OneWeb Satellite Constellation to Boost Wi-Fi on Planes – Speeds Up to 195Mbps

Flight passengers will soon be able to connect to their families and colleagues on Earth via low-orbit telecommunications satellites.

Speeds will be comparable to those at home, substantially boosting the service currently provided by geostationary satellites.

On March 19, 2021, communications company OneWeb signed an agreement to deliver Wi-Fi on aircraft with SatixFy, a British manufacturer of electronic components. They will develop in-flight connectivity terminals that will work over OneWeb’s constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites, as well as on geostationary satellite networks. The companies are targeting 2022 for certification and flight testing.

OneWeb currently has 110 satellites in orbit but foresees a constellation of about 650.

Flight passengers will soon be able to connect to their families and colleagues on Earth via low-orbit telecommunications satellites. Speeds will be comparable to those at home – up to 195Mbps – substantially boosting the service currently provided by geostationary satellites. Credit: ESA

The terminals will use electronically steered multi-beam antenna technologies to provide multi-beam capability and operate simultaneously via many different satellites.

The terminals use SatixFy’s state-of-the-art application-specific integrated circuit chip set, developed with the support of the UK Space Agency through ESA’s program of Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems (ARTES).

Satixfy has formed a joint venture called JetTalk with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd to commercialize the terminal for commercial aviation markets.

Elodie Viau, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA, says: “Space and satellites are becoming increasingly important to the digital economy and there is a need to get data all the time and everywhere – even on board a plane.

“ESA is proud to have supported SatixFy in the design of the chips used for this terminal – enabling the digital transformation of society using telecommunications satellites.”

Catherine Mealing-Jones, Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency, says: “The past year has shown that connectivity has never been more important to our daily lives, and it is exciting to see SatixFy and OneWeb working together to provide commercial passenger planes with broadband internet for the first time.

“The new aero terminal will make use of chips developed with UK Space Agency backing, which demonstrates how supporting our most innovative companies leads to results that make a real difference for people all over the world.”

Yoel Gat, chief executive of SatixFy, says: “The ability to deploy multi-beam, multi-satellite, multi-orbit in-flight connectivity terminals is key in SatixFy’s offerings. Aggregating capacity from multiple satellites will give customers the grade of service they expect to get on flights. This great leap forward is made possible thanks to the continuous support by ESA and the UK Space Agency.”

European Space AgencyTelecommunications
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  • John-Paul Joseph Hunt

    watches cable tv in 4k and in 8k traveling like playing games via the cloud on my smartphone and laptop in 4k at 120hz. enables live tracking and recording after agreeing to the eula for faa recording on the device for tracking and audio/video capture if the plane has issues recorded live to the cloud servers vis satellite.

  • Darkpeguin 197

    British beg on new technologies on a levels of ships like semiconductors in a that narrow macket with its limited production capacities facing giant Americans:STARLINK, AMAZON kuiper etc in same fields and tactics sanctions like what we seen in the 5G with the Huawei case for national champions; All this will doomed the British project

  • cacarr

    FFS. OneWeb is NOT “boosting WiFi” or “delivering WiFi.”

    “WiFi” is not synonymous with “Internet connection.” WiFi is how you connect to a local area network. OneWeb has absolutely nothing at all to do with the WiFi signal on an airplane.

    A site called “scitechdaily” should know better.

    • Victor Walker

      I’m not sure if you are just trolling or didn’t read/understand the article.

      You connect your phone, tablet, computer, or other device to the WiFi on the airplane. Its network is connected to the internet via a satellite connection (or on some planes to special ground-based cell towers).

      The limiting factor to your internet speeds on the plane is due to the satellite connection, not the WiFi network. Therefore, if connecting to the WiFi on the plane provides you with say, a 100Mbps Internet connection, instead of the previous 10Mbps, you could the say that the satellite internet “boosted” the WiFi service on the plane.

      Besides, as the article says, with this deal they’re rolling out a whole new system on the plane including the WiFi.