Marlink has successfully completed delivery of Ku-band VSAT services based on a 12 Mbit/s dedicated return link for the Atlantic Explorer, a Petroleum Geo Services (PGS) owned seismic survey vessel. The high throughput link was an upgrade to Atlantic Explorer’s existing Sealink customized VSAT service supplied by Marlink.
The service was used during a four week North Sea survey project, enabling seamless transfer of survey data to shore where it could be reviewed and addressed whilst Atlantic Explorer was still at sea. This enabled survey schedules to be amended based on results as they were generated, saving time, costs and resources for PGS’ client as there was no need to wait for data to be delivered on return to port or collected by a helicopter, as is usually the case.
“Taking into account overheads, packet loss for instance, the link enabled throughput of approx. 5GB per hour. To put it into context, this is about 50 times more throughput than an average offshore vessel needs for heavy operational and crew use,” explains Tommy-Konkol Dybvad, Director, Customised VSAT, Astrium Services. “A link of this scale was necessary in order to facilitate the transfer of survey data. The project was a success, with the link providing massive amounts of bandwidth that enabled PGS and its client to conduct a highly operationally and cost efficient offshore survey.”
The connection was ordered by PGS mid May 2013 and was live by the end of June using the existing 1.5 m Ku-band antenna on board Atlantic Explorer. A Marlink engineer installed a new 40W BUC (Block Upconverter) prior to the survey, to enable the higher throughput, which was activated whilst the vessel was out at sea. The configuration and service provision reflects Marlink’s approach to project based VSAT, where it can quickly provide extended capabilities for vessels requesting extra temporary or permanent bandwidth.
“This project represents the very cutting-edge of what is known as customized VSAT; the kind of services used by the offshore industry because every platform and vessel has different requirements. This kind of high-level connectivity is not an off-the-shelf product,” adds Tor Morten Olsen, Head of Maritime, Astrium Services. “Our delivery supported PGS in providing a very high-end service to its client and in the very competitive seismic survey market, being able to offer advanced capabilities such as the electronic delivery of survey data from vessel to shore makes all the difference.”