Hughes partnership to extend mobile connectivity to helicopters and UAVs, including Beyond-Line-of-Sight Communications
Hughes, in partnership with Virtual Network Communications, Inc. (VNC), will create new solutions to extend mobile network connectivity to support various global applications for government, militaries, first responders, and commercial Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). The joint solutions will integrate VNC’s deployable LTE technology with Hughes JUPITERTM and HM satellite systems.
“We’re excited to work with Hughes to help expand high speed 4G services cost-effectively in underserved parts of the world, as well as provide a tactical edge for military and first responders,” said Mohan Tammisetti, chief executive officer of VNC. “VNC developed this innovative, edge-centric approach to positively impact lives and keep critical missions connected. Additionally, a new 5G solution is on our development roadmap and we look forward to integrating it with the Hughes JUPITER platform.”
Enabling MNOs to Provide 4G in Unserved Areas
The VNC LTE technology can be integrated with the JUPITER System to backhaul mobile traffic, enabling MNOs to quickly and cost-effectively provide 4G access to people in areas unserved or underserved by terrestrial connectivity— especially in remote and hard-to-reach areas. In tests, the integrated solution sent 4G LTE traffic to the core network at speeds of 200 Mbps.
“An economically efficient way for mobile network operators to reach new customers is by backhauling 4G LTE traffic over satellite in areas where it’s too expensive to build terrestrial infrastructure,” said Vinay Patel, senior director, International Division at Hughes. “Now, we can offer VNC’s innovative 4G LTE technology integrated with our Hughes JUPITER System to offer operators a new and cost-effective option to expand their networks.”
Mobile Connectivity for Soldiers and First Responders
Designed to provide wireless coverage for soldiers or first responders, the new Hughes HeloCellTM Solution integrates VNC’s LTE technology with the Hughes HeloSatTM Solution, which provides Beyond-Line-of-Sight (BLoS) communications on rotary-wing aircraft. For military and emergency applications, the Hughes and VNC technologies combine to form an “airborne cell tower” when installed aboard a helicopter or an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The solution provides an extended cellular coverage radius of tens of kilometers, with the satellite terminal backhauling the mobile traffic to and from the network core. The solution can also scale to support more than 100 simultaneous active users on a single, layered system architecture.
“Adaptable for rotary-wing aircraft and UAVs, the HeloCell Solution is ideal for extending mobile connectivity in a disaster area or warzone,” said Wayne Marhefka, senior director of business development for Hughes Defense Division. “Together with VNC, Hughes can extend connectivity to soldiers and first response teams who need wireless communications to carry out their missions, especially in remote and disconnected environments. Integrated with our innovative JUPITER System technology, these new cellular capabilities will help the DoD build a layered and unified communications network architecture for faster and more-informed decision-making.”