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Satcom Direct heads Yonder

6th March 2009 - 12:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Florida-based satellite communications retailer Satcom Direct has signed up as a value-added reseller of the Yonder Ku-band passenger broadband service being developed by ViaSat.

With a well developed presence among business and military users of the Inmarsat and Iridium L-band services, Satcom Direct is now taking its first steps into the Ku-band world. The company will sell the ViaSat service, currently being rolled out around the world by the California-based satcoms equipment and service provider, to its traditional customer base, emphasising its megabit-rated performance.

The deal with Satcom Direct means that ViaSat has succeeded in having its cake and eating it in the aero satcoms market. In Satcom Direct it has acquired a seasoned service distribution partner. At the same time, VisSat continues to supply equipment and satellite network services to the directly competing ARINC SKYLink/Rockwell Collins eXchange team, which is aboard about 80 business jets.

“The user experience of Yonder can only be as good as the quality of customer service that goes with it,” says Don Buchman, ViaSat’s director of mobile broadband. “The reliability and extensive experience that Satcom Direct can offer adds a lot of value.”

Yonder is based on ViaSat’s patented ArcLight satellite networking technology. According to the company, ArcLight’s use of intelligent spread-spectrum modems facilitates the use of small, low-cost aircraft antennas capable of mimicking a larger antenna aperture. ViaSat says ArcLight also eliminates signal blocking by line-of-sight obstructions such as helicopter blades, and, thanks to its patented paired-carrier multiple-access (PCMA) frequency-sharing capability, allows the same bandwidth to be used for links to and from the aircraft.

ViaSat is offering three different onboard equipment fits, for medium and large business jets and VIP aircraft in the Airbus ACJ/Boeing BBJ class and above.

The VMT-1500 package includes a tail-mounted mechanically steered antenna capable of supporting up to 10Mb/sec to the aircraft and 1Mbit/sec in the other direction. VMT-1520 features a fuselage-mounted phased-array antenna and offers 5Mbit/sec to the aircraft and 256kbit/sec from. VMT-1560 for VIP types includes the HR-6400 top-mounted phased-array antenna, rated at 30Mbit/1Mbit.   

The ViaSat network, based on leased Ku-band satellite capacity, currently covers North America, the North Pacific, the Caribbean, the North Atlantic, Europe and the Persian Gulf. Expansion continues, with the aim of reaching worldwide coverage by early next year.

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