As the Med season approaches, who among us is not interested in faster, more reliable and significantly cheaper connectivity? There are some universal limitations, such as the speed of light, but most owners could save a fortune and enjoy a better experience with minimal capital outlay. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised.
Connectivity: The User Experience
Let’s begin by comparing the user experience with different bearers, or networks, used to deliver your connectivity, which include 4G, your internet connection at home or in the office, the Wi-Fi connection in a marina or the satellite broadband (VSAT) onboard your yacht.
Obviously speeds and costs vary between bearers and providers, but even with the fastest networks you will notice some differences, particularly between a satellite connection and fibre or 4G. These are down to the laws of physics rather than a fault, and they cannot be mitigated completely, but your provider should be able to explain this to you, or even demonstrate it, as do we.
This is one of the reasons we bought our own yacht, a 28m Sunseeker, MY Excelerate Z, so we could sit down with a captain, ETO or owner and show them in real time what the differences are. The most pertinent comparisons are the port Wi-Fi, a local 4G service and our onboard VSAT which is both a KU and a KA service. We can set the VSAT speeds and contention to the same levels we offer our customers all the way up to 12Mb x 1 Mb on KU and 24Mb x 5Mb on KA.
The Laws of Physics
Most customers will do speed tests on the networks which is fine, but these will not indicate a true speed due the latency aspects of 4G and particularly VSAT. Nonetheless, we must accept that this is what happens in reality.
More surprising is the fact that in certain circumstances you will experience faster connectivity at much lower cost on 4G than the VSAT equivalent. However, you need to be aware that 4G speeds will vary according to network coverage, network congestion and fair usage policies, so costs are not completely predictable and left unmanaged this can lead to some shockingly high bills. On the other hand, with the right provider your VSAT experience should be completely consistent and your bills should be totally predictable no matter how much you use it.
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