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Maritime Hurricane Preparedness

In the last 30 years, all basins together, worldwide, averaged 86 tropical storms and 47 hurricanes, typhoons and severe tropical cyclones annually. Considering the constant threat of inclement weather offshore, having a redundant communications strategy in place is vital to quickly and safely maintaining and returning to full system operations for your ship or rig.

Preparing for Inclement Offshore Weather

For continuous connectivity between ship personnel, vessel managers, field locations and headquarters, system redundancy is a necessity. Having backup communications systems in place or deploy-ready before crises strike is key to ensuring the resiliency of your system and efficient disaster recovery for your vessel or rig. Recommended best practices for disaster preparedness not only have redundancy built into their communications network but also include remote access and location-diverse infrastructure.

As back-up to onboard Ku-band VSAT systems, several voice options are available including VHF radio, cellular coverage once within range of shore and satellite phones like the Iridium Extreme and Inmarsat IsatPhone. L-band terminals are another option providing both voice and data with the most reliable connection, regardless of conditions. These L-band options can tie directly with VSAT systems to work as out of band management, which provides backup communications to troubleshoot remote networks and get your systems operational after a storm. Automatic Fail-Over (AFO) units ensure that all video, voice and data throughput automatically remains active under even the roughest conditions, regardless of the primary network status. Using these redundancy safeguards, your critical communication systems can continue operating without the need for manual intervention.

VSAT as Land-Based Redundancy Option

Many terrestrial operations still count on having two land-based networks for system redundancy. The problem with this strategy lies in the fact that inclement weather can, and often does, affect communication towers and land-based servers. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy proved that, when hurricanes make landfall, havoc can ensue as networks that rely on electricity for power and connectivity fall victim to logistical inadequacies and blackouts. Following Hurricane Katrina, it was observed that satellite-based telecommunications and Internet providers were able to more quickly restore services whereas microwave communications networks took weeks or months to repair lost or damaged infrastructure. For maximum resiliency, terrestrial operations should consider VSAT communications solutions for their system redundancy to quickly recover communications post-storm. For these land-based operations, BlueTide’s fixed dish sites, or RESIS units, provide a communications alternative that is both mobile and easily deployable. RESIS (Renewable Energy Satellite Internet Skid) is a compact solar-powered VSAT that can fit in the bed of a pickup truck and sustain 9 days of power even without active solar hours. With an antenna just 1.2 meters in diameter, the high-throughput RESIS can be configured to serve multiple networks as well as incorporate a generator as a third power source.

Backup Value of VSAT Systems

Technology is increasingly complex, with our reliance on data and communications increasing exponentially. Even the best quality primary systems can experience failure during extreme weather conditions, and every moment in isolation can cost dollars and lives. A solid strategy to redundant communications with effective backup solutions can ensure communications services remain uninterrupted. For more information on how BlueTide’s VSAT services for land and offshore communications can help your operations during dangerous weather, contact us through our website.

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