Inmarsat shows off Global Xpress in-flight wi-fi on GIV

Inmarsat has completed a successful around-the-world test flight using a Gulfstream GIV business jet to demonstrate what it calls “the seamless, worldwide coverage” of its Global Xpress satellite-based Ka-band, high-speed broadband network.

The large-cabin twin covered over 25,000nm (46,250km) over the six-day trip in June, says Inmarsat. During the flight, Global Xpress supported voice, data and streaming applications such as video teleconferencing, high-speed internet access and file transfers, virtual private networks (VPN) and phone calls and “fully delivered or exceeded the committed information rate”, says Inmarsat.

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“While government and business users have historically had to manipulate flightplans to avoid gaps in coverage and performance, the test flight enjoyed complete flexibility in route selection,” Inmarsat says. The route spanned the northern and southern hemispheres, beginning in the USA with stops in the UK, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Australia and Fiji.

The GIV was outfitted with a Honeywell tail-mounted antenna, which has what Inmarsat calls a “committed rate” of 4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload, but is capable of more than 15Mbps, Inmarsat says. “Uniform coverage and service was delivered to the aircraft as it moved across 28 beams with handovers that went unnoticed by users; and three satellite-to-satellite handovers were accomplished seamlessly,” it adds.

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