Inmarsat will extend its hybrid satellite and mobile network connectivity to offshore support vessels (OSVs) in the Gulf of Mexico after successful trials
This will allow OSVs to seamlessly switch communications between Inmarsat’s Ka-band and L-band satellite coverage and area-wide 4G or long-term evolution (LTE) networks. This is already available in the North Sea, where V.Ships Offshore has completed trials with VSAT and 4G/LTE connectivity.
Fleet LTE North Sea service was launched in November 2019 in partnership with subsea fibre and offshore LTE network operator Tampnet. It has a network across multiple national sectors in the North Sea and Norwegian Sea with LTE transceiver stations on many offshore production platforms, backed up by subsea fibre cables.
V.Ships Offshore has tested this service on OSVs it manages from Aberdeen, UK, in conjunction with Inmarsat’s service provider One Net.
“We have been thoroughly impressed with the stability and quality of Fleet LTE service throughout the trial,” said V.Ships Offshore vessel manager Scott Bryce.
“The automatic and seamless switching between networks has removed the risk of any disconnection in service that would normally affect our day-to-day activities,” he added.
V.Ships Offshore needed different connectivity levels on vessels it used for these Fleet LTE trials. “The service plan flexibility has given us the ability to move up and down plans when needed, to support our changing bandwidth demands, and there are no hidden admin fees to worry about,” said Mr Bryce.
Inmarsat Fleet LTE is available in a range of service bands that deliver data speeds of up to 40 Mbps with round trip delay of around 35-40 ms. When LTE is not available, services automatically switch over to Ka-band Fleet Xpress committed information rates, with continuous back-up from L-band FleetBroadband.
Tampnet chief executive Per Helge Svensson confirmed Fleet LTE would be extended to the Gulf of Mexico for “a market that has significant untapped potential for premium LTE services”.
This involves a network of LTE transceiver stations on fixed platforms and floating production systems in deepwater regions of the Gulf of Mexico, backed by an extensive network of fibre cables.
Inmarsat Maritime vice president for offshore and fishing Eric Griffin expects more OSVs to use LTE connectivity in these regions.
“We are excited about the evolution of the service into the Gulf of Mexico, to support the recovery of the offshore sector, and expansion into other regions and sectors in the future,” he said.
Offshore connectivity and market conditions will be discussed in depth during Riviera Maritime Media’s Virtual Conferences during Q4 2020 - use this link to view details and to register for these events