It’s charter season in the Med, and the long days spent browsing the Internet in forgotten marina internet cafes are over.
Crew members need to freshen their Internet skills in order to deal with bandwidth hungry guests and owners.
Here is a guide to help crew members love their VSAT systems, because VSAT can be fun, especially if you don’t have to use it and, above all, you don’t pay for it.
Summer Charter VSAT Thesaurus
Satellites are 36.000 km up in the air, software can reduce latency by compressing traffic, caching pages and tricking the network to make you look closer than you are to the server. Synonymous of Overrated Application
Automatic Beam-Switching (ABS)
This is a cool feature. Remember those pictures of the space junk floating around? Yes, there are numerous satellites covering some areas and with an ABS your VSAT will automatically adjust to the best option while you uncork that white.
Give beer to VSAT technicians ONLY after they have finished and tested their repairs.
Bulgari Travel Miniatures
If you gift VSAT technicians with these they will come back to fix your network in the middle of the night. Best freebie ever. Tested.
Committed Information Rate is the guaranteed bandwidth expressed in Kb/s a VSAT provider would commit to provide under normal conditions (read the small print). This is important if your owners and guests need IPTV and/or Videoconferencing.
It involves a large number of computers that are connected through a real-time Internet connection. Not the best scenario for mobile communications at sea, though your guests will still need to use their DROPBOX, Google Drive and Microsoft Cloud.
Think of a busy motorway on Sunday afternoon, everyone queuing or, rather, parking their cars on tarmac. Contention is the number of charters using the scarce satellite bandwidth. My experience: anything above 8:1 sucks in charter season and if you have big shots onboard go for something >5:1.
Like Google Maps, you check it before you leave. Make sure your itinerary is within the core part of the coverage of the satellite you are subscribing.
The people who compete for bandwidth with guests.
Works well enough in download (i.e. you nosing other profiles) but really craps things up when guests and crews all together decided to upload that funny picture of the tacky neighbouring yacht.
Etymology not to be researched in the Internet Euphemism Dictionary; in the VSAT dialect it means the restrictions your provider is imposing on you without you knowing because they were written in the terms and conditions you have not read (No Skype! No IPTV! No Videoconference! Pandora, Spotify and that’s it!).
The people who say the Internet does not work all the time.
When the Internet was done in the café in the Marina
A way to catch TV channels that are not broadcasted by your TVSAT provider. For instance you want to watch TVJAPAN24/7 in Capri, it won’t work via TVSAT, but we are sorry to tell you that it may work via the Internet if you have enough bandwidth.
Bandwidth-eating machines, can run any kind of applications, should be sequestrated.
What reminds people that they’re on yachts and should get over with computer work or cheap entertainment.
Bunch of nerds sitting in a remote location ensuring that networks operate smoothly 24/7, but really consuming cheap take-aways and carbonated drinks in front of screens. However, this is top level support from those with their hand on the bandwidth tap. I suggest calling them from time to time and sending them Bulgari Travel Miniatures as well.
Someone who usually knows a lot of things about something that is not about yachting or the Internet. Can’t help you further, sorry.
A very effective way to layer access to the Internet, which usually pisses off everyone who’s not on priority one. May yield crew answers such as “we’ve run out of ashtrays because you didn’t give enough bandwidth”
Someone you marry for the length of the season that you cannot possibly afford to get wrong. Remember, you have only one provider while it has thousands of customers. And goes in holiday in August. Life isn't fair.
Don’t need an MBA to add up the applications you think you'll need before you buy your VSAT package. Just remember that all those iPhones onboard will screw up your calculations anyway.
Think of VSAT packages as fruit pickers; you need more in summer and less in winter. Good providers cater for that need.
Brother of Prioritize: you need to ask your network wizard to dedicate some Internet access to priority applications that seriously compromise video gaming.
Depending on how big your yacht is, you may have a few of these around, though the trend is now to farm them in the countryside, which is why sometimes they get provincial and don’t like you talking to them 36,000km away via satellite.
Service Level Agreements. Something very smart: a contract that binds the provider to behave in a way that makes your charter season easier. Just a pain in the neck to implement. Worth it.
AKA Internet Speed Test. It allows you to gauge how bad your provider is, and usually it scores pretty high. Worth having it to hand, though you can only run it meaningfully before and after the yacht is on water as, in between, something else will be drawing on your bandwidth.
Any day of the year, any time of day, somewhere in the world there is a sport event worth watching on some dodgy illegal website. A good idea is to ban all those sites at LAN & WIFI level, and then negotiate a good fee with the guest to release the keyword.
In the male chauvinist world of charter, stewardesses motivate VSAT technicians to hang around and follow the boat if necessary.
Something you may have to resign over in an onboard dispute about the Internet. Designed for metropolis, a few of those onboard will wreck any onboard network arrangements.
The time the VSAT provider takes to answer your calls.
An overrated application to make phone calls via the Internet unless you are a big big yacht with big big PBX.
It’s peoples' preferred time-waster globally. An upcoming trend is for guests to upload videos. If the guests complain that they can’t upload fast enough, ask them to watch the video, they will usually drop any claim…
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