Cruise & Ferry Review - Autumn/Winter 2023

137 Seamless onboard connectivity is now one of the expected standards of life at sea, with passengers demanding a replica of their home service to allow them to make video calls, stream films and keep up to date with their social network and the global news. To meet this need, ship operators can implement Telenor Satellite’s XipLink widearea network (WAN) optimisation solution, a transmission control protocol acceleration tool specifically targeted at satellite and wireless networks. Greek company Marel Electronics was one of the first to trial XipLink to help its clients meet high demand from passengers using the internet and webbased banking, payments and loyalty cards systems onboard their ships. “Our passenger ship clients were taking the largest profile that was available to them, 24/6 Mbps, but were finding that it was simply inadequate for the high volume of traffic being generated which was causing congestion,” says Thanos Kyrtatas, sales manager for the firm’s telecommunications department. According to Jan Hetland, director of Telenor Satellite’s data services division, Marel Electronics’ clients are ideal candidates for XipLink. “Drawing on our 14 years of partnership with satellite communications provider iDirect and combining this with XipLink’s unique WAN optimisation capabilities, we are able to serve the most demanding customers,” he explains. “XipLink provides a greatly improved quality of experience for high-bandwidth vessels and offshore installations carrying large numbers of passengers and/or crew.” XipLink sits between the modem and the firewall, which means it does not affect the running of systems and applications. Instead, it manages the traffic to ensure it is optimised, caching sessions for when they are next needed so that when multiple people download the same content, they receive it directly from a local device rather than over the satellite. This frees up bandwidth and improves the perceived speed of the service. In addition, with XipLink taking over the processing, systems no longer flatline but have a healthy variability in bandwidth, ensuring modems run without issue. Marel Electronics’ passenger shipping clients have recorded impressive results since implementing the solution, according to Kyrtatas. “Everyone onboard who used the system during the test phase had the impression that they were using a landbased service rather than satellite as the speed and latency were so good,” says Kyrtatas. “In fact, the improvements were immediately obvious. The installation was extremely smooth and within 10 days our client had placed the order for their entire fleet of four big ferries to be fitted with the Telenor Satellite XipLink solution. “We have been so pleased by the feedback from our client and their passengers too, which has been overwhelmingly positive. There has been an increase of 25 per cent in onboard internet card sales.” REPORT Landline performance at sea Telenor Satellite’s XipLink solution is helping passenger shipping operators to meet high passenger demand for faster and more reliable online services on their vessels From left, Telenor Satellite’s system engineer Vinay Saride, senior sales manager Manuel Valero and technical service manager Rokas Abazorius with Celestyal Olympia, which was one of the first ships to have the managed XipLink solution