Farnborough Air Show

EMS shows new antennas, data terminals

 - November 15, 2006, 7:49 AM

aCanadian satellite communications firm EMS Satcom is exhibiting its latest systems here at Farnborough International (Hall 4 Stand C17e). Building on the sales of its AMT-50 satellite antenna, which is installed inside the fin caps of most Gulfstream, Bombardier and Dassault Falcon corporate jets, the company has introduced two low-profile externally mounted units to meet customer demands for high-speed data connectivity, along with internally located data-handling units.

Still in production, and boasting more than 1,200 civil and military sales, the small mechanically steered AMT-50 is joined by Arinc 781 compliant, upper-fuselage located, medium- and high-gain units that use electronic steering to track communication satellites. [In the satcom business, medium- and high-gain describes an antenna’s ability to handle incoming and outgoing medium- and high-speed data transmission rates.–Ed.]

Besides the now-traditional Inmarsat H and H+ signal formats, the new AMT-3500 medium-gain and AMT-3800 high-gain antennas handle both Inmarsat’s Swift 64 and the recently introduced SwiftBroadband services. The new antennas are 2.5 inches high-low drag designs, with the 13.2-pound -3500 model being 9.5 inches wide and 34.5 inches long, and the 19.8-pound -3800 being 14.3 inches wide and 43 inches long. EMS Satcom expects these units will allow it to expand its market to include smaller airline aircraft such as the Airbus A320.

Company officials stress, however, that the antenna is just one component of its total satellite communications packages, which are sold under its eNfusion brand. Likening the firm’s concept to the automobile industry’s “bumper to bumper” philosophy, commercial sales vice president Jean Menard said, “We supply the whole satellite communications suite, from the antenna at the rear of the airplane to the control and distribution end up front.”

Menard pointed out that corporate managements demand a communications capability, such as high-speed worldwide Internet, in their aircraft that is virtually equivalent to that which they enjoy in their earthbound offices. To this end, EMS Satcom offers its HSD series of high-speed data terminals that support e-mail, Internet, high-speed fax, voice communications, videoconferencing and safety services. Packaged in 8 MCU form factor units, the HSD-400 and HSD-440 offer two- and four-channel operation, respectively, in turn allowing double (128 kbps) or quadruple (256 kbps) the normal Swift64 data rates when their two or four channels are combined.

The final unit in the eNfusion suite is the CNX cabin gateway unit. Optimized for Swift64 and SwiftBroadband operation and somewhat analogous to, but more comprehensive than, the routers used with domestic Internet configurations, the briefcase-sized CNX hub combines the functions previously provided by several separate units in the cabin. These include data compression, acceleration, WiFi operation, eight-port Ethernet laptop computer provision and other features.