Antenna interoperability successful on Ku-band LEO constellation

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ThinKom Solutions has completed a series of interoperability tests to demonstrate the compatibility of its core antenna technology with a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite network.

The tests took place during the first quarter of 2020, using commercially available airborne-certified hardware, including a ThinKom Ku3030 phased-array antenna subsystem and a Gogo radome, adaptor plate and power amplifier that together comprise the 2Ku aero satcom terminal.

According to ThinKom, the 2Ku terminal demonstrated rapid acquisition and tracking of LEO satellites and provided continuous connectivity over all operationally relevant elevation angles. The switch time between individual satellite beams was less than 100 milliseconds (ms), and handoffs between satellites were completed in less than one second. Switches between LEO and geostationary (GEO) satellites were also achieved with similar results, according to the company.

ThinKom’s Ku3030 aero satellite antennas

The measured terminal performance demonstrated that the combination of ThinKom antennas and LEO solutions can provide throughput rates in excess of 350Mbps on the downlink and 125Mbps on the uplink, at latencies of less than 50ms.

“LEO satellite networks have the potential to be transformative to the in-flight connectivity experience, but also place new stringent demands on the antenna systems used to track and connect with the rapidly moving satellites,” said Bill Milroy, CTO of ThinKom Solutions. “This important demonstration is another milestone verifying that our antenna technology operates effectively in the LEO environment, which is a key requirement for airlines in terms of enhanced network resiliency and flexibility.”

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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