The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) is applying its Tactical Reachback Extended Communications (TREC) system to offshore applications at long distances. TREC requires a high transmission rate in harbor to sustain data transmission as the boat travels out to sea. Testing was performed by the NRL with Mercury Continuity (MC) and Intelligent Designs, LLC at the Port of Miami.
For testing, TREC sent a message from a cruise ship to a 760-foot-tall building. The data transmission rate started at 720 Mbps, much higher than regular rates for cruiseships, that are usually less than 10 Mbps. The test showed that at 16 miles from shore, the ship maintained a data rate of 100 Mbps. The ship kept reasonable communications out to 22 miles though there were multipath effects, blockage from other ships and cranes and buildings, and sea motion at long ranges.
Before being tested in maritime applications, TREC has been used as a high speed, line-of-sight data link between airplanes and ground stations. MC hopes to work with the NRL to develop maritime TREC that can maintain dependable communications up to 25 miles from shore. If TREC can be made to work in this range, it will improve two-way communication for cruise ships, freighter, the DoD and Navy, and civilians. MC expects to eventually apply the high transmission bandwidth of TREC to other wireless communication as well.