Author Topic: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships  (Read 2865 times)

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jollyjacktar

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Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« on: January 11, 2018, 06:51:10 »
In order to both attract younger folks into becoming sailors and improve the quality of life for those who already are, Wi-Fi hotspots will soon be fitted out on ship.

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Navy dropping 'draconian' policy on warship Wi-Fi, admiral says

Finding work-life balance for sailors forces navy to revise decades-old policies

By Murray Brewster, CBC News  Posted: Jan 11, 2018 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Jan 11, 2018 5:53 AM ET

For the navy's most senior enlisted man it was a seminal moment.

It was — in today's terms — the most ordinary of scenes, but the fact it was taking place in a mess aboard the frigate HMCS Charlottetown was extraordinary.

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Michel Vigneault was amazed to see a sailor having a Facetime conversation with family back home on a smartphone.

The moment neatly captured the conundrum he and the top brass have faced in making the navy, which has for a decade been perpetually short of sailors, an appealing place to work.

The moment encapsulated two issues: the longstanding prohibition on Wi-Fi coverage aboard warships and the amount of time sailors are away from home.

Both have become central to the retention and recruiting makeover that is underway as part of the Liberal government's recently introduced defence strategy.

The ban on Wi-Fi was an obvious irritant.

"I realized then how important it is. Maybe not for my generation, because we didn't grow up with that, but for younger sailors, being connected is very, very important," Vigneault told CBC News is a recent interview. "Everything we can do to enable that for the benefit of the sailor and his or her family is very, very important."

Infrequent chats

The navy has dropped what its top sailor called the "draconian" policy on the technology and has embarked on a program to install Wi-Fi on each of its warships.

"There are other navies that operate with NATO that have Wi-Fi in far more spaces than we do." said Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. "And we're saying 'No you can't have it aboard' — period? That's crazy."

The U.S. navy began installing 4G LTE networks aboard its ships in 2012, while Canadians sailors have over the same period of time been forced to stow their cellphones while at sea — particularly when in secured areas — and rely on the occasional satellite phone conversation with family at home.

Those infrequent chats conducted through "morale phones" were largely dependant on the warship's jammed-up operational network.

Lloyd said last summer the crew of HMCS Toronto bought a Wi-Fi kit and installed it for use in non-secure locations aboard the ship, demonstrating it could be done expeditiously.

The coastal patrol ship HMCS Summerside had done the same, according to a navy publication.

The Wi-Fi works while a warship is in port — home or otherwise — and Lloyd said they are working on creating access while the ship is at sea, in much the same manner airlines now offer connectivity for passengers in the air.

Aside from obvious security issues, which the navy insists it has a handle on, the introduction of Wi-Fi brings with it questions about privacy, social media addiction and, potentially, policing of content. Many of those issues are covered by the military's overall social media policy, but until recently they were not matters individual ship commanders had to routinely consider.

Work-life balance

Getting the quality of work-life balance right has also forced the navy to revisit and revise long-standing deployment policies.

The shortage of sailors has meant an increase in what is known as "detached postings," which has seen crew members do back-to-back deployments at sea for months on end.

"There is nothing worse than going from ship to ship," said Lloyd. "We are [now] measuring, down to the sailor, the number of detached postings there are."

A flag officer — namely a fleet admiral or task force commander — will now have to sign off on deploying a sailor for more than 180 days per year.

And ideally, Lloyd said, the navy is trying to avoid sending someone to sea for that length of time years in a row.

It is a sea change for an institution that, for decades, gauged its effectiveness not by how long individual sailors were away but by the numbers of days its individual ships spent on the ocean.

Just how far out of step the navy has been with the rest of society was underlined when senior brass met recently with pollsters to discuss, among other things, getting millennials interested in a career at sea.   

Lloyd said the research found the navy was — in some instances — going in precisely the opposite direction to the expectations of the next generation.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/navy-warship-wifi-1.4481346

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 08:07:58 »
This is a most excellent move and announcement.  Well done to RCN leadership!
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jollyjacktar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 11:00:12 »
For those of us inland on IR, I am curious if the 180 day will apply to us as well.  Would be nice to see a HLTA every 180 days instead of once a year like Santa Claus.  I plan to send this question up the flag pole and see what happens.

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 11:46:00 »
For those of us inland on IR, I am curious if the 180 day will apply to us as well.  Would be nice to see a HLTA every 180 days instead of once a year like Santa Claus.  I plan to send this question up the flag pole and see what happens.
IR is a personal decision. Operational deployments are not. Why would we give them equal benefits?

