MTN Satellite Communications, a global provider of communications, connectivity and content services to remote locations around the world, has announced the launch of Automatic Beam Switching (ABS) that extends the company's ability to provide global, always-on, effortless connectivity for maritime vessels operating on its global Ku-Band network.

MTN's unique implementation of Automatic Beam Switching is distinctly engineered to seamlessly transition a VSAT terminal between satellites and ocean regions without the need for human intervention. In addition, ABS also improves VSAT uptime by automatically switching to alternate satellites in the event of blockage or interference. With four satellites in Europe, three in the Caribbean, and 17 worldwide, the MTN network offers unparalleled KU coverage.

With an MTN ABS VSAT system, the iDirect satellite modem automatically sends instructions to the Antenna Control Unit (ACU) to target the desired satellite and adjust tracking frequency, LNB parameters and polarity. The MTN network dynamically transitions all IP addresses, phone numbers, CIRs and custom QOS profiles over to the new satellite. All new MTN installations will support ABS and most existing installations can be upgraded to support it with a relatively simple hardware retrofit.

"Given the large number of satellite beams available on our global KU network, we wanted to provide our maritime customers with an even simpler solution to handle the transitions between beams. By combining ABS with MTN's global iDirect network and private MPLS backbone, customers will now have an even more seamless VSAT experience. While the ABS concept is quite simple, one of our main challenges was to develop a system to maintain network load balance and honor bandwidth and QOS commitments while vessels were automatically moving between satellites. This is a subtle, but very significant issue that is often overlooked by some of our competitors" said Kevin McCarthy, Senior Vice President of Network Engineering for MTN.