Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

Telefónica and Baleària have developed a 5G connectivity project on maritime routes with the application of these communications to the Eleanor Roosevelt ship on its Denia-Ibiza route. This initiative, one of the first in the world, uses the 5G Ship to Shore solution, which consists of provide 5G communications with antennas both on the coast and on ships sailing at a distance of up to 100 km. from the shore. The objective is to provide a series of services for the operation of the ship, such as data transmission, connectivity for the ship’s infrastructure, diagnosis and remote control, etc. with low latency communications that are more efficient than current satellite solutions. In this pilot, Telefónica España has used a state-of-the-art 5G SA (Stand Alone) network with coverage in the 700 MHz band to obtain maximum range. In said coverage, a specific configuration of antennas for long-distance communications called Extended Cell Range has been enabled, tested for the first time in 5G SA and which also requires antenna locations at heights greater than 150 meters above sea level to solve the terrestrial curvature. To maximize range, the ships also have high-gain antennas located on the upper deck.

Balearia and Telefónica use the 5G Ship to Shore solution, which consists of providing 5G communications with antennas both on the coast and on ships

This infrastructure is interconnected with a system that in the future will be able to transparently group all the ship’s communications (4G, 5G, satellite, etc.) as if it were a single end-to-end secure connectivity, for greater simplicity, and a software fleet monitoring and management. As Leonor Ostos, Innovation Manager at Telefónica Spain, has pointed out, “this project represents a further step in future communications for maritime infrastructures. The needs for coastal connectivity are much higher than one might think and they do not stop growing. From passenger ships, merchant ships, coast guards, rescue services, etc. to future unmanned vehicles or USVs (the “drones of the sea”), where remote control will be essential to operate. In this case, we have deployed 5G SA communications with low latency, on which the use of state-of-the-art technologies such as artificial intelligence algorithms could be generalized for, for example, route automation, real-time decision-making or automatic tele-piloting”. By participating in this project, Baleària reinforces its interest in innovation and the exploitation of new technologies. “The application of 5G connectivity in a Ship to Shore model will allow the ship to access up-to-date information on passengers and operations and the ground crews will have the necessary telemetry to be able to monitor and make decisions in real time,” says Francisco Abril, Director of IT Infrastructures at Baleària. “This pilot opens the doors to reducing the connectivity gap currently suffered by maritime transport users. With a range of 100 km from the antenna to the ship, this technology makes the creation of a 5G maritime corridor technically viable that allows uninterrupted, low-latency and high-speed connectivity, on routes such as Dénia-Ibiza or Ibiza-Palma ” he concludes.

By Alvaro Rivers

Award-winning student. Incurable social media fanatic. Music scholar. Beer maven. Writer.