Friday, February 10, 2012

Iridium launches broadband platform

Iridium Communications has launched its second-generation maritime broadband platform - Iridium Pilot.

The new platform will utilise the Iridium OpenPort service.

It has been designed for enhanced durability to withstand the harshest maritime conditions, while packaged in a small, lightweight antenna, as it has a fixed, electronically-steerable, phased-array antenna, designed to maintain connectivity in rough seas.

The platform offers broadband connectivity in addition to three independent phone lines, all of which work simultaneously, with data speeds up to 134 kbps.

Iridium claimed that it offered a suite of new capabilities for vessel telecommunications optimisation. These included a built-in firewall for traffic management and a bulk configuration capability to assist in efficiently managing large volumes of units. Its small design, enhanced capabilities and flexible service packages make Iridium Pilot an optimal solution for vessels large and small, the company said.

“We currently see a rapid migration from legacy narrowband services to new generation broadband solutions in the maritime satellite communications market,” said Richard Roithner, senior consultant at Euroconsult. “MSS broadband solutions, in particular those positioned in the lower price ranges, have seen significant growth over the last two years increasing at around 120% per year.

“Euroconsult projects growth to continue in the coming years as these systems provide an attractive value proposition for low- and medium-end markets to provide safety communications, enhance ship operations, improve crew welfare, as well as provide complementary services for VSAT. Our research has found that data rates of around 128 kbps are sufficient for the majority of applications used on board vessels today,” he concluded.

“Importantly, Iridium Pilot will be compatible with Iridium’s next generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT,” explained Joel Thompson, vice president, product management, Iridium. “Iridium NEXT, scheduled for deployment starting in 2015, is the largest commercial space programme underway today. Ship operators installing Iridium Pilot can have the confidence that their equipment will be supported well beyond 2020.”

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