19 May 2015: Flight and lab tests of High Data Rate (HDR) capabilities for Inmarsat SwiftBroadband have been successfully completed.
The new service, developed by Inmarsat, Honeywell Aerospace and Eclipse, will double the in-flight Wi-Fi speeds for commercial, government and helicopter SwiftBroadband users through a simple on-aircraft software upgrade.
SwiftBroadband HDR gives aircraft operators and passengers faster and more efficient broadband for browsing the internet, checking emails, accessing instant messages and using streaming services while in the air.
Honeywell developed and tested HDR capabilities for Inmarsat’s L-band SwiftBroadband network over its proven HSD-400 and HD-710 onboard hardware. Eclipse used its Aero+ Velocity IP aggregation solution to combine four HDR channels to provide average speeds of 2.15 Mbps with peak speeds of around 2.75 Mbps, which is approximately two times faster than existing SwiftBroadband in-flight connections.
“SwiftBroadband has a very strong future as part of Inmarsat’s portfolio. We are fully committed to our global L-band services and will continue to develop our technology to provide more bandwidth and better services,” said Kurt Weidemeyer, Vice President, Inmarsat Business and General Aviation.
“We are working hard with our partners across all commercial and government markets to ensure we provide the very best connectivity now and in the future. Our L-band and Ka-band networks are the only ones that provide consistent global coverage, and our EU-wide S-band network will provide additional capacity in what is widely predicted to be a region of very high demand.”
Jack Jacobs, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management for Honeywell Aerospace, said: “The new High Data Rate service is a great addition to Honeywell’s broad connectivity product suite and offers another option for operators and passengers to enhance their in-flight experience. Whether it is L-band, GX Ka-band or air-to-ground, Honeywell offers the right technology solution to match the evolving connectivity needs of aircraft operators.”
Since its launch in 2007, SwiftBroadband has been provided on thousands of aircraft worldwide. SwiftBroadband HDR, which builds on the X-Stream service enhancement introduced in 2010, supports four new streaming rates up to the fully combined rate of 2.15 Mbps, and offers flexibility to give users access to the configuration that most precisely meets their needs. Customers can choose to have higher rate communications to or from the aircraft or bidirectionally, and they purchase only the bandwidth they need.
Marc Pinault, Eclipse General Manager, said: “SwiftBroadband HDR is another tool that allows us to continue delivering the most flexible and highest bandwidth solutions available for both the Business Aviation ‘office in the sky’ environment and the government sector Airborne Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) requirements.”
With Airborne ISR, SwiftBroadband HDR allows aero platforms to be retasked immediately, maximising the success of each sortie and increasing operational tempo. The solution also meets key requirements for full-motion video.
Andy Start, President Global Government, Inmarsat, said: “Government airborne assets are finite and the operational requirement to receive the highest quality information in the shortest possible time is invaluable as it increases operational effectiveness.”