In undertaking a review of its communications systems, Tipco identified a need to make better use of its onboard equipment, improve visibility of operations and achieve closer integration with office-based systems. Globecomm specified a solution that would enable Tipco to employ new techniques including remote management and virtualization of onboard PCs and deploy CCTV systems on its latest new building. Critical to acceptance was better management of the costs of ship-shore connections and improved performance of Tipco’s onboard networks.
Globecomm provided Tipco with Nimbus, a powerful yet cost-effective network management tool that can be used to control multiple connections via satellite and LTE networks, while providing additional value-added functionality for both enterprise and crew applications. Using the automatic Wide Area Network (WAN) switching capability of Nimbus, Tipco implemented a 4G router alongside its Inmarsat Fleet Broadband terminals. Nimbus selects the satellite connection while at sea but switches over to the 4G connection when the vessels come within reach of shore, lowering the total cost of data consumption.
Tipco will manage all its shipboard Nimbus installations using the cloud-based Cirrus portal, which provides an effective overview of all its communications usage in real time. Details such as data consumption on different WANs, e-mail message logs from shore to ship and ship to shore, as well as user account management on the Crew LAN, allow it to monitor and report on business and crew usage.
Designed and built with cyber security in mind, Nimbus includes security features that are becoming widely adopted in the shipping industry. These include two fully-managed and highly-customizable firewalls covering Nimbus and Cirrus, providing a robust intrusion prevention system with deep packet inspection.
Shore to ship connections are encrypted to the latest standards and end-to-end connectivity is via a private IP space with no exposure to the public internet. Because crew and business traffic are carried across segregated networks, an infection, should it happen, cannot spread from one to the other.
Malcolm McMaster, the President of Globecomm Marine, said that the key to Tipco’s choice of Globecomm was the opportunity to take advantage of the Nimbus smartbox as a platform to enable management and control of the onboard networks and connectivity channels. The company's ability to integrate satellite and GSM services, hardware, software and applications made Globecomm the natural choice to help Tipco take control of its communications.
Louis Frederic Sachs, director of Marine Group, Tipco Maritime Co., Ltd., added that Tipco’s shipping activities are a key component of the firm's supply chain across Asia-Pacific, so it was important that the communications deliver enhanced operations onboard ship and visibility to the shore. The Globecomm system allows Tipco to manage costs by enabling data communications over satellite but also allowing limited browsing and application updates for the vessel’s commercial use when connected to the 4G signal.