How to manage VSAT when travel is restricted

Early 2020

… we were all confronted with the initial Covid-19 outbreak. Life pretty much came to a stand-still and working from home became the norm. Assisting clients whose satellite communication was experiencing issues became something that we had to do over the phone.

New installations, especially abroad, were put on hold due to the travel restrictions and real dangers of contracting the virus. Vaccines were still a promise and juggling even day-to-day life became a circus act in its most glorious meaning.

Yet, business had to continue, crew needed to call home, port calls needed to be made and everyone needed more bandwidth because of NetTube and YouFlix. As the world kept re-inventing the new normal, ships were still being built and satellite communication networks were still being deployed.

It was a challenge, but one that we gladly accepted. From increasing bandwidth to existing clients (that’s easy) to reconnecting the whole fleet of Herman Sr. The Tug & Workboat Company without ever setting a foot on board (slightly more challenging), it all had to become possible while staying at your desk, at home, with kids and cats on your keyboard.

But how do you do this, will you ask …

Well, technology evolves, maybe too rapidly but that is for another post. While 20 years ago it was innovative (and time saving) to remotely manage your client’s terrestrial computer networks and avoiding traffic jams, this has also become available at sea.

Satellite antennas, those extremely fascinating yet complicated pieces of equipment, have become smarter and so much easier to install. A single coaxial cable, 4 bolts and you’re pretty much good to go. Connect the modem of your choice and voila, there’s the internet. If the pedestal and coax cables are there, it’s like a walk in the park.

To top it all off we provided vessels with an on board management unit, connected to our backoffice, either through VSAT, Iridium, Fleetbroadband, 4G or even Wi-Fi if that’s all that is available.

Need to be said that all the above would not be possible without the incredible dedication of the crew who followed our instructions and assisted in doing what we normally do on board, phone in hand, Whatsapping or Facetiming in the weirdest of positions. Thanks guys, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Supported by the industry

Of course we wouldn’t be able to achieve all this without the extremely capable industry partners who’se R&D departments have created those wonderful machines that now work even using API calls from your phone if need be, leaving behind analog interfaces and RS232 connections to be replaced by the ubiquitous ethernet cable.

Intellian, one of our partners, even made a case study on how ‘modular antennas and remote access enable installation and configuration during travel restrictions’. If you’re interested you can download and read the whitepaper

Challenge accepted!

As the new Covid-Omicron variant is now spreading chances are that you are encountering situations where support technicians can’t be easily dispatched to your vessel or maybe you would like to save on the travel expenses, airtime costs and in general get more NetTube and YouFlix for your crew. Give us a call, we’re good at that.

Happy Holidays wherever you are

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