Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The maritime VSAT technology stack hierarchy

Whether maritime networks are operated by the user or an MSP, there is a hierarchy of equipment and functionality that ranges from the core components for connectivity up through advanced devices for lowering service costs.

In the diagram below, the hierarchy starts with the Production Devices—a stabilized antenna system like SeaTel maritime antennas, a satellite modem like iDirect, plus networking gear like routers and switches.

From basic required equipment and connections up to advanced systems for optimizing quality and cost, the VSAT technology stack hierarchy shows the many options available in today's maritime VSAT. 

Next, a Satellite Link is needed to connect the ship. With this foundation in place, the Availability level of the hierarchy is designed to make sure that connection remains up and running. Components of this tier are the Uplogix platform, providing automated troubleshooting and recovery of satellite and IP networking devices, as well as an access path for remote operators to evaluate gear. This is also where Automatic Beam Switching from iDirect has an impact, ensuring consistent connectivity in varying locations and conditions.

Beyond improved availability, the Optimization layer includes bandwidth reduction through WAN acceleration technologies, and Basic Least Cost Linking—a feature of the Uplogix platform. Using customizable pre-set rules, the Uplogix platform can automatically adapt what connection is used, switching service based on location, service availability and quality criteria.

Advanced Least Cost Routing goes beyond the service switching available with Uplogix to include criteria such as rate tables for maximizing cost savings and creates opportunities for advanced revenue generating features.

To sum up using a house as an analogy, you have to have a strong foundation in place before worrying about what color to paint the shutters. In maritime VSAT, its about creating a reliable connection, then making it more efficient.