Wouter-Deknopper-VP-MaritimeGuest Blogger: Wouter Deknopper, VP & GM Maritime Business

“All You Can Eat” plans give a simple proposition to ship owners and operators. Pay monthly for your hardware and airtime, and “eat” as much data as you can. But what if your unlimited buffet is served with one item at a time? How much can you actually eat within a month? Unlimited data allowance plans work the same way. Your connectivity is throttled by the width of the bandwidth pipe. An unlimited L-band plan cannot be compared to an unlimited VSAT plan, as the VSAT bandwidths are typically larger.

Unlimited data allowance plans have a Fair Usage Policy / Fair Access Policy enforced by the Satellite Network Operators (SNO). Imagine that you and your friends have just ordered a giant margarita. Each of you place your identical straws into the glass, and the glass is emptied at the same rate. One enterprising friend puts a bigger straw into the glass, drinking the ‘rita quicker than everyone else thus affecting the group’s sense of fairness and possibly friendship. These policies are designed to protect the Satellite Network Operator’s (SNO) network, ensuring that users are receiving the service that they pay for. The policies place usage limitations upon unlimited plans, but vary widely across providers. Some policies are quite liberal, only restricting specific services such as BitTorrent or video streaming. Other plans are highly restrictive, preventing all but specific applications and services. Some plans even place limits upon the amount of unlimited data that can be consumed per month. Remember, unlimited doesn’t always mean unlimited – always check the small print!

For some shipping fleets a pooled satellite airtime plan may be more appropriate than an unlimited plan. Pool plans combine the individual monthly data allowance from a number of ships. For example if a fleet comprises of 20 ships, each with 1GB data allowance per month – the fleet data pool is 20GB. If a number of ships within the fleet use a greater amount of data each month, a number of ships are likely to use less data. Therefore, as long as the fleet’s total data usage does not exceed 20GB – no overage charges are applied. Iridium CertusSM has highly flexible pool plans, allowing even small fleets to take advantage of pooled data. In addition to pooled plans, Iridium Certus provides a variety of plans to suit most maritime requirements, such as “Pay as you Go”, Short Term, Flexible, VSAT Companions and more.

Learn more about what Iridium Certus can offer you at www.IridiumCertus.com.