Marlink, OneWeb conducting maritime LEO trial
September 7, 2022
Marlink, the smart network solutions company, and OneWeb, the space-based communications company, have revealed plans to conduct the first at sea trial of OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) maritime service.
The maritime trial is a significant milestone for OneWeb, as it leverages its LEO constellation to revolutionise connectivity at sea, delivering a high-speed, low-latency and globally consistent experience to all maritime users – even in the most remote sea lanes and maritime communities.
The initial integration and evaluation will take place at Marlink’s Eik teleport (Norway), with installation and on-vessel trial scheduled for Q4 2022. In co-operation with hardware providers Intellian and Hughes Network Systems, Marlink will carry out tests of the OneWeb maritime service validating throughput, latency and quality. Testing of hardware will include review of stability, signal tracking and handover capability.
This represents the first ‘at sea’ maritime trial on OneWeb’s maritime satellite service and includes evaluation of the new user terminal created by Intellian with a core module from Hughes Network Systems. Capable of performing very fast handovers between satellites passing overhead, the user terminal has been specially designed for the extremes of the maritime environment.
Marlink and OneWeb announced their intention in Q1 to collaborate to bring the new LEO service to its customer base onshore and offshore. As an early OneWeb partner, Marlink will integrate OneWeb’s LEO service into its smart hybrid network solutions alongside GEO, MEO and 4G/5G services to serve its large commercial maritime and offshore markets.
OneWeb is making significant progress in building its constellation and currently has 428 satellites in Low Earth Orbit, representing almost 70 per cent of its planned fleet. It plans to offer a commercial maritime service from January 2023, already delivering high-speed connectivity to hundreds of customers in remote communities in Alaska, Canada, the Nordics and the North Sea.
Launches will continue during 2022-2023 to enable the company to offer flexible, reliable and secure connectivity services globally from end 2023.
“As a Managed Service Provider of hybrid network solutions across all frequencies and orbits, with customers in all verticals, Marlink has the right expertise and capabilities to help OneWeb prepare its service for the maritime market,” said Tore Morten Olsen, President, Maritime, Marlink. “We believe that OneWeb will be a valuable addition to the Marlink smart network solutions portfolio, providing further choice for our customers with new LEO services.”
“OneWeb’s LEO service will bring a completely new kind of connectivity to maritime users, providing a high level of quality and performance that will deliver a richer, more immersive and terrestrial-like user experience onboard ships,” said Carole Plessy, Vice President of Europe and Maritime, OneWeb. “This is a watershed moment for the maritime connectivity market, together with our trusted partner Marlink the testing and evaluation will ensure that we have a fully robust and reliable service in place when commercial operations begin.”