A Step Forward for Antarctic Communications


By MarEx 2016-02-22 15:10:19

Inmarsat, together with Global Marine Networks and Network Innovations, has conducted a successful trial of Fleet Xpress, its latest communications service, in Antarctic waters. 

Fleet Xpress, the hybrid Ka and L-band service using Inmarsat’s Global Xpress network, delivers what Inmarsat claims is the world’s first globally available high-speed broadband service from a single network operator. 

The trial was successfully conducted on board the ice class passenger vessel Ocean Nova, owned by Nova Cruising Ltd and operated by Nova Logistics, a polar expedition specialist.
Dr Luis Soltero, Chief Technology Officer of Global Marine Networks, said: “Fleet Xpress delivered on its promise of high-speed seamless mobile broadband service in one of the world’s most difficult areas for most satellite systems. Antarctica requires low-horizon satellite views through heavy cloud cover and precipitation. Fleet Xpress successfully overcame these conditions.”
In this trial, Network Innovations, one of Inmarsat’s first value-added resellers of Fleet Xpress, provided its expertise and support to Global Marine Networks and the crew of the Ocean Nova which used a Cobham SAILOR 100GX antenna.

In January, Inmarsat confirmed that global commercial service introduction has been achieved for its Global Xpress constellation. 

Global Xpress is the first high-speed broadband network to span the world, and Inmarsat says that its maritime functionality, Fleet Xpress, will make video a viable proposition for remote assistance and diagnostics. It will therefore enable advanced applications such as telemedicine and video surveillance. 

Purposely designed for mobility, the new Global Xpress system will provide a continuous, consistent service as traffic is handed seamlessly across each spot beam and from one satellite to another. Global Xpress is anticipated to deliver 99.9 percent overall network availability.

Inmarsat continues to build its capacity for VSAT service technology. A fourth Global Xpress satellite – Inmarsat-5 F4 – is currently completing construction and testing by Boeing in California. This satellite is now likely to be launched in the second half of 2016 in order to provide additional Global Xpress network capacity.

During the course of 2016, Inmarsat will be introducing a series of market-specific, high-speed connectivity services powered by Global Xpress.