Satellite and terrestrial broadband connectivity on large vessels both at-sea and in-port
MTN Communications (MTN) announces it is supporting Norwegian Cruise Line’s launch of the newly-Christened Norwegian Getaway with its advanced hybrid communications network. This innovative network enables satelliteand terrestrial broadband connectivity for higher performance connections on large vessels both at-sea and in-port.
With approximately 4,000 guests and 1,600 crew, Norwegian Getaway, the world’s newest cruise ship, is the first to showcase one of the most visionary communications solutions at sea today. While sailing in the open sea is a remote experience, guests and crew members don’t want to leave their “connected lives” back in port. Being able to share experiences as they are happening, and staying connected to friends and family while on vacation, are must-haves for consumers today.
“MTN and Norwegian Cruise Line are delivering another first, much like we did in the 1980s with the initial Internet access ever at sea,” said Chris Leber, executive vice president, commercial business development, MTN. “Since then, faster land-like connectivity has become clearly expected. However, the challenge has been staying ahead of demand, while dealing with the cost of adding more satellite bandwidth for guests and crew applications. MTN’s advanced hybrid communications network allows cruise operators to focus on their core business. When vessels are in port, they switch over to MTN’s Terrestrial Broadband Network, which delivers much higher-performance and speed. Norwegian Getaway is the premier showcase in how to address the insatiable demand for connectivity, speed and content.”
Cruise ships traditionally have relied solely on satellite bandwidth. The new MTN Terrestrial Broadband Network delivers faster, more efficient connections, enables access to applications and content, and optimizes corporate IT data. This allows people to bring their daily online habits with them to sea – including social media, infotainment, content and more.
Between 2008 and 2013, MTN managed a six-fold increase in satellite bandwidth requirements as a result of Internet, content and voice usage. Internet logins on the MTN network more than doubled to almost 33 million per year. Voice communications increased approximately 50 percent.
“Norwegian Getaway is one of the most technologically advanced ships all around, including how guests and crew can communicate and access content,” said Vincent Cirel, senior vice president and CIO, Norwegian Cruise Line. “For example, with MTN’s hybrid satellite and terrestrial network, we know our crew and guests will have the communications experience they expect, increasing guest satisfaction and crew morale.”
To support this new hybrid network, MTN equipped Norwegian Getaway with the industry’s most sophisticated software systems to maintain multiple types of connections simultaneously. It also uses the fastest data path available so it can access terrestrial broadband when near and in ports. A broadband antenna tracking and stabilization system enables the ship to “lock” onto an MTN access point in-port for terrestrial broadband connectivity with no impact to the end user during the switchover.
Key to this land-like level of service, the shipboard data center of Norwegian Getaway also is equipped with the industry’s most advanced processing technologies. Leveraging these technologies, MTN is delivering improved efficiency and throughput for Internet, television and crew calling services on the vessel.
“The MTN vision of dramatically improving communications at sea is now a reality on Norwegian Getaway,” Leber concluded. “This is thanks to advanced terrestrial broadband connectivity as the very first step. Crew and guests can stay connected, consume content and network during their amazing voyages.”