ICG Announces Mobile App for Airborne Voice Calls and Texting Using New eRouter

NBAA Convention News » 2013
ICG's eRouter
ICG's eRouter
October 22, 2013, 8:30 AM

ICG (Booth No. N2329) is developing a new mobile application for Apple and Android smartphones, managed by its eRouter data management system, that will allow customers to use personal electronic devices to place calls and send text messages from an aircraft in flight.

ICG, based in Newport News, Va., unveiled the new eRouter in October 2012. It is developing three versions, based on customer requirements: the baseline ERT-100 and ERT-120 for data routing functions; and an ERT-140 with enhanced features such as VoIP calling, analog and digital telephony and data transfer enhancements such as acceleration and compression. The company said it is accepting orders and is on schedule to begin deliveries of the ERT-120 eRouter this year.

Managed by the eRouter, the mobile calling application will work over Inmarsat and Ku/Ka-band satcom systems to connect to an active voice account provided by either the Satcom Direct, Satcom1 or Arinc Direct communications services. When the application is turned on, it will register with the ground-based SIP (session initiation protocol) service provider. Once registered, a number will be provided that will enable the caller to use a mobile device with pre-stored contacts and pass codes to dial and receive calls from ground-based phones, ICG said.

The text-based instant messaging capability will also work with Facebook, Google and other instant messaging services that use XMPP (extensible messaging and presence protocol) to provide chat service while airborne.

The eRouter features multi-tiered PCB board technology that combines several competitors systems and applications into one box. It serves both as a solution for new installations and as a replacement for systems that are obsolete or reaching the end of production life. The data and telephony routing functions are independent of other systems and communication networks installed on the aircraft.

The flange-mount eRouter can be configured as a wireless access point for devices requiring dynamic host configuration protocol (DHCP) services. Alternatively, it can be configured as a Wi-Fi client to provide connectivity to ground-based wireless networks while on the tarmac.

In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity, the eRouter offers 4G GSM (global system for mobile) cellular service that can be used for data connectivity and file transfers when the aircraft is on the ground. The eRouter manages connectivity for all cabin crew, flight deck and aircraft system data communication requirements.

“The eRouter is also designed with a modular architecture to provide easy expandability and reduce product costs by offering an operator only those services they might currently require, yet providing a forward upgrade path for future and emerging requirements,” said Brad Smith, ICG executive vice president. “It is the lightest, smallest and most flexible aeronautical routing solution on the market today.”

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