To Bond or not to Bond, do you shake or do you stir ?

The bandwidth usage on different types of maritime vessels can vary greatly based on their specific operational needs and the number of users on board.

Let’s go through each type and outline the typical bandwidth usage scenarios. We will also outline which sources can be bonded, which are typically used standalone, and provide a prioritization that takes into account both performance and operational needs.

What’s bondable and what’s not

The general rule of thumb is to group connections by similar bandwidth (don’t mix L-Band and LEO) and latency (don’t mix VSAT and 4G/5G), and eventual cost if that is a factor.

Most common WAN sources include:

  • GEO (VSAT)
  • LEO (Starlink)
  • L-BAND/GMDSS (Iridium & Fleetbroadband)
  • Cellular (4G/5G)
  • Wi-Fi (Usually in port – can be congested)


Merchant Vessels

Bondable : Cellular, LEO Satellite

Non-Bondable: GEO Satellite, L-Band


  1. Cellular and LEO (Starlink) Satellite Bonding: Near shore for enhanced operational communication. If you have unlimited 4G at fixed cost then that connection should be set as primary followed by LEO
  2. LEO Satellite: Primary source at sea for cargo management and communication.
  3. GEO Satellite: Reliable backup for long routes.
  4. L-Band: For safety and emergency communication.


Bondable: Cellular, LEO Satellite

Non-Bondable: Wi-Fi, GEO Satellite, L-Band


  1. LEO (Starlink) Satellite and Cellular Bonding: For continuous high-quality internet access.
  2. Wi-Fi: In marinas for guest use if not congested and latency is low enough.
  3. GEO Satellite: Consistent backup.
  4. L-Band: Navigation safety and emergencies.

Offshore Operations (Oil Rigs, Research Vessels)

Bondable: LEO Satellite (multiple constellations or providers)

Non-Bondable: GEO Satellite, L-Band


  1. LEO Satellite Bonding: For high-bandwidth operations and data transfer.
  2. GEO Satellite: As a stable backup.
  3. L-Band: Critical operations and safety communications.

Cruise Ships

Bondable: Cellular, Wi-Fi, LEO Satellite

Non-Bondable: GEO Satellite, L-Band


  1. Wi-Fi and Cellular Bonding: In ports and near coastal areas for high-bandwidth passenger connectivity.
  2. LEO Satellite: Main connection at sea, potentially bonded with cellular when near shore.
  3. GEO Satellite: Consistent backup, especially in remote areas.
  4. L-Band: For critical communications and emergencies.

It can become much more complex when routing specific applications over specific sources for specific users but the above should get you started. If you would lik a more detailed post on a specific configuration, let me know below.

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