One of the most anticipated technologies in recent years to hit the yachting industry is here.
Internet-at-sea has always been a costly, cumbersome beast to manage. Requiring either expensive satellite terminals or cellular antennas & swapping SIM cards, keeping connected on the water has not been the easiest. But will that all now change?
Starlink is SpaceX´s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, consisting currently of over 2200 Satellites in orbit, around the earth, providing a fast, reliable internet service across many parts of the world, with coverage increasing every day.
Using a small aperture terminal to connect to the satellites above, Starlink can provide connectivity and internet speeds never before available in certain areas. Offering speeds of approx 150Mbps in areas where either minimal or no coverage.
CONNECTIVITY AT SEA AROUND THE GLOBE
From merchant vessels to oil rigs to premium yachts, Starlink Maritime allows you to connect from the most remote waters across the world, just like you would in the office or at home.
EASY TO INSTALL
The Starlink Maritime hardware bears a small footprint, demands minimal above deck space and comes with an easy-to-install mount. E-Touch Navcom can assist with the installation of the unit and cabling, whilst also dealing with the integration to the ships network, or an installation of a new system.
Starlink requires an unobstructed view of the sky. Download the Starlink app to check for blockage zones and determine the best install location on your vessel.
SECURE FLEET MANAGEMENT, REMOTE MONITORING
Remotely monitor and manage your Starlink fleet from a single portal. Starlink is also fully suppoted by Pepwave & Peplink products, ensuring full compatibility with most yacht systems.
Starlink implements end-to-end encryption to protect your data and confidentiality of user traffic.
PAY AS YOU GO
Starlink Maritime offers the ability to pause and un-pause service at any time, and is billed in one month increments, allowing users to customize their service to their individual needs. Just use the App to pause the service and re-activate when needed.
E-Touch Navcom are currently testing units in real world scenarios to check the signal quality, speed and other factors. Please check back to this page for updates as they are posted.
STARLINK vs VSAT
A Marine VSAT system consists of a dish antenna, mounted in a dome, providing a connection to a satellite. VSATs are usually mounted on 3 axis motordrives to stabilise the terminal in rough seas, allowing a good stable conection. The drawbacks include low bandwidth, high latency and higher latitude coverage
Starlink consists of a network of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites to provide mobile internet access around the world. The network will eventually consist of 40.000 small satellites, orbiting the earth at multiple operational altitudes. Currently 2.500 satellites are orbiting our planet. By expanding the numbers to thousands of satellites and connecting them in a network, Starlink can ensure global coverage exceeding any other sat network. Using flat dish Phase array technology, the starlink dishes connect ot multiple satellites, providing a better connection.
A few stats showing the difference in performance between a VSAT and Starlink system.
Recently the FCC gave permission for Starlink to provide Offshore coverage and transmission whilst in transit, which allowed SpaceX launched Starlink Maritime providing internet at open sea. With Speed and latency being the most important factors, Starlink claims it can offer speeds up to 350 Mbps with low latency. Until now, no latency numbers are given, but between 20-50ms should be expected, which its the standard firgure found on most terrestrial starlink installs. The Maritime version consists of 2x ruggedized version of its dish, with high performance terminals which are designed to withstand the harsh environment of salt spray and winds.
With such a new technology, is Starlink suitable for the Maritime Industry? Starlink maritime needs an unobstructed view of the sky. Which in itself not strange for any antenna or dish, but could become problematic when berthed beside a larger vessel or anchored in a bay with high cliffs. For reliable connectivity on the water, a system which combines multiple LTE, Wifi and Starlink into one. Peplink is just one company whos products support this possibility, providing a system which combines and selects various communication mediums to provide the best connection, known as SpeedFusion. E-Touch Navcom are certified Peplink installers and can assist with installing and integrating a Starlink, or any other communications system into the vessels network.
Currently, all Starlink Systems can only be ordered directly from Starlink.com, we apologize for this and are working on new avenues of delivery and supply. This is the case of all Static, RV and Marine Systems. Currently the Starlink Marine Service is only available to order from an address in the United States.
European Maritime Availability will announced soon.
To check Availability and accurate pricing, enter your shipping address at the Starlink.com website below.
STARLINK RV ON THE WATER?
Whilst many people have reported good signal strength and minimal connectivity issues, is it wise to buy a Starlink RV unit for use on your yacht? Starlink has always said the RV unit is not to be used on board a sea-going vessel, or until recently, in transit/on-the-move. This was mainly due to the legal issues with signal transmissions and the FCC. With the Maritime units becoming available in the coming months, it is putting into question some functionality regarding the RV units being used in Coastal areas or Offshore. The reports are the RV units are still operating in the Marine sector, but it must be mentioned that there has been no correspondence from Starlink as to whether the RV units will continue to receive signal in these areas or whether Starlink will Geofence the standard units. So, whilst the RV units are functioning on yachts now, theres no guarantee they will continue to do so.
Starlink Maritime Coverage Map
The map below indicates the coverage currently available for the Maritime Starlink Systems. this is not an indication of whether the hardware is available for order. That has to be found through the link above.