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Old 21-05-2010, 13:13   #1
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VSAT Option for Emergency Response

My organization is assisting in the Gulf Coast oil spill response efforts. As part of that assistance, we have researchers performing sampling and analysis of ocean waters up to 50 miles from shore. To do this, we have chartered a 150' vessel to take our researchers out, collect samples, perform analyses, and report back findings. The vessel chartered does not have internet capabilities beyond a couple miles from shore so as of right now, results of sampling analyses are being radioed in or must wait until the boat makes it back to dock. We are interested in obtaining satellite broadband internet capabilities for the vessel to transmit data to/from land. Using sat phones to transmit data have been tried with slow results. We are able to inexpensively buy-in to a contract for “always-on” high-speed iDirect satellite internet service that covers the U.S. (including Gulf waters) and we plan to link whatever equipment we acquire to receive this same service.

But now we are struggling to come up with an equipment solution that best meets our needs. With that broadband service plan, we could go as big as a 1.2M antenna with an 8W BUC to obtain really fast internet, but most antennas of that size are very heavy (200-300 lbs) and would require substantial installation. We do not have the ability to physically modify the charter vessel, i.e. mount equipment to the deck/hull as some of these larger antennas would require. Any installation would be limited to tie-downs, clamps, suction cups, or some other non-evasive set-up (if the equipment could even operate properly with such an installation). We are willing to scale back the size and capability of the equipment to be acquired, but still need the capability to transmit data in a reasonable amount of time.

Question: What would you recommend as a marine VSAT alternative to get the most amount of bandwidth while still being a “temporary” installation on the vessel? FYI, we are looking for a solution ASAP and I am putting this question out to many sources to help find the best answer. Thank you for any contribution.
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