Satnews Daily
February 23rd, 2017

This team effort by Inmarsat and iDirect enhances Global Xpress

Inmarsat has announced a significant advance in the on-going development of their Global Xpress (GX) high-speed, global, mobile broadband platform.

In conjunction with VT iDirect, Inmarsat’s strategic technology partner for the GX platform, over-the-air tests of iDirect’s next-generation DVB-S2X technology achieved a forward channel throughput rate of 330 Mbps over a live Inmarsat GX satellite on orbit.  The successful tests were conducted in January of 2017 and leveraged iDirect’s next-generation iQ Series modem. GX entered global commercial service at the end of 2015 and has already been adopted by major private and public sector organisations across the world as their new standard for seamless, reliable broadband connectivity.

The launch of the Inmarsat-5 F3 satellite.

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. As the new capabilities are introduced across the GX network, Inmarsat has confirmed that backward compatibility will be assured for existing users. 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.

Inmarsat continues to innovate and enhance their mobile satellite connectivity offerings and by incorporating iDirect’s next generation technology into future GX terminals, the company and their partners will be able to offer end-users a broad range of benefits that include:

  • Higher forward and return throughput to individual terminals
  • Increased link resiliency
  • Increased spectral efficiency
  • Improved support of small aperture terminals, specifically aero terminals


Michele Franci, the CTO of Inmarsat, noted that these tests demonstrate Inmarsat’s commitment to the continuing development of our GX platform, which will be supported by the firm's next-generation of satellites, which are already under construction. Note that these results were not achieved in laboratory conditions but over a live GX satellite on orbit.  Inmarsat 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. This 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 maximizing the commercial and operational benefits of their high-speed broadband connectivity.

Wayne Haubner, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Emerging Technologies at VT iDirect, commented that iDirect’s implementation of the DVB-S2X standard delivers significant improvements in bandwidth efficiency and capacity—330 Mbps represents the highest throughput rate ever recorded over Global Xpress and demonstrates that iDirect’s DVB-S2X technology is ready to deliver. This is the first step in the company's partnership to push network performance well beyond what end-users demand today and realize lower business costs.