Inmarsat launches combined VSAT, LEO and LTE managed connectivity service

Inmarsat Maritime has launched its new NexusWave product, a managed connectivity service built on a ‘bonded’ multi-dimensional network that will incorporate Global Xpress (GX) Ka-band, low-earth orbit (LEO) services, and as-available coastal LTE services, backed up by L-band for added resiliency.

While Inmarsat already offers Ka-band through Fleet Xpress and LTE connectivity through its Fleet LTE and Fleet Reach products, the addition of LEO services is a new departure for the company, with those services to be delivered through a partnership with Eutelsat OneWeb.

OneWeb’s low earth orbit network of 633 satellites is expected to reach 90% global coverage by mid-2024, according to Eutelsat’s latest financial update earlier this month. Inmarsat had previously explored the possibility of building and operating a small number of LEO satellites itself, but confirmed early last year that it would not pursue such a strategy and would instead look to partner with other LEO operators should such capacity be required.

Another interesting element of the NexusWave service will be the integration of services from Inmarsat parent company Viasat’s upcoming 1Tbps ViaSat-3 Ka-band service, following its expected entry into service in 2025.

A first ViaSat-3 satellite was launched last year before unfortunately running into technical issues that resulted in a loss of 90% of capacity. Nevertheless, Viasat has conducted testing with that satellite to assess its potential capabilities, demonstrating 240 Mbps download speeds to an aeroplane travelling within its coverage area in the US.

Two further ViaSat-3 satellite launches are planned, expected to take place in late 2024 and early 2025 respectively, which should deliver a significant upgrade in capacity and speed for the network. As a single unified system, NexusWave will aim to integrate all of these various connectivity options on one platform and manage performance levels regardless of the vessel’s location or requirements.

“Maritime operators face ever-growing demand for data consumption and speeds on board their vessels, coupled with the operational challenges of connecting worldwide while ensuring the security and efficiency of their communications. Meeting all these requirements typically relies on multiple, disjointed solutions, resulting in a complex patchwork of data caps, speeds, and coverage, in addition to unverifiable cyber security,” said Ben Palmer, President, Inmarsat Maritime.

“At a time when reliable communications are a competitive advantage, maritime operators are seeking a value proposition tailored to their needs and rooted in high performance, certainty, and targeted outcomes. This is where NexusWave fulfils all of those demands, and more. Truly a game-changer in maritime communications, the new solution gives our customers the confidence to operate on their own terms, anywhere in the world, with complete peace of mind.”

“Our combination with Viasat last year brought together the extraordinary people, innovation capabilities, and network assets of both businesses, creating a synergy that has been integral to the development of NexusWave – through which we will ensure unmatched connected confidence for our customers well into the future.”

Supported globally by Inmarsat, NexusWave is built on a ‘secure by design’ infrastructure, offering enterprise grade firewall security for users.

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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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