Connectivity on-board of Ferry Vessels has always been a challenge, mainly due to the satellite bandwidth bottleneck, causing limited and expensive IT and telecom services.
Recent technologies like High Throughput Satellites and 5G allow to use in a more efficient way the available resources, enabling new classes of services and more affordable communications, for both the passengers and the crew: the 5G network slicing technology guarantees different QoS (Quality of Service) parallel networks, corresponding to the different classes of services provided on board for different applications.
Corsica Ferries and Sardinia Ferries Company provides passenger transportation services mainly between France, Italy and Spain.
The passengers of the Ferry Vessels would need more affordable and better connectivity: Internet but also TV, New Video On-Demand services, a virtual room for chat and IP multi-calls, New interactive Edutainment content in the sea environment, and in particular the Pelagos Sanctuary of Marine Mammals crossed by the Ship routes.
New connected devices can share medical data with a remote medical facility that provides a second opinion service, for a more accurate diagnosis and a better management of emergencies.
A specific QoS allows prioritization of this critical traffic and the required level of reliability.
IoT (Internet of Things) on board allows access to important vessel information both to the crew and the managers in the Operation Room of the Shipping company, resulting in better decision making and cost savings.
The satellite links allow the vessel to be connected to terrestrial IP and Telephone networks of our telecom partner TIM. The vessel can then operate as an edge node of the terrestrial network.
The integration of a local Content Delivery Network and specific servers on board provide passengers with a better user experience, optimizing the available bandwidth and the latency.
Satellite links (both in Ka and Ku band) are the most reliable connectivity solution available for vessels in the open seas. HTS satellites can integrate easily with 4G/5G Networks based on IP, as per previous diagram. The 5G technology also allows pushing to the edge of the network (the vessel) many applications, which is key to reduce the latency and to optimize the satellite connectivity.
We have almost finalised all project management and the contractual aspects.
The offer to the passengers and the crew is still to be finalised.
A model of virtual mobile operator is also in discussion with our telecom partner.
We have now reached the BDR (Baseline Design Review) milestone!
Official link to the project: https://business.esa.int/projects/wise-5g