AIX 2014: Gogo goes on to greater heights with 2Ku

Gogo unwrapped a new antenna at the Aircraft Interiors (AIX) show today, which offers a new solution for the airborne connectivity market.Dubbed 2Ku, the Broomfield, Colorado based company says it expects this new technology “to outperform other global connectivity solutions currently available in the market”.Speaking at the show, CEO Michael Small stressed that Japan Airlines is expected to be “among the first to trial 2ku,” though he remained tight lipped as to whether JAL would be the launch customer.The new technology uses the same low-profile antennas as Gogo’s Ground to Orbit (GTO) technology, announced at the APEX show last autumn. However, rather than use the Air to Ground (ATG) solution for the return link to the ground, 2Ku will have two low profiles, high efficiency Ku- band satellite antennas. The firm claims the new technology will deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of more than 70 Mbps.Small added: “When we launched our in-flight internet service five years ago, we were able to deliver peak speeds to the aircraft of 3.1 Mbps through our ATG network. About a year ago, we began deployment of our next generation ATG-4 service, which took peak speeds to 9.8 Mbps. Our GTO solution takes the peak speed to 70 Mbps in the U.S. and 2Ku brings 70 Mbps to the rest of the world.”The antenna is around twice as spectrally efficient than other antennas in the commercial aviation market, which means it will produce more bandwidth at less cost. Gogo says that this spectral efficiency also makes it the most TV friendly solution in the market. Small said: “The TV market requires huge amounts of data, with the two antennas we are able to deliver that.” The low profile antenna is only 4.5 inches tall, which reduces drag, adding fuel efficiency. Most benefits will be obvious in the world’s tropical regions, where other satellite solutions degrade significantly due to restrictions associated with operating at high skew angles.Gogo reckons the 2Ku antenna and its increased spectral efficiency are compatible with today’s Ku satellites and future Ku satellites, including future spot beam satellites. Because the antenna can be used with any Ku- satellite, it avoids the single point of failure that comes with reliance on a single satellite for connectivity in a given region, and offers airlines much desired redundancy and reliability.The company says that the new service should be available for the commercial aviation market in mid-2015.Liz Moscrop, Inflight / Inflight-Online.comHamburg

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