YPI & e3 Systems – Bandwidth Management Case Study:M.Y. MARY-JEAN II
The relationship between e3 Systems, YPI and the charter yacht MARY-JEAN II started with a recommendation. From a humble enquiry, it has grown to the stage where e3 Systems now manage the data communications infrastructure on board with full remote support.
The MARY-JEAN II requirement was very simple. They needed a quality internet experience to enable 12 guests and 14 crew to use email, browse the internet, update social networking sites, up and download YouTube video, make Skype calls – in short, to stay connected to the their wireless world.
Through initial discussions it was made clear that put simply the users of the vessel, the owner and guests, were not particularly interested in the technology, they simply expected to have access to all the applications on board that they usually have access to at home. e3 Systemswas charged with delivering that choice and performance.
From early on in the project, e3 Systems had been confirmed as the communications airtime provider, but had not been involved in the design of the vessel IT. In the run up to the vessel launch, they liaised closely with Captain Scott Lindstrom to ensure the yard supplied communications equipment was connected up to reliable airtime providers and ready to enter service. On a sumptuous 62-metre vessel with 26 people on board, the first choice for the VSAT satellite broadband service had to be MTN. But everything did not go quite to plan!
The Capacity Crunch
After commissioning of the VSAT satellite broadband system, e3 Systems received some very polite but anguished phone calls from Captain Scott. The internet was too slow. This is not an uncommon complaint, as many vessels will buy the lowest priced service at first and need to upgrade later. But in this case it was followed by ‘much slower than my last boat!’ which is a killer. e3 Systems quickly attended the vessel to perform an eAUDIT.
It was shown that the VSAT performance was well above the parameters in the service contract, but the internet at the user end was still slow. At this stage, money would need to be spent - the network was inefficient and the bandwidth would have to be increased to get acceptable internet speed. All this even before any guests had set foot on board!
The fundamental issue was that the network on board had been designed three years ago in a world before the iPhone and iPad. In addition, no provision had been made to keep the system management for AV systems and vessel management systems separate from the personal traffic. It was not able to cope with either the quantity of data or the type of applications using it and had no system for prioritising access.
The opportunity to discuss the issue came up at the Monaco Yacht Show 2010. A sit down was arranged between Captain Scott Lindstrom, YPI Sales & New Construction Broker, William Bishop, Head of YPI Yacht Management, Franc Jansen, and e3 Systems Sales Director, Erik Nieuwmeijer. Based on the report from the earlier e3 eAUDIT, the wireless network was redesigned incorporating the e3 Data Service Controller (eDSC) and installation was programmed in for a very tight yard period before the start of the Caribbean season.
The e3 IT specialists got their first look at the vessel’s network when they arrived in La Ciotat. Working closely with the vessel management and talking to the users on board, a final network plan was put together. The end result was a fully functioning high capacity wireless network with traffic prioritised for owner, guests and crew.
Bottlenecks had been removed, access security controlled.
Captain Scott Lindstrom observed “I don’t need to know all the technical stuff; I just need be confident that my owner, guests and crew will have quality internet. e3 Systems delivered that to me.”
The yard specification for on board computer networks must take into account the requirement of the vessel in terms of number of users, applications used and seasonal traffic load. Testing must be done in conditions that correspond to use in the field. Problems shown up at this point can then be corrected before the vessel is cruising.
Head of YPI Management, Franc Jansen, commented: “Efficient bandwidth management on a superyacht is essential. e3 Systems resolved the issues on this vessel and the lessons learned are going to be applied to the rest of our fleet”.
This initiative and cooperation between Captain, Management, Yard and Electronics Specialist proved to be a great formula, ensuring the complex task of delivering fast internet to demanding superyacht users was efficiently and successfully achieved.