How much of my internet bandwidth will the AIS data-feed consume?

No worries on that! AIS-transmitted data packets are very small in size (about 50 bytes per each position report) so the bandwidth needed will be a negligible fraction of any ADSL, Cable or even dial-up internet connection. Here is a rough estimation regarding bandwidth consumption per hour:

  • Say, there are 30 vessels within the range of your station.
  • Each vessel transmits her position 10 times per minute on average.
  • Each message is, give or take, 50 bytes long.
  • That means that you will be consuming 30*10*60*50 = less than 0,9 Megabytes per hour (2-3 Kilobytes per second)

However, a lot of data can be accumulated over time, especially in high-traffic areas. If you are using a pay-per-use internet connection or an on-board satellite connection, the available bandwidth may be limited.

In you need to reduce the rate of data transmissions over the Internet, you may use a program such as "AIS Dispatcher". It can be configured to "downsample" the rate of transmitted messages. For example, you may set a 60-second transmission interval and, thus, transmit only a single position per minute for any vessel that is within your station's range. An interval of 2-3 minutes would still be sufficient for our applications and it would dramatically decrease your bandwidth consumption (to less than 0,045 Megabytes per hour).