Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Low cost internet access at sea

20.04.2006


Through a project supported by the European Space Agency, the UK-based company Wired Ocean Ltd can now provide enhanced Internet access for ships at sea at a much lower cost than was previously possible.



Although satellite links at sea are quite common, the speed of data transmission for most users is very low, from 600 bps to 64 kbps, with around 10 kbps being a typical speed. This, combined with usage costs of around € 20 per megabyte, has created an environment in which many ship owners cannot reliably access the Internet, or use it regularly.

The Wired Ocean approach uses a hybrid solution, combining Ku-band satellites for the downlink and narrow L-band satellites for the return channel. While at sea, the downlink (forward) channel offers a speed of 512 kbps and the uplink (return) channel speed is 9.6 kbps for Globalstar and up to 64 kbps for Inmarsat. This configuration promises to be more economical than purely narrowband satellite systems, with cost savings of as much as 70% over current systems.


Telephone, television and now internet

The ship’s internet communications are managed through a specialised client server developed by Wired Ocean. This server interfaces with a tracking TV Receive Only (TVRO) antenna for the downlink and various types of narrowband communications equipment for the uplink. The ship’s TVRO is used to receive internet data while simultaneously providing signals to the ship’s televisions.

By using Eutelsat’s Eurobird located at 28.5° East and Hotbird at 13° East, Wired Ocean is able to provide its service for the two most watched European TV locations.

As many ships already have TVRO and a satellite phone, addition of the Wired Ocean server now gives them the triple play (telephone, television and internet) for an incremental capital outlay.

Pilot trials

From July to December 2005, ten trials were carried out on various vessels, including five yachts in the Mediterranean Sea, three fishing vessels in UK waters and the North Sea, a container ship operating between Iceland and continental Europe and an oil & gas supply vessel in the North Sea.

The trials proved Wired Ocean to be exceptionally reliable, with the satellite/hub operating at 99.954% availability and as much as 15.2 gigabytes of data was down-linked. The results of these trials not only demonstrated the pent-up demand for internet access at sea, but also that a reasonably priced service improves operational efficiency as well as the quality of life for crew and passengers aboard ships.

In a survey of the trial users, the Wired Ocean system rated extremely well against other maritime data services. Connection set-up time and speed were all highly favourable. The ability to watch TV at the popular locations while accessing the Internet proved to be a ’must have’ requirement.

Access to the Internet via Wired Ocean puts a wide variety of applications at the disposal of the crew. Fishing vessels were especially interested in following the latest prices at various ports, while yacht owners made great use of the service to monitor the stock markets. Seven of the trial participants have announced plans to use the service on a commercial basis.

Advantages of the new approach

A variety of companies have attempted to provide a low-cost hybrid service at sea but failed. While the concept sounds simple, actually delivering a service that meets the challenging user requirements set by the market is more difficult. The Wired Ocean service is fast, economical, reliable, secure, flexible and easy to use. In previous systems, one or more of these elements has always been missing.

Wired Ocean’s pilot trials were a continuation of the ESA Telecom supported project ‘Maritime Interactive Broadband’, which began as a result of the Start-up Projects Initiative. This initiative is designed to open the door for business innovation to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The Start-up Projects Initiative helps SMEs through the early development stages of researching and refining a business proposition. The current project, ‘Wired Ocean Pilot Service’ has been supported in this way by ESA.

Dominique Detain | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaTE/SEMMAWNFGLE_index_0.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Deep Learning predicts hematopoietic stem cell development
21.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Sensors embedded in sports equipment could provide real-time analytics to your smartphone
16.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>