The 2x Global Express Solution is Here!

Sailor 100 GX ADS Solution
Sailor 100 GX ADS Solution

Fans of Inmarsat Global Express (GX) will welcome recent enhancements to the Sailor 100 GX antenna system from Cobham. Until now, GX ships that wanted to eliminate the effects of blockage from ship structure would need a huge amount of hardware and two full monthly airtime accounts in their attempt to address the problem of blockage from masts, funnels, cranes and other objects protruding from the deck.

To make matters worse, switching could involve an outage measured in minutes each time the ship turned. This has pushed many would-be GX customers back towards conventional Ku-band and C-Band VSAT with their well-established and reliable instant-switching solutions such as Acutec's own Dual Antenna Switch.

Part of the problem for GX is that although there are super-fast Ka-band spot beams covering almost all of the globe, due to capacity constraints, not all of them can be active at once. For this reason, the mobile maritime solution, known as Fleet Express includes a compulsory, conventional Fleet Broadband 500 L-band terminal to fill in the gaps.

Inmarsat Global Express Coverage Map

Global Express Coverage showing Fleet Broadband areas in light shading

So even for the simplest implementation, each ship needs both a Ka band and an L-band antenna. Going further, if you wanted to eliminate blockage you needed to buy and install a second, full Fleet Express system. In total, that makes four antennas, four below decks units, two satellite modems, multiple power supplies and that all-important but very slow-to-switch IP router. That's a lot of new kit, and don't forget you will need to double your monthly Inmarsat airtime fee as well.

Cobham's welcome response to this problem is the new Antenna Diversity Solution (ADS). It allows a second Sailor 100 GX Ka-band antenna to be integrated into the ship with some simple, low-cost passive hardware. There is no need for an extra Fleet Broadband, Satellite Modem, Router or Switch. And best of all, this is an RF switching solution so handover is instantaneous with no loss of data and no need for an extra monthly airtime contract fee.

ADS Setup

The familiar, reassuring Sailor web interface makes ADS setup really simple

There is nothing new about dual antenna VSAT solutions. But this is the first practical dual GX solution. Like everything else in engineering for the harsh marine environment, the quality of the solution is what matters most. We have come to expect a lot from Cobham. And the high standards of the Sailor brand are evident in this new enhancement to the already excellent 100 GX. Inmarsat agree, with special type approval having been granted for ADS by the respected UK based maritime satellite owner and operator.

For more information on the dual Sailor 100 GX ADS solution or to obtain a quote, please contact us.



About the author

Jonathan is a professional engineer with a background in maritime communications and electronics. He founded Acutec Systems in 2004 and is managing director of the company.

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