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Preparing the Airline Industry for What’s Next

Satellite Broadband

Flights may be grounded for now, but one thing the pandemic has shown is how much people depend on connectivity for everything from working to school to essential health information. And one thing we know as an Internet service provider is that once people are connected at high speeds, they expect to be connected at high speeds. So when passengers return to the skies, the demand for broadband in the air is likely to be insatiable—even more than pre-COVID. When they do, Hughes will be ready with solutions for airline service providers to deliver a “living room experience” in the air.

A Standard-Setting Platform

Already the de facto standard for broadband satellite implementations around the world, the Hughes JUPITER™ System is quickly becoming the platform of choice for aero mobility providers, operating in Ku- and Ka-bands for HTS and wide-beam satellites as well as conventional C-band satellites. The system supports an array of mobility applications, including in-flight and on-board passenger Wi-Fi, data networking, crew welfare, route planning, diagnostic networking, and much more.

The JUPITER System includes a set of features that not only enables aeronautical connectivity, but also maritime, land and transportable mobile connectivity with high performance and efficiency. One unique feature of the system is adaptive coding and modulation on the TDMA return channel. While ACM on the forward channel is standard in the industry, Hughes integrates true ACM on the return channel, yielding bandwidth efficiencies of up to 30%.

The Connected Passenger Experience

When it comes to the commercial airline passenger experience, providing reliable in-flight Wi-Fi is no longer a perk of travel; it’s a necessity. Being able to send and receive email is not enough: passengers want to surf the web, attend video calls, and stream movies. They expect a “living room experience” in the air with high speeds and plenty of bandwidth. Hughes technologies and solutions – along with some key partnerships – are elevating the connected passenger experience to meet these expectations.

As one example, Hughes works with Thales and SES to provide in-flight connectivity with increased capacity, coverage and redundancy over the Americas. The solution combines the service capabilities on the JUPITER 1 (EchoStar XVII) and JUPITER 2 (EchoStar XIX) satellites, with the SES AMC-15 and AMC-16 network, to provide a four-satellite constellation supporting the Thales FlytLIVE network. Multiple JUPITER System gateways and ground segment operations bring seamless connectivity to those on the Thales FlytLIVE network.

GDC Technics, working with Hughes, Thinkom and other technology partners, recently debuted its GDC Falcon 300 system – a new Cabin Wireless Connectivity platform, powered by the Hughes JUPITER System and designed to transmit/receive across Ka-band satellites. Incorporated with the JUPITER System is the Hughes Modman, a dual high-performance aero modem with a full-featured airborne server. Thinkom’s Ka-2517 antenna supports connectivity from the plane to the JUPITER 1 and JUPITER 2 satellites.

Hughes is also working with Inmarsat, a long-time partner on our BGAN terminals, to develop a solution that will allow commercial airlines to offer free, in-flight Wi-Fi. This service, GX+ North America, will roll out on prototype flights later this year. It combines the capacity of the Hughes JUPITER constellation across North America with coverage from Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) HTS satellite network. This combination will make it possible for North American airlines to meet increasing passenger demand, including the surge in traffic expected from free-of-charge in-flight Wi-Fi.

Because JUPITER is now available with advanced aero and mobility support, many capabilities are possible: from operator aero roaming to seamless beam switching to the optimal use of satellite capacity for fast speeds. It’s through such innovation, technologies, and solutions that Hughes meets the insatiable demand for anytime, everywhere connectivity.

For more information about Hughes aero mobility solutions, please visit