A working boat in the deep ocean with a crane used for the assembly, commission and decommission of oil and gas rigs.

Prioritising business critical communications onboard vessel fleets globally

20/12/2019

In today’s technologically driven world it is commonplace for vessels to provide Wi-Fi services, provided via satellite, on-board their vessels to enhance crew welfare. However, most are reluctant to allow personnel unrestricted access for fear of both slowing down the vessels operational broadband and increasing the monthly Wi-Fi usage and associated costs.

An offshore accommodation vessel is mainly used to accommodate personnel at sea during set up or maintenance of offshore structures or wind farms (OWFs). These vessels moor or drift in direct proximity to the construction site to decrease transit time to the offshore structures and maximise personnel's working time. These vessels can house over 500 personnel at one time and frequently serve as a control centre or construction office at sea with various communication and conference rooms, along with many cabins.

During times of full occupancy, personnel’s internet usage on-board an offshore accommodation vessel can often congest the network and, in some instances, completely prevent business-critical communications from getting through. A very common problem facing many vessel owners is how to manage the available bandwidth and prioritise business-critical communications while still allowing the crew/workers/occupants access to the internet.

Running the vessel’s VSAT service over AST Networks' intelligent global IP network gives the vessel the full benefits of INTEGRA, AST Networks' unique traffic management solution. INTEGRA services include INTEGRA See and INTEGRA Control*, which provide complete real-time visibility of network traffic and the ability to limit or block usage at the application level.

Using INTEGRA See, network administrators on the vessels or shoreside can view the exact applications crew are using in real-time to identify precisely which applications are interfering with business-critical communications. A real-life example below shows how on-board one vessel the biggest consumers of non-business bandwidth were Facebook Video and YouTube.

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Using INTEGRA Control, the administrator set restrictions that blocked the two data-hungry applications, allowing adequate resources to be always reserved for business-critical communications. These controls instantly resolved the traffic management issues, while allowing the crew to continue using other applications without restriction.

*Subscription charges apply

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