Norway is proud to launch the first fully electric tourist boat which will explore the beautiful Fjords. The carbon fibre construction is propelled soundlessly forwards by two electrical permanent magnet motors, each with 450 kW, and the boat can carry up to 400 passengers, travelling between Flåm and Gudvangen five times each day. This really is the Future of the Fjords. One of the tours starts in Western Norway which is incredibly beautiful, but also incredibly fragile. The route between Flåm and Gudvangen is on UNESCO´s world heritage list.
When asked what the most operations critical element on board the battery boat is, the answer is clear:
“WiFi and internet, without a doubt. If we lose those two we´d be laid up within 24 hours. The systems for actually powering the boat forwards don´t depend on the internet, but all the passenger protocols, updates etc – the things that keep the tourists content – depends on an internet connection at all times, the captain says.”
Emcom delivered some equipment to the hybrid sister boat of Future of the Fjords in 2016; Vision of the Fjords.
One of the reasons behind that is Emcom´s competence in the field of robust mobile communication, specifically antennas and advanced routers. For the new boat they chose Cradlepoint, a reliable mobile router that can connect to available access points on shore as well. That way the boat doesn´t need to use the 4G network when it has access to a land based by the pier.
A Cradlepoint is better suited for this purpose because it utilizes load balancing as a method for distributing available bandwidth between the users. The router has an option for switching between operators in events of bad coverage, and is also equipped with a very good WiFi module.
It is important to remember that even though the routers are a very important component of the connectivity solution, it would not work without the Poynting OMNI-291 antennas (ensuring a stable and reliable reception and transmission of cellular (3G and 4G signal) signals so the ship is connected to the internet at all times), nor would passengers be able to connect to the internet, without the high performance dual band Wi-Fi Poynting OMNI-296 antennas. The antennas are the critical element. In the area where the Future of the Fjords is located in Norway, the internal antennas of the router isn´t sufficient. With the high mountains on each side and the constantly moving boat, the conditions are especially demanding.
On the roof of Future of the Fjords there are eight 4G antennas. The Poynting OMNI-A0291, two for each 4G module inside the router. The OMNI-296 ensure that all networks can be connected to as this is an ultra wide band antenna (450-2700MHz) which covers all current global popular cellular frequencies. In addition to that they´ve mounted WLAN omni-directional antennas from the same manufacturer, Poynting OMNI-296, to provide the guests with better WLAN coverage. With the dual band Wi-Fi antennas, internet connections of the vessels staff and boat equipment can be clearly separated from the passenger internet hotspot services provider on board. All the antennas have been painted black for design reasons.
Emcom and Poynting feel proud, for being chosen as the total supplier for the mobile broadband solution for the first fully electric tourist boat. – The Fjords didn´t want some half way solution, they wanted a first-class solution that functions perfectly in a demanding environment. It´s fun to be headhunted for just that, Alf says with a smile.