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These antennas, and corresponding indoor controllers, are used to connect phones and laptop computers from sailing vessels, on any ocean, with the rest of the world. All FleetBroadband antennas require line-of-sight to one of three geosynchronous orbit satellites, so the terminal can be used anywhere, including on land.
The FleetBroadband network was developed by Inmarsat and is composed of three geosynchronous orbiting satellites called I-4 that allow contiguous global coverage, except for the poles. FleetBroadband systems installed on vessels may travel from ocean to ocean without human interaction. If there is line-of sight to one of the three I-4 satellites, then connectivity can be achieved, even in rough rolling seas. Since the FleetBroadband network uses the L band, rain fade is much less of an issue than the larger VSAT Ku band or C Band systems.
The FleetBroadband service was modeled after terrestrial Internet services where IP-based traffic Internet Protocol dominated over ISDN and other earlier communication protocols. Many corporations and IT departments are standardizing around IP traffic for data, and voice and text communication, so it is assumed Inmarsat is filling that long-term communications requirement.
There are three terminal antenna types available. The small FB150 antenna (commercially launched 2009) (291 × 275 mm) capable of 150 kbit/s, to the mid-sized FB250 antenna (329 × 276 mm) capable of 284 kbit/s, to the largest and fastest FB500 antenna (605 × 630 mm) capable of up to 432 kbit/s, both commercially launched 2007. Current manufactures of FleetBroadband systems includes Thrane & Thrane (Sailor Systems), Wideye (Skipper), KVH, and JRC.
- "INMARSAT Fleet Broadband coverage MAP" (PDF). Inmarsat. Inmarsat. Retrieved 2 September 2015.