Youre probably familiar with VSAT and its prevalence in modern at-sea yacht communications. You know that the satellite antenna topping many yachts is related to Internet connectivity.
But what exactly is VSAT? And what should you consider when choosing the best VSAT configuration to serve your yacht guests and crew?
What is yacht VSAT?
VSAT stands for very small aperture terminal and is used for yacht communications because it works even when the yacht is changing locations.
The ability of marine stabilized antennas to work in situations where one point is constantly moving makes VSAT a reliable technology for yacht computer and voice communications.
The above-deck equipment (ADE) includes a stabilized maritime VSAT antenna with a dish typically between .5 and 2.5 meters in diameter. This in turn communicates with below-deck equipment (BDE)--consisting of a modem and router--for data distribution to the on board computer network.
The on board VSAT system connects with a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. It transmits and receives data to different earth-based terminals, providing reliable access to wireless broadband--even in remote locations.
How do guests and crew use yacht VSAT?
VSAT can process voice, data and video signals. Users receive information when it is downloaded from the satellite to the VSAT antenna and thenoften over on board Wi-Fito user devices such as tablets, laptops, phones and TVs.
Users information is sent when it is uploaded from user devicesoften over Wi-Fito the satellite through the VSAT antenna, then transferred to the land earth station (LES) and distributed via the land networks.
What are yacht VSATs limitations?
Bandwidth is the speed at which data is transmitted. On board VSAT speed, which is expressed in kilobits, megabits and gigabits per second (Kbps, Mbps and Gbps), is limited by available bandwidth. Bandwidth packages are typically written as download x upload speed (or download/upload), such as 2Mbps x 1Mbps.
Applications that require a great deal of bandwidth can slow the speeds experienced by each individual user, especially when many individuals attempt to use computer and voice devices simultaneously. But bandwidth optimizing devices, such as the NAS300 Optimizer, can alleviate this problem by allocating bandwidth to specific users or applications using predetermined criteria.
A bandwidth optimizing device can also combine the bandwidth of VSAT, WiFi, and GSM, if all three are available. This combined bandwidth may be shared by all users on board, or different Internet connections can be reserved for specific users or subnets on the network.
How can you determine your VSAT needs?
You have decided to add a yacht VSAT system, so now what? According to MTN Satellite Communications, a leading international yacht VSAT provider, you should first identify typical usage scenarios when determining your on board bandwidth needs for guests and crew.
How many individuals want to access the Internet simultaneously?
Are users accessing applications with high bandwidth requirements, such as streaming audio or video?
Is there a particular time of day when the Internet connection will be most frequently used?
Evaluating your answers.
The answers to these questions will help you better evaluate on board needs and manage the network accordingly. You may even decide to upgrade your bandwidth plan with optional bandwidth increases and value-added services for your guests.
MTN suggests that you share your answers with your VSAT provider. Together, you can evaluate your needs and compare them with the actual services being delivered. Consider options for temporary bandwidth upgrades and bandwidth prioritization, for example, to most effectively meet your varying needs.
To learn more about how to assess your yacht's bandwidth needs, download your free 2-page document: Questions to Ask When Assessing Your Yacht's Bandwidth Needs--AND--How to Calculate Your On Board Bandwidth Needs. Simply click on the red button below.