Torvald Klaveness has volunteered to trial an innovative communications system on board its combination carriers, which can easily switch between carrying wet and dry cargoes.
Balboa, Baffin and Ballard will be fitted with a hybrid version of KNL Networks’ high-frequency digital radio, which could be used as an alternative to satellite communications (satcom) in many cases.
Torvald said that in areas where vessels would normally be dependent on satcom, bandwidth becomes crowded resulting in poorer service quality for shipboard applications that use data.
KNL’s system uses a technology called cognitive radio, which automatically detects available channels in a wireless spectrum and changes transmission parameters based on this, allowing concurrent operation of communications. Each radio in the fleet forms part of a global network, allowing ships normally reliant on satcom to establish a connection via other vessels that are closer to shore, with the fleet thereby providing itself with connectivity. The high-frequency radios used in the network have a range of up to 10,000 km.
The ‘hybrid’ aspect of the system kicks in when a vessel approaches land, at which point the radio switches over to the KNL Broadband service. As well as receiving a faster connection, the vessel itself will then become a node in the network, providing data access for other vessels.
Klaveness automation project manager Christian Hovden said “With this setup our combination carriers can report data 24/7, and not only when they are close to shore. These regular transmissions have the potential to greatly improve the value of the data collected, but the system also allows us to have data transmitted in real-time from the automation system.”