“Zone Out” and Improve SATCOM Performance with Tracking Avoidance Zones

KVH, tracking avoidance zone, maritime satcom, marine VSAT, VSAT at sea, mini-VSAT Broadband, TracPhone, FleetXpress, Marlink, Speedcast, Network Innovations

If you’ve ever seen a tanker moving steadily across the horizon or watched a sailboat cruising down the coast, you might think an open sky would mean perfect satellite reception, right? Nope! The single biggest cause of poor satellite reception and performance is sometimes unavoidable blockage from onboard structures or other equipment. That’s why KVH engineers created the Tracking Avoidance Zone (TAZ) function, available exclusively with KVH TracPhone VSAT systems.

Up to five TAZs can be programmed, alerting the TracPhone antenna that it is attempting to receive signals in areas with zero or limited reception and instructing the antenna to shift to an unobscured satellite on the mini-VSAT Broadband network whenever possible. In fact, with 17 satellites in the mini-SAT Broadband network, vessels can depend on multi-satellite redundancy in most regions around the globe!

KVH, TracPhone, Tracking Avoidance Zones, satcom at sea, mini-VSAT Broadband
In this location, the TracPhone V7-HTS system may have a perfectly clear view of the sky in most directions but will be blocked in one direction by the mast and structure seen here.

Maximizing Connectivity with a KVH Tracking Avoidance Zone & Integrated IoT Technology

KVH’s exclusive TAZ feature allows an installer to program the TracPhone system at the time of installation based on estimated points of blockage. In addition, KVH engineers integrated powerful Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities into all TracPhone VSAT systems as part of our Proactive Monitoring service, which records and transmits data for 95+key performance indicators to KVH’s technical support team. KVH engineers and support specialists can then respond proactively to potential issues and maximize your system’s uptime, speed, and overall experience.

 A great example of the power and benefit that this IoT functionality provides to seafarers worldwide is the ability for the TracPhone VSAT to build and refine a vessel blockage map. The map displays the signal strength at every point along the horizon as well as up to 90˚ vertically, as show in the image of an actual blockage map:

KVH Tracking Avoidance Zones for maritime VSAT and Internet at sea
An example of a TracPhone VSAT blockage map. Blue indicates strong signals, reds and yellows partly obscured signals, and white indicated a lack of data, either due to a 100% blockage or that the antenna never tried to receive signals at that position.

KVH’s technical support specialists can then program new TAZs or update existing TAZs remotely while the vessel is underway based on this precision, constantly refined view of where blockages occur.

KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network and TracPhone VSAT systems provide users with optimal performance with a robust global satellite network that ensures that wherever your boat travels, you’ll likely be within sight of at least two satellites. The best way to avoid blockage, of course, is to install the TracPhone VSAT system in an area completely free of obstructions. However, we know that our antennas are used in the real world, where that isn’t always possible. While a Tracking Avoidance Zone won’t necessarily avert every blockage event, it will greatly enhance the overall performance of your onboard communications.

“Zone out” and watch this 4-minute video to learn how to establish a Tracking Avoidance Zone to quickly and automatically react to potential blockages:


Learn More

KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network and TracPhone VSAT systems offer tremendous flexibility and transparency for users, including with:

Detailed application category reporting for a detailed look at how you are using your data

Versatile data allocation tools to ensure that everyone onboard can be connected without exceeding your monthly data budget


About Chris Watson 65 Articles
Chris is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications for KVH Industries. A lifelong sailor and storyteller, he's a self-professed geek who finds all of this technical stuff fascinating.