Inmarsat and VT iDirect advance Global Xpress capabilities

23 February 2017: Inmarsat and strategic technology partner VT iDirect have achieved a significant advance in the on-going development of Global Xpress (GX).

Over-the-air tests of iDirect’s next-generation DVB-S2X transmission technology achieved a forward channel throughput rate of 330 Mbps over a live Inmarsat GX satellite in orbit.  The successful tests were conducted in January 2017 and used iDirect’s next-generation iQ Series modem.

Global Xpress, Inmarsat’s high-speed, global, mobile broadband platform, entered global commercial service at the end of 2015 and has already been adopted by major private and public sector organisations across the world as their new standard for seamless, reliable broadband connectivity.

Next generation

“These tests demonstrate Inmarsat’s commitment to the continuing development of our GX platform, which will be supported by our next generation of satellites, already under construction,” said Michele Franci, Chief Technology Officer of Inmarsat.

“It is important to note that these results were not achieved in laboratory conditions but over a live GX satellite in orbit.  We will be able to increase the capabilities of the world’s first, globally available high-speed broadband network and meet the ever escalating bandwidth demands of users.

“Our partnership with iDirect and the deployment of their DVB-S2X technology is key to enhancing the user experience of our GX customers, delivering even greater performance and maximising the commercial and operational benefits of their high-speed broadband connectivity. For example, it is a key enabler for the replacement of expensive airline InFlight-Entertainment systems (IFE) with more capable, lightweight, connected streaming solutions that ensure all passengers on even the largest widebody aircraft can access streaming simultaneously.”

Increased resiliency

By incorporating iDirect’s next generation technology into future GX terminals, customers will enjoy a broad range of benefits including:

  • Higher forward and return throughput to individual terminals
  • Increased link resiliency
  • Increased spectral efficiency
  • Improved support of small aperture terminals, specifically aero terminals

Wayne Haubner, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Emerging Technologies at VT iDirect, said: “iDirect’s implementation of the DVB-S2X standard delivers significant improvements in bandwidth efficiency and capacity.

Network performance

“330 Mbps represents the highest throughput rate ever recorded over Global Xpress and demonstrates that iDirect’s DVB-S2X technology is ready to deliver. This is the first step in our partnership to push network performance well beyond what end users demand today and realise lower business costs.”

Inmarsat and iDirect intend to gradually introduce these enhanced capabilities to the GX network from 2018-19, deploying the new iDirect technology for customers across the aviation, maritime, government and enterprise sectors. Backward compatibility will be assured for existing users.