The initiative comes from Inmarsat for its Orchestra network, which combines its geosynchronous (GEO) satellites with low Earth orbit (LEO) and 5G terrestrial satellites in an integrated system.
The idea is that ships can help each other avoid congestion in hotspots at sea, for example around large ports. When the ship sails from the port, it will easily reconnect to satellite communications.
The first phases of testing have been completed in Singapore using proprietary technologies in various combinations of frequency bands and terminal equipment on board ships, the company said.
Why Singapore? The tests took place between landmark towers and ships at sea in one of the busiest container ports in the world.
In addition, it is one of the most demanding environments due to equatorial weather conditions, including torrential rains and high humidity.
“Through Inmarsat’s innovative use of spectrum and technology, combined with state-of-the-art terrestrial networks, including the use of vessels as ladders, Inmarsat will provide improved and personalized connectivity to our customers.” said Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer, Inmarsat.
“This will allow Inmarsat to improve its services in the future by anticipating and managing customer demand in hotspots.”
Transitional connections in the Orchestra’s marine network are expected to reach at least 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) and 100 megabits per second of connection.
The company emphasizes that the network can allow, for example, download an HD movie in 40 seconds. And that five coast stations near Singapore will deliver more than 10 gigabits per second to the area.
It is planned to expand the network to 30 km (18.6 miles) and more.
Marine hotspots have been identified by the existing and projected future use of Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress services.
Describing it as the “communications network of the future”, the Orchestra combines Inmarsat’s geosynchronous (GEO) satellites with low Earth orbit (LEO) and 5G terrestrial satellites in an integrated system.
As part of its development, the company plans to add 150 to 170 satellites to its existing fleet, investing $ 100 million over the next five years, she said.
See also: US satellite company Viasat buys Inmarsat for broadband and IoT
Inmarsat trials Orchestra maritime mesh for ship-to-ship connectivity