Satcom Direct’s tiny new SD WiFi Hub packs a big punch

Satcom Direct's Sanaa Saadani and the new Hub.
Satcom Direct’s Sanaa Saadani and the new Hub.

Sponsored feature: Satcom Direct says its new SD WiFi Hub, launched at ABACE in Shanghai, is the perfect solution for connectivity on smaller business aircraft or for improving Wi-Fi coverage in the cabin and extending the capability of the Satcom Direct Router (SDRTM) on larger platforms.

The company claims the SD WiFi Hub is the smallest and lightest router on the aviation market, designed to cost-effectively manage voice and data over a SATCOM link on any business aircraft.

It is smaller, lighter and less expensive than its big brother – the SDR – being only one inch high and weighing in at 1.6 lbs, which is less than a two-litre bottle of soda.

Sanaa Saadani, Satcom Direct’s Pre-Sales Manager (EMEA), said: “The SD WiFi Hub is tiny, can fit anywhere and is easy to use, yet it supports three Gigabit Ethernet ports, ARINC 429 receive, VoIP calls, and can even transition between different SATCOM networks.

“We started with a solid block of aluminium and milled away everything that wasn’t a Hub. This composition gives the Hub excellent thermal properties.

“The end result is a device that can be fitted just about anywhere on an aircraft,” she said.

The SD WiFi Hub is typically designed to work with one SATCOM bearer (channel), but can support a maximum of two.

It enables both 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi connections, will work with SmartSky Networks air-to-ground (ATG) connectivity when it becomes available, and can also be used in conjunction with a media server.

The Hub will be available in two variants – a model supporting a fast 4G LTE mobile data connection for use on the ground will be launched later in the year.

SD WiFi Hub

The new Satcom Direct SD WiFI Hub.
The new Satcom Direct SD WiFI Hub.

As well as working standalone, the SD WiFi Hub can also be used in conjunction with the company’s SDR. Satcom Direct says the SDR is better suited to larger aircraft, but pilots can often have reduced Wi-Fi coverage in the cockpit if the SDR is fitted in the back of the aircraft.

Adding a SD WiFi Hub solves the problem, acting like a repeater for the SDR and extending wireless coverage all the way from nose to tail.

Sanaa Saadani added: “Imagine a head of state is using one of our SDRs on their aircraft. The principal could have an office in the front of the aircraft, but there may be no connectivity in the back.

“Adding a single Hub could extend their wireless coverage and solve the problem in an instant.”

Satcom Direct says it is working on STCs for the SD WiFi Hub for a wide variety of platforms. The first installations will be on privately-owned Airbus A319 and A320 head of state aircraft in the Middle East

It says the Hub’s small size simplifies its installation and configuration and it doesn’t require a dedicated bay with forced-air cooling.

“By adding the SD WiFi Hub to our hardware lineup, SD now offers powerful connectivity solutions for any size aircraft. The Hub is the perfect platform for smaller airframes that previously were unable to utilise the SDR due to space constraints,” said Ken Bantoft, Chief Technology Officer for SD. “Now, operators can access many premium services previously unavailable to narrow body aircraft.”

Shipping is scheduled from June onwards with the 4G LTE version being available from September.

Satcom Direct: www.satcomdirect.com

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