For this project, Canal & River Trust have investigated the availability and use of communication technologies in the UK
Automatic Identification System – AIS
The AIS system is in use around the UK in coastal and tidal waters. There is no compulsory requirement for this system on leisure craft on our inland waterways
River Information Services - RIS
No UK involvement in the RIS initiative and does not appear to be deployed in the UK.
Other Technology dedicated to Navigation Support
The other main system for communications, signalling and information exchange in support of navigation on the waterway is the Marine band VHF radio systems. Again these are predominantly in tidal waters; however there is use on the inland waterways. Mainly canals such as the Gloucester & Sharpness, through river navigations like the Aire & Calder or Weaver navigation, where there is a presence of freight traffic. Also on tidal sections of the rivers, Thames, Humber and Mersey and the Severn and Witham estuaries.
Generic Communication Technologies
Mobile telephone network
In the UK there are three main mobile telephony systems the older 2G (generally on GSM 900, GSM 1800 frequencies), the most prevalent 3G and the emerging new 4G networks.
Wi-Fi networks are the emerging wireless broad band technologies and there is a building network of free access Wi-Fi “Hot spots”. These networks tend to prove faster and more reliable that 3G broadband and with the increasing free access, it is worthy of mention.