SBB enhancement like having carpool lane in rush hour: Inmarsat

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Inmarsat has unveiled enhancements to its SwiftBroadband aeronautical service, which currently supports OnAir's in-flight mobile connectivity solution as well as connectivity for myriad business and government aircraft.

The London-based mobile satellite company says its network now supports a new higher-speed SwiftBroadband streaming class, which effectively allows an aircraft exclusive use of a satellite bearer.

This extra functionality will generally be available above 15 degrees elevation when the satellite resources are available. The new streaming class is being charged per minute similar to the existing 16 kbps, 32 kbps, 64 kbps and 128 kbps services.

In addition, Inmarsat is introducing new 8 kbps and 16 kbps streaming classes together with a dynamic 'Quality of Service', allowing onboard applications to use the bandwidth more efficiently.

Explaining the new enhancements to ATI today, Inmarsat head of marketing for aeronautical business Lars Ringertz says: "Here is a typical example of how the streaming classes work. Everybody is starting to talk about operational applications for in-flight connectivity. If you have SwiftBroadband on an aircraft, and you want to stream black box data to the ground, for example, you may want that application to have dedicated bandwidth.

"You can now dedicate 8 kbps, 16 kbps, 32 kbps, 64 kbps or 128 kbps to that service, depending on what you need. Think of it as a carpool lane on a Washington DC highway in rush hour. Instead of having two people in the car, you have a streaming class and you are guaranteed your own little lane."

Ringertz adds that, with the introduction of new streaming classes and dynamic 'Quality of Service', Inmarsat has "further enhanced SwiftBroadband as an application platform for the whole aircraft, positioning Inmarsat as the only provider capable of delivering safety services, operational applications as well as higher data rate connectivity through a single pipe to the aircraft".

Over 600 channels of the 432 kbps/channel SwiftBroadband service have been activated on aircraft operating worldwide.