Aeronautical connectivity is required from a range of different platforms ranging from drones and unmanned aerial vehicles through military aircraft, business jets and commercial airlines. iDirect has an IP connectivity solution that covers all of these platforms. Despite the widely differing environments in which aeronautical connectivity has to operate, there a few features common to all of them:

  • High throughput, bandwidth-efficient IP connectivity to the ground to carry data, video and voice services reliably. iDirect’s carrier class systems are respected throughout the aeronautical industry for the ability to have terrestrial-like performance for the most stringent applications – especially jitter sensitive voice and video services.
  • iDirect created the standard when it comes to connecting to ultra-small steerable satellite antennas: OpenAMIP. This protocol lets iDirect communicate with all major manufacturers of airborne antennas to tell them where to point and what frequency sub-band and polarization to use.
  • Small antennas have two issues:
       1. A small receive aperture means that received signal-to-noise can be poor.
       2. A broad transmit beam risks interfering with services on satellites adjacent to the target satellite.

iDirect has the solution to these issues through its highly efficient Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) modulation options. Either or both the uplink and downlink can be ‘spread’ to improve the S/N on the downlink and reduce power flux density on the uplink. The degree of spreading can be configured to exactly meet the needs of the planned satellite link.

  • Mobility across different beams or on different satellites as the aircraft moves rapidly across the available footprints in Ku, X or Ka bands. iDirect’s Automatic Beam Switching (ABS) has been in service for more than five years on planes, ships and terrestrial vehicles. Our Mapserver software ensures that the best beam coverage is used at all times and that switching beams occurs at the optimal point. At the same time the Global NMS ensures that IP connectivity is maintained even as an aircraft hands over from one ground station to another on its voyage across the globe.
  • Aeronautical communications implies high-speed communications capability, up to 1000 km/hr. This requires the advanced Doppler cancellation that is a licensable software feature available across our hub range.

The iDirect aeronautical solution is already in service on major airlines providing IP connectivity for passengers via the IFE system as well as in a variety of military and business jet customers.

High-speed Internet, along with emailing and VPN access, is just part of the story. Applications such as live video programming, interactive premium entertainment and even voice applications are new ways to increase both revenue and customer loyalty.

In-flight connectivity also improves interactions between operations in the air and on the ground with the ability to monitor and report critical flight information in real time. All these broadband applications hold exciting potential in the next generation aeronautical world.

Solution Overview

Along with advancements in airborne electronic systems, iDirect’s innovations in IP broadband satellite provide a cost-effective, scalable solution to always-on connectivity for airline passengers and crew in the aeronautical industry.

The iDirect Intelligent Platform™ provides true mobility with spread spectrum mobile waveform that enables aircrafts to use extremely small antennas or phased array antennas. With iDirect’s spread spectrum, airlines can not only maintain a reliable link while in flight; since our spread spectrum uses a highly efficient direct sequence spreading, more space segment is conserved, thus lowering overall bandwidth.

iDirect has also implemented technologies to deal with high Doppler shifts and frequent beam switching as planes travel across satellite footprints, maintaining seamless connectivity with no need for manual intervention by crew members onboard. Global coverage can further be achieved with iDirect’s Global NMS enabling the management of each aircraft’s remote from a single site as it passes through separate networks around the world.

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