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Maritime bandwidth record falls once again

The combined upload and download bandwidth on the link surpassed 3 Gbps The combined upload and download bandwidth on the link surpassed 3 Gbps PHOTO: Speedcast

The maritime satellite bandwidth record has been smashed yet again, for the third time in six months, with Carnival Cruise Line delivering a combined 3.174 Gbps connection to its new vessel Carnival Horizon at the ship’s naming ceremony in New York.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The link consisted of 2.424 Gbps on the download channel and 750 Mbps on the upload, delivered by satellite services provider Speedcast and leveraging capacity from satellite operators Intelsat and Telesat.

“Carnival Cruise Line is proud to introduce Carnival Horizon, the company’s newest and second of the Vista-class ships,” said Reza Rasoulian, VP of global connectivity for Carnival.

“The Horizon was delivered with our new industry-leading next generation connectivity solution leveraging an innovative satellite bandwidth and technology approach which we have developed over the past several years enabling our guests to enjoy fast, reliable, land-like connectivity to share their amazing vacation experiences on social media, keep up with news, and interact with friends and family even while at sea.”

The service uses Intellian antennas, leveraging C-, Ku- and Ka-band frequencies, selecting the best available satellites in terms of power, look angle and coverage. The traffic is then routed via Speedcast’s global MPLS network, which is monitored by Speedcast’s Network Operations Centres on a continuous basis to maximise uptime.

Carnival Cruise Line says it is now working on plans for a further rollout of this new connectivity system throughout its fleet.

“The Carnival Horizon is outfitted with best-in-class technology for both guest enjoyment and operations, and Speedcast is thankful for the opportunity to continue this partnership with Carnival as its trusted provider for communications,” said PJ Beylier, Speedcast CEO.

“The delivery of this record-breaking solution leverages the latest innovations in end-to-end networking, high throughput satellites, next-generation modems and optimisation technology in order to reach a new standard in guest experience; one which allows them to enjoy an internet experience similar to what they have at home.”

“We look forward to working hand-in-hand with Carnival to push the envelope of innovation, not just in terms of the largest amount of satellite bandwidth provided, but also utilising IT solutions that will help them to achieve top-notch guest satisfaction on all of their ships, from connectivity to data management, entertainment content and more.”

The previous high score in maritime VSAT had also been set by a Carnival ship, with the Regal Princess, operated by Carnival’s Princess Cruises brand, reaching a mark of 2.25 Gbps at the launch of its new MedallionNet guest connectivity service at the end of February this year.

That link was provided by satellite operator SES, using a combination of geostationary satellites and the medium-Earth orbit satellites it acquired following its takeover of O3b in 2016. 

The pace of growth in maritime bandwidth speeds has been accelerating, with the previous mark before this year set at the end of 2017 when the MSC Seaside recorded a 580 Mbps link at its service launch ceremony in Italy in late November, with a service provided by Marlink.{/mprestriction}

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Digital Ship magazine provides the latest information about maritime satellite communications technology, software systems, navigation technology, computer networks, data management and TMSA. It is published ten times a year.


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