If you, like me, often need to fly to various parts of the world by air you will know that while flying there is often no connectivity: no cellphone service, no email, no Internet. The break can sometimes be welcome: to read a book, listen to music or maybe take in a movie. However, once you arrive at your destination you have to respond to the emails and voicemails that have piled up while you were in the air – the ‘penalty’ for having been out of touch!
If you were hoping for a solution to this problem then I have some good news. I had the opportunity to experience something amazing: wideband connectivity everywhere during Inmarsat’s recent ‘around the world’ test on a Gulfstream aircraft. Testing validated the seamless connectivity of our Global Xpress satellite communication system. In fact, even while flying over remote areas of the Pacific Ocean at 40,000 feet, I was connected as though I was in my office – email, Internet, voice calls, FaceTime – all easily and reliably accessible. This always-on worldwide capability for aero users is part of Inmarsat’s global mobility-centric strategy that is truly unique in the market.
We build our systems with the highly mobile user in mind. Historically, government and business aero users have relied on a patchwork of coverage from broadcast-centric operators. These users can now enjoy the tremendous capabilities of Global Xpress; the first and only end-to-end Ka-band solution that delivers worldwide service from a single operator.
We design our space and ground segment elements for globally available and seamless connectivity. The Global Xpress spot beam architecture provides uniform coverage for consistent, uninterrupted global access, delivering SATCOM as a Service. As a managed service, we deliver 24/7 control, monitoring and support as well as terminals enabled by one-touch commissioning, with solid service level agreement and committed information rates.
Proof in performance
Our ‘around the world’ test on a Gulfstream IV aircraft traveled a total of 25,732 miles across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres in less than eight days. Throughout it all, Global Xpress ‘aced’ the test, demonstrating seamless coverage for the entire journey with consistent service, along with beam-to-beam and satellite-to-satellite handovers.
A Global Xpress subscription-based data plan was configured for the Honeywell aero Tail Mount Antenna (TMA), with a committed information rate of 4Mbps forward and 1Mbps return. Uniform coverage and service were delivered to the aircraft as it moved across 28 beams with seamless handovers – three satellite-to-satellite handovers were accomplished successfully in under one minute.
This level of uninterrupted access to wideband connectivity with “one system/one terminal” and guaranteed performance was once a dream. Global Xpress is making it a reality.
And this is just the beginning: a fourth Global Xpress satellite is now finishing up in orbit testing and a fifth Global Xpress satellite is planned to launch in 2019, to provide additional capacity across the Middle East, Europe and Indian subcontinent. Two Inmarsat-6 satellites, our first dual payload covering both L-band and Ka-band spectrum, are under construction and following launch, will add depth to the capacity of the existing Global Xpress constellation. The first satellite, Inmarsat-6 F1, is expected to be delivered at the start of next decade.
Indeed, the connectivity, reliability, capacity and capabilities of our communication services – no matter where you are – will create such an outstanding impression on aero users that they may actually start believing that they really are in their offices.
If this sounds like something you would like to learn more about, then please contact us.
About the author
Steve Gizinski is Inmarsat Vice-President, Special Programs, U.S. Government Business Unit, providing focused support to the Special Operations, Intelligence and aero/UAV customer communities.
Steve brings to this role 30 years of in-depth experience overseeing mission-critical technology efforts for commercial, intelligence, and U.S. Department of Defense customers. Prior to joining Inmarsat, Steve was the President and CEO of CVG, Inc., a SATCOM start-up and before that held a variety of management positions at Northrop Grumman, Hughes Space and Communications and Lockheed Martin.