Crew WiFi System
Self-funding Crew WiFi system for Ocean Working Vessels
Self-funding Crew WiFi
Working alongside 4MS Networks in Aberdeen, we helped design and implement a WiFi solution for the crew on a working sea-going vessel in the North Sea.
Reliability and ease-of-use were key for the proposed crew WiFi system, as it is the primary communications system that allows vessel crew access to the outside world during their period at sea, which can be for up 12 weeks. From the operators perspective, the system also needed to be easy to manage and self-funding, which allowed us to design a list of system attributes to meet the demands of the crew and management.
WiFi Service Requirements
A key consideration was the connectivity required for an ocean-going vessel to ensure a reliable system at any global location and often in extreme environments. To achieve this, the WiFi system design included an automatic satellite tracking system, providing seamless global IP connectivity. Dual-band Access Points (2.4/5GHz) were provided as standard to provide fast WiFi Access and future-proofing. A trial system was installed in advance of the full implementation program to allow us to obtain user feedback and adapt the design based on user feedback.
The operational costs of the crew WiFi system needed to be self-funding and to meet this demand we investigated a number of different charging options. The crew members purchase blocks of data allowance when registering on the WiFi system. They can then log-on and manage their own accounts, view their data usage and buy more data when they need it. And, dependant on the system usage, the cost per MB data can be varied by the operator to ensure costs are simply covered (rather than being run as a profit centre). This way, the crew get the maximum benefit of the onboard WiFi.
“At the end of the 6 week trial period, we fed back the usage/financial statistics to the vessel operator. They had absolutely no hesitation in deciding to roll the system out to all of their vessels (30 in total)”
We prepared comprehensive installation instructions so that the IT engineering team can install the WiFi onto a vessel when it comes into port. Due to the short turnaround times for some of the vessels when they dock, it is essential the installation process is quick and easy for the system and access points around the vessel.
Due to the different designs and sizes of vessels, a costing framework was produced for the operator to outline supply, installation and operational costs. This allows the vessel operator to call off a system as and when required, with the confidence that the system can be despatched and installed within a 14 day period.