Connectivity

Materials En Route as AWN Nears Aircraft-as-Satellite Test

By Kendall Russell | December 7, 2017

Image: Airborne Wireless Network

Image courtesy of Airborne Wireless Network

In preparation for Airborne Wireless Network’s (AWN) upcoming hybrid radio and laser communications flight test, Mynaric (formerly ViaLight Communications) has arranged for the shipment of two flight laser terminals and associated components. The shipment would allow AWN to conduct a two-plane test for its “Infinitus Super Highway” concept using two Cessnas or similar aircraft.

The airplane tests build upon AWN’s successful May proof-of-flight-concept test performed in Roswell, New Mexico, in June. Tests involved two Boeing 767s, and demonstrated the ability of aircraft equipped with AWN’s solution to act as airborne repeaters to send and receive broadband signals from one aircraft to another. The proof-of-flight-concept test also successfully demonstrated aircraft-to-ground communication, ground-to-aircraft communication and aircraft-to-aircraft-to-ground-and-back communication, the company said.

Through its July 2017 patent application, AWN is seeking exclusive rights in the method of synchronizing laser links between aircraft in flight for use in its proprietary Infinitus Super Highway technology. AWN would use this method as a roadmap to attempt to exponentially increase data transfer speeds for its concept.

The Mynaric flight laser terminals being used for AWN’s Cessna tests would evaluate the interruption of the laser link to further validate AWN’s Hybrid Radio and Laser Communications System. Tests are designed to prove that “self-synchronizing” and “self-restoring” airborne laser links are feasible and practical, according to AWN. The company presently anticipates that it will be able to conduct the Cessna tests and a larger airborne test involving up to 20 commercial aircraft during the 2018 calendar year. If successful, AWN would seek to complete the hardware and software development in order to launch Infinitus Super Highway.

This article was originally published by Via Satellite, an Avionics sister publication. It has been edited.

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