The new solution consists of two SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband solutions and a Dual Antenna Control Unit (DACU), which can automatically switch between antennas without loss of connectivity.
With the ability to position two SAILOR FleetBroadband antennas at different locations on a vessel, challenges experienced when a single antenna may become obstructed by superstructure, masts, rigging and other equipment can be overcome.
Cobham says that this makes the Dual Antenna solution ideal for specialist vessels using critical IP applications over FleetBroadband, where loss of connectivity could significantly affect the outcome of a costly or hazardous operation.
Following installation and configuration where both SAILOR FleetBroadband solutions are connected to the DACU, as soon as the active antenna loses sight to the satellite the back-up will come on line to ensure continuous connectivity.
The two antennas work as a single system, with the same IP address, a single SIM card and one monthly bill.
“SAILOR 500 FleetBroadband is the market leading Inmarsat FleetBroadband solution so we are keen to offer its proven reliability and user-friendliness in a dual solution configuration for vessels where continuous connectivity is vital to operational safety and efficiency,” said Casper Jensen, VP maritime business, Cobham SATCOM.
“Whilst developing a technically advanced approach, we have also ensured our solution has only minimal extra hardware costs, in order to enable as many vessels to take advantage of it as possible.”
In related news, Imtech Marine and Cobham SATCOM have announced the introduction of a new remote access service that will allow Imtech Marine’s 24/7 Global Control Rooms (GTAC, Global Technical Assistance Centres) in Rotterdam, Houston and Singapore to directly connect to a vessel’s Cobham SATCOM communications systems for support purposes.
Users of equipment including current generation SAILOR GMDSS products and satellite antennas will be able to make use of the service, which aims to reduce equipment life-cycle costs and maximise uptime.
“Experience shows that remote equipment monitoring and direct access provides significant operational and financial benefits for ship owners,” said Dennis Mol, director technology and competence development, Imtech Marine.
“Through our partnership and subsequent technology integration with Cobham SATCOM we can now conduct regular health checks on SAILOR systems from shore, enabling us to conduct preventative maintenance and reduce the time and cost of visiting a vessel for manual servicing. We can also prepare SAILOR products for annual servicing from shore, reducing the time needed on board by up to 75 per cent.”
The Imtech Marine GTAC is now able to view, in real-time, the status of SAILOR systems that are running the Thrane Management Application (TMA) – these include SAILOR 6000 GMDSS Series products, such as the SAILOR 6222 VHF DSC Class A, SAILOR 6300 MF/HF and SAILOR 6110 Mini-C GMDSS.
The TMA is a software service made possible by Cobham SATCOM’s ThraneLINK network protocol, already in use as the single-point-of-entry for SAILOR products. GTAC can also carry out health checks on Cobham SATCOM’s SAILOR 900 VSAT and the SAILOR FleetBroadband family.
“Through the development of the TMA we offered significant time and cost savings for on board maintenance of SAILOR products,” said Mr Jensen.
“By integrating the TMA with Imtech Marine’s GTAC to allow for remote shore access, we are securing even more uptime for a vessel’s communication systems as remote health checks by experts on land increases the opportunities for preventative maintenance.”
The integration of SAILOR products and the TMA with GTAC is a joint project that leverage's Imtech Marine's current iShare@Sea philosophy, supported by the Dutch maritime industry, which provides guidance on how to collect data from different devices and components with the minimal use of hardware and cabling, taking airtime costs, coverage and compliance rules into consideration.
“Our focus is on providing the best technical solution by integrating state of the art components and applications,” said Mr Mol.