Inmarsat Maritime has released its new Fleet Reach coastal LTE service for maritime connectivity.
The company said the new service brings uninterrupted high-speed broadband to merchant, offshore, energy and fishing customers — even when they are sailing near the coast docked in port.
Traditionally, coastlines and ports are congested connectivity hotspots. With a high number of people and vessels accessing networks at the same time, connections are not always reliable. This is a regular problem for seafarers around the world, with the average vessel spending up to 40% of its time in ports or coastal areas, Inmarsat said.
Inmarsat said its Fleet Reach — optimized by Fleet Express — offers supercharged coastal connectivity thanks to added terrestrial mobile connectivity. This enables faster speeds, increased signal strength, lower latency and more reliable connectivity when sailing near coasts or docked in-port. This means that seafarers can enjoy consistent connectivity wherever the vessel is, with the service seamlessly switching between technologies to ensure an always-on connection.
Connectivity has a huge effect on operations at sea, where the need to safely collect and distribute data is vital to get the most out of modern systems, especially with the increasing number of sensors and applications onboard ships, Inmarsat said. It is also vital for crew welfare, helping those onboard keep in touch with family and friends at home, or stay entertained by streaming and gaming. A recent Inmarsat study found demand for these services is increasing , with an annual increase of 131% for business applications and 149% for crew applications.
Inmarsat said that Fleet Reach also comes with security credentials which outweigh the existing method of using dongles for connectivity when in port. This means customers can maintain security standards and policies companywide, without increased risk of cybersecurity threats.
The new service forms part of Inmarsat ORCHASTRA, the satellite company’s “network of networks” which uses multiple technologies in multiple orbits to deliver connectivity wherever and whenever it is needed. Inmarsat said that Fleet Reach constantly monitors signal quality and selects the right technology for the best connection as and when required, drawing on mobile terrestrial technologies as well as satellite connectivity to deliver uninterrupted broadband connectivity.
“We know the enormous impact that seamless connectivity at sea has for seafarers — both on productivity and crew welfare — especially with so much time being spent in port,” Ben Palmer, president, Inmarsat Maritime, said in a statement. “Our new Fleet Reach service — the latest update to our Fleet Xpress solution — is a major step forward, enabling uninterrupted connectivity from sea, to shoreline, to port, and back again, wherever and whenever it is needed.