Cobham Wireless has developed a distributed antenna system (DAS) that can provide cellular coverage for ships at sea.
Source: Cobham Wireless
The first installation, aboard a superyacht, has enabled LTE and 3G voice and data services to the vessel within 50 kilometers of the coast. Compared to the IP over satellite service typically used with sea-faring vessels, Cobham says its system can reduce costs and latency. The company says it can potentially be installed on any ship.
"By utilizing some of the solutions already adopted by the world's leading mobile operators and network infrastructure companies we are in an excellent position to move into this exciting new market," Ian Langley, SVP and GM at Cobham Wireless, said in a statement.
Cobham's DAS uses an external multiband donor antenna set up on the outside of the yacht, while a DIGImini booster shifts the capacity to an internal antenna which provides coverage for SIM cards from three different networks. If and when cellular signal levels drop below a preset level, the system is designed to handoff to satellite service.
The latest DAS announcement from Cobham comes almost two years after the company acquired DAS specialist Axell Wireless for more than $123 million (£85 million) and incorporated it into its antenna unit.
The potential for at-sea DAS deployments comes as satellite communications operators like O3b, which offers communications services for the maritime market, is warning the FCC to be cautious in developing shared spectrum plans for satellite and terrestrial use in the 28 GHz band. O3b's primary concern is uplink interference that could occur by having to share the 27.6-28.4 GHz band wireless operations.
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