When we announced 2Ku back in 2014, one of its core advantage over other systems was the ability for the system to evolve over time. There are several components that allow our 2Ku system to be upgraded to take advantage of new developments in the satellite and in-flight communications industry. Thanks to these developments and our continuous research, we are able to ensure our systems always keep up with the increasing need for bandwidth and develop new products and services for passengers and airlines.
These are three of the main reasons 2Ku is so perfectly capable of improving over time:
Ability to operate on existing and new Ku band satellite systems
The ability to operate on existing, new and future Ku band satellites is one of the innovations built into 2Ku. It is also one of the reasons that airlines around the world have placed their trust in our product. At launch, 2Ku was able to take advantage of the 100’s of existing Ku band satellites around the world, providing near global coverage. Because 2Ku can operate on so many different satellite constellations, it has also allowed us to get the best possible price for bandwidth, and our bandwidth management developments are even able to bring the price of satellite capacity down, something airlines and passengers both benefit from.
A great example of this took place last year, when we signed a deal with SES which at the time was the largest satellite capacity deal ever signed in our industry. Between our proven technology and our unrivaled ability to source bandwidth, we are prepared for current bandwidth demands, and future demands.
The open architecture of 2Ku is a first in our industry. We have always been a system-agnostic provider – We’ve never committed ourselves to just one system. Over the years, we’ve helped airlines connect their own fleet, staff and passengers through almost 10 different technologies, constantly working with our partners to select the best possible system for their fleet needs, coverage demands and passenger expectations.
With 2Ku, we’ve taken things one step further by designing the core components to allow for connections to Ku satellites as well as the newest generation high throughput (HTS) Ku satellites and even for future low earth orbit (LEO) constellations. With this open architecture, airlines can commit to 2Ku without locking themselves into a connectivity solution that will be obsolete in just a couple of years. Best of all, we currently offer this to our airline customers with everything in place to take advantage of the next evolution of Ku satellites right away – HTS satellites are already in operation or scheduled for launch very soon.
With 2Ku, airlines don’t have to wait for future satellite launches in order to get the speeds their customers demand. 2Ku is up and running on over 500 aircraft today, and passengers are reporting speeds previously unheard of on rival systems. Best of all, this is only the beginning of what is possible.
Modular hardware design
Our modular hardware design increases our ability to upgrade components as new satellite and aviation equipment is developed. In a traditional satellite system, most components are installed once, and the system is in operation for as long as 10 years. In other cases, one component can be upgraded, but the remaining technology (like the antenna) are unable to easily be upgraded. In 10 years, a lot will change in passenger behavior: greater bandwidth demands and usage per passenger means a system can quickly become outdated and unable to deliver the speeds expected by passengers. Airlines themselves are also becoming “bandwidth hungry”, and aircraft are offloading more data than ever about system performance, all delivered in real-time over the satellite link.
Our first 2Ku installation took to the skies in 2015, and we are already offering airlines an upgrade path that has the ability to provide 2-3x more bandwidth. By simply switching out the satellite modem, airlines can offer their passengers even higher speeds and allow even more people on the plane to take advantage of the service. Additionally, the modem incorporates technology that allows us to add some exciting new services to 2Ku. like the live television service being offered to passengers on Brazilian airline GOL.
More speed and new services have been made possible just by switching out one component of the 2Ku system – which means we can leave all the other parts untouched, including major components like the antenna. A simple upgrade path also means virtually no downtime for the aircraft, something airlines always appreciate.
Of the 500+ current aircraft flying with 2Ku, we have already upgraded over 300 to this new modem. Passengers flying on aircraft with 2Ku were already able to benefit from features like gate to gate connections, global coverage and extreme reliability, and now they can fly with even more bandwidth to do the things that matter to them.