Wi-Fi, 4G LTE and Satellite all provide a source of internet to yachts, but how to make them deliver you the strongest connection? 

Drawing on its many years in the field, Netinsat has found put together some pointers that could make all the difference when it comes to internet performance and reliability. Its experts share their tips below…


Pay attention to antennas and cabling

Not all the antennas have the same performance. Did you know that using the best antenna, properly positioned, could increase your signal strength by 5 dBm and more?

Also bear in mind that between antenna and equipment there should not be more than 15 metres of cable. A high-quality cable, laid correctly and crimped to perfection, can guarantee another 5 dBm increase.

That additional 10 dBm of signal would noticeably improve browsing speed, and can even expand service availability in certain conditions.


Balance your connectivity wisely

Depending on service availability and the Captain’s/owner’s decision, connectivity on board can be provided by several different technologies, with the option to prioritise certain services (eg streaming) or users (eg guests).

The balance of connectivity is often managed by dedicated equipment. Well-known brands such as Peplink ensure reliable service and are understood by the crew. Their popularity also makes it easier to find certified support when needed. On the other hand, whilst customised solutions may well have excellent features and performance, they require more training for crew and a customised type of support that may increase the time taken to solve issues.


Adapt to changing needs

Every Captain or owner has unique needs in terms of the services, communication protocols and single ports (eg CCTV, streaming, contents caching, VoIP) that they require. Whatever the configuration of these services, it should always be followed by implementing cybersecurity best-practice.

Needs often change over the course of a season, and so equipment configurations and security protocols must be able to adapt quickly and accordingly.

To help users do this, Netinsat talks to its clients to make sure they understand usage scenarios and creates pre-sets to suit current and likely future requirements. Presets make an ETOs life easier as the boat becomes almost autonomous, speeding up its adaptation to changing needs.


Remember remote support and management

Remote support should always be included when buying a hybrid solution – make sure you’re not missing out.

Netinsat customers pay the same price as one coffee a day to get this peace of mind.


Be aware of the real cost of 4G LTE

4G LTE often has higher speeds than satellite and so is very widely used; our clients use an average of 4GB data per day. However, customers should be aware that data capping isn’t always supported by Carriers. To counteract this, we always setup a monthly GB limit, and send alerts when yachts are approaching it so they know to tone down their usage.

If data is used outside the included country(ies), costs per extra MB or GB can skyrocket.  We always set up the included country list, so that it is clear where the 4G subscription can be used without extra costs.

4G LTE subscription prices are expected to decrease, as we saw with VSAT not so long ago. So, always be sure to ask for an updated offer – either for the individual country (usually much cheaper) or for an area (Mediterranean, Caribbean, worldwide).


New technologies can support growing demands

The hunger for connectivity is destined to grow. We predict that conversational platforms such as Alexa or Google Home and other IoT connected devices will hugely increase the need for connectivity as early as the 2018 Med season.

Luckily, there are new technologies that can support these needs. High Throughput Satellite is already available, and 5G is close to be operational, with testing occurring during the 2018 Winter Olympics and FIFA world cup.

Internet on board should only get better, but for now it is wise to make the best of the technology you have. Our top tips above will help you browse better.

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