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February 10, 2012

Iridium Launches Second Generation Maritime Broadband Communication Platform

By Madhubanti Rudra, TMCnet Contributor

In an effort to improve the customer experience in new and existing markets, mobile satellite company Iridium (News - Alert) Communications, Inc. recently launched its second-generation maritime broadband platform, Iridium Pilot. The company reportedly utilized its global OpenPort maritime broadband service to support the launch.

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Packaged in a small, lightweight antenna, Iridium Pilot is specially designed to withstand the harshest maritime conditions. The electronically-steerable, phased-array antenna is designed to maintain connectivity in rough seas. According to its maker, Iridium Pilot has been designed to deliver broadband data and high-quality voice at an affordable price. With its truly pole-to-pole coverage, Iridium Pilot keeps ships connected everywhere on the planet.

Iridium Pilot offers broadband connectivity in addition to three independent phone lines, all of which work simultaneously. The platform supports data speeds up to 134 kbps, Iridium said in a press release

The additional capabilities include a built-in firewall for traffic management and a bulk configuration capability to assist in efficiently managing large volumes of units. With small form factor, enhanced capabilities and flexible service packages, Iridium Pilot is suitable for both large and small vessels.

Iridium Pilot is backed by one of the best service programs in the industry, the Iridium Global Service Program. Under this program, Iridium is being offered with a five-year limited warranty.

“We currently see a rapid migration from legacy narrowband services to new generation broadband solutions in the maritime satellite communications market,” said Richard Roithner, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult. “MSS broadband solutions, in particular those positioned in the lower price ranges, have seen significant growth over the last two years increasing at around 120 percent per year. Euroconsult projects growth to continue in the coming years as these systems provide an attractive value proposition for low- and medium-end markets, including fishing, shipping and leisure vessels, to provide safety communications, enhance ship operations, improve crew welfare as well as provide complementary services for VSAT. Our research has found that data rates of around 128kbps are sufficient for the majority of applications used onboard vessels today.” 

The company revealed that Iridium Pilot will be compatible with Iridium’s next generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, which is scheduled for deployment starting in 2015.

Earlier this month Iridium signed an agreement with KVH (News - Alert) Industries, a provider of in-motion satellite TV and communication systems, to offer the first-ever, fully global, seamless broadband satellite communications service for the maritime market.


Madhubanti Rudra is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli