Every inch of your vessel is being cleaned, inventoried, painted, repaired and polished in preparation for the summer high season. You want owners and guests to love every minute of their cruise.
But there's something that might be missing from your spring cleaning list that could make or break a cruiser's experience: your yacht's Internet connection.
By "spring cleaning" I'm not suggesting that your vessel requires a complete yacht VSAT overhaul. But there may be a few simple things you can do now to make everyone's on board Internet experience more pleasant this summer.
I know you've already got your hands full with everything else you are doing to prepare for the big summer season. So I've created a free downloadable checklist at the bottom of this article that you can print, copy or email. Some items on this list are related to the vessel's geographical location. So I suggest you go through it now and then revisit it periodically throughout the summer as you change cruising locations.
1. Temporarily upgrade your VSAT bandwidth.
Do you have a specific group of summer guests who require more bandwidth than you normally have access to? Look into a temporary VSAT bandwidth upgrade.
In our post, A Yacht VSAT Primer, we suggest that you consider upgrading your Internet bandwidth plan temporarily if you have a short term need. That may be the case if you expect your guests to use multiple electronic devices on board. Their bandwidth use added to that of the captain and crew could create a painfully slow connection.
To avoid this scenario, you can calculate your vessel’s bandwidth needs. Just download our free Internet Bandwidth Calculator. If your calculated need is significantly higher than your current plan allows, it might be time to call your VSAT service provider to request an upgrade during high season.
2. Subscribe to or update your vessel's mobile 3G/4G data service.
You can augment your on board VSAT with mobile data service through a 3G or 4G router. Mobile data service can give you faster Internet at a very economical price. Many vessels already have a 3G or 4G router. But if you don't, you can buy one for under $1000.
3. Check whether the marinas you’ll be visiting offer Wi-Fi.
You can also use Wi-Fi to augment your vessel's VST service. Make some calls ahead of time. If a marina doesn’t offer Wi-Fi, you might want to make a reservation at one that better meets your technology needs.
4. Check your inventory for spares to avoid disruptions and downtime.
This is where good yacht management software with a strong spares inventory module comes in very handy. Check to see if you are running low on any technology-related spares to keep you up and running and your guests connected and happy while cruising.
5. Advise your vessel's shore side support of any special needs for summer cruisers.
If you are aware of your guests' particular needs that are out of the ordinary, you can save a lot of aggravation and stress by notifying your shore side tech support people before leaving port. That way, your support specialists can make sure all technology-related systems can support special needs, such as:
- Setting up a VPN (virtual private network) for a VIP guest, allowing the guest to send and receive data across the vessel's shared public network while benefiting from the functionality, security and management policies of the private network.
- Enabling exceptionally large email attachments or file transfers.
- Bringing guest computers and devices onto the vessel's network.
- Setting up guest devices to print on the vessel's printer
6. Manage yacht Internet bandwidth by adding allocation rules.
If you have a bandwidth monitoring and managing device, you can create rules that specify priorities for your vessel’s Internet bandwidth allocation. For instance, the owner’s bandwidth needs can have priority over a deck hand’s desire to use Internet bandwidth to upload photos to Instagram. An Internet bandwidth optimizer could be an alternative to temporarily increasing your VSAT plan as discussed in item #1.
Great Circle Systems’ NAS3000 Optimizer allocates Internet bandwidth to the users whom you've pre-selected.The NAS3000 also lets you use your vessel's 3G/4G data service, Wi-Fi, and VSAT simultaneously. The combined bandwidth can provide guest and crew with faster Internet, as well as backup bandwidth if one system fails.
To read about how the NAS3000 Optimizer works, just click on the picture below and scroll through the presentation.
We wish you a great summer cruising season. Give us a call if we can be of service at (530) 546-3736--press 3 for Sales. Or click on the green button below. And check out the Great Circle Systems website to learn about our products and services.