Radio Holland goes broadband: CONNECTOR by Radio Holland
Today, use of broadband services in the maritime industry is growing. Next to business reasons, there is another very important reason why shipping companies started to become interested: crew welfare. One of the tools to keep crew happy is to offer them (free) internet access. A recent success story of VSAT is the decision by BP to install VSAT’s on its entire tanker fleet of 50 vessels. “There were 2 main reasons for choosing VSAT – there were business reasons obviously, but there were also the human interest issues like seafarer’s welfare.” And: “We have to attract and retain the best crews for our vessels, and right now they are in short supply.”
To make things easier for our customers, we have developed a standard VSAT package: hardware, airtime and leasing all in one box. The standard package provides internet access, voice lines and three bandwidth levels and fulfills the needs of most customers.
It is a well engineered and easy to install system. We call it CONNECTOR by Radio Holland and this service is available at all Radio Holland branches around the world.
For the hardware we rely on the leaders in the industry SeaTel, iDirect and Cisco.
For the Ku-band services a standard SeaTel 4006 with an 8 Watt BUC configuration is the interface between the ships network and the satellite. For C-band services a SeaTel 9797 with a 25 Watt radio standard configuration is used. Proven technology that is supported all over the globe.
The iDirect modem is seen as the standard for shared services in the satcom industry. Many of the satellite service providers use the iDirect platform for their services. Coming from the IT/LAN technology, iDirect developed highly efficient techniques for bandwidth utilization and voice channel compression. The biggest advantages of the iDirect 5100 modem are that they have 8 Ethernet ports available and can be managed and controlled remotely; ideal for roaming between different satellite footprints. When moving from one footprint to the other the new satellite option file can be uploaded from the NOC. The only thing that has to be done on board is to exchange the LNB (not in all cases), re-point the antenna and restart the modem. Now it is ready to be used on the new satellite. In the future this process is expected to be fully automated. With a wide band LNB and automated uploads of the new option file the terminal should be able to switch from satellite to satellite without any human interference.
To complete the system we have selected a Cisco 1811 series router for the interface to the Local Area Network. It provides 24 Ethernet ports, more than sufficient for most of the end-users. For the voice lines we use the ATA 186 series, also from Cisco. With the ATA boxes, analogues lines are interfaced to the Cisco router. Break out of the voice services is done via the London Telehouse, one of worlds leading internet exchange locations with direct fiber links to all major locations in the world.
The world’s top 2 satellite operators: Intelsat and SES Global are the key suppliers for our satellite capacity. The C-band services are based on three Intelsat satellites covering the globe (excluding the poles). For the Ku-band services we have made a combination of footprints covering a major part of the globe, including the North Pacific and North Atlantic! These C- and Ku-band footprints are second to none and a real advantage for global sailing shipping companies. But also super yachts, moving between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean during the seasons benefit from this. They will receive excellent service in both areas which can be increased with parts of North and South America, Asia and even Australia if required.
In our proposition three different bandwidth levels are offered.
- Level 1 - 128 kbps ship to shore / 128 kbps shore to ship - Maximum 2 voice lines
- Level 2 - 128 kbps ship to shore / 256 kbps shore to ship - Maximum 4 voice lines
- Level 3 - 256 kbps ship to shore / 512 kbps shore to ship - Maximum 8 voice lines
On all three levels we guarantee a maximum contention ratio of 7:1. This means that a maximum of 7 terminals are using the same carrier. Compared to many of our competitors, who offer ratios up to 60:1 or higher, this is a unique selling point. It guarantees the end-user a minimum bandwidth availability to make at least two voice calls at the same time (Level 1). Next to this a Fair Access Policy is applied. The total bandwidth/capacity usage per terminal is monitored. In case of excessive usage the throughput to the terminal can be limited to maintain fair access for all terminals on the carrier. All of the above is making the difference between a good and an excellent service with a guaranteed quality of service.
Despite the fact that our maximum bandwidth is only 256 kbps ship to shore and 512 kbps shore to ship the experience you will have with our service is much better than you would expect.
To complete our package and give ourselves the competitive edge, it is possible to offer the hardware package in a lease contract. Based on a 3 or 5 year contract you don’t have to make the initial investment in the total hardware and will have access to our services. For more detailed information regarding lease options please contact your Radio Holland office.