Stable onboard internet a reality, says Videoworks, with its SD-WAN tech

The availability and stability of a yacht’s internet connection has become fundamental, says Videoworks. The company, which specialises in yachting audio and video entertainment solutions, says it’s received increasingly specific demands from shipowners and shipyards for an internet connection at all latitudes as strong as that of their homes and offices.

This is partly born from the growing need for example for stable ‘on demand’ services (for streaming on multiple devices), and for meetings via the web.

In response, Videoworks says it’s developed SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network).

What this means in practice is the system automatically chooses the best solution based on the specific needs of the moment, choosing between 4G/5G to Starlink or dockside connections. The SD-WAN makes dynamic use of all the different connections available to offer an optimal user experience.

Videoworks describes a situation whereby owners might watch a film via streaming. In this case the system will choose Starlink (for its bandwidth potential as brief disconnections aren’t a problem for movies). If owners are in a conference, the system will choose a dockside connection (less high-performing but more stable for continuity). But, if one of the connections fails, the system will redirect the internet traffic to another available connection.

The system also offers ‘channel bonding’ technology which the company says will improve performance. Essentially, it brings internet connections together into a single channel to sum their potential. Videoworks says with 50 Mbps from the dockside line, 80 Mbps from 5G and 100 Mbps from Starlink, a single communication channel of over 200 Mbps can be created.

There is also the possibility of connection to one or more geolocated machines through the safest VPN (Virtual Private Network) connections, to improve the yacht’s IT security and maintain a fixed geolocation point regardless of the yacht’s position in the world. And, through the ETO Panel (its tech suite) it’s also possible to switch from a party / entertainment configuration to a business/ conferences one – which makes it particularly useful for charters.

Software-based network technology, unlike previous hardware-only solutions, provides virtual resources for connections over wide area networks via standard broadband internet links, says the company. By applying software-defined networking principles to wide area networks, SD-WAN technology abstracts traffic management and monitoring tasks from network hardware and then distributes them to individual applications. This means lower costs with independent carrying over 4G/5G networks, LEO satellite and other types of connections.

This announcement follows on from February’s news in which, Videoworks said it had created a new business unit for ‘connectivity and communication solutions’, focused on providing high-speed internet to yachting clients during their time at sea.

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