Intelsat General Achieves Delivery of High-Speed Broadband and Video to Aircraft Using 3 Satellites across 4 Continents

Intelsat General Corp. (IGC) successfully demonstrated the capability to simultaneously send secure video and high-speed broadband signals to and from an in-flight aircraft automatically switching beams across three satellites over four continents.

The data rates achieved in recent demonstration were 6 Mbps to and 1 Mbps from the moving aircraft. These rates enabled the sending of multiple video feeds in each direction while simultaneously conducting interactive broadband exchanges. The flight path covered an area that crossed three continents served by four different satellites. Fully automated beam switching as the signal moved from one Ku-band satellite to the next occurred flawlessly, exactly where expected, and without centralized control. The airborne terminal had its own world map and, based on GPS location, connected to the appropriate satellite and inaugurated switches as necessary. 

“This demonstration shows that we can achieve high-data rates and beam switching for comms-on-the-move applications using our global fleet of geosynchronous satellites,” said Kay Sears, President of Intelsat General. “Our government and commercial customers have come to depend upon our fleet’s ability to send and receive data from any location, and the beam switching, along with high data rates achieved in this test, opens an important new capability for these users.”

Engineers measured the throughputs and conducted video and data transmissions between multiple computers on the plane and multiple computers located at a customer’s various ground locations.  Data throughput consistently stayed at 6 Mbps to the aircraft and 1 Mbps from it during multi-hour flights across entire beam coverage areas.

Per the customer’s request, all testing was conducted in a secure, encrypted, environment.  With each satellite switch, the encryption devices automatically re-synchronized and re-established the secure links.

This recent test culminated a series of private aero demonstrations, utilizing multiple aero RF terminals, on numerous satellite beams, in various TDM, TDMA, and SCPC configurations.  All tests were conducted using the iDirect IDX3.0 platform.

Source: Intelsat General Corp.
Date: Aug 6, 2012