Is expensive VSAT on ships being replaced by fast, low-cost LTE?

While VSAT remains essential for open-sea connectivity, communication can be slow and expensive. That's why ships and other marine vessels are adding 4G/LTE connectivity, providing a low-cost, high-speed connectivity alternative which can be used up to 50 miles out from shore. Below some pictures from a recent installation done at a vessel at Batam Island, Indonesia:

Marine vessel installation

What are the key benefits and uses of 4G/LTE on ships and other marine vessels?

  1. High-Speed Internet Access. As 4G/LTE signal is available in coastal waters, it allows direct connectivity to local networks without the latency and delay of global VSAT connections.

  2. Backup to VSAT. 4G/LTE can be used as off-load for non-critical data-communications also provides a backup to the VSAT connection.

  3. Crew WIFI. To provide crew with connectivity to family and loved ones and internet access for leisure time, the 4G/LTE connection to shore can support up to 25 devices or more simultaneously.

Essential components to establish reliable 4G/LTE connectivity at sea:

  1. IP Rated Equipment. Routers which are suitable for marine environment, such as the Cradlepoint IBR 900, which can handle up to 4 SIMs and is especially designed for harsh environments and provides ultra reliable performance.

  2. Omnidirectional Antennas. On moving ships, high-gain omnidirectional antennas can maintain signal with LTE towers on shore up to 50 miles or more from the coast.

  3. Local SIMs. Rather than using roaming, which is slow and expensive, Blue Wireless provides local SIMs and dataplans from multiple countries, ensuring a fast and low-cost connection.

  4. Professional Installation. Ensuring all is properly designed, configured and installed on board.

  5. Ongoing Management. With the cloud-based NetCloud management console, routers can be easily tracked, maintained and managed remotely, ensuring optimal uptime.

Want to know more how Blue Wireless can help with high-speed connectivity for marine environments? Contact us at and we're happy to provide a free consult.