Integration and testing of a "new feature-rich" in-flight broadband system on a Boeing Business Jet has been completed by Arinc.

The installation combines Rockwell Collins' eXchange satellite broadband avionics with Arinc's SKYLink Ku-band satellite service, "and adds several in-flight communications features not available elsewhere", says Arinc, a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group.

The onboard system supports fully functioning operations of a modern Apple iPhone. It also supports UMA voice calling, access to e-mail and corporate intranet (VPN), the Internet, Voice over IP (VoIP) global telephone service, and videoconferencing.

"In an industry first, the system includes a terminal wireless LAN unit as a wireless bridge from the aircraft cabin LAN to ground-based public and private networks, enabling 802.11a/b/g data transfers when a ground based 802.11a/b/g network is located for use," says Arinc.

During flight, the system features handoffs between the SKYLink Ku-band satellite service and Inmarsat SwiftBroadband service over L-band satellites. This creates a "seamless global network that combines the two services as one", notes Arinc, adding that a manual option alerts users whenever they are leaving SKYLink coverage, which is "important for cost-conscious customers who may want to know when usage will be at a more expensive rate".

Arinc senior director Robert Thompson says: "The customer for this jet ordered 'the best of the best' in terms of onboard communication services. We have responded with an advanced, integrated cabin communications suite that we will soon make available to other customers."

Arinc says it expects to receive a second order for this BBJ communications system "in the very near future".

Rockwell Collins' eXchange, which uses ViaSat's broadband terminal hardware and Arinc's SKYLink, has more than 100 private, corporate and government aircraft users.

A competing product, Panasonic Avionics' eXConnect service, is expected to be tested on a BBJ. Lufthansa is the commercial launch customer of eXConnect.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news