The Norwegian offshore vessel owner Solstad Offshore has signed a deal with Inmarsat for its new Fleet LTE service, which will cover the connectivity needs of multiple Solstad Offshore vessels in the North Sea.
Mobile satellite communications firm Inmarsat explained that offshore vessel operators usually buy LTE and VSAT connectivity separately, using LTE when within range of shore, rigs, or wind farm networks then relying on the crew to switch manually to VSAT beyond 4G coverage limits.
"Costs can be hard to control where services are billed separately, while manual switchovers can mean suboptimal signals or service interruptions," Inmarsat said.
Now, Inmarsat says its Fleet LTE delivers hybrid connectivity via 4G cellular connectivity provided by Tampnet plus satellite coverage on Inmarsat’s Fleet Xpress Ka-band and FleetBroadband L-band services, switching between networks automatically.
“The Fleet LTE combination of bandwidth, reasonable pricing, and guaranteed connectivity makes sense in today’s offshore market, which is simultaneously cost-driven and hungry to exploit the opportunities created by digitalization and real-time data analytics,” says Christian Nesheim, ICT Director, Solstad Offshore ASA.
"Algorithms within the Fleet LTE router switch seamlessly between LTE and VSAT so that service integrity, high-speed data transfer, and low latency are always optimized. The ‘three-in-one’ service provides a one stop shop for 4G, Ka-band and L-band without the complication of dual billing or the risk of disconnection," Inmarsat said of its service.
Fleet LTE will now be commissioned on the other relevant vessels after successful trials onboard three Solstad vessels during the first three months of 2021, according to Inmarsat.