Sunday, March 23, 2014

Largest Ships Fastest Internet at Sea

Meeting the Challenges of Today's Wireless Use at Sea

Like it or not, we live in a connected society today and there is an increasing demand to stay connected everywhere you travel.   On land, you probably are noticing more and more locations providing free WiFi connectivity.   In fact, that has become a competitive advantage for many food chains.

Demand at Sea

Staying connected at sea
Staying Connected via Social Media at Sea
Even before the recent outburst of wireless device use, there has always been a need to stay connected while on a cruise.  Cruise lines introduced internet cafes years ago to meed those needs.  As times changed, they added the ability to stay connected using your own wireless computer from select areas of the ship.  The demand increased and ship-wide internet access was born.

It isn't unusual for a passenger to have several wireless devices with them during their cruise vacation.   They are on Facebook, Twitter, and other Social Media sites instantly sharing their vacation with family and friends back home.   When news breaks, you can be sure you'll find a video, shortly after the event, on YouTube.

Royal Caribbean & O3b Maritime

We first reported on this topic in our article, High Speed Internet at Sea Coming Soon, in June, 2012.  O3b Networks announced a milestone multi-year, multi-million dollar agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. to provide high-speed satellite-delivered broadband service aboard the world’s largest cruise ship. 

The plans are finally coming to fruition thanks to custom-built antennae which were shipped to Florida last month, and installed on Oasis of the Seas. Testing confirmed the ships' ability to match the fastest broadband connections on shore.

According to information provided by Royal Caribbean, the higher internet speeds will make it feasible for a guest to download streaming video or post video clips to Facebook.

By the time the new system becomes available on Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein said guests can anticipate "several new, show-stopper uses of the bandwidth."

Goldstein continued, "If you're a first-time guest on one of these ships, you won't realize how much work it took to make the wireless so pervasive – or that your cell 'tower' is 4,900 miles over your head. If you are a return guest, you'll be blown away by the improvement. It's that dramatic."

This is exciting news !!!

For those that have used the internet on any ship, not only aboard the Royal Caribbean fleet, you can attest that it takes a lot longer to get a simple task, such as sending an email, done  and it is more expensive consequently.    
Royal Caribbean is developing new pricing plans for added service.     Obviously, someone will be paying for the system's implementation costs, which makes us a little concerned about the pricing.  We hope that this new speed isn't priced such that it isn't utilized.

According to Royal Caribbean, the new high speed internet connections will be available beginning August 2014.

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