Hughes Dual-Band (Ka/Ku) In-Flight Connectivity System
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As demand and performance expectations for In-flight Connectivity (IFC) grow, gate-to-gate connectivity for global flight routes has become a critical need and a serious challenge. While Ka-band satellites are often the first choice for supporting IFC traffic, many flight routes simply do not have access to Ka capacity, either for portions of the route, or in some cases, for the entire route. Further, since aircraft are often assigned to different routes from time to time, it is not typically feasible or efficient to configure an aircraft for a single type of connectivity. Thus, to meet passengers’ ever growing expectations for end-to-end connectivity regardless of flight route, and to ensure maximum flexibility for airlines in assigning and routing aircraft, it is essential to have the ability to use both Ka- and Ku-band satellites for many long-haul flight routes, and even many short-haul routes that operate in regions not served by Ka capacity.

To solve this challenge, Hughes has developed an advanced dual band IFC solution that delivers unsurpassed performance, reliability, and up-time. This system is designed to be fully compatible with all commercial Ka- and Ku-band satellite resources throughout the world, making it the ideal solution for airlines having trans-oceanic flight routes and those that have routes that are otherwise not served well with a single frequency band. The advanced capabilities and performance of Hughes’ aeronautical IFC system, combined with the ability to use the best available satellite capacity over each flight route, enables airlines and their passengers to enjoy uninterrupted, high-performance connectivity for the entire gateto-gate duration of every flight, regardless of where in the world the flight is operating.

The airborne portion of Hughes’ IFC system is composed of two major components: a high performance, high-throughput satellite modem system (ModMan) and a compact, lightweight dual-band antenna system (fully compatible with off-the-shelf aeronautical radomes). Together, these components enable delivery of over 400 Mbps to a single aircraft and are designed to operate with any commercial Ka- or Ku-band satellite. Further, the system can dynamically switch from one type of satellite to the other (and from beam to beam within the footprint of a single spot beam satellite) with no interruption of service or manual intervention of any sort, thus ensuring passengers of a superior user experience and no loss of connectivity from gate-to-gate.


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