Gogo Committed to Next Generation ATG and 2Ku Inflight Wi-Fi Solutions

 In ThinAir

Excerpted from an article originally posted on RGN.

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…Gogo’s next generation 2Ku system [developed by ThinKom] is going to be a “much superior solution”, says Small, as it “raises your peak speed, cuts costs and [boasts] a lower profile radome”. Gogo will continue to install more traditional Ku systems for a spell, “but very quickly we will be installing almost exclusively 2Ku”, reveals Small. “It covers an additional quarter of the earth’s surface without having a skew angle; why would you install [regular] Ku?”

So should we expect Delta and Japan Airlines to naturally cut over to 2Ku installs once the system is certified? “I can’t answer that,” says Small, adding however, “If we’re going to add a new system to the Delta fleet so they get over-water coverage I’m pretty confident it will be 2Ku.”

He explains, “2Ku will generally go on aircraft where there has been no other satellite solution before. It may go on ATG-equipped planes; that upgrade I could see, but going from Ku to 2Ku – and taking one antenna off and installing a new one – is a more cumbersome process. I would expect 2Ku goes on new aircraft for the global aircraft, and will be a replacement system for some of the US aircraft that fly over water.

“If you play this out, the requirement will be every plane, everywhere, all the time [will need inflight connectivity], so if communications is critical to your business, you don’t tolerate outages in the office and you won’t tolerate it in the sky. If you’re flying to Hawaii, and [suddenly] you have five hours of no connectivity, that will just become unacceptable in the aviation industry.”

Obtaining linefit offerability for 2Ku is certainly a goal for Gogo. “We are going to actively work to get all our solutions linefit,” says Small. But Panasonic continues to suggest 2Ku doesn’t meet the ARINC 791 spec – and ergo won’t meet Boeing’s requirements for linefit. Bruner, for instance, showed this slide to attendees of the APEX Expo in September, and Panasonic has included the graphic in its new promotional video.

Gogo CTO Anand Chari disputes this claim, telling RGN, “With the satcom antenna, we are driving for two factors – one the efficiency of the RF performance of the antenna, and the second aspect is the aerodynamic drag; the fuel burn obviously matters a lot to the airlines. So 2Ku, as we have demonstrated, has the best spectral efficiency in the industry. It’s a low profile, [and] a little longer than the Boeing radome. That’s all due to the aerodynamic considerations and lower drag. Ease of installation is important when it comes to ARINC 791 – there are two options, six attach points or seven attach points per 791. We’re using six attach points. So that still preserves all the benefit of 791 ease of installation and attach point perspective, while offering superior performance from both a drag and speed perspective. So the fact that it is slightly longer than the Boeing radome, that’s not anything significant.”…

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