Connectivity and content demands are escalating among cruise passengers and crew. To ensure that cruise operators stay ahead of that demand, MTN Satellite Communications announces the launch of MTN Nexus™.

MTN Nexus is the company’s next-generation communications network. It is a hybrid network that builds on a 30-year legacy of satellite connectivity and integrates it with new terrestrial wireless technologies as well as sophisticated computing, powerful processing and specialized optimization.

“There is no communication network like MTN Nexus in the world,” said Errol Olivier, CEO and president of MTN. “For 30 years we have innovated new ways to deliver connectivity and content where no terrestrial wireless or wire line networks could connect vessels far out at sea. But passengers and crew no longer accept limitations. They want to stream video, post their updates on Facebook and share vacation images with friends…or even family members sailing with them on the same ship. MTN Nexus bridges the gap between land-based and sea-based connectivity and content. Today we are enabling our cruise operator customers with a solution to catertheir business models to the always-connected generation that is now entering the cruise demographic.”

The Demand

According to a recent Business Insider report, consumers expect to be connected everywhere, as evidenced by the more than 2 billion people online via Internet devices today. Skyrocketing bandwidth consumption for better content extends beyond home and work. Smart phone sales overtook PC sales in 2011, and passengers and crew are bringing them on board more than ever. Business Insider also cites social networking as the second most popular mobile application in terms of consumption per minute.

MTN Nexus is a network that integrates VSAT satellite connectivity with land-based wireless such as Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, WiMAX and LTE to make at-sea consumption possible. It also leverages a cloud computing platform for efficient management of high-bandwidth vessel requirements. MTN Nexus seamlessly integrates three critical components that, until now, have never combined in to one maritime communications solution:

1.    A hybrid satellite and terrestrial wireless network.
2.    A cloud computing-based optimization platform.
3.    New products and services only enabled through this hybrid solution.

“The demand for bandwidth will never go away; however, how the bandwidth is managed and delivered on a vessel, or fleet of vessels, can simplify the delivery of a smooth, reliable service,” said Simon Bull, Senior Consultant, COMSYS.“The MTN Nexus plan to integrate satellite with a terrestrial network, and combined with throughput efficiencies, introduces a smart solution for meeting passenger and crew demand.”

The Network

MTN recently made a significant investment in cruise-specific payloads through the launch of Intelsat’s EpicNG satellite constellation. MTN partnered with Intelsat to carefully engineer delivery of maximum bit-to-hertz efficiency through Intelsat Epic. The result is anticipated to be unmatched throughput and global interoperability to key cruising areas around the world.

MTN also created its High Throughput Multi-Spot Beam solution to extend the promise of Intelsat Epic. Through MTN HTMS, vessels will be able to seamlessly roam between MTN HTMS beams and conventional Ku-beams.

This collaboration will ensure global coverage and redundancy while reducing cost and antenna complexities. MTN service will remain backward-compatible with existing Ku-band satellite systems, current network infrastructure and customer-preferred network topology, making it the most interoperable network available.

MTN is combining these satellite capabilities with the ability to “light up” ports with near- and in-port solutions through terrestrial wireless technologies. As vessels move into port, switching to the Wi-Fi infrastructure, MTN will seamlessly reallocate unneeded satellite capacity back to ships at sea.