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How to prevent unwanted applications and automatic updates from consuming valuable bandwidth

Trying to manage your satellite communications efficiently in today’s BYOD (bring-your-own-device) world is becoming more and more difficult. With new applications being developed every second, it’s becoming increasingly important for vessel owners to effectively manage usage of the on-board satellite communications bandwidth.

Most vessel owners are also unaware that mobile devices automatically download updates to programs/operating systems and auto-sync photos/videos in the background, often the user isn’t even aware this is happening. This is convenient whilst at home, connected to your unlimited ‘SuperFibre’ broadband package, but not when offshore using satellite.

Recently one of our customers’ vessels were experiencing issues with their on-board communications systems, receiving slower than expected speeds. The vessel operator immediately logged into myastportal and via the INTEGRA See service, was easily able to pinpoint a singular encrypted application which was consuming unusually high amounts of bandwidth. With normal methods of managing bandwidth on-board via standard firewall rules or devices which often take a level of IT knowledge, the encrypted app would have remained unidentifiable. However, INTEGRA’s unique deep packet inspection enabled Apple Photo Stream to be recognised instantly as the culprit and using the INTEGRA Control service, the vessel operator was able to block the application and restore normality to the vessel's satellite communications.

The information provided via INTEGRA See allowed the Captain to identify the issue as one of the vessel’s crew member’s iPhone and wife’s iPad being synced. So, whilst she was happily taking photos of their children at home, her device was automatically syncing the high-resolution photos to his iPhone, consuming the vessel's bandwidth and slowing down the Wi-Fi speeds on-board. 

INTEGRA Control gave the Captain the option to set restrictions on the usage of Apple Photo Stream, which still allowed the crew member to receive updates on his children, but in a controlled manner through applications like iMessage and WhatsApp.

INTEGRA Control is an exclusive service from AST. It can identify, block and shape any traffic from different types of applications, including encrypted ones, by allowing usage limits to be set for individual categories. INTEGRA Control can send alerts and notifications to alert personnel when they are nearing, or have reached their pre-applied limits, therefore, improving the efficiency of on-board communications.

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