What is SwiftBroadband? - AirSatOne

What is SwiftBroadband? - AirSatOne

What is SwiftBroadband?

 

SwiftBroadband is a satellite service that has global coverage (except the poles) that was designed specifically for aviation. The service provides a connection on the ground, over oceans and around the world.

What is SwiftBroadband good for?

 

In a business jet, it is good for email, web surfing, weather, flight planning and phone calls. Streaming video and audio typically requires more bandwidth although lower quality video can be streamed with High Gain systems. For special mission applications SBB can be used to stream compressed video, upload and download data and to remotely control UAV’s. 

What kind of hardware do I need to use SwiftBroadband?

 

You will need an antenna mounted on top of the aircraft and supporting hardware installed in the aircraft. In the past Ethernet connections were located at every seat but today most devices customers carry on board are Wi-Fi capable so the cost of installation can be reduced by just installing a Wi-Fi router in the aircraft – care must be taken to ensure a good Wi-Fi signal from the flight deck to the back of the aircraft. For a list of hardware choices, we have them listed on our price guide section here:  https://www.airsatone.com/satcom-airtime-price-guides

How do I choose a SatCom system?

 

Start with the antenna – with any SatCom system always start with the antenna because it is the most critical component, the hardest to fit and may require special certification. Once you or your avionics shop determines what antenna will fit then get a quote from your avionics mod center to determine cost of an installed system.

If your aircraft has a radome on top of the tail the best choice is a high gain system – you must make sure the aircraft has an actual radome and not a tail cap. A true radome will be invisible (or almost) to radio waves. If there is no radome on top or one can’t be installed then the antenna needs to go on top if the fuselage. Almost all business jets can handle a Low gain (SB200) or an Intermediate gain antenna. High Gain antennas are typically found on larger business jets. If you need further advice feel free to Contact us.    

How much does SwiftBroadband service cost?

 

The cost is anywhere from $4.00 to $6.50 per MB (Mega Byte) depending on the plan the customer chooses. Monthly airtime cost average around $1,000 a month and up. Our price guides are available on line and can be found here: https://www.airsatone.com/satcom-airtime-price-guides

Due to the cost of SatCom airtime it is advisable to use a service provider that can provide a number of options to control and monitor airtime usage. AirSatOne can control content and consumption through our Flightstream SA service.  

What is the difference between SB200, SB200 Class 4 and SwiftBroadband?

 

The main difference between SBB systems is speed (see below) and antenna size which go hand in hand.  SB200 systems uses a non-directional antenna. The advantage of SB200 is simplicity and small antenna size which means lower hardware cost and lower installation cost. The new SB200 Class 4 features smaller hardware and is designed to see the satellites better with connectivity down to 5 degrees and it was designed to support Safety Services so it is good for FANS 1/A (ADS-C & CPDLC), Datalink and Safety Voice. “SwiftBroadband” refers to all of the services mentioned but it is typically applied to Intermediate and High Gain systems. Intermediate and High gain systems have antennae’s that point at the satellite which allows faster speeds (which everyone wants) but they do have bigger antennae’s and cost more for the hardware and for installation.

SB200 airtime is billed at a different rate than SwiftBroadband and the new SB200 Class 4 is billed at a different rate as well so there are price guides for each. Click here for our SB200 Class 4 price guide and here for SB200 and SwiftBroadband Intermediate and High Gain price guides.

 

What kind of speeds can I get out of the service?

 

With SB200 and the new SB200 class 4 you can expect up to 238 kbps. With an Intermediate gain system you can expect up to 332 kbps and with a High Gain system you can expect up to 432 kbps. Typically with a High Gain system the hardware is also designed to connect to Aero H / H+ service for Datalink and Safety Voice. SwiftBroadband channels can be combined for faster speeds. Our Flightstream AOC router can be used to combine 2 or more channels.

Why is my SatCom speed not as fast as cheaper service at home or the office?

 

The bottom line it is the size of the antenna and the distance the signal must travel to lock on to the satellite. Combine that with the fact that the antenna is mounted on something that is traveling at a high rate of speed so having a small antenna is critical. If it was possible to mount any size antenna we wanted on the outside of the aircraft we could deliver blazing speeds.

Satellite networks that deliver internet to aircraft are specially designed to seamlessly hand off the connection when traveling between beams – without dropping the connection and having to reacquire constantly. This is a challenge that ordinary communications satellites can’t handle. As an interesting note; aircraft SatCom systems adjust for doppler shift due to the speed they travel to and away from the satellite. When an aircraft is traveling directly toward the aircraft the frequency is compressed (or increased) due to the doppler effect; the SatCom system lowers its frequency so the net result is a signal that is on frequency, the opposite occurs when traveling away from the satellite. All combined some amazing technology is required to deliver internet to the aircraft.

FAQ's

AirSatOne Frequently Asked Questions

To the left, you'll find a selection of some our most frequently asked questions. Feel free to browse our listing here before submitting a ticket or contacting us directly.