Inmarsat and Aramco to trial over water 5G mesh network

Inmarsat Maritime has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with energy and chemicals company Aramco to undertake a 5G ‘mesh’ network trial that aims to provide high-bandwidth connectivity for Aramco’s offshore work in the Arabian Gulf.

The MoU follows successful outdoor network testing in Rutland Water, UK, in February 2024, which demonstrated high throughput millimetre Wave (mmWave) signal propagation over water.

Further testing of the Inmarsat 5G mobile Integrated Access and Backhaul (mIAB) network will be conducted under the extreme weather conditions of the Arabian Gulf later this year, aiming to showcase long-range, high-throughput mIAB deployment over the sea beyond the maximum 1km range previously possible.

If successful, the technology could be used by Aramco to support optimisation of offshore operations through the introduction of technologies such as intelligent remote maintenance and remote operations, including monitoring and metering with IoT sensors, assisted operations for staff equipped with augmented reality headsets, and other safety and security features.

Ships operating further from shore will be able to supplement ground-based 5G connectivity with satellite coverage through Inmarsat’s bonded network system, the company notes.

“Our technologies provide the ingredients for a truly bespoke solution, and our exciting new partnership with Aramco is the latest example of this,” said Ben Palmer, President, Inmarsat Maritime.

“This new 5G mesh technology will be a significant step in helping Aramco maximise site efficiency, improve sustainability, provide a better experience for crew and protect the business from cyber-attacks.” “By combining many proven technologies into one integrated ecosystem, our bonded network is a single solution that can meet all customer demands – no matter how challenging the environment.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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