[Satnews] Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announces that it has successfully conducted the first ever voice and data ground test call over the next-generation Iridium Certus broadband network, currently under development. Iridium Certus is the new global broadband capability being introduced on Iridium NEXT – Iridium’s next-generation satellite constellation.
The voice and data call utilized and demonstrated the capabilities of three newly developed core components of the Iridium Certus communications system for the first time: the broadband satellite terminal, Iridium NEXT satellites, and upgraded capabilities in Iridium’s terrestrial gateway.
The call originated from a prototype satellite terminal previously announced as the Iridium Certus Broadband Core Module (BCX), then processed through an Iridium NEXT satellite undergoing testing for first launch that was updated with Iridium Certus software, and then terminated through the Iridium Certus gateway subsystem connecting to the public network.
The broadband call demonstrated highly anticipated enhanced voice and broadband capabilities of the new Iridium Certus service. The service will introduce an initial data speed of 352kb/s and a new, high quality voice codec which will operate at 2X the current bit rate of Iridium’s current generation offerings. Iridium Certus’s uniquely scalable architecture will enable data speeds eventually as high as 1.4 megabits per second for a single user terminal after Iridium NEXT deployment is completed.
“This is a major milestone in proving the quality and potential of Iridium Certus. With our new BCX module and the enhanced capabilities offered through our Iridium NEXT satellites, our manufacturing partners will be able to offer industry-leading satellite broadband capabilities through our global distribution channels to the aeronautical, maritime and land mobile markets,” said Brian Pemberton, vice president and general manager, maritime and aviation businesses at Iridium. “Iridium Certus will be a major advancement in broadband mobile satellite voice and data communications from anywhere in the world.”
Iridium Certus will deliver an enterprise-grade mobile satellite broadband service that is able to serve as a standalone service or complementary component of a VSAT solution. Iridium Certus terminals are also expected to be able to offer maritime and aviation safety services once approval is granted by the respective authorities. In addition, the terminals are multi-service capable, allowing terminal manufacturers to enable multiple Iridium services such as Short Burst Data and Iridium Burst®, in addition to broadband and high quality voice—all from the same user terminal. The Iridium Certus service will enter beta testing as Iridium NEXT satellites come online, even prior to the full deployment of the Iridium NEXT constellation, with commercial service launch to follow a successful beta testing phase.