Offline Furniture

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 07:01:03 »
I have been told about the plan to do the 180 day thing for a few years now, and can personally attest that up until August there was no real enforcement of it. I sailed for an 8 1/2 month trip, finished my post deployment leave and a week later was back at sea for BSSRT and RAS WUPS with a new crew on my old ship. Anything they can do to make life at sea a bit better for the people that actually sail is a major bonus.

jollyjacktar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 08:54:05 »
IR is a personal decision. Operational deployments are not. Why would we give them equal benefits?

A full posting is not always a possibility for some and IR becomes the only logical avenue to pursue.  Just as Operational Deployments are not always forced, I have two under my belt that I volunteered for.  It's not a black and white world.  Besides, there are monetary and leave benefits for being on deployment to compensate the member for their participation.  Both situations have family back at home who would benefit with an improved QOL with having them back if possible after 180 days for however long that might be.  Why wouldn't you want to see both families benefit?

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 11:17:02 »
I have been told about the plan to do the 180 day thing for a few years now, and can personally attest that up until August there was no real enforcement of it. I sailed for an 8 1/2 month trip, finished my post deployment leave and a week later was back at sea for BSSRT and RAS WUPS with a new crew on my old ship. Anything they can do to make life at sea a bit better for the people that actually sail is a major bonus.

My first thought is that command teams should stay in place for at least a year post deployment.  Too often they switch out upon arrival at home port and the new command team wants to go, go, go with no sympathy for what was completed prior to their arrival.

My two Naval deployments had the commands switch our the day after we got home.  I will reserve my opinions on the actions of the incoming command teams for the C&POs mess over a drink.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 11:19:48 by Halifax Tar »
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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2019, 21:22:49 »
Bumped with a new reference from a recent conference in the U.S. ...
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The next generation of Canadian sailors has grown up with phones in their hands, and they're not likely to give up their connectivity for life on the high seas.

When working with industry partners designing the technology needed on future Royal Canadian Navy ships, leaders are putting internet connection high on the list, Rear Adm. Casper Donovan, director of the navy's general future ship capabilities, said Tuesday.

"We have sailors who've grown up in a digital world -- they are digital," Donovan said at the annual Sea-Air-Space expo near Washington, D.C. "... When they embark on a Canadian surface combatant and we tell them to lock up their phone, they won't just go 'OK.'

"They won't join the navy," he said.

The Royal Canadian Navy only recently lifted its ban on Wi-Fi at sea. Last year, a sailor making a FaceTime call with family members using ship Wi-Fi made national news. Vice Adm. Ron Lloyd, head of the Royal Canadian Navy, called the service's strict rules about stowing cell phones away while at sea "draconian," according to CBC News.

"There are other navies that operate with NATO that have Wi-Fi in far more spaces than we do," Lloyd said. "And we're saying, 'No you can't have it aboard' -- period? That's crazy."

Donovan acknowledged that opening up Wi-Fi networks doesn't come without concern. Cybersecurity remains a top priority, he said, but it must not stop the Royal Canadian Navy from making technological progress.

"What we were seeing from a Royal Canadian Navy aspect is that [we're told] we can't do that digital thing, can't put Wi-Fi on this ship, we can't put anything in the cloud ... because of cybersecurity," he said.

But the world is changing quickly, and the military must adapt, he added ...
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Offline NavyHopeful

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2019, 00:47:58 »
My biggest issue with this entire story is the fact that people are being misled WRT the access to the WIFI onboard.  This system is not much different than when we used to get a bunch of WIFI hotspots and set them up in the hangar while alongside in a foreign port.  The only difference now is that instead of 4 or 5 SIM cards, we are getting one, and instead of splitting the bandwidth across 5 devices, we are now clogging 250 or so users into one network path with 4 access points across the ship.

Picture this:  5 funnels with individual streams being filtered to 50 people each (what we used to have) and one funnel (same size as any of the original 5) providing one stream to 250 people (what we have now).

The other misconception about the WIFI system is that we only have access to it when we have a valid SIM card for the country we are in (not too hard when we are in Canada, but Europe can be intricate), AND when we get within range of shore.  That's right, our WIFI system onboard is only available while we are alongside in port.  I read this article, and nowhere did I see it mentioned.  Granted, I may have overlooked it, but I have talked to family members who have read this article, and wonder why I can't FaceTime them while we are at sea, because "we have WIFI now."

I am grateful that we are starting to catch up with the rest of the world WRT technology, but it would be nice for it to be reported ACCURATELY.  It makes it intrinsically difficult to explain to family members that what they've been told is not the complete truth when they only have two avenues of information; us and the media.

Just my  :2c:

Rev

Offline Lumber

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2019, 07:03:02 »
That's right, our WIFI system onboard is only available while we are alongside in port.  I read this article, and nowhere did I see it mentioned.  Granted, I may have overlooked it, but I have talked to family members who have read this article, and wonder why I can't FaceTime them while we are at sea, because "we have WIFI now."

This.
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