Inmarsat has shared initial details of an upgrade programme designed to increase the inflight broadband speeds of by its Jet ConneX (JX) business aviation system. The programme, titled JX Evolution, will leverage Inmarsat’s global Ka-band satellite network, including enhanced capabilities from its highly advanced upcoming satellites, in addition to the latest terminal technology from partners.
According to Inmarsat, initial testing for the upcoming JX Evolution programme has already demonstrated speeds in excess of 130 megabits per second (Mbps), and that is using the company’s existing five satellites. This speed is sufficient for users to simultaneously connect many devices and access even data-intensive applications, such as high-definition video, without interruption. As an example, it would take 23 seconds to download a high-definition movie.
The speed is expected to further increase as Inmarsat’s fully-funded technology roadmap will see seven new satellite payloads introduced into its Ka-band constellation, increasing the total number to 12. The roadmap includes two Inmarsat-6s, which the company says is the most sophisticated commercial communications satellite ever built, which will enter service next year. The Inmarsat-6s will be followed by two payloads in highly elliptical orbit, enabling a commercial mobile broadband service for business jets flying in high latitudes and across the Arctic, and then three further satellites in geostationary orbit, which will add further speed, capacity and resilience.
JX Evolution will also benefit from the latest terminal advancements from Inmarsat’s technology partners, which are compatible with a wide range of business jets. The company says these terminals are lightweight and can enhance performance, reduce costs and simplify the installation and maintenance processes.
Kai Tang, Inmarsat’s head of business aviation, has noticed “soaring demand” for fast inflight broadband. “Inmarsat’s JX Evolution follows our ethos of building ahead of demand, and the new service plans that will launch as part of this programme will redefine the concept of premium connectivity,” he said.
“Speeds in excess of 130Mbps are exciting and customers can expect even higher numbers as we launch more advanced satellites in the coming years. Our fully funded technology roadmap will offer more than enough capacity to meet the needs of existing and future customers through to 2030 and beyond. We are especially excited about the second-generation terminals that our partners are building to join the very successful JetWave terminal currently used for JX.”