Dubai 2011: Inmarsat set to boost SwiftBroadband on helicopters
Inmarsat is working on new “bearers” or waveforms that will push its L-band SwiftBroadband service to the limit. The existing (up to) 432kbps download speeds may be pushed to 500kbps, or even as much as 700kbps, when the new high data rate (HDR) bearers are introduced in 2013.
The new waveforms will also be able to “cut” through troublesome helicopter blades. New interleaving bearers are being developed that will re-arrange information packets across a longer burst, making it more robust in tough conditions.
The current short-burst waveforms are not suited to use on helicopters as the rotor blade can interfere with the data, slowing down the rate at which information can be transferred.
It is also working on a new antenna design for its lightweight SwiftBroadband 200 (SB200) aeronautical service which, when combined with the new bearer technology, will increase coverage from 15 degrees elevation down to five degrees above the horizon, allowing it to work at higher latitudes.
SB200 is ideal for small business aircraft offering standard IP data up to 200kbps, circuit-switched voice telephony, and streaming IP data up to 16kbps.
Many manufacturers are now offering SB200 terminals for aircraft, including EMS Aviation with its Aspire 200LG. The transceiver is a two MCU unit that weighs just eight pounds and may be installed inside or outside the aircraft’s pressure vessel.