Inmarsat Enhances Installation Support Network to Meet Accelerating Fleet Xpress Service Uptake

inmarsatFrom Inmarsat

Unprecedented market response prompts more than fivefold expansion in installation port network for high-speed broadband service

Inmarsat has responded to extraordinary levels of demand for its ground-breaking Fleet Xpress service by boosting from six to 33 the number of ports where a complete service installation with a flat fee is available. Fleet Xpress installation will now be available at 12 Asia Pacific ports, 11 in the Europe Middle-East and Africa region, and 10 ports in the Americas, with all work undertaken by Inmarsat-certified engineers.

Inmarsat’s enhancement of its installation capabilities is part of the company’s strategy to support the rapid global adoption of the unique Fleet Xpress service, which seamlessly combines the power of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, the world’s only high-speed, globally available broadband service from a single operator, and its ultra-reliable L-band network.

“The demand for Fleet Xpress connectivity has been huge since the commercial service launch just over a year ago, calling for new installation ports across Asia, Europe and the Americas,” says Ronald Spithout, President, Inmarsat Maritime.

“The Fleet Xpress combination of high-speed broadband via Ka-band backed up by highly reliable L-band is transforming ship efficiency and crew welfare, and with the new installation network, we are able to respond to the accelerating demand for the service. Over 10,000 ships are now committed to Fleet Xpress.”

Spithout says that Inmarsat will continue to prioritise the expansion of its global service capabilities in support of the surge in Fleet Xpress installations. He cites the role played by hardware partners Cobham and Intellian, and service agreements such as that recently announced with Radio Holland, as key to enabling fast industry transition to high-speed connectivity with Fleet Xpress. Continue>

Future Investments in VSAT: What you Need to Know

From Via Satellite

…Another company at the forefront of the technology revolution in satellite is iDirect. The company aims to overcome barriers of interoperability and transition satellite service providers toward a fully standards-based and agile service model. “We are moving toward what we are calling dynamic service delivery — the ability to offer services on demand to anyone that needs it whenever and wherever they need it. It requires an open flexible ground system built with the latest networking standards and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that can fully integrate with the core Internet Protocol (IP) network as well as the spacecraft technology,” says iDirect’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Kevin Steen.

Steen says the steps to get here are quite complex with the need to look at the underlying infrastructure to ensure companies like iDirect are enabling ground and space concurrently for scale, performance and efficiency. “The next step is to virtualize the functions on the network to allow unification of all functions. From there we add in the ability to program the networks for real-time operations and automation through APIs. As we do this in concert with the space segment, we are enabling a much more agile business model that will allow for lower capital expenditure and ongoing operating expenditure. We can get to market faster with service and change the delivery of them based on the customer requirements,” he adds.

iDirect is encouraging VSAT service providers to adopt network architectures traditionally associated with cellular providers, such as using the evolved packet core as a framework. Steen believes there is significant value in aligning VSAT to the same methods and techniques wireless providers use. He says these terrestrial providers have already optimized their networks for mobility and made it easier to deploy value-added services. “By adopting these techniques, VSAT takes advantage of all these pre-existing mobility benefits. Plus, it enables clean interfaces, so VSAT ‘plugs into’ terrestrial mobility networks without integration challenges,” Steen adds. “Through this means, VSAT can embrace upcoming 5G architectures and standards, introducing new synergies with wireless providers on the ground. So instead of the VSAT industry worrying about competition over 5G frequencies, VSAT becomes an essential extension of the 5G infrastructure, supporting telco reach to all areas of the globe.” Read More

Global Connected Aircraft Summit – In-flight Connectivity Rules the Skies

iDirect at Global Connected Aircraft 2017These days, in-flight connectivity (IFC) rules the skies. This was clearly evident at the three-day Global Connected Aircraft Summit in Arlington, Virginia, last week. Service providers, airlines and content providers alike shared with the audience the rapidly growing relevance of IFC for commercial aero.

The days of discussion and debate about how airlines can make money from IFC are gone. Today IFC is a requirement in order to remain competitive. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by Inmarsat, 60% of passengers said that Wi-Fi is a necessity onboard a flight. And if the connectivity is poor? The survey reported 44% of passengers would book a different airline next time.

So what makes the Wi-Fi connectivity good enough — and what other applications need to be managed as part of IFC?

It’s important to look at all the various applications that in-flight connectivity provides beyond passenger entertainment and Wi-Fi.  That includes increasing communication among crew, cockpit and ground maintenance teams to allow for better predictive aircraft management and reduced repair delays. And it also means equipping cabin crews with the latest mobile technology to improve customer care and increase flight attendant safety.

