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MTN hybrid network for Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line’s newly-christened Norwegian Getaway will set sail with a new hybrid communications network from MTN Communications (MTN) to support ship-shore connectivity for passengers and crew.

The network to be implemented on the vessel combines both satellite and terrestrial broadband connectivity service to maximise performance for large vessels both at sea and in port. 

With approximately 4,000 guests and 1,600 crew, Norwegian Getaway is the first to install this new hybrid system, as well as a range of software systems to maintain the multiple types of available connections simultaneously. The network also uses the fastest data path available so it can access terrestrial broadband when near and in ports.

A broadband antenna tracking and stabilisation system enables the ship to 'lock' onto an MTN access point in port for terrestrial broadband connectivity, with no impact to the end user during the switchover. The shipboard data centre on Norwegian Getaway also is equipped with the very latest in processing technologies.

"Norwegian Getaway is one of the most technologically advanced ships all around, including how guests and crew can communicate and access content," said Vincent Cirel, senior vice president and CIO, Norwegian Cruise Line.

"For example, with MTN’s hybrid satellite and terrestrial network, we know our crew and guests will have the communications experience they expect, increasing guest satisfaction and crew morale."

Between 2008 and 2013, MTN says that it managed a six-fold increase in satellite bandwidth requirements as a result of internet, content and voice usage, as internet log-ins on its network more than doubled to almost 33 million per year.  Voice communications have increased approximately 50 per cent. 

"MTN and Norwegian Cruise Line are delivering another first, much like we did in the 1980s with the initial internet access ever at sea," said Chris Leber, executive vice president, commercial business development, MTN.

"Since then, faster land-like connectivity has become clearly expected. However, the challenge has been staying ahead of demand, while dealing with the cost of adding more satellite bandwidth for guests and crew applications."

"MTN’s advanced hybrid communications network allows cruise operators to focus on their core business. When vessels are in port, they switch over to MTN’s Terrestrial Broadband Network, which delivers much higher-performance and speed. Norwegian Getaway is the premier showcase in how to address the insatiable demand for connectivity, speed and content."

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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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