Inmarsat testing of ORCHESTRA ‘stepping stones’ moves ahead

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Mobile satellite network provider Inmarsat has completed the first phases of testing of innovative technology developments for ORCHESTRA, the company’s forthcoming dynamic network of the future.

Inmarsat says the tests proved the ability to deliver additional capacity at hotspots via unique, shore-based terrestrial networks.

Continued growth in demand in key ports and shipping lanes as well as airports and busy flightpaths will lead to signal congestion in the future, it adds, potentially affecting vital connectivity. Inmarsat is developing the terrestrial part of ORCHESTRA to provide targeted capacity to tackle these hotspots locally to stay ahead of demand and continue to deliver the industry’s highest performance.

The tests took place in Singapore between land-based signal towers and ships offshore using Inmarsat proprietary technologies across various combinations of frequency bands and terminal equipment onboard vessels. These real-world cases established achievable performance for ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship connectivity, including distances, range, throughput and link availability.

Singapore was chosen because it is one of the world’s busiest container ports, as well as being one of the most demanding environments because of equatorial weather conditions such as heavy rain and high humidity. The tests proved the effectiveness of the stepping-stone connections in the ORCHESTRA maritime mesh, which are expected to reach at least 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) and 100 megabits per second per link, with the mesh network extending this to 30km (18.6 miles) and beyond, enabling, for example, the download of a HD movie in 40 seconds. Just five shore stations near Singapore would deliver in excess of 10 gigabits per second across this important location.

Peter Hadinger, Chief Technology Officer at Inmarsat, said: “The demand for connectivity is growing constantly and Inmarsat continues to anticipate the needs of our customers, meeting future demand from them through the multi-network power of ORCHESTRA. Today’s news is real world proof of how Inmarsat ORCHESTRA will tackle emerging hotspots in busy maritime areas such as congested ports and shipping lanes via terrestrial connectivity to supplement our global satellite networks.”

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