Vessel operators will receive 176 kbps on the uplink and downlink using 0.7-kg antennas over Iridium Certus 200 L-band services
Owners of workboats, tugs and small vessels will be able to access L-band satellite communications with smaller antennas through new hardware from Thales and Iridium’s Certus 200 services.
These companies have partnered to deliver fast L-band connectivity for smaller commercial vessels in 2021. Thales vice president for satellite communications solutions Brian Aziz unveiled VesseLink 200 to vessel owners during a Riviera Maritime Media-hosted webinar in November. VesseLink 200 is ready to operate with a bandwidth of 176 kbps on the uplink and downlink on Iridium Certus.
“VesseLink 200 has the same hardware, features and robustness as our other VesseLink terminals, but with a much smaller antenna,” Mr Aziz said. Its features include three dedicated high-quality voice lines; built-in management portal for configuration and monitoring; traffic limiter with white- and black-listing capabilities; soft phone application for Android and iOS operating systems; preferred routeing and dynamic switching to VSAT.
There are also application interfaces, command sets for secure remote management by partners, and features for advanced voice configuration and calling options.
“There is 100% global satellite coverage and low latency for critical data and voice communications,” Mr Aziz added. The antenna weighs less than 0.7 kg, has a diameter of 12.5 cm and height of 17 cm.
Thales and Iridium tested VesseLink 200 on vessels in different settings and use cases including upgrading existing Iridium Pilot with Certus 200 hardware; a conversion from Inmarsat Fleet One services; and using VesseLink 200 as a companion to VSAT.
In competition is IEC Telecom’s MarineStar terminal, with a built-in handset and small antenna, that operates using Thuraya’s satellite network. This provides dependable voice communications and constantly tracks and monitors vessel operations.
With MarineStar on board, the GPS co-ordinates of all vessels may be accessible to maritime authorities, says IEC Telecom chief executive for Asia, Middle East & CIS Nabil Ben Soussia. This increases visibility and can facilitate the application of international standards, benefiting traffic co-ordination, maritime safety and fishing control.
For oil and gas activities, operations and infrastructure can be protected by using MarineStar to provide geofencing. MarineStar’s circuit switched voice, messaging and tracking on its terminals make it an ideal back-up alternative to radiocommunications and mobile phones.
Due to its compact size, it can easily be fitted on small vessels and the system enables emergency calls to a predefined number, says Mr Soussia.
For corporate use, having two lines for communications allows crew calling to be separated from vessel operations.
IEC Telecom offers Orion Edge V for voice and data communications over L-band for vessels with limited space. It uses the Orion IP L-band terminal for data services, the Marine Star circuit-switch terminal for voice communications, and OneGate marine or compact as a network management system – enabling the virtualisation of telecom services.
“For small ships, such as coastal guard, offshore support or fishing vessels, it is important to remain within tight budgetary requirements,” says Mr Soussia.
“IEC Telecom designed Orion Edge V to provide fleet operators and individual vessel owners with the confidence to be in control of costs while benefiting from digital communications for years to come.”
Riviera Maritime Media will provide free technical and operational webinars in 2021. Sign up to attend on our events page