Norled AS is one of Norway’s largest ferry and express boat operators, with 80 vessels offering services from the Oslofjord to Troms county. Norled has invested significantly in new vessels and eco-friendly technology. The company has more than 1,000 employees and an annual turnover of NOK 2 billion.
Providing High-Speed Internet Connectivity – on the Open Seas
With dozens of vessels traversing Nordic waters, this passenger ferry organization wanted to access cellular networks to provide shipboard high-speed Internet access to support streaming, conference calling, telemetry data and more. According to Bjørn Tore Garderhagen, IT operation manager for Norled, the natural choice was to use the Digi EX15 LTE cellular extender
, a high-speed modem that offers primary 4G/LTE data connectivity.
A suite of upgradeable Digi CORE® LTE plug-in modems
lets Norled select the cellular speeds that best fit its business requirements, including LTE Cat 4 and LTE-Advanced Cat 6, as well as LTE-Advanced Cat 11 for data-intensive applications, and LTE-Advanced Pro Cat 18 for critical communications. The complete solution includes Digi Remote Manager®
which provides secure, web-based device management for network visibility and control after deployment.
Deploying Digi Remote Cellular Connectivity in Harsh Outdoor Settings
Of course, a seafaring vessel presents a difficult operating environment for a cellular modem. So Garderhagen needed to find an effective and reliable method of housing the Digi EX15 inside a suitable IP67-rated outdoor enclosure.
“We are using GTT fully configured enclosures to provide high-quality gateways for outdoor applications on our fleet of vessels,” Garderhagen said. “We also have a long and established relationship with Digi and have recently migrated to the Digi EX-15 that supports LTE-Cat 11 for higher bandwidth and greater reliability. We chose this Digi solution for its price, speed and range over one of Digi’s industrial solutions, and needed to ensure it could operate optimally outdoors in harsh environments. With the Digi EX-15 and the GTT enclosure we were able to meet both challenges in a “best in class” solution.”
Norled uses two different deployment options. The GTT GLB enclosure houses a single Digi EX-15. The GTT Formosa enclosure contains two identical Digi EX-15 products for additional uptime and availability.
GTT’s IP67 outdoor enclosure features watertight IP67 interfaces and provides very flexible practical mounting location options. “That reduces RF losses in our system,” Garderhagen said. “We can locate our router on the roof of the bridge instead of at the end of a very long antenna cable run from an antenna on the roof to the router down to the instrumentation room. We were not only able to integrate the router inside the GTT enclosures quickly and easily, but also use the standard IP67 GTT Antenna as an alternative to costly legacy products.”
According to Garderhagen, the ferry line has experienced decreased downtime and higher productivity because the combined solution of Digi EX-15 and the GTT protective enclosures. “More importantly, it has allowed us to plan and rollout a long-term reliable solution for all vessels and have a professional-looking watertight (IP67) solution mounted on the exterior of the ship.”