The Shift to LEO: How Neuron Grid Maximizes Quality of Service While Also Managing Costs

March 12, 2024


  • Starlink and the broader LEO satellite market represent a groundbreaking leap in connectivity and promise to revolutionize the conventional satellite provider model.
  • To navigate this ecosystem shift effectively, maritime companies need to adopt strategies and tools to maximize Quality of Service with predictable levels of spend.
  • Neuron Grid, our AI-powered network management solution, maximizes Quality of Service over Starlink and other multi-orbit services by proactively measuring traffic demand by application type, estimating available bandwidth and orchestrating connectivity to deliver maximum Quality of Experience within given cost constraints.

Can you live stream an event in 4K, approximately 16Mbps per stream, from a ship at sea to the rest of the world while hundreds of social media influencers share their own videos in real time? Can you telecast Ultra HD IPTV streams to a cruise ship across multiple Starlink terminals while thousands of passengers and crew surf the internet? How can cruise lines and shipping companies ensure telemedicine applications that require high bandwidth are guaranteed to work during emergency situations?

We’re moving into the next era of connected experiences at sea, with LEO constellations being among the most exciting connectivity advancements in decades. Starlink, for example, is reshaping the satellite industry and unlocking a new standard for maritime connectivity by offering unprecedented speeds, reliability and coverage to vessels navigating even the most remote waters, where coverage is often limited or unavailable.

Starlink is also flipping the traditional satellite provider business model on its head. Legacy connectivity business models and technologies haven’t kept up with the evolving demands of those that rely on satellite communications, especially ships and planes. While there are many reasons for this, it’s refreshing to see a satellite provider try out a different approach. Instead of locking customers into multi-year contracts, they can pay month-to-month and scale up or down as needed, giving customers much more flexibility.

As the satellite ecosystem and business models evolve, one key change that we’re seeing companies grapple with is the shift away from service level guarantees. Companies that rely on satellite connectivity need to be able to maximize their Quality of Service (QoS) with predictable levels of spend, whether for a single vessel or across their fleet. 

Neuron Grid, our AI-powered network management solution, is able to do just that. Grid helps companies maximize their QoS over Starlink by using AI and machine learning to proactively estimate available bandwidth and orchestrate connectivity, from an application level and by user group, to the most appropriate communication service, while also managing bandwidth and cost constraints. Grid is able to correlate data and make decisions at a pace that would be impossible for a human, so in addition to maximizing QoS against costs, Grid is enabling a new era of digital transformation and experiences at sea.

Our maritime customers getting this right are focused on QoS optimization across a mix of connectivity services, not just LEO. That’s perhaps one of Starlink’s greatest unintended advantages. It’s the driving force behind the next evolution of multi-provider connectivity models, and it's unlocking opportunities for the broader industry to leverage new solutions, built with AI, machine learning and automation, to accelerate performance exponentially.

Consider what it would take to throw a large, highly produced event onboard a ship, in the middle of the ocean, with thousands of passengers and a live stream so that people can tune in from the mainland. This could be a conference or a music festival, with multiple 4K live streams, each consuming approximately 16Mbps streamed off the ship, in real-time. Meanwhile, thousands of influencers onboard are posting their own live streams on platforms like Instagram and TikTok. 

Historically, this type of event would take weeks of preparation for the connectivity aspect alone. Teams need to spin up separate networks and manually draft traffic policies, for example, dedicating Starlink terminals for specific traffic types, like IPTV. And they have to “guestimate” how much bandwidth is needed to ensure everything runs smoothly. With Grid, the technology does all the heavy lifting, saving on time and costs, while ensuring transparency and optimal QoS.

While hybrid, or multi-provider connectivity, solutions are not new, the ability to estimate traffic demand by application type, available bandwidth on Starlink and other connectivity services, and intelligently manage those solutions to dramatically increase value is – and it’s a game-changer. Neuron optimizes these hybrid networks to provide exceptional value while also controlling costs. 

As more LEO providers enter the market, adoption accelerates and business models continue to evolve, it’s critical that companies have strategies and tools in place to manage their QoS. Drop us a line if you’re interested in learning more about how Neuron can help your business!

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