Global Eagle, the provider of high-speed inflight connectivity solutions, and Telesat have cleared a milestone in the verification phase for Global Eagle’s Airconnect Ka IFC terminal to be used with the Telesat Lightspeed Low Earth Orbit (LEO) network.
Telesat and Global Eagle engineers recently carried out network simulations to determine the efficiency of the antenna at flight speed and to mimic the real-world experience of use cases requiring fibre-like latency and high-speed throughput from the aircraft, including online gaming, cloud-hosted applications, and content-rich social media. Global Eagle’s Airconnect Ka system provides efficiency in satellite communications while maintaining full performance when the target satellite is close to the horizon.
Rigorous testing in multi-orbit configurations achieved round-trip latency of 19ms, compared to traditional geostationary satellite (GEO) networks which experience over 600ms of latency.
Commenting on the development, Tim Southard, Vice President Networks, Global Eagle said: “Our Airconnect Ka system, in conjunction with the Telesat Lightspeed network, will enable airline passengers to play online games like Fortnite and Roblox, live stream video, upload high-quality holiday pictures and videos to Instagram and zip through Salesforce and Outlook tasks, as they would on broadband fibre, while at 40,000 feet.”
The Airconnect Ka antenna system is ready to use now on the current generation of GEO satellites and is planned to be certified on the Telesat Lightspeed network in the future. Currently, Global Eagle is using Telesat GEO satellites to provide high-quality connectivity to its large number of mobility customers in maritime, aviation and other markets.
Mike Pigott, Executive Vice President Connectivity, Global Eagle, added: “Achieving this critical milestone lays the foundation for the eventual certification of our Airconnect Ka solution on the Telesat Lightspeed constellation. Our airline customers will benefit from the extraordinary advantages of Telesat Lightspeed network earlier and with few upgrades required after installation. Telesat’s expertise and the advanced Telesat Lightspeed network make us proud to be working together to show the industry-changing capability of LEO. Since 2018, our partnership with Telesat has demonstrated the smooth transition from existing GEO satellite networks to LEO satellites inflight. We now have the confidence to begin installations this year.”
Erwin Hudson, Vice President, LEO, Telesat, commented: “With Global Eagle’s Ka terminal evolution, airlines can be confident that they are future-proofing their connectivity decisions today. Telesat Lightspeed is the only enterprise-grade LEO network that can provide gate-to-gate, fibre-quality connectivity to every passenger on every flight, anywhere in the world. Collaborating with future-focused companies like Global Eagle will enable us to achieve our goal of transforming inflight connectivity with the Telesat Lightspeed network.”