Interview with Captain Graham Paull of M/Y Teleost at the Antigua Yacht Show, December 2018
Why did you choose Kymeta flat panels?
Due to the location of our traditional VSAT antenna we experienced a mast blockage when on certain headings, and decided that multiple Kymeta flat panels, with 360° coverage, would alleviate this issue as well as giving us more flexibility in connection options.
We approached Kymeta directly, who then put us in contact with e3 Systems. The e3 team came on board and discussed the various panel configuration options given our mast and superstructure layout, and after review, a decision was made to go ahead with four Kymeta flat panels: two on top of the mast, and two on top of the wheelhouse.
How did the installation go?
The installation procedure was relatively simple, aided by the fact that Teleost was undergoing a refit at Pendennis Shipyard, in the United Kingdom at the time.
We were sent the specifications and dimensions of the equipment so mounting locations could be prepared, and the cables, connection boxes and panels were shipped to us.
Our engineers ran the required cables, and the shipyard assisted with the connection box and panel support mounts. An e3 engineer arrived once everything was ready, to mount the panels, and perform all cable terminations and connections. The lightweight panels were very easy to handle; we had scaffolding on the mast as we were in the middle of paint job, but we could easily have managed without. It was far easier than a traditional antenna installation.
Once we moved to an uncovered berth, e3 commissioned and tested the equipment before we left the shipyard.
What about the airtime and connection speeds?
Upon leaving the UK we proceeded to Gibraltar and then Palma de Mallorca. We were using the KALO service during this passage and it provided a stable connection, with reasonable speeds and minimal to no input from our side, and since then the equipment has been 100% reliable.
The KALO service has been more than acceptable for our needs, even with no MIR or CIR, and is provided at a very competitive price point. Average speeds from our informal onboard tests show consistent speeds of 4 Mbps downlink, 1 Mbps uplink, in both the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.
What has been the reaction from guests/crew?
In general guests are primarily concerned only with the internet connection speed available to them when web browsing, video streaming etc. and they will be comparing it to 4G or their shoreside broadband connections. Unfortunately, even the fastest satellite connection is likely to fall short of their expectations. For that reason, it is only when we are offshore that guests would use Kymeta or one of our other satellite connections.
What do you use Kymeta for?
We currently have two Kymeta KALO services running, one for the ship’s operations usage: email, ship’s business, web browsing etc. The other KALO is for guest use, or crew depending on our location.
Most of the time, when we have charter guests on board, they have a 4G connection for their primary use. Since installing the Kymeta system, we have not had a guest cruise without 4G connectivity for an extended period.
What would you say to prospective captains considering taking on Kymeta?
Flat panel antennas are the future of satellite connectivity, and Kymeta flat panels are the ‘leader of the pack’ at the moment. We are excited about the LEO connection options coming in the next few years, where the advantages of flat panel antennas will be even more apparent.
My advice to new customers is to keep in mind that this is new technology, and to make sure they are aware that there are some limitations on bandwidth options / pricing and geographical coverage. These elements, however, are all short-term issues.
Finally, are you happy?
Yes, we are very happy with it, particularly the hardware and the KALO service, both of which have been very impressive. Combined with our traditional VSAT connection, the KALO service provides an excellent addition to our communication options.
Do you have any additional comments?
We are impressed with the hardware, especially the minimal user input.
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