Iridium Certus Transceiver Enters Live Testing

The Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver will expand the reach of satellite services to new markets, ranging from unmanned and autonomous drones to new personal communicators and remotely deployed IoT devices. Photo: Iridium

Iridium Communications approved the first 10 beta partners developing new products based on the Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver. Each partner has received operational beta units, which have been undergoing extensive testing designed to fine-tune both the new transceiver and the first new solutions they will enable in preparation for service activation.

Certus is Iridium’s multi-service communications platform designed to provide safety services communications, with two voice channels and aircraft communications and reporting system network data link connectivity simultaneously. The service is also being used by Iridium to provide data and voice communications to other industries in two different configurations, including a lower speed 352 kbps connection and a higher speed 704 kbps version. Progressively, terminal speeds will eventually reach 1.4 mbps, using software featured on the new Iridium Next satellites.

In January, Collins Aerospace confirmed it would start making the first Certus terminals for commercial aviation operations on future Boeing 737 MAX and 777X cockpits.

The Iridium Certus 9770 transfers Internet Protocol (IP) data over 35 times faster than its predecessors while also supporting voice connections. This new midband device, with L-band speeds ranging from 22 Kbps to 88 Kbps, aims to expand the reach of satellite services to new markets, ranging from unmanned and autonomous drones to new personal communicators and remotely deployed Internet of Things (IoT) devices, all connected through Iridium’s L-band network.

The 10 companies currently testing a new generation of small-form factor satellite-enabled devices for maritime, aviation, land-mobile, IoT and government applications include:

  • Beam Communications,
  • Blue Sky Network
  • Cobham
  • Lars Thrane
  • Marine Instruments
  • McQ, NAL Research
  • SkyTrac Systems
  • Telespazio
  • Wireless Innovation.
Global Connected Aircraft Podcast logo Want to hear more on aircraft connectivity applications? Check out the Global Connected Aircraft Podcast, where Avionics editor-in-chief Woodrow Bellamy III interviews airlines and industry influencers on how they're applying connectivity solutions.

Upon completion of testing, the Iridium Certus 9770 transceiver will be made available to additional Iridium licensed technology and distribution partners, expected in the first quarter of 2020. Two of the above-mentioned companies, SkyTrac and Telespazio are using the testing to develop Certus transceivers for the aviation market, a representative for Iridium confirmed in an emailed statement to Avionics International.

“This new breed of device is the start of a shift in what defines small-form-factor satellite communications technology,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. “These are highly mobile, lower-cost solutions that feature native IP technology at speeds capable of delivering a true internet, email, high-quality voice, photo and even some video capabilities. When you combine that with our truly global coverage, we’re creating a cost-effective and reliable ecosystem of new products in a new L-band speed class, midband, that is unlike anything that exists from the satellite community today.”

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