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ThinKom Ku-Band Antenna Demonstrates LEO Interoperability

By | May 1, 2020

ThinKom ThinAir Ku-band antenna. Photo: ThinKom

ThinKom Solutions recently completed a series of interoperability tests demonstrating its core antenna technology’s capability with a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. ThinKom used its Ku3030 phased-array antenna subsystem and a Gogo radome, adaptor plate and power amplifier that together comprise the “2Ku” aero satcom terminal. The tests took place during the first quarter of 2020. 

ThinKom did not identify the satellite constellation used in the test, but an early version of the April 30 press release linked to an image of the antenna, which was titled “OneWeb connectivity trials.” ThinKom would not confirm or deny whether the constellation for this test was OneWeb, and a company representative said the aero Ku- and Ka-band antennas have been tested successfully across multiple LEO and Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite networks with positive results. The tests have demonstrated high throughput rates, fast switching speeds between beams, between satellites and between Geostationary (GEO) and LEO satellites.

ThinKom said that the measured terminal performance demonstrated the potential that the combination of ThinKom antennas and LEO solutions can offer, with throughput rates in excess of 350 Mbps on the downlink, and 125 Mbps on the uplink, at latencies of less than 50 ms.

“LEO satellite networks have the potential to be transformative to the In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) experience, but also place new stringent demands on the antenna systems used to track and connect with the rapidly moving satellites,” said Bill Milroy, CTO of ThinKom Solutions. “This important demonstration is another milestone verifying that our antenna technology operates effectively in the LEO environment, which is a key requirement for airlines in terms of enhanced network resiliency and flexibility.”