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KVH Industries Unveils TracNet™ Mobile Internet Server for High-speed Internet


TracNet Makes Broadband Internet Access at Sea a Reality via Mobile DirecPC®, Available only from KVH Industries

MIDDLETOWN, RI – October 24, 2001 – Broadband Internet access is now a reality aboard vessels with the introduction of the TracNet™ Mobile Internet Server from KVH Industries (Nasdaq: KVHI). When connected to a Digital Video Broadcast (DVB)-compatible KVH TracVision® antenna and the high-powered version of the DirecPC® satellite service, TracNet receives Internet downloads at speeds reaching 400 kilobits per second (Kbps). This new mobile Internet server brings together all of the elements necessary to offer high-speed Internet and wireless data access through the same award-winning TracVision antennas used to receive satellite TV entertainment.

“The TracNet Mobile Internet Server is the newest component in KVH’s mobile satellite communications solution,” said Martin Kits van Heyningen, president and chief executive officer. “The combination of TracNet, our TracVision satellite TV antennas, and our status as the exclusive reseller of mobile DirecPC Internet service for U.S. consumers has positioned KVH as the one company that can provide a comprehensive, satellite-based television, Internet, and communications solution to the American mobile consumer.”

TracNet consists of the server, a DirecPC modem, and a cellular/satellite return path antenna. Any one of KVH’s existing DVB-compatible TracVision antennas can be used to receive the high-powered DirecPC downloads and relay them to the TracNet server. Two-way access to Internet data from any laptop or PC aboard is available through TracNet’s 802.11b wireless network, which permits multiple users to surf the web at any time from virtually anywhere on the vessel. Requests for additional data, outgoing e-mail, and other information are relayed to DirecPC through TracNet’s return path, which includes a land-line connection for use while at dockside and a wireless satellite/cellular system for use underway.

Not only does TracNet provide access to broadband Internet data, but it does so using the existing DVB-compatible TracVision antennas that many KVH customers already have aboard their vessels. As a result, passengers and crew can easily switch from their favorite satellite TV entertainment to high-speed, fully functional Internet access without purchasing a new antenna. At the same time, all future TracVision antennas will be “TracNet-ready,” providing new TracVision owners the option to access the Internet via KVH’s mobile Internet solution.

“The TracNet system offers a dramatic increase in download speed compared to existing mobile Internet solutions,” explained Ian Palmer, vice president of satellite sales. “Internet downloads will be delivered to TracNet users via DirecPC at speeds reaching 400 Kbps, 6 times faster than the more expensive Inmarsat B HSD, 7 times faster than the 56 Kbps dial-up connections found in most homes, and almost 30 times faster than the next fastest alternative mobile data connections. This translates into significant cost savings based on download size. For instance, a 1 megabyte file would typically cost $0.26 to receive via TracNet versus $3.70 using a cellular modem or almost $42.00 using Iridium.”

The initial TracNet Mobile Internet Server will be offered for marine vessels. KVH has fielded initial versions of the product aboard Canadian Coast Guard vessels. A TracNet system suitable for use aboard recreational vehicles, trucks, motor coaches, and automobiles will be introduced soon.

“The launch of TracNet and the introduction of mobile DirecPC directly relate to our ongoing development of ultra-low profile satellite antennas suitable for use aboard sport utility vehicles, mini-vans, and smaller automobiles,” remarked Kits van Heyningen. “An exploding population of Internet users, increasing acceptance of wireless technology as a means to access the Internet, and the transformation of vehicles in multimedia platforms is opening an exciting new market, and KVH is able to offer the only mobile broadband solution.”

The DirecPC service was developed by Hughes Network Systems, a leader in satellite technology and worldwide communications systems. Broadcast using Bell ExpressVu’s high-powered Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) satellite and available to mobile users only through KVH, the DirecPC signal will be accessible using any of KVH’s 18- and 24-inch DVB-compatible TracVision satellite antennas mounted on boats and vehicles anywhere within the continental United States and as far as 100 miles off the coast.

KVH Industries, Inc., is an international leader in developing and manufacturing innovative, mobile, high-bandwidth satellite communications systems, tactical navigation products, and fiber optic products. The company is based in Middletown, Rhode Island, and has a fiber optic research and manufacturing facility in Tinley Park, Illinois, and a European sales office in Hoersholm, Denmark.

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