Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket – A Truth for SATCOM, Too

“Do Not Put All Your Ships in One Satellite Network,” a recent article by Martyn Wingrove in Marine Electronics & Communications, makes the case that commercial fleets should not rely on a single SATCOM provider. He cites real-world constellation complications, including launch failures, technical issues during deployment, and operational snafus post-launch for his reasoning.

Essentially, he’s sending a cautionary tale to maritime managers to be on the alert for this type of SATCOM vulnerability.

“Shipping companies should not rely on just one satellite operator, or one band for communications, especially if that technology is not already in operation,” he writes.

Wingrove’s point is an excellent one, and it forces a new understanding of distinctions that carry significant weight for the world of commercial shipping, where efficiency rules and any time lost isn’t just a forfeit of opportunity, it’s an immediate and potentially debilitating financial hardship.

He’s right: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket in life, including when you shop for SATCOM. At KVH, the reliability of its satellite communications systems is the result of diversity and redundancy. The Power of One is not just a phrase, it’s our commitment to our customers – to deliver a complete package including hardware, content and service.

KVH has leveraged advanced technology designed specifically for mobile applications to unlock the power of a network of commercial satellites that cover 95% of the Earth’s surface. As of 2016, the KVH mini-VSAT global satellite network utilizes capacity from 26 transponders on 19 satellites. The mini-VSAT broadband network, the leader in maritime VSAT, represents the world’s leading satellite owners and operators, including Intelsat, Eutelsat, Telesat, SES, and SKY Perfect JSAT, who are regularly launching next-generation satellites to take advantage of the latest advancements. This is in contrast to Inmarsat’s sole reliance on its I-5, Boeing-built satellites using 7-year-old technology in the long-awaited Fleet Xpress broadband network.

Rick Driscoll, KVH Vice President, Satellite Products & Services
Rick Driscoll, KVH Vice President, Satellite Products & Services

As with any mission-critical system, having a backup makes sense, which is why KVH’s TracPhone V-IP series and our mini-VSAT Broadband network can be backed up should fleets desire, via Iridium Pilot and Inmarsat FleetBroadband.

“KVH leverages abundant commercial satellites so new capacity can be added, exactly where it is needed,” says Rick Driscoll, KVH vice president of satellite products and services. “This flexibility means the network can grow quickly to meet user demands without multiple-year delays and pass-along capital costs for new satellites.”

Driscoll’s words, as well as Wingrove’s examples of actual SATCOM setbacks, don’t just add up to food for thought. It’s sound advice, and can save fleet operators from parting with hard-earned revenue as they explore investment in a communications strategy for the long haul.


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About Chris Watson 98 Articles
Chris is the senior director of marketing for KVH Industries. A lifelong sailor and storyteller, he's a self-professed geek who finds all of this technical stuff fascinating.