth as the world slowly recovers from Covid-19.
Shipowners have connectivity choices within Ku-band VSAT and Ka-band-based GX. With the introduction of new GX antennas, more shipping companies can select Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress services, which combines GX with L-band back up from FleetBroadband.
Inmarsat Maritime president Ronald Spithout said more than 9,000 vessels worldwide are using GX for satellite communications. “We are seeing an increase in demand for digital and crew services, which is why we are launching a further seven satellites in the next three years,” Mr Spithout.
In this backdrop, Intellian has introduced its type-approved GX60NX antenna. This is a 65-cm terminal for connection to Ka-band GX satellites, of which Inmarsat has five in service.
This completes the roll out of Intellian’s NX range of VSAT and GX antennas.
GX60NX is suitable for installation on vessels where space is at a premium. It covers commercial vessels, fishing fleets, large workboats and leisure yachts.
GX60NX is built ready for Inmarsat’s next generation of GX satellites that will operate 2.5 GHz frequency wideband Ka-band. Its block-up converter comes as 5 W as standard but can be upgraded to 10 W if increased upload performance is required.
A single cable connects the antenna to the below-deck terminal unit with a built-in modem and moderator. AptusNX software is used to control the antenna. A dual-antenna system can be easily configured with the addition of a second NX antenna and control unit.
“We are delighted that the GX60NX has been type-approved and is ready for use for our channel partners with Fleet Xpress,” said Mr Spithout. “This reinforces our close and innovative partnership with Intellian.”
Intellian’s NX-series antennas share features for ease of installation, commissioning and ongoing configuration They come with pre-slung lifting straps in compact shipping crates, have no shipping brackets requiring removal and are terminated externally using a single coaxial cable to carry power, transmit and receive signals. This avoids the need for the installer to remove the dome, said Intellian.
AptusNX software makes commissioning straightforward via a built-in wizard and facilitates both remote and local diagnostics with health reports for the antenna systems and sensors.
Intellian chief executive Eric Sung said integrating its terminal technology with Inmarsat’s global network “provides a seamless route to connectivity”.
Satellite communications is at the centre of shipowners’ efforts to improve efficiency of their assets. This will be discussed in length during Riviera Maritime Media’s Vessel Optimisation Webinar Week, starting 7 September, use this link for more details and to register