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Passenger vessel bandwidth boost

Both MSC ships (left) and Stena Line vessels (right) will benefit from higher bandwidth availability following the new deals Both MSC ships (left) and Stena Line vessels (right) will benefit from higher bandwidth availability following the new deals

Marlink reports that it has extended the bandwidth and connectivity options available to both MSC Cruises and Stena Line, covering a total of more than 35 existing ships among the two operators as well as further newbuilds.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}MSC Cruises’ fleet will now operate with multi-band VSAT services from Marlink, providing dynamic bandwidth allocation that can accommodate seasonal fluctuations on board its 12 existing ships, as well as connecting its next-generation vessels currently under construction, including MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seaside.

The deal includes a dedicated ‘cloud of bandwidth of several hundred megabits per second’ that will be exclusively available to MSC Cruises, from which all of the company’s ships will be allocated resources depending on current specific requirements.

“We are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and enhance guest experience aboard what is already the most modern fleet at sea,” said Gianni Onorato, MSC Cruises’ CEO.

“Working with Marlink, we are rolling out state-of-the-art technology to allow them to stay connected whether they are looking to share experiences and memorable moments, stay in touch with friends and family, need to stay on top of work e-mails, or simply catch up with daily news.”

The multi-band system combines capacity on new Ku-band High Throughput Satellite (HTS) and traditional Ku-band widebeam satellites, with equipment to be upgraded to feature high throughput modems and a network configuration designed to handle capacity from different satellite operators.

“Connectivity is today one of the most important aspects of the cruise guest experience. In order to provide seamless global access, with high availability for all users, together with MSC Cruises we are currently deploying the most advanced cruise ship VSAT network seen to date,” said Tore Morten Olsen, president maritime, Marlink.

“MSC Cruises will be the first fleet-wide VSAT network to dynamically integrate ‘a cloud’ of satellite capacity, ensuring the availability of high bandwidth for thousands of guests, wherever they are cruising.”

Stena Line meanwhile has more than tripled the bandwidth available within its own fleet-wide Closed User Group (CUG) VSAT service, which is also integrated with shore-based GSM 3G/4G services and in-port Wi-Fi networks.

By combining VSAT, GSM and Wi-Fi, Marlink says that it will enable hundreds of separate high-speed Wi-Fi connections for users on board Stena Line’s 25-ship fleet.

Before this upgrade, the CUG was based on a bandwidth allocation model, under which all 25 vessels in the fleet could access connectivity on a shared basis, but this has now been adapted to give Stena Line direct access to more bandwidth on diverse, integrated carriers.

The new dynamic service is designed specifically for the fleet to make the best use of its shared capacity pool – for example, vessels within GSM coverage areas or accessing Wi-Fi while in port will require less from the VSAT CUG capacity, making more satellite bandwidth available for other Stena Line vessels and passengers at sea.

“The passenger experience is a high priority for us when it comes to on board communication,” said Raimo Warkki, commercials, ship communication and systems, Stena Line.

“This upgrade ensures that we better meet the fast-changing needs of ferry passengers, who today expect a seamless, always available connection to the internet in addition to high quality, cost-effective voice calling. Our new multi-band service from Marlink allows us to deliver the experience our passengers want.”{/mprestriction}

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