RAD Data Helps Cruise Ship, Ferry Passengers Make Cellular Calls

RAD Data Communications is making cellular telephone service available and affordable even when callers are far out at sea, the company announced this week at CTIA Wireless.

RAD is working with a Norwegian company to make connectivity practical on a Danish fleet of cruise ships and ferries. Maritime Communications Partner AS (MCP), a provider of onboard cell phone connectivity to cruise ships and ferries, has deployed GSM A-bis optimization gateways from RAD to reduce costs by saving on satellite bandwidth.

Callers who find themselves at sea, perhaps hundreds of kilometers from a cellular service area, can use a vessels satellite telephone. These services, however, tend to be expensive and dont solve the problem of being accessible via the users own cell phone number.

The MCP solution, with RAD equipment, ensures that every passenger who wants or needs GSM service coverage will be able to afford it, according to the company.

MCPs BSC is connected over IP satellite modems to BTSs installed on a fleet of Danish-owned cruise ships. These ships transport 1.8 million passengers and 200,000 cars annually on eight routes traversing the North Sea among Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, and Great Britain. MCP connected RADs Vmux-400 at both ends of those satellite links.

The Vmux-400 is a standalone device that enables cellular operators to lower backhaul costs by optimizing A-bis (BTS-to-BSC) bandwidth by a factor of up to 3:1. This reduces operating expenses in applications in which cellular backhaul traffic has to be routed over satellites because terrestrial telecom infrastructure is unavailable.

The BTS on-board each ship includes two radio transceivers. Each radio receiver includes one time slot for signaling and SMS messaging and three time slots for voice and data. By supporting different speech codecs, RADs Vmux-400 allows up to 12 simultaneous calls using the full rate codec when demand is low and up to 24 simultaneous calls using the half rate codec when demand peaks, doubling the number of cellular calls that are made to and from a ship at any one time.

Maritime Communications Partner AS
RAD Data Communications

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