[SatNews] Marlink is unveiling a new approach to vessel communication services during Nor-Shipping 2015. Designed for users of Marlink’s customized Sealink VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) services, the new SMARTconnect hybrid solution seamlessly combines multiple communication carriers to provide the best available link based on pre-defined parameters set and managed by the customer. With a service delivery independent of specific carriers, cost can be reduced and greater flexibility and control provided for the customer.
SMARTconnect integrates Ku-, Ka-, C- and L-band satcom services with 3G/4G LTE, Wi-Fi and Tampnet LTE to provide one unified link for the ship owner. Further carriers or new technologies can be easily added to the solution. For example, the recent agreement between Marlink and the North Sea focused LTE provider Tampnet will ensure that the multi-carrier approach of the new hybrid solution can better support the large customer base of Marlink in the North Sea.
“Our direct sales arm Marlink has successfully provided multi-carrier services to customers in the past, but with new and emerging communication services now more available, we feel that the time is right to introduce a much wider consolidated bandwidth approach, focusing on the application of connectivity by our customers and not on the channel it is delivered on,” said Eric Ceuppens, Head of Satcoms at Airbus Defence and Space.
SMARTconnect is optimized by providing the availability of high throughput 3G/4G LTE services on offshore fields and along coastal shipping routes. The system demonstrates that alternative communication carriers can supplement existing VSAT services, providing Quality of Service based connectivity at the levels demanded by users for regular and critical operations. By end of 2015 the new SMARTconnect service will be an integral part of the XChange service delivery platform to further enhance and complement the XChange value proposition.
In operation, selection of alternate carriers is based on multiple criteria including: backup parameters, low-latency access, high bandwidth, better throughput and/or a combination of all of these. Routing logic can be established to enable automatic, seamless switching and ship owners have full control of how communication is routed via a management interface, allowing them to manually set priorities according to their own requirements at any given time.
“We believe that the provision of seamless throughput to meet the bandwidth and cost demands of each customer, regardless of the carrier type, is one of the most important aspects of maritime broadband services today,” said Tore Morten Olsen, Head of Maritime Satcoms at Airbus Defence and Space. “We will continue to utilize available services, accommodate emerging technologies and build strong partnerships with third parties to future-proof SMARTconnect and generate significant savings and operational benefits for ship owners.”