Expanding communications bandwidth may soon broaden the horizons for aircraft internet that pass way beyond passenger connectivity. With increasing computer technology, greater bandwidth and storage capacity, the ability for aircraft to use data sharing and facilitate decision-making with web-based applications brings it all a step closer.
Inmarsat, a British satellite network operator, is a huge name already in aviation, using the far-reaching capabilities of the network for aircraft communications in L-band services. Honeywell is currently working with Inmarsat on the development of the avionics for the new generation of Global Xpress satellites that will operate in Ka-band. Ka-band will bring faster data rates and widen the possibilities for streaming and allowing operators to think ahead of passenger communications.
Honeywell have completed the critical design reviews for Global Xpress and will begin testing this month. The first of three Inmarsat-5 satellites was launched late last year and the rest are expected to be in place by early next year.