Connected: Offshore FPSO Communications

Situation:

A major energy producer off the coast of Nigeria needed to augment its satellite network to provide a minimum of 44 Mbit/s, the speeds needed to transmit critical voice and data communications from its tethered FPSO to a platform located approximately 51 kilometers away.

The vessel needed a solution that could maintain robust connectivity despite the fact that it frequently rotates +/- six degrees from its location, due to sea states. Increasing current satellite connectivity was prohibitively expensive, due to its relatively low available bandwidth and high latency, making it a poor fit for this specific deployment. For this reason, operators were searching for a more viable alternative that could fit their needs without significant cost setback.

Solution:

BATS Wireless worked in conjunction with partner Aviat Networks, to deliver a core network link that was able to meet the minimum bandwidth requirements between both the FPSO and platform. This link was achieved by placing 7 GHz Aviat Eclipse radios on both sides to transport voice and data communications.

Two fixed, spatially diverse, single ODU, 0.9 meter parabolic antennas were placed on the offshore platform, while a split-mount, dual ODU 0.6 meter parabolic antenna was placed at the moored FPSO, housed inside BATS’ DVM-90X dome.

Pictured: DVM 90x

In order to achieve the minimum throughput the client required, BATS designed a split-mount dual ODU assembly using wave guides on the FPSO. The use of the dual polarized solution serves to minimize signal loss and allow the client to realize reliable, full speed capabilities without the use of multiple antennas. BATS’ innovative automatic antenna alignment, stabilization, and tracking technology featured on the DVM-90X allowed the solution to maintain a constant, high-capacity connection while compensating for both the horizontal and vertical movement of the vessel; giving the client uninterrupted internet access without the use of outside technical resources.

Together, the solution notably achieved desired throughput for the distance between the fixed antennas on the platform and stabilized microwave system on board the FPSO; providing the client with a reliable, secure alternative to satellite — capable of up to 700 Megabit/s. These speeds allowed the engineers to turn down the modulation scheme to provide additional network resiliency while still achieving sufficient data sharing speeds.

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