KVH expands mini-VSAT broadband capacity in key maritime areas

(MIDDLETOWN, R.I.) — KVH Industries Inc. has completed several capacity increases for its mini-VSAT broadband network to support heightened demand from customers engaged in a wide range of commercial maritime activities around the world, including offshore oil and gas, fishing, and shipping. Utilizing 17 satellites and 24 transponders to provide global coverage, KVH's mini-VSAT broadband is the most extensive C/Ku-band maritime VSAT network in the world, and is designed for rapid expansion by accessing abundant commercial satellite capacity. Working with leading commercial satellite providers, KVH implemented the recent capacity expansions to meet the ever-growing demand for broadband services at sea.

"The commercial maritime industry is increasingly reliant on broadband services to improve operational efficiency," says Martin Kits van Heyningen, KVH chief executive officer. "Data and connectivity enable shipowners to accomplish many goals, from reduced fuel consumption through voyage planning to increased safety through updated training programs delivered to crew while they are onboard. We are continually monitoring and improving the mini-VSAT broadband network to ensure our maritime customers have the critical connectivity they need at all times onboard their vessels."

KVH's recent capacity expansions for the mini-VSAT broadband network include:

Asia-Pacific — The capacity of a key satellite beam for the Asia-Pacific region was increased 60 percent, providing support for commercial shipping and offshore oil and gas activities in the area.
Pacific Northwest — A new beam covering the Pacific Northwest was added, providing support for the many commercial fishing fleets located in this area.
Eastern Canada and U.S. coast — A new beam was added to more than double the network capacity for the eastern coast of Canada and the United States, a key area for commercial shipping, fishing, and yacht chartering.

KVH's mini-VSAT broadband network is the dominant player in the global maritime VSAT market, with twice the market share of its closest competitor, according to recent industry reports by Comsys and Euroconsult. KVH and its technology partner, ViaSat Inc., use ArcLight spread spectrum technology to deliver fast broadband service, with Internet download speeds up to 4 Mbps. With its enterprise-grade infrastructure, the mini-VSAT broadband network carried 500 TB of data and 25 million voice minutes in 2014.

KVH has built this global infrastructure by leasing available commercial satellite capacity, rather than investing in its own satellites. The results are lower costs and better prices for customers. Designed exclusively for the mini-VSAT Broadband network, KVH's unique TracPhone V-IP satellite communications antenna systems are built 85 percent smaller than typical VSAT antennas to install more easily in all vessels. Antenna sizes range from the 37 cm (14.5 inch) diameter TracPhone V3-IP, to the 60 cm (24 inch) diameter TracPhone V7-IP, and the 1.1 meter (42.5 inch) diameter TracPhone V11-IP. The company recently shipped its 5,000th TracPhone system for the mini-VSAT broadband service.

The capacity expansions also support KVH's IP-MobileCast content delivery service. This multicasting service uses the mini-VSAT broadband network to deliver a separate data stream of news, sports, entertainment, and training content — improving quality of life for crew members onboard commercial vessels — as well as operational data such as electronic chart updates and weather information.

By Professional Mariner Staff