The Yacht Technology Blog

Optimizing Your Yacht Internet Bandwidth

Posted by Andy Levy on May 7, 2013 8:23:00 AM


yacht_internet_bandwidth_managementIf you read our last blog post, Vessel Internet Bandwidth: Are you Addicted?, you understand the difference between on land and on board bandwidth speeds.


You also know that after a certain point, no amount of money will improve your on board Internet speed.


However, there are some things you can do right now to improve your vessel Internet connection's performance. Although bandwidth speeds will never reach those of your home or office on land, these techniques will let you use what you’'ve got more efficiently and effectively.



1. Monitor your bandwidth use.

Even with the fastest possible connection, bandwidth demand will likely always exceed supply. That is why it is very important for vessels to have a way to monitor and manage bandwidth use. 


Monitoring bandwidth lets network administrators see which users and which applications are using up bandwidth. Is it a high paying charter guest streaming a World Cup soccer match, or is it a stewardess downloading The Hobbit in HD?


How bandwidth monitoring works.

Typically, Captains set Internet policies for their vessels. In addition, Captains often use bandwidth monitoring to insure policy compliance among the crew.

A bandwidth monitoring system can automatically generate usage reports to let the Captain or ETO determine if any crew members are violating vessel Internet policy.  In this way, bandwidth monitoring assists with enforcing yacht Internet policies without requiring anyone to babysit the crew. 


2. Manage your bandwidth allocation.



Bandwidth monitoring lets you observe real-time vessel Internet usage as well as usage over any time period.  Top Lists can reveal the biggest bandwidth hogs and can list items such as:

  • Top users

  • Top websites

  • Top applications


The bandwidth monitoring system can also notify crew and shore-side managers when the Internet is down. Alerts can be automatically sent by email or text, depending upon the parameters set in the system.



yacht_bandwidth_managementBandwidth management allows you to create rules to control which Internet traffic is allowed and by whom. It also lets you set priorities among users (e.g. the Captain vs. deckhands) and classes of users (e.g. guests vs. crew). 


Some bandwidth management solutions even let you use more than one Internet connection simultaneously. For instance, you can couple the vessel’s VSAT system with a shore-side 4G connection.



How bandwidth management works. 

Traffic shaping is a key component of Internet bandwidth management. “Traffic” refers to Internet activity, including email, website browsing and Skype phone calls. “Shaping” has to do with controlling the types of traffic allowed on the system and setting priorities between individual users and traffic types.


internet_traffic_shapingTraffic shaping comes in different forms:

  • URL shaping boosts or limits bandwidth allocated to a specific website. For instance, the yacht’s Captain and IT Manager may allow crew to access Facebook, but can give it a low priority in relation to other bandwidth uses.
  • Application shaping limits or boosts bandwidth allocation depending upon the protocol used (i.e. HTTP protocol when using a website, POP or IMAP protocol when downloading email or VOIP protocol).

  • Policy-based shaping defines policies for individual users or groups of users. You can specify the maximum bandwidth or burst rate allocated to an individual or group. Or you can set up priorities among users so that the highest priority individual or group always takes precedence over the others.


Policy-based shaping gives network administrators granular control over bandwidth resources. You can grant specific groups of users priority over other users for access to Internet bandwidth. This lets the system favor priority users, preventing background processes from crippling the system. 


On a typical yacht, you might group users as follows:

  • Owner – Priority 1

  • Guests – Prority 2

  • Select Crew (Department Heads) – Priority 3

  • Remaining Crew – Priority 4

  • Update Servers – Priority 5


Devices that continually access the vessel's Internet, such as servers downloading updates and video distribution systems downloading content, can use up all available bandwidth if they are not regulated.  


Is there one device that will monitor and manage your yacht Internet bandwidth?


There are several bandwidth management devices on the market. The NAS3000 Internet Bandwidth Optimizer is Great Circle Systems' bandwidth monitoring and managing device.


It performs all the functions outlined in this article and also acts as a fully stateful firewall with layer-7 packet inspection. The firewall is policy-based, so you can manage it with a simple or complex rule structure.


For more informationabout the NAS3000 Optimizer, click the gray button below, or click the green button to speak to a NAS3000 specialist.



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Topics: vessel internet, bandwidth management

JD_Crawford_head_shotDarren and the GCS team have been instrumental in the development and deployment of several carrier grade IT networks for large scale, Savant-based super-yacht projects where the technology infrastructure needed to be extremely reliable. 


The capabilities of the GCS team have proven instrumental in helping us deliver a world class technology experience to some of the most prestigious yachts in the world.


J.D. Crawford of Savant Systems


I have been working with Great Circle Systems since 2006 when they did the installation of all our networking and Internet communications equipment on our boat being built in Germany.


The equipment they recommended and installed was exactly as we required.  We have had extremely good results with all of their equipment and it has performed as they had advised.


I would highly recommend them to all fellow captains.


Captain Keith T. Moore of M/Y Lady Sheridan

CE_W_Michael_Hummel_of_MY_TVTriton Administrator has proven to be the perfect tool for us on M/Y TV, which is a 78 meter Luerssen yacht.


Triton has comprehensive essential features plus any additional features one can possibly need. It is still easy to use and has a swift support team to implement customer-specific wishes, such as individual day logs, etc.


W. Michael Hummel, Chief Engineer of M/Y TV


Captain Bruno Herregods talks about Great Circle Systems tech support. 

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