In response to increased market demand for robust connectivity solutions for small- to mid-size business aircraft, Satcom Direct has designed and developed the SD LTE Hub, which has received PMA (Parts Manufacturer Approval) from the FAA.
When it is launched at this year’s NBAA – booth C11420 – the compact router will be the smallest form factor on the market, yet is capable of supporting the latest cellular, WiFi and satellite technology.
On the ground, high-speed connectivity is delivered to the aircraft through LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology, whilst in the air the router connects with the aircraft’s air to ground network (ATG) or satellite communications (SATCOM) system. The router is compatible with L-, Ku-, and Ka-band networks ensuring reliable, constant connectivity at any altitude, anywhere in the world.
Measuring approximately 17cm x 14.7cm x 2.5cm, and weighing just 725gm, the SD LTE Hub incorporates an 802.11ac WiFi access point which supports data transfer rates of up to 867 Mbps across the cabin network. In addition, the SD LTE Hub interfaces with SD Pro®, the digital dashboard that provides real time information to support and manage flight operations and maintenance. ARINC 429 inputs also enable on-screen moving maps.
Ease of installation
Developed for ease of installation, the SD LTE Hub neatly fits onto new aircraft, or can be retrofitted for cabin upgrades. Operators and owners of a wider selection of aircraft types, including turboprop and rotary machines, for which the hub is qualified, will benefit from faster, richer, reliable connectivity.
For business aircraft operating regional missions, where data access for internet and mobile device utilisation is essential, customers will be able to maximise new functionality and applications. High-speed data will reduce buffering and latency during internet file transfers, improved wireless broadband will make video streaming and gaming possible, and the constant connection between networks will support continuous voice and texting capabilities.
Office in the sky
“The introduction of the SD LTE Hub to the market means we can bring the office-in-the-sky concept to the smaller cabin through improved data speeds, delivered by the compact, but powerful unit,” said SD’s Director of Hardware Products, Jason Sperry.
“We know operators and private owners of the smaller cabins want access to the same connectivity options as the large jets, and anticipate this will fill a growing need in the market. For operators of mixed size fleets there is now an SD router solution whatever their connectivity needs, large, medium or small.”
The new SD LTE Hub extends the SD router family which already includes the Satcom Direct Router (SDR®) and SDR Gateway (previously known as the Optelity Pro from TrueNorth) both of which provide nose to tail connectivity for mid to large-size jets. The SD LTE Hub augments these routers by eliminating wifi coverage gaps onboard larger jets.