Inmarsat’s New Global Broadband Network Hits 330 Mbps in Satellite Speed Tests

Illustration credit: Inmarsat
Illustration credit: Inmarsat

Global satellite provider Inmarsat says it has recorded a throughput speed in access of 300 megabits per second during live satellite tests of its new Global Xpress (GX) platform, the first high-speed broadband network with global coverage.

The first round of over-the-air tests, held in January 2017, were conducted in conjunction with VT iDirect, Inmarsat’s strategic technology partner for the GX platform, using iDirect’s next-generation DVB-S2X technology. During the tests, Inmarsat says it achieved a forward channel throughput rate of 330 Mbps over a live Inmarsat GX satellite in orbit. 

“These tests demonstrate Inmarsat’s commitment to the continuing development of our GX platform, which will be supported by our next generation of satellites, which are already under construction” said Michele Franci, CTO of Inmarsat. “It is important to note that these results were not achieved in laboratory conditions but over a live GX satellite in orbit. We will be able to increase the capabilities of the world’s first, globally available high-speed broadband network and meet the ever escalating bandwidth demands of users.”

For comparison, the internet I have at my house has a download speed of about 29.1 Mbps, which is enough to stream multiple HD videos on multiple devices – which I do all the time. 

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The Global Xpress platform entered global commercial service at the end of 2015 and has already been adopted by major private and public sector organisations across the world. 

Working together, Inmarsat and iDirect intend to gradually introduce these enhanced capabilities to the GX network from 2018-19; deploying the new iDirect technology for end-users across the aviation, maritime, government and enterprise sectors.

The two partners are confident that Inmarsat’s next generation of GX satellites, due to launch around the end of this decade, will achieve throughput rates in excess of 500 Mbps.

Our partnership with iDirect and the deployment of their DVB-S2X technology is key to enhancing the user experience of our GX customers; delivering even greater performance and maximising the commercial and operational benefits of their high-speed broadband connectivity. For example, it is a key enabler for the replacement of expensive airline InFlight-Entertainment systems (IFE) with more capable light-weight, connected streaming solutions that ensure all passengers on even the largest widebody aircraft can access streaming simultaneously,” added Franci.

Inmarsat’s Global Xpress platform is a worldwide high-speed wireless network that delivers broadband connectivity on land, at sea, and in the air. The GX constellation is formed of three Ka-band, high-speed mobile broadband communications satellites, each having a commercial life of 15 years.