For the connection of 4 to 16 independent receivers and televisions, the use of a multi-switch is suitable. The requirement for this is a TV antenna with Quattro LNB. All our Quattro TV antennas have a multi-switch for four ports included. Upgrading to 8, 12 or 16 is possible on request.
For installations with an even larger number of users, we recommend the use of a head-end station as a proven method. This architecture smartly combines a huge number of independently selectable channels for each user with the advantage of using a simple tree distribution network with no special requirements regarding cables, splitters and outlets (standard cable TV equipment).
Many TV satellites in Asia and North America work with a circular polarization - in contrast to the linear polarization that is prevalent in Europe and Africa. Circular and Linear polarization refers to the characteristics of the radio wave that is transmitted by the satellite towards your antenna/LNB. Typically one would choose either one or the other LNB, depending on the geographic area that the vessel will move within. On occasional trips to another continent, it is still possible to have reception on a selection of satellites. Whether or not these satellites stream your favorite TV channel is another question.
A possible solution would be to exchange the LNB. It is a fairly simple process but it requires access to the antenna and this is not practical on all vessels. In the near future, this manual exchange will no longer be necessary, EPAK is currently developing a feature that will allow an electronic switching between the two polarizations. Watch out for the announcement.
The calculation of how much bandwidth is required on a ship is the same as for an internet connection on land. Yet there are important details to consider:
1) The maritime airtime services can cost a multiple of tariffs on land. An exact determination of the actual need is therefore very advisable.
2) On many ships the demand for connectivity fluctuates throughout the year, such as when there are guests on board in the summer and the ship remains largely unused during the winter months.
Most tariffs can be flexibly adjusted up or down to react to changing demand, but the choice of hardware must be made in advance with a view to the maximum expected usage. Most important criteria are reflector size and the power of the transmitting unit, which ensures the capacity in upload. For more information refer to the question "What antenna size do I need?"
The internet speed depends on the bandwidth or data transfer rate.
We are happy to support your search for a suitable airtime tariff. The variety of offers available can make it difficult to find the most convenient for your purpose.
Important parameters for the selection:
1. Cruising area: Do you mostly move within one region or are you travelling worldwide? Regional services for the Mediterranean, North Sea or Baltic Sea for instance often offer better conditions.
2. Speeds: Find a tariff according to your Internet usage and data throughput requirements. Data tariffs start at 512 Kbps and can reach up to 24 Mbps or more. Contracts are available as unlimited data plan or as pay-as-you-go volume with billing according to consumption.
Using a vessel network management systems allows you to supervise and optimize several ship operations. The web-based platform ensures that every user in a shared network gets the optimum capacity of available bandwidth.
It offers tools for increasing operational efficiency, network control, crew hotspot & crew calling access for VSAT data service including BYOD functionality for smartphone, tablet or laptop.
EPAK provides customers with an easy tool to create and manage satellite profiles: the web-interface. It gives access to information about the status of the Antenna Control Unit, the antenna itself, GPS position, modem, the vessel's heading & speed as well as the received signal strength.
It also provides a detailed overview of the network and system information and it is possible to use this interface for configuring the modem, IP address etc. The web interface is included with all VSAT systems.
EPAK offers different antenna types depending on vessel size and shipping area.
The first differentiation is about frequency band: Geostationary Ku-Band satellites cover almost all regions around the globe and EPAK antennas are open systems to work with satellite providers on any continent. So EPAK Ku-Band antennas can be used everywhere. Ka-Band coverage is still limited to some regions and therefore Ka-Band antennas cannot be used worldwide. (They can be converted to Ku, however.)
The second differentiation is reflector size: The options are 60cm, 90cm and 130cm. The advantage of a larger parabolic antenna is a stronger signal. This results in higher availability when conditions are not ideal, for instance in bad weather or at the edge of satellite footprints. For ships operating worldwide, we therefore recommend a 90cm antenna at minimum.
As a matter of fact, many vessel spend a considerable amount of time within coastal areas - whether they are yachts cruising along the coastlines, or cargo vessels going from port to port. This fact can be used to an advantage, by combining the satellite connectivity with land-based LTE internet.
EPAK offers a ready-made solution: the ACU (antenna control unit) has an LTE modem and two SIM card slots included. By simply inserting (and activating) a SIM card, a second source of connectivity becomes available.LTE technology, as it is used in mobile phones, offers comparatively high speed for much lower costs.
The handover between satellite and land connection is seamlessly managed by the ACU. No need to manually change the settings forth an back. So as soon as the vessel enters into the LTE coverage zone (which starts typically up to 20 miles out from shore) the system switches to data use from 3G/ 4G network.
This is technically possible, but in practice it is rarely a cost-effective solution.
There are basically 2 ways to receive television on board: classic via geostationary television satellites broadcasting live TV programmes or via the Internet, where live streams from many channels as well as media services such as Netflix are available.
Satellite communication relies on an unobstructed view from the satellite antenna to the sender. Superstructure and other obstacles cause blindspots and affect availability of your VSAT or TVRO satellite link.
If you cannot find an installation place on deck where the antenna has free line of sight all around, then the installation of a dual system is useful for avoiding blockages and disruption of TV reception or internet connectivity. The availability of the connections is increased. Handover between the redundant antennas happens automatically through our DivKit device.
Customers may wish to paint the domes in order to match the vessel's colour. The paint and primer must be free of any metallic components (like zinc). Any painting may impact the RF performance. The thickness of the paint affects the attenuation of the signal. The thinner the paint is applied the better. Ideally, the dome should not be painted at all.
Maintaining EPAK maritime satellite antenna is a relatively simple process, and proper care should result in years of trouble-free operation.
The following instructions are sufficient to sustain an optimal performance of the antenna unit:
- Antenna should not be operated without the dome.
- Ensure that the dome is cleaned once a month using fresh water and a mild detergent to remove dirt and salt deposits. During the cleaning do not use a high-pressure washer or high pressured water from a hose.
- Cables should be cleaned and checked regularly to be tight and free of corrosion.
- The ACU and the UPS must always be kept indoors. Exposure to rain, sunlight or moisture may damage the equipment.
- EPAK maritime satellite antennas are covered by a protective layer of UV-stabilized and maritime climate-proof coating. Thus, any wax, preservative, solvent, chemicals or adhesive labels should not be applied.