Panasonic Avionics says it now has 350 aircraft flying with its Gen 3 Newtec modem with its inflight connectivity and plans to have 1,000 completed by early 2019.
The Newtec modem, the launch of which was covered by “Get Connected” in November 2016, offers Panasonic’s aero customers up to 20 times the bandwidth of its original solution.
Panasonic says the modem can facilitate the increasing bandwidth coming on stream as High-Throughput Satellite (HTS) and Extreme-Throughput Satellite (XTS) services continue to be layered over the Panasonic’s existing global network.
But the aircraft modem is only one part of the jigsaw. The other pieces include fitting new modems to the 17 satellite ground stations that service the HTS Ku-band satellites around the world and fine tuning the whole system.
It says this also underlines its commitment to Ku-band inflight connectivity, despite its recent announcement about a strategic collaboration with Inmarsat on its Ka-band GX Aviation solution.
Ian Dawkins, Panasonic Avionics’ Senior Vice President, Global Network Operations, said it has currently been upgrading around six aircraft a night with Gen 3.
“We try to do the upgrades at times convenient to the airlines,” Dawkins said.
Users of Panasonic Avionics eXConnect service can expect to see a substantial increase in data throughputs as the system comes on line.
It is currently switched on via the SES-15 satellite over North America. Users over the Asia-Pacific area, as far south as Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, may also take advantage of Gen 3’s greater throughput via EUTELSAT 172B.
“We are concentrating on the busiest air routes first,” Dawkins said.
“We are also switching off our use of satellite wide beams as Gen 3 comes online, making sure our service level is not disrupted.
“Users on Lufthansa Systems’ FlyingLab, which transported delegates to the APEX Expo were also able to take advantage of the increased Gen 3 Ku-band bandwidth.
“One passenger said it was the best inflight connectivity experience he had ever had,” said Dawkins.
Ku-band satellites known to be using or due to use Gen3 include SES-15 over North America; IS-29 over the USA and Atlantic; Telesat T12 Vantage for key aero routes from Western Europe to the Middle East; Intelsat IS-33e for Europe, the Middle East and Indian Ocean; and EUTELSAT 172B as mentioned earlier.