Nowadays everyone has internet at home. It is day to day business to check your email, surf in search of information, make telephone calls, ... Unfortunately when you are on board this becomes a whole different ballgame. If there is internet on board it is often slow (yes, very slow like using those modems in the 80's slow) and comes with a very high price tag running into thousands of dollars if you are not careful what you send and receive. 'Accidentally' downloading a movie could cost you more than USD 10.000. Better charter a helicopter to take you to the theater.
At Satmarin we have taken the best of both worlds and combined the technologies in an extremely powerful, fast and reliable system for a fraction of the cost of other Maritime VSAT solutions currently offered.
Even though prices for Airtime (the actual satellite internet connection) have been gradually decreasing, the regular rates remain very high due to the high cost of satellites and their 'limited' use in comparison to terrestrial broadband. However, recently two way internet via satellite systems have been appearing in Europe to cover those areas where normal cabled or terrestrial wireless (GSM, GPRS and UMTS) solutions were not available. With this new boom in satellite internet use it has also become possible to reduce the airtime cost making satellite internet connection affordable.
Internet at sea will probably never be as fast as their land based counterpart (unless you have huge resources) but they are coming close to broadband solutions offered today in homes and offices, but 2 Mb download speeds (and even 4 Mb) are rapidly becoming available giving you almost the same high speed experience as cabled land based solutions.
VSAT stands for Very Small Aperture Terminal - it's a catchy acronym and as such it has been adopted by all and sundry for every type of satellite product from small components of a system to complete systems. Because the term really hinges around the small size of the antenna it has been used to describe both one-way (TVRO) and interactive (VSAT) systems.
Generally, these systems operate in the Ku-band and C-band frequencies. As a rule of thumb C-band (which suffers less from rain attenuation, but requires larger antennas) is used in Asia, Africa and Latin America whilst Ku-band (which can use smaller antennas, but suffers from rain fade in a monsoon-like downpour) is used in Europe and North America. Typically, interactive Ku-band antenna sizes range from 60 centimeters to 1.8 meter. TVRO can use antennas as small as 45 centimeters