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Broadband Heads Skywards

When you go to book a flight, what are you looking for? More leg room? An in-flight meal, perhaps? Or are you more concerned about whether you can connect to the Internet whilst at 37,000 feet?

Surveys have confirmed that the latter is by far the most important consideration for many passengers, and whether they can access broadband connectivity on board a flight will be the deciding factor as to whether they book a ticket or not.

Against the backdrop of increasing mobile device ownership and a boom in High Throughput Satellite (HTS) capacity, the aero connectivity market is on the cusp of exponential growth. Passengers are increasingly seeking ubiquitous connectivity and a massive 83 percent of people base their choice of airline on whether they can remain online throughout their flight (Source: In-Flight Connectivity Survey conducted by Inmarsat and GfK). This demand, coupled with emerging requirements from airlines for telematics and streamlined aircraft operations, means that the potential for the connected aircraft market is undeniable. According to Frost and Sullivan, the aeronautical connectivity market alone is forecast to realise 25 percent compound annual growth and reach $2.4 billion by 2020.

So, the broadband revolution is now heading skywards, but the challenge for satellite service providers will be finding the antenna that can meet the demands of inflight connectivity. At present, the antennas on the market are mechanically steered. They are not low enough in terms of their profile, which can create drag on the fuselage of an aircraft. They are also prone to failure due to the fact that their mechanisms have many moving parts. What is needed is a new generation of antenna that can meet the physical demands of flight, the amount of throughput that is required, as well as the ability to seamlessly move from beam to beam as the aircraft travels. 

Antenna developer and manufacturer Phasor has been immersed in the challenges of the aero market as well as land mobile, maritime and government markets, for five years and has focused on the challenges presented by HTS and NGSOs. 

Phasor’s very low profile, electronically steerable antenna (ESA) provides high-bandwidth service in a more reliable, robust and failure-tolerant way. The antenna is solid-state, with no moving parts, sosatellite signals are tracked electronically. The ESA can be conformal in design and can be fitted more seamlessly to moving vehicles, whether that is an aircraft fuselage, a cruise-ship or a high-speed train. Moreover, the antenna’s modular architecture allows the system to be scaled to any use-case requirement.

To realise the huge potential of this sector, advanced antenna technology will be crucial.

Phasor firmly believes that the Electronically Steerable Antenna (ESA) will be the catalyst to drive the market forward and to facilitate the delivery of true mobile broadband to aircraft.

To find out more about Phasor, watch our video at www.phasorsolutions.com 

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