Satellite communications service provider Satcom Direct has unveiled the company’s first certified aviation hardware product, a router that integrates with any satcom and manages cabin communications, runs software apps and connects to 3G/4G cellular networks. The new Satcom Direct Router (SDR) weighs less than 10 pounds, meets DO-160G and DO-178B Level E (soon D) standards and will be available in May. “We wanted to make this [router] as robust and flexible as possible,” said Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct founder and owner.
The SDR works with any satcom system and allows simultaneous use of different constellations, seamlessly switching between different networks. Available satcom networks include L-, Ku-, Ka- and X-band. Flight departments can split Wi-Fi traffic on the router, for example, allowing the aircraft owner to use the highest-speed connection and giving passengers access to a network with less bandwidth. Software apps that run on the router include Satcom Direct’s own moving map and Flight Tracker iPhone/iPad apps, plus one that permits command and control of satellite links and another for real-time connection status reporting.
SDR specifications include gigabit Ethernet support (eight ports for WAN, LAN and cabin connectivity); 802.11n dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 and 5 GHz); ISDN support; 3G/4G cellular data support for communication on the ground (roaming agreements are in place with 120 countries); Arinc 429 bus support (four receive and two transmit interfaces for location services and engine trend monitoring); discrete I/O support (four inputs, four outputs); and Satcom Direct’s NextGen Aero X, which “allows acceleration, compression and optimization of multiple satellite links.”
Satcom Direct is working on supplemental type certificate approvals for installation of the SDR on business jets. The SDR will work with Inmarsat Swift 64 and SwiftBroadband satcoms by Cobham, EMS, Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and Thrane & Thrane, as well as ViaSat’s Yonder and Gulfstream’s BBML. SDR is also ready for Inmarsat’s upcoming Global Xpress satcom.
Satcom Direct is selling the SDR through a dealer network. “We will support the dealers to ensure they are installed properly,” Jensen said. The SDR retails for $27,000.