AirSatOne has added features for users of its satellite communications services, including data compression to make more efficient use of available bandwidth and the ability to filter data use by passengers to avoid high airtime charges. The new Flightstream SA services are free to any AirSatOne customer, according to Jo Kremsreiter, president of AirSatOne, and do not require that AirSatOne’s Flightstream AOC router be installed.
“You don’t need an AOC router in the airplane to use SA,” he said. “You don’t have to have any hardware in the airplane, [just] a PC connected to the Internet.” Once logged in to the SA service, the customer can see all of the airplanes in the fleet and then individually adjust or monitor each airplane’s satcom parameters or change parameters for the entire fleet or for a group of airplanes. Users can also monitor satcom parameters by region.
The target customers for Flightstream SA are business jet operators and large fleets flown by charter and fractional providers that use Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband satcom. Flightstream SA allows the operator to prevent passengers from hogging bandwidth and causing excessive satcom airtime charges. A passenger, for example, might try to stream a movie, not knowing that SwiftBroadband’s maximum 432 Kbps speed is too slow and then allow the movie to keep downloading while switching to something else on a computer or smart device.
“A YouTube video could easily use $1,200 in airtime,” Kremsreiter explained. “Most likely he’s going to minimize that [program] and let it download, so it causes a problem for everybody on the airplane. If you stop that then everybody gets the use of the Internet.”
Filtering can be set to block specific websites and, he said, “You can make a change while flying.” The filtering takes place on AirSatOne servers located at the satcom ground stations.