A New Era of High Speed Communication at Sea

by OldSailor on October 14, 2007

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EUREKA(a pan-European network for market-oriented, industrial R&D) has opened a new era of communication at sea.

  • The only currently available communication solution at sea is provided by INMARSAT, “which is often expensive and of insufficient bandwidth”. There are only a small number of independent operators such as TELESAT (Canada) who offer some Internet Protocol (IP) based services.
  • High-speed Internet services, video conferencing and large volumes of data transfer can now be accessible to all at sea, due to developments made by EUREKA project E!3194 FORCE8.
  • The three French partners involved in this project have developed a system of accessing Internet broadband services at sea, based on established telecommunications standards such as Internet Protocol, Digital Video Broadcasting, and mobile roaming, using a network of geostationary satellites managed by satellite operators.
  • The antenna technologies chosen are capable of compensating for the movement of sea vessels and standing at 1.2 metres, are of a reduced size, especially in Ku-band, so that they can be installed in small units where there is limited space.

  • The system has already been used by IFREMER, the French research institute for the exploitation of the sea, located in Brest. The French research institute was also a partner in the project, supplying boats and a technical team for testing in real environments. Its rigorous testing has resulted in the high-speed, high-quality transfer of data.
  • The satellite communication services are provided through a network of satellite operator infrastructures. These are GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) satellite systems and service platforms. Therefore, the service is national whilst having a potential worldwide coverage, through roaming. The satellite coverage of European coastal areas for the project was provided in Ku-band by Eutelsat, a satellite operator which owns a fleet of satellites and offers broadcast and multimedia services. Global worldwide coverage was provided in C-band by MTN, another satellite operator.
  • The project has succeeded in making large bandwidths of between 1 and 2 Mbps possible, and available, off shore.
  • Governmental agencies and Shipping companies which want to equip their ships with high-speed interactive two way communication between ships and ground control to improve safety services at sea, or medical services, with tele-medical applications such as the transmission of images and data.
  • Also,the project caters for marine research organisations which want to test high-quality real-time video transmissions. Other examples of real-time data that can be supplied include weather forecasts and video conferencing.

Oldsailor sincerely appreciates the statement by Marie-Noel Convert,C2 Innovativ’Systems Consultants, France that “The project has brought together leaders in the field of marine research, satellite operators, telecom providers, high-specification motor yacht manufacturers and information technology companies.”

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