NBAA Convention News

Arinc rides in to rescue eXchange broadband

 - November 7, 2006, 10:59 AM

Rockwell Collins will be able to continue providing satellite broadband network service to its eXchange business aircraft customers thanks to a deal announced yesterday with Arinc to bring eXchange onto the SkyLink satellite data network. The agreement fills the void left when Boeing announced earlier this year that it was discontinuing its Connexion satellite communication service, which had handled the eXchange traffic.

With the shift to SkyLink, eXchange subscribers will have access to data transfer and Ku-band satellite television programming. Robert Thompson, Arinc senior director for business aviation services, said, “We are working with Rockwell Collins to understand the changes required to configure their eXchange system to operate on SkyLink’s Ku-band network. Fortunately, our satellite technology partner, ViaSat, manufactures the avionics for both systems.”

The Collins eXchange system now being installed on Bombardier Global Express, Global 5000 and XRS aircraft offers a range of in-flight Internet and TV service. Said Tommy Dodson, Rockwell Collins v-p and general manager for cabin systems, “Teaming with Arinc will enable us to combine the strengths of our Tailwind 500 antenna technology and signal processing with Arinc’s Ku broadband expertise.” SkyLink service will give eXchange customers access to the full SkyLink suite including live Internet and corporate intranet (VP), e-mail, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) global telephone connectivity and videoconferencing. Collins eXchange subscribers will also have access to live weather, news, sports and financial updates. Arinc guarantees a minimum 512 kbps data transfer rate to the aircraft and 98 percent system availability.

Stephen Means, Arinc v-p for aviation solutions, noted that with the phase-out of Connexion by Boeing, “SkyLink is now the only viable satellite broadband service for business jets–serving the customers of our launch partner, Gulfstream Aerospace; our newest partner, Dassault Falcon Jet; and now the customers of Bombardier Aerospace.” Arinc’s SkyLink is also available for implementation on existing aircraft through leading North American mod centers and by Arinc Direct service facilities in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo.

Arinc states that SkyLink service costs for VoID are “drastically lower than any other satellite broadband service,” and notes that SkyLink plans allow rollover of unused minutes from month to month.   

SkyLink currently serves North America and Western Europe. North Atlantic coverage is scheduled to begin early next year.