Crew WIFI and Internet communications is essential for any modern maritime vessel, whether for cruise lines, transport vessels, yachts etc. The good news is that 4G/LTE can offer much higher speeds at significantly lower cost to satellite, enabling the next wave of maritime communications. As many vessels spend a significant amount of time near shore in harbors, waiting, bunkering etc. and when being near-shore the need for data communications is the highest (loading bills, clearance, shipping instructions, crew waiting time etc.) 4G offers an attractive alternative for reliable connectivity.
Blue Wireless has been implementing 4G/LTE based solutions for over 3 years with hundreds of installations completed and for a more detailed description of our 4G/LTE services for maritime, please visit our page here. Below we share our answers to the top-5 questions we receive from customers around the use of 4G/LTE for maritime: What's my range when using 4G? With the ongoing developments in 4G/LTE networks, Router Equipment and Antennas, vessels can now comfortably connect 25 nautical miles from shore. And in countries where operators are using new LTE bands in the 600-800Mhz range (e.g. Australia), this can easily double. What speeds are possible? This depends firstly on the quality of the networks. Being in Singapore or Australia near shore one can achieve 100Mbps download or more. In Indonesia or Philippines it would be more in the 5-10Mbps range. Second factor is the type of vessel, where higher and larger ships enable a higher and more stable placement of antennas and thus higher speeds. Of course, this assumes enterprise grade routers and high gain antenna equipment, like we use from Cradlepoint and Poynting. What if vessels sail between countries? Blue Wireless solutions are bundled with multiple local- as well as roaming SIMs to have least-cost access in all key ports. Cradlepoint routers used for Maritime have capacity for 4 SIMs (which can be doubled to 8) to create maximum SIM flexibility. This way vessels have lowest cost and highest speed access no matter what the route. What about my Satellite Connection? Satellite connectivity won't be disappearing soon due its importance on open sea. However, more ship owners combine both options on board in such a way that the most economical connectivity option is used first. How do I control usage? Using Cradlepoint routers means all management is cloud-based and there is no need for on-board IT managers or staff to operate the service. And with Cradlepoint NetCloud, all vessel connectivity including usage, profiles and web filtering is managed from the cloud, giving owners full control, whether it's one vessel, or dozens. Want to learn more? Visit our solutions page here or just write to firstname.lastname@example.org to help you get started!