A new dedicated voice channel provides quality VoIP calls independent of broadband usage on the vessel
KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq: KVHI) has rolled out a new dedicated voice configuration for its mini-VSAT Broadbandsm global maritime satellite network to ensure customers always experience high-quality phone calls. The network’s Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service is now delivered on a prioritized and protected data stream, separate from the network’s overall broadband data traffic. VoIP service is also prioritized onboard the vessel for quality VoIP service even during times of heaviest broadband data use.
By prioritizing phone service, this enhancement is designed to maintain the crystal-clear sound quality of mini-VSAT Broadband’s VoIP service while also addressing the challenge that ship owners face in meeting increased onboard data usage. Maritime operators rely on broadband connectivity for everything from accessing email to utilizing web-based applications for better voyage planning, fuel optimization, and remote systems monitoring. At the same time, vessels experience demand for VoIP services around the clock by crew and officers, given the 24/7/365 nature of commercial vessel operations.
“With this enhancement, mini-VSAT Broadband users enjoy extremely high-quality VoIP service even during heavy data network use,” says Marc Edwards, KVH’s network operations director. “We rolled out this updated configuration to all service beams on the network, and the feedback indicates the quality of our voice service to be exceptionally good.”
VoIP, which utilizes an Internet connection to transmit voice signals, is the primary method for vessels to conduct phone calls from sea. The mini-VSAT Broadband network utilizes spread spectrum technology, which enables low latency and contention, both factors contributing to the high voice quality of KVH’s VoIP service. A telephony measurement known as mean opinion score (MOS) quantifies the voice quality of phone transmissions on a 1-to-5 scale, with 5 as best. A score of 3.4 is considered good for a satellite phone call, yet mini-VSAT Broadband VoIP calls measure up to 3.75, which is the same as a land-based VoIP call. In addition, KVH’s mini-VSAT Broadband network uses 32 kbps for the dedicated voice channel, which is much higher than typical satellite phones.
The mini-VSAT Broadband network provides broadband connectivity to commercial vessels and recreational yachts around the world, and is the market share leader in maritime VSAT, according to a 2014 report by industry analyst Euroconsult. KVH also designs and manufactures the TracPhone® V-IP series of satellite communications antenna systems for use with the mini-VSAT Broadband network.