AirCell’s Axxess suite promises flexibility

 - October 30, 2006, 10:24 AM

AirCell last month formally launched Axxess, its next-generation airborne telecommunication system developed for installation aboard medium to large business aircraft.

The multi-channel wireless and broadband-ready system is an upgradeable package that allows buyers to install as little or as much voice and data capability as they think they need, and to easily expand capabilities after the baseline system has been fitted in the airplane, according to AirCell.

Basic Iridium voice calling functionality will become available next month, according to the company, which noted that high-speed-data compatibility through Axxess won’t be added to the mix until that portion of the system gets FAA certification, possibly as soon as next year’s second quarter.

“The design philosophy,” said Jack Blumenstein, AirCell chairman and CEO, “is to allow an operator to equip an airplane with Axxess, and then have it be easy to add capabilities and even change networks to take advantage of new technologies. Customers will not have to worry about being locked into a static set of capabilities. For example, an operator can use the system’s two built-in Iridium channels today and plug in his choice of broadband connections as faster and faster networks emerge in the future.”

The Iridium channels provide voice and low-speed-data services while expansion ports will permit the addition of two more Iridium channels, for a total of four voice channels. Through the system’s Ethernet port, operators can add a high-speed Inmarsat connection. The system’s wireless capabilities include 802.11b/g standards and, when paired with a broadband satcom connection (sold separately through data satcom vendors), can be used to operate laptops, PDAs and other Wi-Fi devices in the cabin.

The standard Axxess headset includes a color display, advanced noise- canceling and standard ear bud/headset jacks. Baseline list price of the system is $47,000.