Network connectivity and communications have drastically transformed how the maritime industry carries out its critical business operations. Tasks such as voyage planning, vessel performance analysis, maintenance/manning expense estimation and onboard physical security can now be conducted with reduced cost, greater efficiency and better-defined accuracy, resulting in stronger revenues, enhanced profitability and competitive advantages.
However, all network communications and services between ships and ports, whether it be email servers, relay servers or web servers, need to be managed and optimized. And the challenge for most maritime solution providers and customers is choosing a hardware solution that brings optimal connectivity, airtight network security, unblemished operation efficiency and the best return on investment.
One of the leading providers for maritime network management solutions approached Lanner with the intention of phasing out their then hardware devices with even more capable and value-added appliances.
The hardware appliances, to be installed and deployed inside headquarters and onboard vessels, must first of all be a complete and rugged network management solution intended for facilitating most network communications and network security purposes that include e-mail/relay/web servers, UTM, firewall, VPN, IPS and WAN optimization. Next, it must provide flexibility for bandwidth control, workload management and cost-effective traffic routing between network services.
Thirdly, it must have built-in hardware-assisted security engine for cryptography, data compression, and pattern matching. And finally, it should also be capable of speeding up data packet processing for applications such as real-time reporting.
Lanner’s FW-7525, a fanless desktop x86 network security platform with Intel® Atom™ C2000 Series “Rangeley” CPU, was unequivocally selected as the ideal solution because it is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor C2358/C2518/C2558, making available either dual-core or quad-core processing power for, in this particular use case, a fleet management network communications hub inside headquarters’ operation center. When configured with six LAN ports, the FW-7525 provides bottleneck-free performance for accommodating a multi-service architecture running multiple bandwidth-hungry applications.
Powered by Intel®’s C2000-based SoC, the FW-7525 comes with Intel® QuickAssist technology and Intel® Data Plane Development Kit (DPDK) for improving security functionality, performance and reliability for both wired and wireless applications delivered to and fro the said network management hub located at the fleet headquarter. Both Technologies exponentially strengthen the LEC-7525’s security capabilities, delivering scalable security acceleration performance ranging from 10Gbps to 100Gbps (50×2 of DH8955) and 5Gbps to 46 Gbps (23×2 of DH8955) for cryptography, data compression, packet processing and pattern matching.
Finally, Intel® Advanced Encryption Standard New Instructions (AES-NI), also built into the FW-7525, perform the decryption and encryption completely in hardware without the need for software lookup tables, providing not only an extra layer of security but also additional performance boost.
On the other hand, Lanner’s fanless NCA-1010 was selected as the endpoint internet gateway device.
NCA-1010’s pocket-size form factor measures at 124.26 x 19.4 x 119.66 mm. Its SFF design allows it to be deployed almost anywhere onboard a vessel’s space-challenged control room. The NCA-1010 low-powered Intel® Atom™ E3815 (codenamed Bay Trail) SoC offers satisfying processing power, making it not only the ideal wireless controller for managing crew members’ connected devices but also the perfect edge security gateway for protecting all vessels’ business-critical devices from malicious cyber attacks.
Finally, the NCA-1010 comes with 3x RJ-45 Ethernet LAN ports and 1x mini-PCIe expansion socket for Wi-Fi/3G modules, 1x USB 2.0 port and 1x USB 3.0 port for connecting peripheral devices and 1x HDMI port for full HD digital signage display.
- Real-time updates about weather, currents and sea conditions for undertaking voyage and logistics planning, and for evaluating vessel efficiency.
- High-speed broadband internet access and VoIP for ensuring onboard crew’s welfare morale and for conduct training.
- Secure and speedy file transfer and NOA/NOD submission for speeding up ships’ arrivals and departures.
- Shared or dedicated isolated networks with VPN integration and remote access for database synchronization and more streamlined fleet/personnel management.
- Configurable firewalls and encryption for content filtering, virus protection and overall data/network integrity.
- Least cost routing between any and all of the above network services for maximizing network resource on all vessels.
Lanner’s FW-7525 and NCA-1010 successfully replaced another manufacturer’s competing products and were proven indispensable to providing maritime network management simplicity, service delivery optimization, operation agility and network security for guaranteeing maritime operators’ business-critical communication capabilities and their competitive advantages.