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SqwaQ announced that it has signed G&N Aircraft as a channel distribution partner for its new SqwaQbox in-flight modem. This device delivers robust data connectivity to helicopters and light fixed-wing aircraft without the need of expensive satellite or microwave links.
The SqwaQbox is a patented, mobile modem developed specifically for aircraft, and combines six individual 3G/4G L TE cellular links into one large, multi-redundant data connection. The bandwidth is robust enough to stream two cameras simultaneously, with less than one second latency. This allows public safety ground responders to view aerial video in real time using their smart phones and tablets to better assess emergency situations. It can also transmit other data traffic like VoIP, email, internet access, GPS and flight sensor data concurrently.
This is the first airborne Internet device of its kind, designed and manufactured to DO-160 and AS9100 aviation safety standards, as well as cellular network approval for airborne LTE transmission.
Data connectivity for routine civilian flight operations is becoming a necessity today, but existing solutions have failed to meet the demands of many users. Satellite links are slow and expensive. Microwave links are geographically limited by expensive ground receivers that must be installed across a region. Common 4G/LTE routers are designed for terrestrial use and usually do not provide enough bandwidth, range, redundancy, operating altitude or reliability required by flight applications. 5G also fails because the signals only extend a few hundred feet from the towers and they cannot cope with the speeds that aircraft fly.
“Airborne data connectivity has limitless potential to improve public safety missions, save lives and work more efficiently. To say we are excited to help launch this important technology into aviation with SqwaQ is an understatement. We already have customers requesting flight tests and integration,” said Craig Anderson, vice president G&N Aircraft. In addition to its proprietary hardware, SqwaQ also developed a suite of services and solutions that can be customized to each user to further enhance capabilities.
SqwaQ is a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) with wholesale bandwidth agreements to provision custom data services on over 600 global cellular networks across 130 countries. Users can activate all six data connections on a single cellular network, or use multiple cell networks simultaneously for added redundancy. Network carriers can be easily changed as missions change geographic locations, to improve reliability. Because SqwaQ provides the entire hardware, data services and support solution with its channel partners, finger pointing is eliminated if a technical problem arises.
“SqwaQ is building the single, carrier-agnostic network on which all smart aircraft will fly with data connectivity up to 5500-feet AGL. This includes drones, helicopters, air taxis and fixed-wing aircraft cooperating and communicating with each other through our connected skies network. G&N is part of that vision as we work together to introduce this exciting, industry changing technology,” said Michael Hinkler, vice president of channel sales for SqwaQ.
The SqwaQbox modem can be factory-installed into aircraft and drones, or retrofitted to existing aircraft.