Inmarsat and Aramco to trial 5G over water in Arabian Gulf

Inmarsat and Aramco to trial 5G over water in Arabian Gulf

Inmarsat Maritime, part of satellite communications company Inmarsat, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Aramco, a global integrated energy and chemicals company headquartered in Saudi Arabia, to undertake a 5G mesh network trial that aims to provide high-bandwidth connectivity for Aramco’s offshore work in the Arabian Gulf.

Inmarsat says the technology is designed to provide high-speed communication capabilities while meeting the demands of the region’s climate – including extreme heat, sandstorms, wind and water evaporation – thanks to 5G’s improved reliability in challenging weather conditions.

The MoU follows successful outdoor network testing in the UK, which demonstrated reliable and high throughput millimetre wave (mmWave) signal propagation over water.

Further testing of the 5G mobile integrated access and backhaul (mIAB) network and of Inmarsat Maritime’s specific developments will be conducted under the extreme weather conditions of the Arabian Gulf later this year. Deployment dates have not yet been specified.

The testing of Inmarsat Maritime’s 5G mesh in the Arabian Gulf with Aramco aims to showcase world-first long-range, high-throughput mIAB deployment over the sea – far beyond the maximum one kilometre range previously possible.

The technology has the potential to allow Aramco to optimise its offshore operations via the 5G mesh and enable capabilities such as intelligent remote maintenance and remote operations. This will include monitoring and metering with IoT sensors, assisted operations for staff equipped with augmented reality headsets, novel safety and security features and potential for cost saving and efficient energy use.

Inmarsat Maritime’s advanced ground infrastructure offers inbuilt cybersecurity and data protection. Ships operating further from the shore will be able to supplement ground-based 5G with satellite coverage, thanks to Inmarsat Maritime’s bonded network solution, which is already on board more than 14,000 vessels worldwide.


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