Keeping connected in the Caribbean
Following the sun from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean makes sense for charters, but how can you maintain the data and TV service expected? Intellian’s Matt Humphreys explains
We usually sail in Europe. Will we need to modify or change the satcom antenna for use in the Caribbean or during the voyage?
If you have an NX Series antenna you won’t need to change it, as it is compatible with multiple bands and orbits with little or no modification. Ultimately it depends on your network operator and if they have global or regional coverage – you need to make sure that your service provider offers coverage in the areas where you plan to travel. Intellian’s NX Series antennas are not tied to any service provider and work everywhere in the world, so if your current plan cannot meet your needs, you can change to another one.
With all our NX Series antennas, a kit enables simple conversion between Ka and Ku-band in as little as 10 minutes by swapping modular components within the dome. Some of our partners offer multi connectivity solutions for different yacht itineraries, and this is where our NX Series excels as it is easy to convert between Ka and Ku-band and back again, as often as you require.
Does the TV antenna need modification to receive my favourite channels in the Caribbean?
The LNB (low noise block) fitted to your antenna dictates which satellite services you can use. The LNB is the device mounted on an arm at the central, focal point of the antenna’s dish, which collects the reflected signal.
Many antennas in Europe are sold with a Universal Quad LNB optimised for the region: if this is true for your antenna, you’ll need to change to a Worldview LNB, a fairly simple operation as it’s a single module. One of our tSeries antennas equipped with a Worldview LNB will receive SD or HD programming from any Ku-band satellite TV service around the globe, without requiring further changes or re-wiring when the vessel travels from Europe to the Caribbean. If you want to use a Direct TV subscription in the Americas as well as services in Europe, you will need one of our sSeries antennas.
When moored in a Caribbean marina, is it best to use the marina WiFi or onboard satcom?
WiFi and 4G/5G cellular services are nearshore solutions, so for any distance beyond around 15 miles offshore you will need to use VSAT. Additionally, WiFi and cellular connections give no quality-of-service guarantees, so while the bandwidth offered might nominally be higher than that of your satellite service, the connection may be dropped or stall if the network is busy – especially if everyone in the marina is trying to use the WiFi. For this reason, some of our installation partners install a system for easy switching between different connections, allowing superyacht captains to use their satcom service for essential communications even when in the marina, saving the shore-based services for high capacity, low priority applications such as streaming movies.