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February 22, 2012

Comtech EF Data, Mitsubishi Enhance Satellite Communications in Oceanic Vessels

By Rajani Baburajan, TMCnet Contributor

Ensuring satellite connectivity in maritime communications has been a great challenge to service providers due to several reasons.

To deliver a system that facilitates on-the-move satellite communications for oceanic vessels, recently Comtech EF Data (News - Alert) Corporation completed interoperability testing with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's MVA100 Maritime VSAT stabilized antenna system and the ROSS Open Antenna Management (ROAM) protocol.

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"Satellite-based communications on the high seas will be greatly enhanced for our maritime customers with the combination of our antenna system and Comtech EF Data's market-leading technologies," said Keizo Miyawaki, general manager for IT Space Solutions Division of Mitsubishi (News - Alert) Electric, in a statement.

Mitsubishi Electric's MVA100 Maritime VSAT antenna system is a Ku-Band system. The one-meter dish solution has a robust and reliable antenna control and three-axis stabilized mount for full hemispherical coverage to handle extreme disturbances in ocean. The antenna system complies with ITU-R requirements for severe vessel motion and vibration.

An integrated location server, Roaming Oceanic (News - Alert) Satellite Server (ROSS) works with Comtech EF Data's Vipersat Management System to facilitate on-the-move satellite communications for vessels. The system can constantly monitor vessel position data, satellite signal and management status to determine when satellite handoff is necessary.

The ROAM protocol, through a generic set of commands and queries, offers a common management interface for Comtech EF Data's ROSS and third-party Antenna Control Units (ACUs) while also enabling unique characteristics and proprietary techniques of different manufacturers.

The interoperability between the two systems is highly beneficial as it allows MVA100 Maritime VSAT antenna system on the vessels to roam across multiple satellite beams globally, allowing it to maintain connectivity while moving through different satellite footprints.

ROSS supports many types of ACUs, so the ROAM protocol reduces the complexity and the variations by providing basic parameters required to globally roam across multiple satellite beams, company officials said.

"The interoperability of ROAM and ROSS with Mitsubishi Electric's (News - Alert) VSAT antenna system will provide maximum bandwidth efficiencies and seamless global connectivity for oceanic vessels," said Daniel Enns, senior vice president Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Comtech EF Data, in a statement.

Recently, mobile satellite company Iridium (News - Alert) Communications announced the launch of second-generation maritime broadband platform, Iridium Pilot. 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.


Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves