Maritime communications are undergoing radical change with new advancements and increased adoption. COMSYS estimates that by 2018, the number of vessels with VSAT systems will have more than doubled 2013’s numbers. More importantly, the number of high-throughput satellites will increase by 46 percent over the next 10 years. These expansions in global VSAT capabilities are transforming connectivity, rendering it essential for any offshore operation. The question is, how can you get the most from your vessel’s VSAT communications network?
VSAT Services, Networks and Workflow
Even as system capacities increase, data usage and density expand accordingly. New applications and user expectations constantly push the bandwidth envelope. Meanwhile, heavy data file transmissions may have to compete with live video monitoring streams, remote collaboration, asset tracking, systems automation, crew training, cloud computing and crew personal use. Evaluate the return on investment of upgrades versus costly downtime, and the answer is to maximize and optimize control of your network.
Maximizing Networks for Maritime Communications
1. Visibility is Key to Control – Seemingly minor background applications, mobile software updates and syncing or streaming downloads consume bandwidth, slowing Internet speeds to a crawl. Network transparency allows operators to identify and measure exactly what is passing through a system and evaluate whether controls and filters are effective in real time.
2. Regulate Traffic for Maximum Productivity – Content filtering has proven effective in managing bandwidth with its customizable settings to reflect a company’s requirements. It can block or limit access not only to objectionable subject matter, torrents or file download sites, but also network traffic from certain geographical regions or IP addresses associated with cyber crime. Some service providers allow you to set and adjust custom filtering options at user, device or application level.
3. Comprehensive Application Filtering – Application access to bandwidth should be selective, with critical applications like weather pattern monitoring or order processing taking priority over ancillary functions. A quality firewall like Dell’s SonicWALL can track applications’ unique signatures, determine usage patterns, maintain flexible control policies for applications and users, buffer non-essential updates and even block unproductive applications in real time.
4. Real-time Wifi Control – With the trend to provide crew connectivity increasing, Wi-Fi control is vital to maintaining a productive network for business. BlueTide developed its proprietary Access Management Portal (AMP) application specifically to manage wireless application protocols in real time. AMP recently proved its value during a significant vessel incident with over 20 crew members onboard. While high crew data usage slowed internet access to a crawl, AMP allowed instant blocking of non-essential devices so that boat officers could transmit critical data to corporate headquarters.
5. Dynamically Allocating Bandwidth – According to the COMSYS report, ships lacking crew connectivity can experience up to 35 percent turnover rates. Valuable clients and guests onboard yachts expect onshore connectivity quality. Appropriate allocation settings provide the connectivity without sacrificing operational efficiency, safety or security by dedicating bandwidths for critical applications like phones, cameras, crew and guests, dynamically allocating available bandwidth to flow between user groups as needed without interfering with critical vessel operational needs.
6. Creating a Culture of Accountability – Overlaying technology with the human equation, indiscriminate use of personal devices or other careless practices can wreak havoc on a network. In contrast, an atmosphere of education, awareness and responsibility can ensure continuity in data flow and the resulting workflow.
VSAT Services for Maximized Networks and Workflow
As technology advances, optimizing networks and VSAT systems not only resolves current problems but prevents future ones. BlueTide has many maritime communication firsts: the first 60-centimeter antenna with custom commercial service; online access to real-time bandwidth data; 24-hour vessel bandwidth adjustments; BlueVision real-time remote video viewing; and AMP, control of wifi access from on or off the vessel. Contact BlueTide Communications through our website or call 337-205-6710 to maximize your network, workflow and preparedness for every offshore situation.