Acars ‘Open Network’ Claimed To Cost 70 Percent Less

 - March 19, 2008, 7:18 AM

A Concord, Mass. startup company is offering what it claims is a low-cost datalink service based on Arinc and Iridium communication standards. Wingspeed announced at the NBAA Convention its XL Link System, a low-speed data network with avionics that cost 70 percent less than comparable Acars equipment.
The major component of Wingspeed’s offering is the XL Link multimode receiver, which includes a modem, VHF and Iridium satellite transceivers, a GPS receiver and an eight-port Ethernet hub. XL Link works with portable electronic flight bag computers or on the receiver’s CDU.
Passengers can also tap into the system to send e-mail, but XL Link does not support Web surfing. In the future XL Link software might be tweaked to allow the system to function with several popular MFDs on the market. This is thought to be the first system to combine Acars and Iridium datalink capabilities. XL Link hardware sells for $25,000, according to the company.