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Unlocking the Future of Business Aviation Connectivity with Ku-Band and Ka-Band

At 40,000 feet, travelers have rapidly evolving expectations for fast, fluid connectivity—for both business and entertainment. Business flyers expect to be access high-speed Internet as seamlessly as they do in their office, and all passengers want to be able to watch live, glitch-free streaming TV, regardless of data allowance or the particulars of their data plan. For nearly 15 years, Viasat has been making these peerless aviation connectivity happen—thanks to uniquely targeted combinations of Ku-band for global connections, Ka-band for faster Internet, and dual-band for the best of both solutions—including global coverage and redundancy.

  • Ku-band. The Ku-band encompasses frequencies ranging from 12 to 18 GHz in the electromagnetic spectrum. It’s particularly effective for broadcasting satellite TV.
  • Ka-band. The Ka-band encompasses frequencies ranging from 27.5 to 31 GHz in the spectrum. It’s more effective at higher-bandwidth communications. Viasat is able to take advantage of the full Ka-band—a differentiator in the market that allows Viasat to deliver more capacity.
  • Dual band. Viasat’s dual-band offering combines the advantages of Ka- and Ku-band into a single solution that provides added reliability and provides global high-speed coverage across the world’s most heavily traveled flight routes with speeds that are high-quality, consistent and available.

Viasat’s Ka-band service has already been proven to support more passengers and more devices simultaneously, even while performing bandwidth-intensive activities such as accessing VPNs or streaming HD video calls, cloud content or live TV. By adding the Ku-band spectrum range, Viasat’s dual-band offering effectively shifts between the two networks as needed, creating a continuous high-speed Internet experience for passengers. The dual-band offering provides global high-speed coverage across the world’s most heavily traveled flight routes with speeds that are high-quality, reliable, and available.

“Business jet passengers who fly globally want to connect their devices to a high-speed and reliable service that parallels the experience they enjoy at home or work,” said Claudio D’Amico, business area director, Business Aviation, Viasat. “Our customers get the best of both networks through Ku-band and Ka-band. And by offering a hybrid Ku-/Ka-band service, it allows aircraft to leverage Ku-band coverage when they’re out of range from Ka-band services. We have two networks and three solutions – all from one trusted source.”

In essence, Viasat’s three-pronged solution enables high-speed in-flight Internet virtually anywhere. Depending on the aircraft operator and size of the aircraft (e.g., super midsize, and large cabin) and where it is based (e.g., United States, European Union, Asia), a specific usage may be warranted.

While onboard, passengers simply connect their devices to the cabin network, just as they would connect to a Wi-Fi network on the ground. The Viasat system then transmits data between the plane and the satellite ground station. As the plane flies, the system automatically performs handovers between Ka-band and Ku-band coverage areas, when equipped with dual-band. In addition to delivering blistering performance, Viasat’s dual-band system also provides a backup connectivity solution, wielding the power of two networks from one trusted source. The dual-band service includes global Ku-band at no additional service cost.

Although Viasat’s Ka-band solution currently covers the world’s most heavily traveled flight routes, its future-generation satellite constellation, ViaSat-3, is set to begin the first of three launches in 2021. This system will deliver higher global capacity and even faster Internet speeds than Viasat’s current industry-leading satellite fleet. And aircraft that are being equipped now with Viasat’s Ka-band solution will take full advantage of the faster speeds of the next ViaSat-3 constellation. That’s how Viasat is really unlocking the future.

This article was created in collaboration with the sponsoring company and our sales and marketing team. The editorial team does not contribute.