Satmodo Blog

How to Maintain Offshore Satellite Communications

With oil and gas as ever-growing commodities, the global offshore industry continues to expand. This growth has also given way to a need for a stronger communication system between offshore facilities (where the “in-the-field” work is being performed) and their respective onshore locations. Remote offshore workers used to be essentially cut off from the rest of the world, while data transfers were difficult. But with the introduction and continuous improvement in global satellite communications, 24/7 connectivity back-and-forth has given way to a reliable form of Wi-Fi Internet access, voice calling, real-time data transfers, and more.

Though there are a few places where cell towers have been placed offshore and cell coverage is within reach (such as in the Gulf of Mexico), most offshore lines of communications are reached via satellite.

Here we’re covering how offshore industries can maintain a 24-hour connection by way of global satellite.

Required Components to Enable Satellite Communications

With companies like Inmarsat and Iridium, satellite communications have made remote connectivity possible anywhere in the world. Iridium, specifically, provides the most far-reaching satellite communications available. With its global constellation of 66 cross-linked Low Earth Orbit satellites, voice and data connectivity are made possible from pole-to-pole.

What does this mean for offshore communications? Through a network such as Iridium, workers living and conducting business offshore can rely on a constant line of communication to coworkers and loved ones back on the mainland. Satellite communications has made real-time connectivity possible even in these completely remote environments or when vessels are in transit.

In order for offshore workers to connect globally, the necessary components required include:

  • a VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) located at the offshore site,
  • a broadband satellite connection in space (such as Iridium provides),
  • and an onshore teleport.

With these three essential parts, satellite connectivity can be enabled. The way the process works is by the satellite relaying radio waves from one place on Earth to another. So with the offshore VSAT and onshore teleport, satellites have the ability to carry anything radio signals on the ground, such as phone calls, Internet data, television broadcasts, etc. In this way, satellites give way to geographic freedom where communication is concerned. And with Iridium, no place on earth is an exception – including anywhere offshore in the world.

Implementing Offshore Communications

Now that we’ve covered what is required in order for offshore satellite communications to be conducted, it’s time to look into what devices best support that type of communication. It’s important to remember that offshore environments can offer challenging conditions. Choosing a product that best aligns with what is required in terms of the communication as well as the environment in which it will be placed is also critical for success.

The combination of the following products will ensure that offshore communications can continue – helping you forget that you’re maintaining connectivity in a remote location. The same type of communication you’ve come to expect stateside is now available worldwide.


Iridium 9555 Satellite Phone

“Small and sleek” aren’t normally used alongside “rugged and industrial-grade,” but that’s exactly what you can expect from this satellite phone. It was designed to withstand any conditions found in the most remote locations of the world – and that includes offshore facilities.

Whether conducting business or needing to reach a loved one far away, the Iridium 9555 allows for trusted, mobile communication with superior network quality. This hand-friendly satellite phone is easily stowed and makes phone calls, text messages, and short emails a breeze no matter where you might be.

Immediate, individual communication will be a requirement of remote workers in the offshore field, and the Iridium 9555 is the perfect device to offer that functionality.

Thales VesselLINK Maritime Communications

With the implementation and vast improvement of satellite communication, offshore environments are able to function with fewer workers. The right equipment can even allow unmanned installations to transfer real-time data via satellite. Operating a large offshore operation with an extensive crew? That works, too.

Reliable and high-quality voice and data communications are possible with the commercial solution of Thales VesselLINK – with safety and business acceleration at the core of its functionality.

Notable features of the Thales VesselLINK include:

  • dependable, pole-to-pole maritime communications via voice, text, and web
  • easily integrates with any existing communications equipment to create a fully digitized vessel
  • a 24/7 connection allows for uninterrupted Internet, safe operation of offshore vessels and gives peace of mind for protection in the event of an emergency.
  • fast download speeds of 700 Kbps and 352 Kbps
  • Streaming up to 256 Kbps
  • Location tracking as well as operational reporting and logging
  • meets the challenges of rough maritime conditions

The Thales VesselLINK is a versatile and powerful option that offers uninterrupted satellite coverage even while controlling an extensive offshore fleet.

Never before has communication been as seamless. For those conducting business in offshore industries, satellites can now guarantee fast and reliable connectivity – anytime, anywhere.


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