Satellite communications hardware will be introduced for passenger ships, offshore support vessels, research ships and workboats
New antenna and terminal technology will boost ship connectivity in 2020. Intellian has introduced a new antenna for VSAT satellite communications and unveiled L-band terminals.
It has developed a 1.5-m diameter antenna, part of the NX series of antennas, to link with Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) constellation of Ka-band satellites.
Intellian said GX150NX will be available after it has secured type-approval and completed successful sea trials in 2020. It will enable ships to use Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress service, which combines Ka-band connectivity with L-band backup for high-bandwidth applications such as internet connectivity, video and digital voice services, and data streaming.
GX150NX will have an optimised reflector and radome for high radio frequency performance and a 10-W block up converter for greater bandwidth. It will be ready for operation on forthcoming 2.5-GHz wideband Ka networks including Inmarsat’s GX5 satellite, launched in December 2019.
Intellian chief executive Eric Sung says “GX150NX will be our flagship antenna for the Global Xpress network, and will be the largest available.”
“This makes it an ideal solution for users in the offshore energy sector or passenger market; where reliable, high-quality connectivity is in demand as a way to achieve business sustainability,” Mr Sung adds.
GX150NX has a single coaxial cable, which combines transmission and receive signals and direct current power. It connects to a GX below-deck terminal that integrates the antenna control unit, modem, four-port switch and a mediator in a single racked unit.
The mediator enables vessels to have dual-antenna installations for signal redundancy to avoid satellite blocking when working close to other vessels or infrastructure.
GX150NX also includes the AptusNX antenna management and control platform for installation, commissioning and alerting operators of predictive maintenance needs.
In December 2019, Intellian also revealed terminals for Inmarsat’s L-band services, Fleet One and FleetBroadband (FB). These terminals will be available after gaining type-approval in 2020 and will connect with Inmarsat’s existing fourth generation satellites and the upcoming sixth generation units scheduled to be launched from 2020.
They will facilitate digital voice, messaging, data transmission and voice over IP applications, be compatible with Global System for Mobile (GSM) networks and will have built-in wifi access points to enable smartphones and devices to be connected directly.
Fleet One and FB250 terminals will provide safety communications over the Global Maritime Distress and Safety Service and Inmarsat’s 505 emergency free voice distress service for small vessels.
There will be a single cable linking the antennas with the below-deck and rack-mounted unit.
Mr Sung says these terminals could be used on smaller commercial and leisure vessels or to accompany a VSAT connection. “Fleet One can be used as the sole communications antenna on board. FB250 is part of an easy to install and manage GX package or for integration with onshore cellular networks,” says Mr Sung.
*Intellian signed a strategic partnership with Japan Radio Co in December 2019 to share expertise and experience, while combining provision and supply of L-band and VSAT antennas. Both companies will jointly develop future ship communications technology from 2020.