Astrium Services released a new software version for its established XChange connectivity platform, which offers a range of new features to facilitate permanent remote access, allow smartphone usage on board and provide improved VoIP capabilities.
XChange v2.3 was developed to meet specific customer demands and is available free of charge by a simple firmware update, through a local file or via the embedded over-the-air update feature.
The inclusion of new VoIP technology in XChange enables bandwidth savings of over 50%, whilst at the same time offering high call quality and reliability. This makes regular use of VoIP a more attractive option to the crew, the captain or the IT manager, who will experience clearer, more reliable calls; placing VoIP as a real alternative to more traditional voice services.
The new Astrium Services’ XChange also offers possibilities for users on-board to connect their own devices to a vessel’s network over Wi-Fi, to access email, the Internet and social media sites. This development mirrors the increased demand of the so-called ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) on land, where many organizations now accept user owned smartphones, tablets and laptops on corporate networks.
“With XChange v2.3, BYOD is now very easy to implement at sea,” explains Tore Morten Olsen, Head of Astrium Services – Maritime. “The new software version introduces a specially created smart device interface, which offers easy online access, real time cost control, voice and VoIP calling. In addition to meeting seafarer requirements for using their own devices on board, the new interface also secures privacy for personal and operational communication at sea.”
To ensure security whilst allowing access to crew and passenger devices, XChange v2.3 provides enhanced network control via white/black listing of network clients for Internet access and a clear separation of crew/passenger and corporate networks.
Communication management functionality has also been improved in XChange v2.3, with the inclusion of permanent remote access. IT managers benefit from improved control of the network through permanent fully secure remote access, with no on board action required. XChange now includes the ability to access any communication device on the network, even while offline, through another satellite terminal or from shore.
Other new features introduced by XChange v2.3 include a new ‘maintenance’ and ‘rescue’ mode, which helps to keep the system fully operational at all times, and the ability to manage personal Internet usage by setting daily access limits for any user group. XChange v2.3 also features improved satellite compatibility and now works with Furuno Felcom.