Satellite communications are perfect for offshore applications (shipping, fishing, yachting, exploration) since there really is no other alternative once away from terrestrial land-based cellular/GSM networks. While handheld/portable phones will also work at sea, data speeds are limited and many applications require much more robust data speeds.
Explorer Satellite sells systems and service that work superbly at sea, even in the most demanding weather and sea conditions. Depending on the application, one or several solutions may make the most sense. Lower speed systems and service(100 Kbps through 150 Kbps) include FleetOne, Fleet Broadband 150 and Iridium Pilot.
Most maritime antenna systems are three-axis stabilized to compensate for a vessel’s pitch, roll and yaw. Modern antennae have GPS receivers built in and once a fix is obtained, the system knows where to tell the antenna to “look” and once the satellite is acquired, keeps the antenna on “point”. Needless to say, a three-axis stabilized antenna is a sophisticated piece of equipment and that translates into a higher price tag. All of the larger systems also support voice and fax, and interfacing with the ship’s phone system and network.
Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya also offer omni-directional antennae that can be interfaced with fixed systems and/or handheld phones to enable in-cabin use and interfacing with the ship’s phone system and or network.