Avionica, GigSky Launch eSIM Generation of Aircraft Wireless Networking


Avionica is embedding the GigSky Internet of Things eSIM chip into its aircraft communications module to make aircraft cellular network access a completely remotely controlled process.

Three years after establishing their first partnership, GigSky’s Internet of Things (IoT) eSIM card will be embedded into Avionica’s avCM aircraft communications module to make the control and configuration of aircraft wireless cellular network data transferring completely remote.

GE Aviation subsidiary Avionica already uses GigSky’s global 4G/LTE international cellular network across its mini Quick Access Recorder (QAR), with its seven-band 4G High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) cell module for moving data on and off aircraft on the ground. Now, the Miami, Florida-based avionics-maker will embed GigSky’s eSIM chip directly into its communications module for seamless access to cellular networks globally.

Palo Alto, California-based GigSky’s global 4G/LTE aviation network provides mobile data in more than 190 countries and territories. The network has the ability to serve as a communications medium for Electronic Flight Bag (EFB), Electronic Technical Log (ETL) and Wireless Quick Access Recorder (WQAR) data off and on-loading while the aircraft is on the ground. Aviation operators can pay an annual fee for the service, avoiding cost impact from the amount of uploaded data.

Sean Reilly, vice president of business development for Avionica, told Avionics that one of the most beneficial aspects of the new modification for avCM will be the elimination of the need for occasional replacement of the current generation avCM’s plastic SIM card. Instead, Avionica and GigSky can now remotely configure the communications network of the aircraft to offload data to the operator’s operations control center or maintenance division based on the location of the aircraft and available local cellular networks.

How Avionica’s avSYNC aircraft wireless data transfer service works. Photo: Avionica

“The eSIM gives us the ability to never have to go out and touch that module again,” Reilly said.

Using the GigSky toolset, Avionica actively monitors and manages connectivity to ensure that data is always delivered when and where required. GigSky describes its IoT eSIM technology as featuring subscription management and support for cellular networks across the globe.

That can allow airlines equipped with Avionica’s avCM, such as Cathay Pacific and Korean Airlines among others, to perform wireless QAR data offloads using the cellular network that is available near the airport or maintenance bay or other location that the aircraft is positioned in, according to Reilly.

On the eSim-enabled avCM, operators will notice a larger antenna, necessary to support Long Term Evolution (LTE) and work with higher data transfer speeds.

“One of the unique things of our approach is its very modular in nature, so I can take someone who has the 4G unit AVCM, and remove the cell module and put this new unit in its place, and its literally a plug and play replacement,” Reilly said.

Avionica is currently working through FAA supplemental type certification on the new eSIm version of the avCM module for 300 different aircraft types, and expects to start shipping the upgraded version to operators in December.

Receive the latest avionics news right to your inbox