**** 2014 – 2015 Update **** – 4G LTE has been rolled out by multiple cellular carriers in the U.S. and Worldwide … but there has been the ongoing problem of needing a Worldwide capable router for yachts like we had with Quad Band in 3G. Make sure you have a look at the blog posts regarding Qualcomm Gobi – Software Defined Radio and how newer Sierra Wireless Cards (intended for laptops or embedding in routers) that allow Software Switching of the U.S. / Can. cellular carrier that certain Cradlepoint Routers can use. There is also the concern over Voice capability for PBX Systems and Analog Phone Jacks on yachts and other marine vessels. VoLTE is being rolled out by cellular carriers to support voice … but no one has made a U.S. capable router yet that has this. For some strange reason Netgear made an EMEA router with VoLTE not for U.S. use … which proves they could do it if they wanted to. The Qualcomm “baseband” chipsets can do it – and there may be a Sierra Wireless brand new card that can not only to VoLTE but newer version of LTE called LTE Advanced. So we’ve got to keep an eye on what’s going on with this and get on our equipment providers to make these things. Someone did manage to get Shakespeare – Jardin Company interested in Cellular Repeaters and they now make packages based on SureCall / Cellphonemate’s Cellular Repeaters as KITS for marine.
* March 2013 update – There are new developments since this article was published. Please call +1 954 683 3426 and/or email: firstname.lastname@example.org should you have a need for 4G + 3G Internet and voice systems for Sail and Motor Yachts or other marine vessels. The blog main page on here may contain new “Marine Package for 4G + 3G” announcements and other products are coming … we are working hard to provide the best solutions for 4G LTE and 3G compatible Yacht Cellular Systems (and other marine vessels.)
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom has been involved in Yacht Cellular (3G, 4G) Internet and Voice Telephone since around 2004. In 2008 I wrote the following article chronicaling the history of Yacht Cellular Internet and Voice systems – http://www.marinetelecom.net/Yacht-Cellular-Internet/
I continue to be in the forefront of solutions for cost saving Internet systems for sail and motor yachts – including new developments such as 4G LTE. With 3G to 3G+ (UMTS, HSPA) it was fairly easy to provide a “World Phone” type of Cellular Router / Terminal because GSM Frequencies were pretty fixed in 850 / 1900 Mhz (USA) and 900 / 1800 Mhz (Asia – Europe) which constituted a “Quad Band” or “World Phone” type of arrangement. Ericsson W25 and Ericsson W35 filled that bill nicely. They are unlocked – carrier agnostic – World Capable GSM – UMTS- HSPA+ cellular routers. They used to be called Fixed Cellular Terminals or Fixed Wireless Terminals … but these products going mobile became so common that they re-marketed them as Mobile Broadband Routers.
With 4G things are coming together as much as they are breaking apart. There had always been GSM (and upgrades to that) and CDMA (and upgrades to that) – but with the coming of 4G LTE – things get a little bit “sticky”. The FCC (and worldwide related agencies) held Frequency Auctions … Analog TV was shut down and Frequency Space “TV White Spaces” was re-issued or re-used for things such as Cellular 4G Internet (700 Mhz Band.)
So different companies (and different countries) got different frequency allocations at auction … This throws a money wrench into the nice ubiquitous “Quad Band” World Phone thing. As it is difficult for Terminal and Cellular Handset manufacturers to cram more frequency bands into their hardware. See my tab on the Marine 4G LTE Alliance where I show the Sierra Wireless embedded card modules used for this kind of thing and the frequency bands involved.
Another monkey wrench that gets thrown into this thing is that 4G LTE is no longer going to have the standard Cellular Voice that we’ve been used to. Ericsson, Telular terminals have an analog (Rj11) phone jack – that on boats connects nicely to Analog Phones and PBX Systems. But in 4G LTE there is going to be VoLTE – Voice over LTE – a form of Voice over IP (VOIP). I expect that cellular carriers will have to continue to provide backward compatible Cellular Voice for some years going forward to support all of the 2G and 3G handsets and cellular terminals that are already in use. But the whole thing is going towards a VoLTE (which no terminal has yet) or VOIP for Voice Telephone.
For now we still sell Ericsson W35 which has the RJ11 jack for cellular voice … and other router gear that can handle 4G Internet if you want to deploy that on your yacht. It’s kind a hybrid system for now … if you want to try out and use 4G. I have another router – terminal available that does 4G with a VOIP RJ11 jack on it – but you have to get VOIP Telephone Service to use that phone jack. I have router products that can route 3G and 4G USB and Express Cards onto your boat network. Then the trick is to figure out the plumbing to install topside external antennas – if you want better range for your system.
I’m willing to work out systems and solutions for Sail and Motor Yachts to accomplish Cellular 3G – 4G Internet and Voice calling. Feel free to contact me:
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom
+1 954 683 3426
communications @ marinetelecom.net