In recent years, the demand for connectivity and bandwidth has grown astronomically as users become increasingly accustomed to the ubiquitous adoption of certain technologies. In order to account for this growing demand, as well as prepare the industry for next-generation satellite infrastructure, OmniAccess introduces Plexus Unity.
“The industry is at a point of inflexion. VSAT technology has not changed for the last 15 years, it’s the same satellites with slight improvements made to modems and to the efficiency of the links. We are more or less using the same technology, but the client demand for connectivity and bandwidth has changed drastically” starts Jens Ploch, CCO at OmniAccess. “If you look at traffic or the data requirement from users over the last 10 years, it has grown exponentially.”
The growth in demand for bandwidth and connectivity on the part of the end-user has been driven hugely by the number of devices that users carry today and what they are able to do with them. We are all used to having internet access with us at all times and, increasingly, the expectation is that we will have this unfettered access in all places. We are so used to having access to the internet in the palm of our hands, with access to WhatsApp, Instagram and various social media platforms, streaming services and more, it seems unfathomable that a superyacht owner or charter guest wouldn’t have such access given the amounts they are paying for the privilege of being on board.
“What we are able to deliver is considerably higher bandwidth by using more efficient platforms like NewTec Dialog, but we still have the issue that we are working with satellite infrastructure that is 35,000km from the earth and mechanical equipment. Today, we are at a point of inflexion because while the technology hasn’t changed substantially, it will soon. With the introduction of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites in the next few years, the bandwidth that we can deliver to superyachts will grow exponentially whilst at the same time improving the experience by reducing latency,” continues Ploch.
Therefore, it is imperative the industry begins the groundwork and that the technologies on board superyachts are updated and prepared for this step-change in connectivity infrastructure. OmniAccess, with its Plexus Unity product, has created a system that lays the groundwork for the adoption of next-generation technology, as well as resolving a host of present challenges relating to bandwidth management, cyber security and onboard electro-technical engineering.
“Plexus Unity is the first step towards achieving this goal. Today, on-board vessels, you have the modem, the router, a firewall, a content streaming device and potentially a traffic management device and, all of a sudden, your rack is full without room for redundancy,” explains Ploch. “The Plexus Unity integrates all of these services into one device and also adds this critical redundancy to the setup. Two next-generation modems, a traffic management tool, through which captains and ETOs can manage traffic to certain users and devices via an intuitive interface, as well as an integrated content streaming platform that enables compressed streaming through our teleport and vastly reduces bandwidth usage. Within Plexus Unity we also have the processing power and to add intelligence and deploy SD_WAN services for traffic steering and bonding, cyber security tools in line with the IMO regulations due to come into force in 2021, as well as creating the foundations for the adoption of LEO technologies.”
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail, so goes the old adage. As the communications industry hurtles towards the next generation of satellite infrastructure, it is paramount that the industry prepares for its widespread adoption, as well as answering the market’s current demands. Plexus Unity provides both.
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