13th February 2017      The Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, Cape Town, South Africa

What is VDES?

AIS is well recognized and accepted as an important tool for safety of navigation and is a carriage requirement for SOLAS vessels (Class-A). With increasing demand for maritime VHF data communications, AIS has become heavily used for maritime safety, maritime situational awareness and port security. As a result, overloading of AIS 1 and AIS 2 created a need for additional AIS channels.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has recognised the efficiency and the necessity for digital communications, has produced technical standards and has revised the VHF marine band (RR Appendix 18) to designate channels for data transmission. It is recognized that both analogue voice communications and digital communications will share the band. The VDES, as envisioned by IALA and presented to ITU, addresses the identified need to protect AIS along with essential digital communications contributions for e-Navigation and GMDSS Modernization.

VDES is a technology that supplements AIS communications, and as such may be used for data communication of Maritime Safety Information (MSI) and supplementary distress communications.

ITU introduced a standard, with options for 25 kHz, 50 kHz and 100 kHz channels at data rates up to 307.2 kbps in order to improve spectrum efficiency in 2012. Both voice and data communications coexist in the VHF marine band.

Consequential to WRC-15, the ITU standard for VDES, Recommendation ITU-R M.2092-0, was approved. A remaining outstanding issue is the approval of the satellite component for the VDE channels which is targeted for approval at WRC-19.

ASM-25kHz VDE-25kHz VDE-50kHz VDE-100kHz
Data rate (maximum) 19.2kb/s 76.8kb/s 153.6kb/s 307.2kb/s