Following the launch of its Maestro end-to-end communications management solution in May, MTN Communications (MTN) has announced the launch of MTN Conductor and the first dual Ku/Ka-band satellite solution delivered in the yacht market.

Both these new services have been developed in conjunction to work alongside Maestro.

MTN Conductor is an app that makes managing and optimising the networks on board easier to manage, as it uses a single interface on a handheld device to manage each network, provider and user, allowing the end user to have complete control. The app interacts with the Maestro platform soelectrical technical officers (ETOs) and captains can proactively monitor every aspect of a yacht’s on board communications. Speaking to “The conductor is a single point in which to view and manage this whole system,” said Derik Wagner, managing director, Yacht Business Unit, MTN.

Conductor helps view, align, control and optimise bandwidth throughput and quality of service (QOS)-related factors affecting each end-user group. This includes managing satellite services from multiple providers, allocating and prioritising bandwidth, monitoring real-time traffic, preventing bottlenecks, filtering content and preventing blockages. “You have your dashboard, and it shows the location of the vessel, the vessel heading, and where your antenna may have blockage, so that if it doesn’t have visibility to the satellite in certain areas you can make adjustments through the app to avoid that problem,” explained Wagner. “It’s important for our subscribers to have visibility to such issues and, in that type of scenario, understand where blockage areas are relative to what their heading is.”

MTN Conductor is a mobile app providing a single interface into MTN Maestro

Other functions include graphs that show the active bandwidth, what you’re transmitting, what you’re downloading and overall network “health.” You can look at multiple antennas and there’s a chat area so you can talk to support personnel at MTN, with the option for multiple chat windows.

One other key function is the ability to set and configure a custom configuration connection and usage configuration for the whole local area network, and setting it in a ready-made profile. “For example, if you’re in Monaco and you have guests on board you could configure your network in such a way that you’re going to connect to your VSAT link and 4G on shore and you can then prioritise the VSAT to go to the owner or guests and 4G to go to crew, and then that gives you that service selection. You would click on Monaco Port and it would automatically support what you’d configured”, Wagner explained. “It’s optimising the whole network for certain links and usage requirements. You can set up a profile to go to guests using VSAT, Wi-Fi or other. If you’re leaving port and going international and you know your VSAT is going to be your only link, it would choose to prioritise and manage the bandwidth on the VSAT only.”

Also coupled with the MTN Maestro communications management solution, the company will offer customers the Skytech BB75 dual Ku/Ka-band satellite solution, an antenna that will deliver ultra-high-speed connectivity and content starting in the Mediterranean for the 2015 cruising season. “The unique thing about this antenna,” said Wagner, “is that you can utilise the high throughput Ka in the Med, but if you’re roaming and you roam out of the Ka-band coverage you can switch right over to the Ku-band network without having to change anything in the antenna. It will just switch over to the Ku-band network and away you go.”

MTN further explained there’s the benefit of being able to provide connectivity to the high throughput satellites to get more bandwidth but at the same time be able to roam for connectivity on traditional networks without needing multiple antennas or configurations and without having to go up to the mast and open the antenna and change parts just to link up to a different network.

The Skytech BB75 dual Ku/Ka-band satellite antenna

This new Ku/Ka-band offering will also provide a smart transition to the proprietary MTN  high throughput multi-spot beam Ku-band satellite services (MTN HTMS™) coming in the next year.

MTN will debut its Conductor app with the entire MTN Maestro solution and the Skytech Ku/Ka-band satellite solution at the Monaco Yacht Show, 24-27 September 2014, at its “MTN PoP Lounge” at the Black Legend Restaurant.

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MTN Communications (MTN)

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