Satellite operators realize that inconsistency in SLAs/ coverage is a major obstacle to adoption, creating challenges in achieving a good return on investment. According to Mark Richman, Director, Product Management Mobility & Energy Services for Intelsat, one way to overcome this inconsistency is through a combination of three factors: ubiquity, density and resiliency/scalability. Intelsat has achieved this through their HTS EpicNG constellation and their plans for HTS 2.0 – the LEO/GEO integration. According to Andrew Ruszkowski, SES, VP Strategic Initiatives Mobility, the answer to ubiquitous coverage lies with the fact that at the moment SES operates the only operational geo/ non-geo constellation with their integration of O3B. Read More

Globecomm Expands Global Ku-Band VSAT Footprint to Offer Industry-leading Network Coverage

globecommFrom Globacomm

Globecomm announced the further expansion of its Ku-band VSAT network, serving enterprise, maritime and government markets around the world. Globecomm’s Ku-Band VSAT network — which includes a footprint over the Barents Sea, North of Scandinavia — will be extending its coverage by adding the South Indian Ocean passage between the southern tip of Africa and Australia.

Globecomm VSAT customers have increased transit to these areas in recent months, leading the company to invest in the extended coverage. The expanded network will provide 100% coverage of all major shipping routes to address new market demands.

“Customer demand for high-availability services is driving this growth as we strive to provide all our clients with 100% uptime everywhere they need to operate,” said Chief Commercial Officer Bryan McGuirk. “With this expansion, Globecomm will offer the most-extensive Ku-band geographic coverage for VSAT services in the industry.”

The growth of Industrial Internet of Things services through Globecomm’s previously announced partnership with AT&T is another factor that led the company to commit to expanded coverage, according to Mr. McGuirk.

Globecomm’s international network consists of multiple teleports connected by high-capacity, redundant fiber to the world’s major telecom points of presence. The company’s C and Ku-band capacity covers the major land masses and shipping lanes to provide seamless global coverage for media, telecom, government, maritime and enterprise applications. For maritime customers, Globecomm VSAT provides hardware (purchased or leased), systems integration, satellite bandwidth and lifecycle support services. Continue>

A SQEP in the Right Direction…

Dave DavisBy Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, VT iDirect

Last week saw IET MilSatcom 2017 come to London. It was a fantastic event with big hitters from industry, Ministry of Defence (MoD) and academia joining together to share a vision of the future of MilSatcom in the near and medium term.

It was also the first time the event incorporated a second day with a series of workshops on day 1. The workshops provided an opportunity to discuss threats, countermeasures, management and spectrum issues. The workshops produced some interesting takeaways:

  • There is the potential for over-reliance on MilSatcom
  • There is a lack in training to be able to operate in a denied or degraded environment
  • There is a lack of suitably qualified and experienced personnel (SQEP) in the military
  • Effective management is key

Reliance is a big factor in MilSatcom. Yes, there is a built-in resilience and technology is far more reliable than it once was, but could a modern battlefield commander operate without MilSatcom providing the large data rates required? Training in a degraded environment is key to understanding how the systems operate under stress and what contingencies are there. There is still a requirement for non-Satcom, i.e., HF capability and an ability to fall back where required. Luckily there is a plethora of Satcom available, so if MilSatcom is denied or degraded, having another satellite system available is likely, but data rates will probably be reduced. Read More

Speedcast, Comsat to Deliver VSAT Services to Government and Maritime

From Via Satellite

Speedcast International announced it has signed an agreement with Comsat to establish a common global service offering of Ku-band Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services for the government and maritime markets. The combined network will leverage Speedcast’s greater than 8 GHz of global satellite capacity and Comsat’s security-cleared teleports in the United States to deliver a network for customers needing resilient connectivity for critical operations.

Comsat will provide teleport and hosting services at their owned teleports in various U.S. sites, as well as hands-on technical and engineering assistance to help interconnect and migrate network segments.

Through this partnership, government customers will have access to the largest private iDirect bandwidth network accessed from teleports and terrestrial nodes in NATO/Five Eyes nations, Speedcast stated. Continue>

Marlink Providing Record Breaking 300 Mbps Broadband For MSC Cruises

From Marlink

Marlink-MSCMSC Meraviglia, MSC Cruises’ first next generation ship, will meet promotional needs for this week’s maiden voyage with bandwidth boost for VIP passengers

Oslo/Paris, 6 June 2017: Marlink’s Sealink VSAT is providing an unprecedented over 300 Mbps bandwidth for super-fast maritime broadband during the maiden voyage of MSC Cruises’ first next-generation new mega-ship, MSC Meraviglia. The record breaking bandwidth will meet a predicted spike in demand for this week’s milestone voyage, as guests on the most sophisticated ‘floating town’ in the world share their first-hand experiences and memories on Social Media.

The temporary 300 Mbps is being provided to MSC Cruises in another industry first in conjunction with the coming into service of the Company’s newest flagship MSC Meraviglia. It is a further reflection of MSC Cruises’ focus on cutting-edge innovation across the board.

Marlink provides connectivity for MSC Cruises’ entire fleet in an optimised, dedicated ‘cloud of bandwidth’, which facilitates high flexibility for i.e., seasonal usage patterns. Sealink VSAT ensures bandwidth is always available for guests to experience fast, always available access to the Internet and Social Media.

While the record-breaking 300 Mbps is required to ensure that the extra data load of a star-studded, media-packed maiden voyage along the Atlantic coast and into the Mediterranean is more than catered for, the on-going Sealink VSAT service for MSC Meraviglia will continuously deliver an unmatched connectivity experience for over 4500 guests.

