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Aramco, Inmarsat sign MoU on introducing 5G network in Arabian Gulf

Aramco, Viasat & Inmarsat sign MOU for 5G mesh connectivity collaboration. (Image source: Inmarsat)


Viasat venture, Inmarsat Maritime, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with energy company Aramco to kick-start trial works on building a 5G 'mesh' network to provide high-bandwidth connectivity for Aramco’s offshore activities in the Arabian Gulf 

This follows an outdoor network testing completed sucessfully in Rutland Water, UK, in February, which demonstrated reliable and high throughput millimeter 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 and how they perform under the region's extreme weather conditions will be conducted in the second half of the year. Following the completion of all trials, the makers are anticipating that the 5G mesh will turn out to be the world-first long-range, high-throughput mIAB deployment over the sea – far beyond the maximum 1km range previously possible.

The technology is said to be capable of high-speed communication while meeting the demands of the region’s climate – including extreme heat, sandstorms, wind and water evaporation. Aramco can leverage it to optimise offshore operations through 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.

Ben Palmer OBE, president, Inmarsat Maritime, said, "Our technologies provide the ingredients for a truly bespoke solution, and our exciting new partnership with Aramco is the latest example of this. This new 5G mesh technology will be a significant step in helping Aramco maximize site efficiency, improve sustainability, provide a better experience for crew and protect the business from cyber-attacks. By combining many proven technologies into one integrated ecosystem, our bonded network is a single solution that can meet all customer demands – no matter how challenging the environment."

Nabil Al-Nuaim, senior vice president - digital and information technology, Aramco said, "By extending high speed connectivity to our remote and harsh offshore sites through 5G mesh technology, we aim to accelerate our plans to deploy advanced use cases under the corporate digital transformation vision. This is expected to help us further optimize our operations and improve the work environment for our operators. Our collaboration with Viasat to run the first maritime trial in the world for 5G mesh technology is a testament to our commitment to develop and deploy advanced technologies. Working with technology leaders and capitalizing on our operational experience in the field are key components for successful technology developments."