In the fast-paced world of maritime communications, staying connected at sea is more crucial than ever. With the advent of technologies like Starlink and 5G, the internet landscape at sea is undergoing a significant transformation. However, the integration of these new technologies with legacy systems presents its own set of challenges and opportunities. In this context, the concept of ‘speed bonding’, especially through solutions like the MDS Blender, becomes pivotal. Let’s dive into what speed bonding is and how it’s revolutionizing maritime internet connectivity.
What is Speed Bonding?
Speed bonding is a process where multiple internet connections are combined by the MDS Blender, capable of speeds up to 1Gbps. The MDS Blender and speed bonding will enhance the overall internet speed and reliability of the vessel’s internet. This speed bonding technology is particularly useful in maritime environments where stable and fast internet are critical for operations, communication, and entertainment. By bonding different types of connections, such as satellite and terrestrial networks, speed bonding ensures a more consistent and reliable internet experience.
The New Era of Maritime Internet: Starlink and 5G
Starlink and 5G are at the forefront of this technological revolution in the maritime sector. Both technologies boast impressive low latency and high-speed qualities, crucial for modern maritime operations. Starlink typically offers download speeds ranging from 40-220 Mbps and maintains a low latency of 25-60ms, and 5G has similar characteristics, depending on your physical location and 5G carrier. These high-speed and low latency features make them ideal for a wide range of applications on board, from remote work, day trading, gaming, navigation, entertainment, and crew welfare.
The Limitations of Legacy GEO Vsat Internet
Contrastingly, legacy GEO Vsat internet systems, which have been the backbone of maritime internet for years, lag in performance. They offer much slower download speeds (4-40Mbps) and suffer from significantly higher latency (over 600ms). This disparity becomes quite evident when these systems are used for data-intensive and real-time applications, leading to a less-than-satisfactory user experience.
Speed Bonding with Legacy Vsat: A Disappointment
When speed bonding is employed to combine high and low-latency internet signals, such as those from Starlink or 5G and legacy GEO Vsat, the user experience on the vessel is dictated by the highest latency present in the internet sources to the MDS Blender system. This means the entire vessel system will have the latency of the slow legacy Vsat system, in excess of 600ms. While legacy Vsat does add a tiny bit of internet speed from the slower, high latency GEO satellite internet Vsat, this increase is barely noticeable to the end-user. The more significant impact, and a source of customer complaints, is the onboard high latency caused by speed bonding the legacy Vsat system. This latency translates to slow and frustrating responses from secure websites, remote desktops, video conferencing, and online gaming platforms.
The Changing Role of Legacy GEO Vsat
With the arrival of advanced technologies like Starlink, 5G, and the MDS Blender, the role of legacy GEO Vsat is increasingly becoming limited to meeting vessel classification requirements and serving as a last-resort backup. The high latency of these legacy systems once tolerated due to the lack of alternatives, now stands out starkly against the backdrop of newer, faster options.
In conclusion, while speed bonding through solutions like the MDS Blender offers a way to integrate legacy and modern systems, the high latency of GEO Vsat becomes a significant bottleneck. As the maritime industry continues to evolve with technologies like Starlink and 5G, the future of maritime internet seems to be steering away from traditional GEO Vsat, marking a new era of connectivity at sea.