The ability to access the Internet has become the status quo. It is the normal thing to expect whilst in towns and cities across different countries and different continents. The Wi-Fi network from various operators has never before been so freely available. We even have access to the Internet whilst in the sky, during air travel. With Internet operators such as Gogo making it easier to connect to rapid Wi-Fi in the air, you would think the same would be the case on the oceans. This however, is not the case. It’s still very awkward to get a fast Internet connection when you are on the open ocean.
Things are about to change in this arena as cruise operator Carnival, and their “WiFi@Sea” shows. It is a new network for passengers on board cruise ships, which is aiming to offer a rapid speed Internet service while on an ocean voyage.
Senior vice president for Carnival, Ramon Millan, said the world’s largest cruise operator hopes the new network will draw in new customers, “especially millennials who have made connectivity and social media an everyday part of their lives.”
The company has not been specific on exactly how fast this network connection will actually be, but they have said it is “roughly ten times faster” than that previously offered on their ships.
The ocean going firm will use different overlapping methods to supply Internet access at each stage of a cruise. For instance, when the ship is docked, it will connect to a Wi-Fi network that is based on land. When the ship has left port, a long-range Wi-Fi will continue to allow Internet access up to 40 miles away. When the ship has reached open waters, the service will then be provided via a satellite network across multiple frequency bands.
Carnival has said that their network will switch between these options as their vessels travel around the oceans. Apparently the passengers who are connected to the network will be able to visually see these “transparent” alterations between services.
This new connection service will be rolling out aboard ships that are departing for the Caribbean from the US in the fourth quarter of 2014. Carnival has said it plans to extend the network to vessels which are operating in its other regions. This includes the Mediterranean, Western Europe, and Asia in the next couple of years. There is currently no information on just how much it will cost to access Carnival’s new network, but if the price of a cruise is anything to go by, it isn’t going to be cheap.
[Image via jimzim]