4G connectivity at sea to ensure the security and live broadcasting of the nautical race
When not using a satellite connection, both professional and leisure maritime navigators use radio, though its low bandwidth provides limited Internet access on board.
Satellite connection is certainly more efficient but remains very costly and the transmission gap - when broadcasting images and sound - is large. In short, these two technologies do not offer a satisfactory high speed Internet access.
Having access to a high-speed connection at sea is of upmost importance for the famous La Solitaire Bompard Le Figaro 2016 race organizers as their challenge is manifold: ensure the security of 39 boats and their skippers at sea, monitor the race equity and broadcast the nautical race live without any interruption.
“It is a solo race so competitors can get exhausted very quickly. Monitoring them closely is essential”, explained race director Gilles Chiorri from OC Sport Pen Duick, also in charge of security in his accompanying boat.
“Live broadcasting of a nautical race is a real challenge”, said Erwan Riquier, General Director of Sea Events, the video production company of the event. “Until now, heavy and expensive resources, such as planes or helicopters, have been necessary to obtain high quality video and sound.”
For its 47th edition in July 2016, La Solitaire Bompard Le
Figaro asked the Microwave Vision Group (MVG) to become one of its official partners. NeptuLink by MVG allows boats to access high speed Internet up to 20 nautical miles offshore. With reinforced mechanics, NeptuLink by MVG has been designed specifically to withstand the harsh marine environment and often unstable ocean conditions. It maintains optimal communication regardless of humidity, sea salt and spray, rolling and pitching motion or vessel type.
Through its two antenna transmitter-receivers,
NeptuLink by MVG serves as a terminal that connects directly to distant 4G networks, or 3G or Edge where 4G is not available. NeptuLink by MVG houses a SIM card, thus allows high-speed connectivity to 4G networks at the same cost of mobile phone data
For La Solitaire, NeptuLink by MVG was installed on the three accompanying boats of the race:
• Gilles Chiorri’s catamaran, to collect all the necessary
information for the race and its security;
• The media boat, to send images, sound and video highlights produced at sea;
• The AG2R LA MONDIALE health boat, to ensure its
guardian angel role.
“For this operation, we combined NeptuLink by MVG with the Bouygues Telecom mobile network”, said Romain Butet, technical sales engineer at MVG. “Various tests undertaken prior to the race demonstrated this partnership was the most efficient in those specific coastal areas.”
“With NeptuLink by MVG, it has become possible to monitor constantly and share the status of the race in real-time”, declared Erwan Riquier.
“Journalists covering the event were impressed by the quality of the broadcast device”.
“It was a first for an offshore race and this successful experience has opened up perspectives for the future.”
“Taking advantage of high speed Internet access at sea today is really magic!”, said Gilles Chiorri.
Highly satisfied by the NeptuLink by MVG performance, the organizers would like to duplicate and amplify the live experience next year on the occasion of the 2017 annual race.