KVH debuts TracPhone V11 for mini-VSAT Broadband global C/Ku-band service

KVH Industries Inc. says its new TracPhone V11  system makes faster yet more affordable global broadband service at sea a reality thanks to the global C-band coverage added to KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network and the introduction of the dual-mode, 1-meter TracPhone V11 C/Ku-band terminal.

“Earlier this summer, we completed the rollout of our mini-VSAT Broadband service, which uses three global C-band satellite transponders to overlay the coverage of our worldwide Ku-band network to provide a fully global, unified broadband service,” says Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH’s chief executive officer, in a company press release. “Our dual-mode TracPhone V11 will access our global network, seamlessly switching between C- and Ku-band service, to deliver fast, affordable maritime VSAT connectivity almost anywhere on Earth.”

The TracPhone V11 antenna is 85 percent smaller than those of older global C-band VSAT systems. Because of its ability to automatically switch to Ku-band service and the mini-VSAT Broadband network’s extensive Ku-band coverage, the TracPhone V11 avoids limitations imposed by regulations restricting the use of C-band maritime terminals near coastal nations, KVH says. The TracPhone V11 was granted full U.S. Federal Communications Commission approval in July, including a first-time special provision allowing the dual-band system to be used on vessels smaller than 300 gross tons (the limit for competing U.S.-licensed maritime C-band systems).

Like the new TracPhone V7-IP KVH recently introduced, the TracPhone V11 uses KVH’s new 3-axis antenna design that can track satellites anywhere in the sky, and features fully integrated below-decks equipment that includes the new IP-enabled antenna control unit — the CommBox-ACU — creating a complete, end-to-end solution for managing both IT functions and communications on board the vessel, KVH says.

The TracPhone V11’s integrated design vastly reduces the complexity inherent in competing maritime VSAT systems, which typically require a local technician to configure a full rack of hardware from a half-dozen different third-party manufacturers, KVH says. The new system also makes the advanced features of KVH’s network management solution, the CommBox Ship/Shore Network Manager, available to every TracPhone V11 customer, without the need to invest in additional hardware.

For the vessel owner’s IT manager, the TracPhone V11 provides extensive functionality to help manage onboard networks remotely. The system itself is very easy for the crew to operate thanks to its web browser-based user interface that also includes an iPhone app, KVH says.

The CommBox-ACU provides a full suite of onboard services optimized for satellite communications, KVH says, including crystal clear VoIP calling, Internet cafe, crew calling, managed e-mail, secure file delivery, and remote network access. The TracPhone V11’s end-to-end design enables the system software to be updated over the air using either the mini-VSAT Broadband service or cellular service using a GPRS modem built into the system’s antenna. This remote access enables technicians working in KVH’s support center to remotely diagnose and troubleshoot any issues.