European Aviation Network completes key technological step

flight experienceDeutsche Telekom in association with Inmarsat have completed the key technological step in the development of the European Aviation Network (EAN).

EAN is the world’s first integrated S-band satellite and complementary LTE-based terrestrial network built for Europe.
EAN has set up around 300 base stations across all 28 member states of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway.

The completion of the network follows Inmarsat’s successful launch of its EAN satellite last summer, which has since been extensively tested in orbit and has been fully operational since September 2017.

The European Aviation Network provides connectivity over land and water, and offers a high bandwidth service to passengers – currently over 75 Mbit/s connection speed to the aircraft – as airlines using the service do not share network capacity with any non-aviation customers.

The European Aviation Network will be available for airlines to offer commercially from H1 2018. EAN has conducted trials during several flights to test the satellite and complementary LTE ground network, providing low-latency performance of less than 100 ms.

Airlines will be able to install the small and light-weight EAN equipment quickly and easily, typically during overnight breaks for individual aircraft and turnaround times for entire fleets of a few months.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which includes airline brands such as British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, is the launch customer for the new service and has already commenced installations of EAN equipment on aircraft.

“With the completion of the first integrated pan-European LTE ground network component we are now able to fully support EAN’s satellite connectivity and maximize the performance of the EAN system,” said Rolf Nafziger, Senior Vice President, International Wholesale Business at Deutsche Telekom.

“EAN’s ground network had to meet technical prerequisites that are quite different from LTE networks: it needs to work at speeds of up to 1,200 km/h, at heights of 10 km and requires large cells of up to 150 km,” said Thorsten Robrecht, vice president Vertical Network Slices at Nokia.

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