Marlink has worked closely with all partners to ensure MSC Meraviglia’s guests enjoy the best maritime broadband possible. Connectivity will be delivered on the Intelsat EpicNG High Throughput Satellite (HTS) network and enabled on board by cutting edge iDirect 9350 modems. Continue>

The Next Journey for In-Flight Connectivity: Three Key Steps Forward

Global-connected-aircraft-logo

The Global Connected Aircraft Summit takes flight this week in Arlington, VA, and our very own David Harrower, VP of International Sales and Business Development, will speak on “Operations Technology – Future Connected Benefits.” David will join executives from Rockwell Collins and Honeywell on Thursday at 11:15 am to examine the latest developments in the “connected aircraft” trend and how satellite solutions providers are helping airlines meet the challenges and maximize the benefits of in-flight connectivity (IFC).

Today, passengers consider IFC a must-have, and it increasingly guides their decision on which airline to fly. Yet passenger connectivity alone cannot justify the business case for bringing VSAT onboard. Moving beyond an exclusive focus on passenger connectivity means re-imagining the in-flight experience and operations from top to bottom. “Fully connected” now means cockpits with electronic flight bags to improve aircraft operations. It means increasing communication between the crew, cockpit and ground maintenance teams to allow for better predictive aircraft management and reduce repair delays. And it also means equipping cabin crews with the latest mobile technology to improve customer care.

However, this broader scope equates to managing a global wireless network in the sky that serves a much broader suite of sophisticated applications vying for bandwidth, with more aircraft coming online. In this context, it is increasingly difficult to ensure a reliable, consistent service, and manage costs. In his presentation, David will focus on three key requirements to address these challenges as we embark on the next leg of IFC. Read More

Jam Tomorrow And Jam Yesterday – But Never Jam Today?

Dave DavisBy Dave Davis, Sr. Systems Engineer, VT iDirect

There is definitely a feel of summer in the air of London. And this week, where better to enjoy the London sun, than the North bank of the river Thames? Savoy Place has been the home of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and its forebears since 1909. The building is steeped in history, with famous names of engineering legends all around you everywhere you turn. If you look closely you’ll notice a discreet plaque on the wall outside; this was also once home of the British Broadcasting Company, before it got too big to be a tenant and had to find its own space to fill. Just looking at the past Presidents in the foyer, some names leap out; Siemens, Swan, Kelvin, Ferranti and Fleming. From the guardian outside, the statue of Michael Faraday, to the modern roof terrace with views to die for, the recent £30M makeover has made IET Savoy Place a flagship building to be proud of.

Savoy Place is host to IET MilSatcom 2017, which is expanded this year to a two-day event. The first day is a series of workshops, aimed at an open forum to discuss threats and countermeasures, digital security and managing MilSatcom. It is hoped that these workshops will provide an interactive platform for all attendees and presenters to learn from each other. I will be leading the threats and countermeasures workshop alongside Sqn Ldr Van Halteren and am really looking forward to it; we’ll be talking about jamming, locating, interception, etc. as you’d expect, but we’re also trying to pull out some of the other “softer” threats that may not be quite so obvious on first inspection.

The second day is a really good blend of presentations from solo presenters, double acts and panel discussions, involving commercial and military experts in the field. We will also learn about a range of sectors within the industry; the defence view, the commercial/sovereign mix, the need for throughput, the balance between the frequencies, the use of Global Xpress and L-Band, building satellites, welfare provision, border security and the future of MilSatcom. All in all it promises to be an outstanding couple of days. Read More

Exploring the Future at CommunicAsia 2017

This year, CommunicAsia was all about the future of connectivity. The world’s leading telecom and tech brands converged in Singapore to explore everything from exploding demand for bandwidth to expanding markets for satellite.

For VT iDirect, the event got off to a strong start with our 2017 iDirect Asia Pacific Partner Event. More than 70 customers packed the house, and the buzz was unmistakable as Kevin Steen, President and CEO, VT iDirect, announced that our new DVB-S2X iQ Desktop remote and Intelligent Gateway entered live testing. Following a series of over-the-air tests with Inmarsat, Intelsat and SES, where we set new records for bandwidth efficiency, our customers are eager to get their hands on our new DVB-S2X technology and achieve their own performance results.

Throughout the show, our booth continued the buzz as hundreds more customers stopped by to check out the iQ Desktop, hear about our new defense product lineup, see firsthand the new Kymeta flat-panel mTenna, and learn about all the innovation iDirect is bringing to the market today.

Mike Liou, Vice President of Product Management, VT iDirect, presented a keynote address at the ST Electronics Technology Seminar 2017 attended by a high-profile crowd of tech and government leaders. Liou revealed the role satellite communications is playing in global telecom and detailed how iDirect is transforming its technology to make satellite smarter, faster, and more efficient – poised to bring new answers to today’s surging connectivity demands.

The future of iDirect and the satellite industry was vividly on display at CommunicAsia. And judging by all the excitement – from partners to tradeshow attendees to business and government leaders – the region is ready for what the future will bring. Please enjoy our video wrap up and thank you to all our partners!