Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, has been equipped with MTN Satellite Communications’ (MTN) state-of-the-art VSAT satellite communications system.
The 1,184-ft, 225,282-gross ton Oasis of the Seas carries up to 5,400 passengers and a crew of more than 2,000. The satellite communication requirements for such a massive ship presented special challenges, according to MTN. “The communications suite is a critical component for operating the ship and its passenger services,” said Max Schmidt, vice president of information technology, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We worked closely with MTN’s engineering teams to develop a system that would be capable of supporting the unprecedented requirements of a ship this large and complex, with more than 2,700 passenger staterooms, dozens of dining and entertainment facilities and seven distinctly designed themed neighborhoods.”
“For the inaugural voyage of Oasis of the Seas, MTN supplied the highest bandwidth ever used on a single ship in the history of the cruise industry,” said Brent Horwitz, senior vice president of MTN. “The total bandwidth exceeded 26.6 Mbps, including 10 Mbps for Internet, 3 Mbps for voice and corporate data, 9 Mbps for an ABC live TV broadcast, 2 Mbps for video streaming, 1.5 Mbps for cellular phone service and 1 Mbps for radio broadcasts and phones.”
MTN installed a communications system that uses two separate 7.8 ft stabilized C-band satellite antennas, which can simultaneously track two different satellites on MTN’s global C-band network, with automatic beam switching to eliminate outages from satellite blockage, according to Horwitz. “When crossing the Atlantic to its home port in Fort Lauderdale, the ship’s dual antennas with automatic beam switching technology, supported by MTN’s global shore network infrastructure, enabled the ship to transition seamlessly from one satellite footprint to another with no disruption of service,” he said.
The MTN system on Oasis is designed to support over 40 simultaneous satellite phone calls through state-of-the-art Cisco Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) gateways, allowing guests and crew to make calls directly from their cabin phones. For mobile phone users, MTN provides full cellular coverage onboard Oasis via Wireless Maritime Services (WMS), a joint venture between MTN and AT&T Mobility. The WMS service enables cell phones, BlackBerrys and iPhones to continue to operate while the ship is at sea, by relaying the voice and data traffic though the MTN satellite network. In addition to all the telephony systems, MTN also provides the broadband Internet connectivity for the Wi-Fi networks and Internet cafés onboard, along with a private, secure data channel for the ship’s business.