Owners and guests expect to have the same level of connectivity on board their yachts as they do on land. However, to deliver them with the fast, reliable service they expect, you need a broadband plan that guarantees optimal performance.
The demand for satellite bandwidth is surging. Today, most people own at least two mobile devices that they bring on board with them. You need to ensure enough bandwidth for each person, each of their devices and each of the ways they plan to use the devices.
So it's no surprise that you might find yourself seeking a bandwidth upgrade or trying to figure out how you can improve the performance and reliability of your yacht satellite broadband. Fortunately, there are ways to do this.
Determine specific needs of charter guests and crew
The first step is to figure out what is absolutely essential for your broadband. If your current broadband plan isn't giving you're the reliable connectivity performance you want, it could be because you don't have an accurate understanding of how it's being used. Survey the crew to get an assessment of what they currently use – and how. You want to make sure that you have enough broadband to let members and guests use their devices however they want.
Maybe your guests use it primarily for entertainment purposes, such as streaming movies or browsing social media networks. It's also possible that the bulk of the data usage is coming from video conferencing, emailing and other business-related tasks. The more specific you can get about the connectivity needs and bandwidth usage of onboard guests and crew, the better able you will be to choose a plan that ensures reliable performance.
"To ensure the right broadband service plan, you must understand how bandwidth is being used."
Consider usage restrictions and separate LANs
If you currently have a data cap on your service plan, it may be limiting the yacht satellite broadband performance – and leading to extra costs. If so, consider implementing a crew service level agreement or fair usage policy that restricts their bandwidth usage. Although it's important to consider the satellite connectivity expectations of your crew members, sometimes it's also necessary to limit their access to it. Exercising more control over bandwidth allocation can help ensure it is being distributed appropriately.
It's highly possible that the needs of crew and guests vary – which makes trying to managing them all on a single network can be difficult and, ultimately, ineffective. Instead, create and configure different LANs for each group to make it easier to divvy up bandwidth based on the specific needs of users. Another option is to block specific apps for certain LAN groups, such as social media for crew members, or limit the number of devices they are able to use at one time.
This strategy may be important to use if most of the data is being consumed by crew members' devices. According to research conducted by NSSLGlobal, almost all (90 percent) of crew members bring a couple of devices on board with them, which can be a source of eating up data – even when they aren't being used.
Invest in the latest remote communication solutions
When you're looking for ways to improve the performance and reliability of your yacht satellite broadband, it is important you look at the hardware and equipment being used. Utilizing the latest remote communication tools and technologies will enhance connectivity and optimize bandwidth usage. For example, check to make sure that your antenna is compatible with the right type of network you are using and that it is capable of handling the high speeds and coverage in your region. It's also important to make sure that this equipment is properly installed and positioned on the yacht. If it's placed in a blockage zone, for example, it is going to be extremely difficult for it to access a satellite that is far away.
An intelligent back channel solution like SpeedNet is another technological investment that can have profound effects on the reliability and performance of your yacht satellite broadband connection. This advanced caching technology allows freed-up bandwidth to be used for HD video streaming applications. Put simply, it solves the issue of latency by creating a different back-channel that enables more streaming and less waiting.
Schedule temporary bandwidth upgrades
If you only charter during a few months out of the year, certainly you don't need to get an annual, high-bandwidth contract. Instead, choose a service plan that allows you to upgrade your bandwidth during times of the year that are the busiest and most demanding. Look into plans that allow you to increase bandwidth per charter or have a high-speed season option.
Choose a flexible plan – and VSAT service provider
Offshore communication needs vary based on the vessel, as well as the number and habits of its guests. When it comes to SATCOM and VSAT solutions, there is no one-size-fits-all. This is why it is important to choose a provider that can offer specific solutions that meet your individual yacht satellite broadband needs. Ideally, you want to a flexible plan that requires as little commitment as possible so you can tailor it to the needs of your guests and crew on an as-needed basis.
Onboard connectivity and at-sea communications are not just a convenience now; they are a competitive advantage. By going above and beyond to improve the performance and reliability of your yacht satellite broadband, you will be able to provide your guests and crew with the type of high-speed internet that enhances their experience.