France Telecom Launches New Service

Tuesday, June 01, 2004
France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications is enhancing its range of value-added services with a satellite-based VPN (virtual private network).

The VPN solution for the Fleet family (Fleet-33, 55 & 77) enables maritime users to connect securely to their corporate business network on land, via either ISDN or MPDS transmission mode. It is based on a fixed public IP address that the user can request in order to simplify connections with its business network.

The VPN connection via Fleet terminals enables the user to transmit data securely at high speeds (up to 64 Kbit/s), as well as access their everyday work applications securely. For Ghani Behloul, Maritime Marketing Director at France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications, this service gives the user an undeniable advantage: "This is the market trend in satellite communications. Boats and ships are increasingly becoming mobile offices, and merchant ships and industrial fishing staff are becoming more and more demanding in terms of high-speed data transmission via satellite. The VPN service is perfectly adapted to their needs: wherever they are on sea, they have access to a highly secure connection to their company's network.”

Highly secure access to the corporate VPN

To supply this solution, France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications upgraded the technical architecture at its land earth station in Aussaguel, near Toulouse, adding an authentication server which identifies the user and enables him to access the value-added services he needs:

- Direct call-forwarding to a public network (Internet, X25, Frame Relay, ISDN, etc.) compatible with corporate networks.

- IP-address allocation to meet the varying needs of connected users. The allocation of public static IP addresses enables the user to connect to the corporate VPN whilst constantly remaining recognized by the company. France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications is the only operator to offer such an extensive IP addressing system. This open and flexible solution extends the company’s existing infrastructure. The user is instantly recognised by the corporate network and gains highly-secure tunnelled access as defined by the VPN administrator thanks to the extensive IP addressing system offered by France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications.

A key service for ships: Vizconde de Eza case study

France Telecom Mobile Satellite Communications has been collaborating with the crew of a Spanish government-owned vessel for a year to test the VPN technology via a Fleet-55 terminal. The Vizconde de Eza, a ship dedicated to research into fishing and environmental matters, is the first maritime vessel to use a fixed IP address with Fleet. Thanks to this secured solution, vital elements of the ship’s workings (engine, propellers etc.) can be monitored from the shore. In the event of a problem on board, on-shore staff can evaluate the situation and decide whether or not to send out a technician. This avoids costly and time-consuming delays in situations where seafarers are able to solve the problem themselves. In addition, thanks to the VPN solution, the team of scientists on board is now able to send and receive data quickly and easily whilst at sea. Before the installation of the Fleet-55 terminal, they were obliged to process data transmission at the port.

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