Teledyne Controls, exclusive distributor of Raytheon’s MagnaStar airborne telephone system, introduced its SmartCabin Office concept at a Monday morning press conference here at NBAA. Touted as the first complete office-in-the-sky concept, the Teledyne package combines four distinct communications and networking technologies from various vendors to provide a customized solution for voice, onboard networking, and ground and airborne data transfer capabilities on corporate aircraft.
As voice and data transfer is the backbone of any office-in-the-sky concept, in 2001 Teledyne signed an agreement with EMS Technologies of Ottawa, Canada, for exclusive distribution of the EMS High Speed Data (HSD) satcom system for business and general aviation markets. Teledyne’s SmartCabin Office concept uses the EMS HSD-128 two-channel satcom system providing voice and data connectivity over the Inmarsat Swift64 global service. The only dual-channel Swift64 system available for the corporate aviation market, the HSD-128 has uncompressed data rates of up to 128 kilobits per second and serves as an extension for the MagnaStar voice system by offering ISDN broadcast-quality voice at 64 kilobytes and lower-cost Mini-M Aero compressed voice at 4.8 K.
“By offering both voice and high-speed data services over two channels, the HSD-128 is an excellent stand-alone satcom solution,” said Matthew Wing, Teledyne marketing director. “But existing MagnaStar customers can also integrate the HSD with their onboard telephone network using the MagnaStar ISDN Terminal Adapter, which allows travelers to access the HSD’s voice services from the MagnaStar handsets.”
Teledyne also recently announced an upgrade to the existing MagnaStar system that increases the handset limitation from nine to 50.
Besides the MagnaStar and HSD/Swift64 communication links, the SmartCabin Office package offers a third lower-cost link for ground communications. The SmartCabin GroundLink uses commercial cellular technology to provide data transfer rates of up to 115 kbps over a live Internet protocol (IP) connection while the aircraft is on the ground. “This low-cost link lets you transfer large lower-priority files and e-mails or refresh large volumes of onboard server data at service rates well below that offered from satellite base systems,” said Wing.
Teledyne partnered with Miltope Corp. to develop two main components of the SmartCabin Office system: the communications server (CommServer) and wireless access service point (WASP). A communications file server, Miltope’s CommServer manages the aircraft’s Ethernet local area network (LAN) and allows all onboard passenger laptops and personal computers to interface with each other and with the SmartCabin connectivity links. Specifically redesigned for the Teledyne system, the CommServer also optimizes communication links by determining least-cost routing over the HSD-128, MagnaStar and GroundLink systems and provides a persistent domain name server (DNS), secure firewall and a caching proxy server.
The WASP further extends the capabilities of the onboard network through its wireless Ethernet LAN connection for multiple computers, eliminating the installation cost of wiring and allowing flexible high-speed access to the CommServer from any location on the aircraft.
According to Wing, installations of SmartCabin Office components are done on field approval basis only, although Teledyne is seeking STCs for complete packages, with one STC nearing completion. List price on the entire SmartCabin Office system is estimated at $250,000 with basic systems listing for $200,000. Comprised of numerous components, the SmartCabin Office system can be tailored to the user’s needs, taking into account the technology already on the aircraft.
NBAA attendees can test the system’s phone and Internet capabilities at Booth No. 873 where a full-scale aircraft cabin mockup contains a complete SmartCabin Office installation. Teledyne is also presenting information seminars on the SmartCabin Office system in Convention Center Room 306B at 2 p.m. today and at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.