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SKYLink and eXchange roam to southern climes

Arinc Direct says its SKYLink satellite network for the business aviation fleet now includes "substantial" coverage of the Caribbean, Central America and parts of South America, providing broadband links of up to 3.5Mb/s for aircraft equipped with Rockwell Collins' eXchange product line.

Rockwell Collins, provider of the aircraft systems, and Arinc joined forces for the service in January this year, a move necessitated by the demise in 2006 of Connexion by Boeing, Rockwell Collins' original choice for a broadband satellite services provider.

The new service region, made possible with SES Americom's NSS-7 Ku-band satellite, has been tested by eXchange customers for whom Arinc suspended roaming charges through 21 July. Customer feedback was used to adjust satellite coverage and to map signal strength across the region, says Arinc.

In one test, a customer "made routine use" of internet access on a trip from Chicago to Bogota, Colombia, according to Arinc. "The customer reported seamless access during the trip, with reliable coverage for the entire journey," says Bob Hanley, Arinc's vice-president of business aviation solutions.

The eXchange/SKYLink service provides access to email, corporate intranet, internet, flat-rate voice-over-IP telephone, video-conferencing and WiFi-enabled smartphones.

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